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Tony Duggins - vocals, mandolin
Dan Shaw - bass, accordion
Aaron Duggins - tin whistle
Clay Hansen - banjo
Mike Pawula - guitar
Becca Manthe - fiddle
Bones - drums
The south side of Chicago has a tough, working class reputation. It's also known for one of the largest populations of Irish this side of the Emerald Isle. So It's not entirely incongruous that a hard luck kid from the south side of town would choose to play traditional Irish folk music in pubs around the neighborhood. At 18, Tony Duggins was doing just that - playing pub favorites and covers of greats like Ewan MacColl. Before long, he had roped his brother and his best friends into playing original songs he had written, and so became the Tossers. They took their name from the slang term for a miscreant or bum. In the early 1920's, the Irish instituted their own currency after the southern free state won independence from Britain. British coins became worthless throwaways - "tossers."
2003 marks the Tossers' TEN YEAR anniversary. One full decade together playing their own fiery brand of Irish folk music. The Tossers marry traditional instrumentation (mandolin, banjo, fiddle, tin whistle, etc) with the raucous turmoil of punks. They will tell you that they are not a punk band, that they are a folk band. But their incendiary nature, intense live shows, overt politics, and drunken antics make them exactly that. PUNKROCK. From the very beginning, there's been a dichotomy to the Tossers; sure you can raise a glass, dance and have a laugh, but underneath, this is a band that has something intelligent to say and an undeniable way to say it. Raised on Grand Ole Opry, early rock 'n roll, country hits, and punk, (in addition to Irish classics like the Dubliners and the Clancy Brothers) a wide array of influences keeps the music interesting and unpredictable.
Purgatory is classic Tossers. The band's fourth full-length album is diverse and chaotic, emotional and raw. From upbeat reels (Nantucket Girls, Come Dancin') to raunchy guitar fueled rockers (Chicago) to the gut wrenching a cappella title track, the Tossers are fearless in their social, political and religious commentary. Purgatory tells stories of humor and tragedy, wit and wisdom, love, loss, and death. The Tossers can educate you, break your heart, or punch you in the face. In the end, though, they know that sometimes you just have to sit back, crack a beer, and say, "Fuck it. Let's have a good time!"