DROPKICK MURPHYS ARE:
Al Barr: lead vocals
Tim Brennan: guitars, accordion, whistles and vocals
Ken Casey: bass guitar and lead vocals
Jeff DaRosa: banjo, bouzouki, mandolin, harmonica, acoustic guitars,
mondola and vocals
Matt Kelly: drums and vocals
James Lynch: guitars and vocals
When you think of Boston, there are a few things that immediately come to mind - or should anyway.
Of course, you think of the Freedom Trail, the Bunker Hill Monument, Paul Revere's Midnight Ride, the Boston Tea Party, and all of that good historical stuff you learned about way back in grade school. You picture the Red Sox taking the field at Fenway Park, the Bruins or the Celtics and their championship flags at the Garden, or the Patriots down at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. You might even recall Good Will Hunting, The Town, Ted, or countless other flicks filmed on the city's streets. You'll envision a Dunkin Donuts on every corner, warm neighborhood bars, and the Boston Marathon. These days, chances are, you immediately add Dropkick Murphys to that list. Twenty years into their career, the platinum-certified Irish-American Celtic punk heroes are just as synonymous with Beantown as any of those other landmarks, traditions, or entities are.
Truth is, Dropkick Murphys embody Boston's spirit to a proverbial "T." They're loud, lovable, and legendary. They fight for what they believe in, take care of their own, and posit friends and family above all. Every time they're around is guaranteed to be "wicked pissah," and they never, ever forget where they come from.
So, where did this crazy story begin?
Well, it all started back in 1996. As the legend has it, the boys would actually practice in the basement of their buddy's barbershop just south of the city in Quincy, Massachusetts. It's in that sweaty, dirty, and beer-soaked room that Dropkick Murphys were born-bonded over a mutual passion for everything from AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, and The Ramones to Woody Guthrie, The Clash, and The Sex Pistols. In the midst of a few indie EPs and splits, their initial big break came with an invite to open up for The Mighty Mighty Bosstones during their tour supporting 1997's Let's Face it. Despite the crappy van, bad food, and mayhem, they loved every minute of it, as did the audience. By 1998, Dropkick Murphys unleashed their full-length debut, Do or Die [Hellcat Records], produced by Rancid's Lars Frederiksen. Touring endlessly, The Gang's All Here followed the next year. However, it was 2001's Sing Loud, Sing Proud! where they crystallized that instantly recognizable style, a deft and delicate balance of bruising guitars, gang vocals, and arena-size percussion alongside accordion, mandolin, tin whistle, and bagpipes.
Throughout this time, they'd carved out one of the most fervent fan bases in all of music. Everything started to bubble over from an underground phenomenon into widespread cultural acceptance in 2004. Following 2003's Blackout, they put their own spin on the Boston Red Sox anthem "Tessie." It ended up in the Farrelly Brothers' box office hit Fever Pitch starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore, and it even soundtracked the first World Series win for the Sox in 86 years. You could say they helped reverse the "Curse of the Bambino"...
Everything set the stage for the release of album number five The Warrior's Code in 2005. It spawned two of the band's biggest hits. The unmistakable "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" figured prominently during the climax of Martin Scorsese's Academy Award winning The Departed and eventually garnered the outfit their first platinum plaque, while the title track, a tribute to Lowell boxer Micky Ward, popped up in another Academy Award winner The Fighter. 2007 saw Dropkick Murphys jump from Hellcat Records to founding their own Born & Bred Records through ADA. They released The Meanest of Times and churned out a home state anthem in the form of "The State of Massachusetts," which Rolling Stone named one of its "100 Best Songs of the Year."
Dropkick Murphys' influence and impact only continued to expand as time went on. With 2011's Going Out in Style, they scored their highest chart position on the Billboard Top 200, landing at #6 and moving over 43,000 copies in the first week. Their buddy Bruce Springsteen jumped at the chance to collaborate on a rousing and raucous cover of "Peg o' My Heart," while critically acclaimed All Souls author Michael Patrick MacDonald collaborated on the fictional companion.
Its follow-up Signed and Sealed in Blood proved equally explosive two years later. Notching another Top 10 debut on the Top 200, it yielded "Out of Our Heads" which served as the theme song for Boston's Finest, while "Prisoner's Song" rocked a Captain Morgan's liquor campaign. They enlisted The Boss's help once again for a special version of "Rose Tattoo" benefiting victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Twenty years in, Dropkick Murphys remain bigger than ever. They've headlined Fenway Park and been personally invited to share the stage with everyone from Foo Fighters to Mumford & Sons. They ignited the Boston Pops' annual July 4 concert for a crowd of $250,000. Their yearly tradition, the St. Patrick's Day tour, concluded with a sold out headliner at TD Garden in Boston, while they delivered nine songs floating on the USS Constitution on its final voyage, honoring its 217th birthday.
Their myth far exceeds music. They launched The Claddagh Fund, a charity supporting children and veterans organizations and programs for alcohol and drug rehabilitation globally.
The Dropkick Murphys' story is really starting to heat up now as they celebrate their 20th anniversary. Their legacy is just like that of the city they call home-it's only getting bolder, brasher, and better with age. - Rick Florino, August 2015