Interview: Dropkick Murphys — "We've become a St. Paddy's Day Destination"
Sun, 14 Mar 2010 17:18:26
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Dropkick Murphys might as well be Boston's musical equivalent of the Red Sox.
The celtic punk legends are such an important part of the city's cultural fabric that they completely take over the famed Lansdowne St.—home of Fenway Park—annually for a barrage of St. Patrick's Day shows. The street is bustling with fans from all over the world just itching to celebrate St. Paddy's day with Boston's epic punk masters. However, everybody can experience Dropkick's on St. Paddy's day with Live On Lansdowne, Boston MA—a brand new live collection culled from the Lansdowne residency. The CD/DVD collection is the perfect way to celebrate St. Paddy's day—although it doesn't come with a 6-pack…
Dropkick Murphys mainman Al Barr talked to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for this exclusive interview about Live On Lansdowne, rocking St. Paddy's day and his favorite movies.
Live On Lansdowne, Boston MA is your second live record. What do you feel like you did differently this time?
It's a whole different band. We've put out three studio albums since the last live record; and it's been nine years. There's been a lot of growth, and a lot has changed. So we decided it was time for another live album.
Your Lansdowne Street shows have become legendary. Do you feel like this collection allows Boston outsiders a definitive look at this tradition?
Yeah, most definitely, we've gone from doing two or three shows to seven in six days. This is our second year doing that schedule. It's become a St. Paddy's Day Destination point. People travel from all over the world and all over the country for this show.
Boston hasn't had too many bands that are intrinsically tied to the city's identity. Dropkick Murphys have become a true part of Boston's cultural identity.
It seems that way. There are definitely other bands that have tied themselves to Boston. I wouldn't want to put us on a list and say, "We're number one, and this band is that…" However, the band is definitely embedded in Boston's fabric. New Englanders are a little different than people anywhere else you go in the country. We always say that if we were from Sacramento, we'd be singing about Sacramento. It just depends on where you came from. But I think that the band has always tied itself to the mast of Boston and we're sailing on it.
When you do the St. Paddy's Day shows, is there usually one night that sticks out?
When we played these shows years ago, we would always go into them a bit cold. We'd go from doing nothing to playing. Now, we've found it's better to tour into this run. We've got 15 or so dates leading into Boston. The stop in Boston will just be a continuation of that tour. We're home, we're seeing family and friends, so it's the best of both worlds, but we're not overwhelmed by the schedule of playing because we've already gotten our tour legs under us from playing before that. As far as certain nights sticking out, it's usually the last night and then the first night. The first night, because you know that's your barometer reading of what the next few shows are going to be like. We usually do two shows a day, so it's usually the second show of the day that we're all going, “Whoa, this is like Groundhog's Day." Literally, we leave the club to go get ready for the next show and they're already queuing up for the next show [Laughs]. Light dawned on our marble heads and we realized it was best to tour before these shows.
Are there any songs that stand out especially at these shows?
When we're playing songs like "Forever" and "God Willing," they certainly mean a lot, but they can mean just as much when we're playing them somewhere else. If someone gets in touch with the band before and says, "I had a grandfather that recently died" or if we've been in touch with the families of military members that have passed away, we'll dedicate a song to them. That kind of thing always makes the performance so much more emotional. We put as much passion into the comical side of things as we would the seriousness of a song like forever. You're trying to find somewhere in there that relates to the audience so that you're connecting with the people that are coming in. You want them to feel the lyrics, words and music. It sounds hokey but that's really what we're about. That’s a Dropkicks show.
What are some of your favorite flicks?
Do you have a couple hours? [Laughs] The Departed is actually one of my favorite movies. I like Down By Law by Jim Jarmusch. I like a lot of films with Nicolas Cage—Lord of War comes to mind. Then I love classics like The Wanderers and Animal House. I really want to see Shutter Island. Dennis Lehane is such a good writer, and I really like Leonardo DiCaprio. I became a really big fan of his over the last few years.
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…