Dropkick Murphys: “It’s high time we get another go at it”

Dropkick Murphys: “It’s high time we get another go at it”

By Glen Bushell

Jun 21, 2017 11:00

Fresh off of the back of their brand new record, tour and with a huge Glastonbury spot coming up, Punktastic sit down with Matt Kelly, skin-smasher for Massachusetts legends, Dropkick Murphys.

When Michael Eavis conceived the idea of Glastonbury many, many moons ago, it’s pretty fair to say that his imagination probably didn’t include loud, agressive Celtic Folk-Punk. But then again, who conceived that it would be anything like it is now?

“Well I think it’s been fifteen years or so since we last did this thing, so I guess it’s high time we get another go at it!” tells Kelly. “Last time, we were playing to people waking up, coming out of their tents and brushing their teeth— I don’t think a lot of them appreciated the, quite literal, rude awakening. Too bad for them; we had fun!”

Dropkick Murphys have an infectious charm that has laced their discography from day one, something to do with the raucous singalongs and imagery of drinking until you fall over, they really are something quite special. So why on earth would anyone be apprehensive about them gracing the festival?

“I’m not sure how well we fit in with the festival, but if people like to enjoy themselves(and who doesn’t?), they should be entertained.” But what will we get if we choose to wander over to the ‘Other Stage’ on that Sunday lunchtime? “The thing you can expect from us is some muscular, loud guitar, banjos, bagpipe, driven Punk Rock. Maybe we’ll be the shot in the arm people need; maybe we’ll be the comic relief people need…. who’s to say?!”

’11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory’ received critical acclaim with the band proving that these still are the “good old days”. How do they manage to keep their sound fresh after all these years. “I think it’s the album we should have released when we did— it’s current in its topics and it’s not a carbon-copy of its predecessor. I think it’s the sort of thing that you can tell it’s the same band who wrote ‘Signed and Sealed in Blood’, but it’s not a continuation of it; it’s fresh. To me, it’s a natural growth without seeming like “progress for its own sake.”

There is a genuine spirit which oozes out of the band, tried and tested by many years on the road. Kelly recalls being the “new kids on the block” during the mid-nineties. “We were given a great opportunity by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones on their US and Euro tours in 1997 at the height of their popularity. We were a VERY underground band playing to mostly punks and skinheads here in Boston and on small weekend trips. We had no full-length album out, and were very rough around the edges… and the Bosstones gave us the opening slot on this huge tour, just because they saw potential in us.”

Kelly talks about Skinny Lister, a young London Folk-Punk band which opened for the band at their headline show at Brixton Academy this year, as well as themselves giving young bands a shot at opening big shows. – “Good folk! Giving younger, up-and-coming bands a shot, it’s something we’ve always tried to do.”

So with all this time on the road touring the latest record, thoughts turn towards what the crystal ball holds for the future of the band. “Two weeks after we get back from this current tour, we head back out on a co-headlining tour with Rancid in the U.S. and Canada. That should be a blast. Great openers like the Bouncing Souls and Jake Burns, the Selecter(!), and Kevin Seconds have the makings of a classic gig to see.  After that, we’re going to put the finishing touches on the new album which I hope will be out next year sometime. Then in early 2018, it’s back to touring.”

The party doesn’t stop. Now we just wait and see if the Dropkick Murphys will appear on the Glastonbury BBC highlights…

’11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory’ is out now and the band have a few shows following Glastonbury, which you can see the dates for below.

25 GLASTONBURY Glastonbury Festival
27 DUNFERMLINE Alhambra Theatre
28 LIVERPOOL O2 Academy