Dropkick Murphys prepare for Palladium
Posted October 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm in Lifestyle
The Irish folk-punk band Dropkick Murphys did not get their name from a rehab center in Connecticut, contrary to popular belief.
According to Matt Kelly, current drummer of the revolutionary band, former guitarist Marc Orrell was drunk when he made the claim, and it just stuck with fans.
The name, Kelly claims, came from John Murphy, a professional wrestler in Massachusetts.
â[Murphy] was known for his dropkick, ended up coaching boxing and found himself dealing with a lot of boxers who had drinking problems,â Kelly said. âThis was back in the early days of [Alcoholics Anonymous], and he basically opened his home up to drunks as a place to dry out.â
Murphy was one of those typical Bostonians: He carried, with extreme pride, his Irish roots as well as an unfaltering loyalty for his home state of Massachusetts â much like the Dropkick Murphys.
Founded in 1996, the Dropkick Murphys have flown under the radar for years but have developed a small, loyal fan base attracted to its intriguing mix of Irish folk and punk, making the band one of the more popular American bands today.
The band members believe itâs vital to keep the tradition of folk music alive.
âTraditional music is important,â Kelly said. â[Folk] shows where we come from. Punk has only been around since the â60s but folk has always been there â itâs the voice of the people and you never want to silence that.â
Kelly also wants to make clear that this isnât your grandmotherâs favorite band.
âWeâre a punk-rock band â almost a gateway band for a lot of kids to find more obscure bands and also traditional music,â Kelly said. âWe can turn our fans onto something from their neck of the woods and reconnect them with that.â
Whatâs interesting about the band is that not every song is an equal mix of folk and punk. On any of its seven albums, itâs easy to hear the songs feature dramatically different styles.
âThereâs a bit of variety,â Kelly said. âThereâll be straight up old-style hardcore on there, but then also have a folksy-sounding tune. We donât have a homogenous sound. Weâre not bashing people over the head with folk and punk; itâs just how we write tunes.â
The bandâs particular writing style has enabled it to consistently sell out arenas even after 15 years on the stage. Success, however, took some rearranging and time.
âIt was hard in the beginning, trying to get guys to play in a punk rock band on tour in a small parochial town in Massachusetts,â Kelly said. âSo we went through a few guys throughout the years and it took a while for the sound to evolve.â
Once the band found its sound, the Dropkick Murphys found a place in listenersâ hearts. And even though their music seems tailor-made for the boast-of-their-roots Irish in Massachusetts, most of Dropkick Murphysâ fanbase comes from outside of the membersâ home state.
âPeople werenât aware of what we were doing in our own backyard,â Kelly said. âWeâd play in front of thousands in Germany but most people back home had no idea who we were. It was sort of a secret club.â
At long last the change came. In a state obsessed with Red Sox baseball, all it took was the team to start using the song âTessieâ during games â and like that, the bandâs popularity surged.
And it certainly didnât hurt that the song âIâm Shipping Up To Bostonâ was used in the award-winning film The Departed.
Though the band found major success in its hometown, the group didnât let fame get to its head.
âWeâve seen a lot of bands come and go and do something like The Departed and skyrocket into the mainstream and alienate their fans,â Kelly said. âWeâre very aware and appreciative of our fans. Weâre not about the easy buck or the easy fame. Itâs about our fans.â
And those fans have been with the band for 15 years â and hopefully 15 more to come.
âIn 15 years, weâll probably be in wheelchairs. Weâll still be doing it because we love doing this,â Kelly said. âBetween all us guys, we probably have 700 more songs and riffs we need an outlet for. Itâs the best job in the world. And weâre going to do it until people are sick of us.â
The Dropkick Murphys will perform at the Hollywood Palladium on Saturday.