CONFIDENCE MAN Mark Lind is a little hard on himself, and maybe that's a good thing.
If you're inclined to play punk rock, chances are you've got a self-esteem problem. It's not an æsthetic that attracts the well-adjusted. Exhibit A: Mark Lind. As bassist and frontman of the Ducky Boys, he's opened for Rancid, U.S. Bombs, and Flogging Molly. Before he and the Unloved headline T.T.'s this Wednesday, they'll spend a few nights as Dropkick Murphys' supporting act. His holiness Joe Strummer even stopped by a Ducky Boys show in LA back in '99 (though Lind speculates that Strummer was in attendance principally to catch the Distillers).
Despite all these brushes with punk aristocracy and performances for huge crowds, Lind is scared shitless of busking. I tried to get him to play a song on the sidewalk so I could film it for thePhoenix.com. He said it was too cold out. How convenient!
"As soon as the band's not there, it's the most terrifying thing, 'cause it's all on you," says the enduring Charlestownian between forkfuls of mac and cheese at a Faneuil Hall eatery. "I tried busking once, and I swore I would never again. I'm not a good guitar player at all. I can only play chords, and I'm aware my voice is an acquired taste. So your average Joe walking by on the street probably wants to throw a brick at me more than throw a dollar."
Personally, I've never understood what's so polarizing about Lind's voice. It's not as if he had a target audience of Idol judges. He's a little hard on himself, and maybe that's a good thing. If he had a positive self-image, he probably wouldn't have co-founded the Ducky Boys in the first place.
That was nearly 15 years ago, and the essential Boston street-punk ensemble have been an on-again-off-again endeavor since the late '90s, leaving Lind with ample spare time for other projects. It's clear he's uneasy about being perceived as a solo artist. Despite the title of his current outfit, he keeps falling into plural pronouns — "our songs," not "my songs."
"People think I have my name on it because it's a wicked ego trip, but I was getting so tired of people quitting on me. I went from Ducky Boys to Sinners & Saints to Dirty Water back to Ducky Boys. I didn't want to just replace people all the time, so I'm like, 'Okay, people quit on me left and right. I'll just start playing under my own name, and if anybody quits, it's not going to change anything.' "
The current incarnation of the Unloved is rounded out by Jason Messina (who's drummed in the bulk of Lind's bands), members of Confront and Death & Taxes, and Brittany Gray (whose dazzling vocal chops ought to win over anyone who objects to Lind's singing). For that matter, the Unloved's new Homeward Bound ought to win over anyone too snobby for punk, period. Lind's elder sibling Rob, of Blood for Blood infamy, growls about business and friendship on the brash blast-off track "No One To Cry To." Marc Cannata of Far from Finished completes the choir on Homeward — he can be heard chirping uncharacteristic doo doo doo doo doos on "Cold Hearted (Son of a Bitch)," a merry little ditty about futile efforts to avoid one's comeuppance.