The Pinkerton Thugs are a punk band from Maine. While the band officially became the Pinkerton Thugs in March 1996 (taking their name from the infamous Pinkerton National Detective Agency), the band has been together since July 1994 under a number of different names. The band, which initially consisted of drummer/vocalist Paul Russo, guitarist/vocalist Micah Smaldone and bassist James Whitten drew influence from punk bands such as Sham 69, The Clash, Conflict, and Cocksparrer as well as Bruce Springsteen and Woody Guthrie's political ballads. They are known for their spirited live performances just as well as their radical anarchistic political views. During most of the band's existence, Paul Russo was also a member of Boston band The Unseen, whom the Thugs often played shows with.
Their recorded debut was a 7" E.P. titled "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit Of Shit" that was self-released on the band's own Police Records in the U.S. in August 1996 and re-released by Nefer Records in Canada in 1997. In addition to that record, The Pinkerton Thugs released two full albums ("The Pain and The Pinkerton Thugs" on V.M.L. Records in 1997 and "End Of an Era" on Go Kart Records in 2000), a split 7" record with the Ducky Boys, and a 7" on Go Kart Records titled "The Times." The bands later recordings saw Paul Russo playing both drums and guitar as well as singing in the studio while Tommy "Von" Gatton, who joined the band in 1998, played drums live. Shortly after the recording of "End Of An Era" in early 1999 Smaldone left the band to concentrate on playing rockabilly with The Racketeers. Paul Russo moved up from the drums to sing and play guitar and James Lynch of The Ducky Boys joined as a permanent member. He only played one show with the band before he left to join The Dropkick Murphys and The Thugs stopped performing, playing its last show in February 2000 at the Karma Club in Boston, Massachusetts. "End of an Era" was released posthumously in June 2000, some 18 months after it was recorded, to both critical and public acclaim.
The Pinkerton Thugs officially got back together in 2008 and are currently active with a touring line-up. The band was signed to Jailhouse Records in 2011. They are doing a full U.S. tour summer of 2012, re-releasing all their older albums, and recording a brand new record fall of 2012.