The Dropkick Murphys
By David Hennessy
Known for tracks such as I’m Shipping Up to Boston and Tessie, Dropkick Murphys have established themselves as the world’s number one Celtic punk band, a little known genre before their foundation in 1996. The Boston based band have provided the unmistakably Irish and raucous soundtrack that local films as The Departed and The Fighter are remembered for. With their eighth studio album due next month, The Irish World caught up with bass player and lead singer, Ken Casey on his recent trip to London to promote Signed and Sealed in Blood.
“It’s good to be back (in London),” Ken begins and adds, thinking of their influences such as The Clash and The Sex Pistols: “I would say if it wasn’t for that first generation of British punk, I don’t think I ever would have picked up the instrument.”
Last year, Ken’s band were supported by the popular London band, The BibleCode Sundays who have also played with them in Boston. Ken sees the Irish World Award winning band as very similar to his own group: “They’re a great band and even better guys, it’s great to be able to call them peers. We both come from cities that have lots of great characters and great stories to draw on lyrically particularly when you think of the Irish immigration into those cities. The Boston-Irish experience is a very unique thing in the sense that you have probably the most heavily populated place of Irish immigration in America. There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears and a lot of laughs and great stories that come out of that and a lot of that is right within our own families. I definitely think we come from the same kind of mindset lyrically and musically.”
Another London band to have inspired Dropkick Murphys is The Pogues. They have recorded with Shane MacGowanon 2000’s Good Rats and this leads Ken to make a bold claim: “We have recorded Shane drunker than anyone has ever captured him on record. He was feeling good and you can hear it in his voice. He was an interesting character.
“A couple of albums ago we had Spider Stacy [founding member of The Pogues] and Ronnie Drew (providing vocals on (F)lannigan's Ball). That was actually a more memorable day, we did that in Dublin [in the famous Windmill Lane Studio]. Sitting in the studio with those two guys and all the history: that was a wild day. Ronnie was a true inspiration and class act. We think that recording might have been the last thing he ever recorded actually. I wish it was retirement not death.”
For the full interview, see this week’s Decenmber 8 Irish World