The Dropkick Murphys: The Interview

[Julia Wallace sent drummer Matt Kelly some questions. Here are his answers. – AC]

1. You were just in Canada playing a few festival dates. Is the festival scene something that you still enjoy?

*** Yeah, but it’s different from playing in clubs and indoor venues.  The sets are usually shorter— but you’re not preaching to the choir, so you have to work extra hard— and I like that.  Festivals can be fun in ways different from clubs, as they’re usually a weird miniature city so there’s usually lots of things to see and weird hipsters and girls with mom pants on to make fun of.  Just a different scene, a bit more laid-back and less routine than normal tour dates— which can be good or bad depending on your mood. ***

2. How do you guys handle the restrictive set times?

*** We try to make the set a microcosm of the dynamics, peaks and valleys of what we usually would have in our normal ninety-or-so-minute set time.  It usually sacrifices the valleys for more peaks!  It’s exhausting but it’s challenging and fun. ***

3. Who is the coolest band you’ve discovered this year?

*** HIRED GOONS from Ontario ***

4. Is the Montreal/Boston rivalry really that big of a deal? I heard you really had the Montreal crowd riled up when you started bashing a Canadiens doll…

*** Yes, it is a big deal.  Yeah, people got all pissy when Ken’s nine-year-old son bashed a Habs doll— people got a LITTLE miffed, it was hilarious.  ***

5. Speaking of your hometown… “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” got pretty huge for you. Has Woody Guthrie always been an influence?

*** Yeah, that song sort of became its own entity.  Pretty crazy.  I think Woodie Guthrie is more an inspiration than a direct musical influence on the band. ***

6. What’s your favourite Guthrie song?

*** Bound For Glory***

7. Are you surprised by the staying power of your band and that so much of your success has come later in your career?

*** Yeah, it’s pretty funny.  I think that we live in a pretty singular place, Boston, New England, and the character of the area and its denizens somehow took to us, even if it took them ten years to discover us.  Plus, we just seized opportunities as they came along.  We’ve always been very proactive in promoting our city, and I think that in a place where there is such a fierce pride in your block, your neighborhood, your city, it resonates with people. ***

8. You’ve been out behind Signed and Sealed in Blood for quite some time now. Have you started working on a new album?

*** We have.  We’ve been throwing ideas around for the last few months, and getting together here and there to write while on our forty-day European tour.  We’re going to get down to business in the next couple months, and we’ll probably be recording next April or May.  ***

9. What do you want from the next Dropkick Murphys record?

*** Power, aggression, big choruses, and good times. ***

10. Describe the perfect gig.

*** An all-day gig at the Channel club(RIP) in Boston, with:

12:00-1:00  Dropkick Murphys(playing whatever the hell songs we care to)

1:30-2:45  1982-era Misfits(with introduction by Curtis Casella of Taang! Records, and crucified goat onstage)

3:15-5:00  1972-era Mott the Hoople(fresh from the Alternate Universe of Wooda-Cooda-Shooda where they accepted “Suffragette City” instead of “All the Young Dudes” from David Bowie)

5:30-7:00  The Faces(and me sitting at their infamous onstage bar having a couple cocktails)

7:30-8:00  The Fix(from Lansing, MI.  Not to be confused with the crappy pop group the Fixx)

8:30-9:30  1981-era 4-Skins(with Gary Hodges on vocals)

10:00-11:30 1974-era Slade(maybe with some drunken surprise guest vocals by the 4-Skins’ Hodges)

12:00-2:30 AM 1978-era AC/DC with Bon Scott

…and then I’d probably collapse from a heart attack… but that’d be fine with me if this impossible, perfect gig were to happen.

Thanks for the interview!

-Matt K., Dropkick Murphys

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38296 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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