Music Interview: Dropkicking out the jams

The city of Boston has been called many things: “The city on the hill,” “Beantown,” “The hub of the solar system,” and “The Athens of America,” to name a few. However, understanding what makes the city a unique mark on the American landscape takes more than mere semantics. While everyone knows about the revolutions, massacres and tea parties, to become a true Boston culture buff one must become familiar with some of the obscure subtleties boasted by the city, including the Sacred Cod and the Great Molasses Flood of 1919, an incident where 21 perished beneath a 30-foot wall of goo. One must also come to appreciate the simple pleasure of watching the good ol’ hockey game, frosty pint in hand. Last, but certainly not least, one must embrace the Dropkick Murphys and their quintessential Boston-pride-Celtic-punk.

Raised in working-class Irish-Catholic neighborhoods in the south end of Boston, the Dropkick Murphys have come to personify what it means to be a true Bostonian. They’re a hard-working, beer-drinking, hockey-loving crew and they make no bones about it.

“Last winter was definitely a tough one to make it through without hockey,” says Murphys’ drummer Matt Kelly.

Like taking candy from a baby, last year’s hockey deprivation was simple for the powers that be to accomplish but came with its share of tantrums from fans like Kelly.

“Thank God it’s back,” sighs a relieved Kelly. “I’d really like to see [the Bruins] have a good bid for it, but I think the Senators are looking really good this year.”

With their penchant for all things Boston, it’s no surprise the Murphys have a certain predilection for Budweiser. Spending their entire summer in the hot sun on this year’s Warped Tour provided even more impetus to consume.

“It was hot and gross and dusty,” complains Kelly. “There was a lot of sitting under a tent, drinking beer.”

Having downed approximately 60 kegs along the tour, the Murphys are leading experts on the subject of lager. Although their aptitude in the world of hops and barley may be great, Kelly makes it clear their expertise doesn’t extend to the world of politics. Their latest album, The Warriors Code, includes a heart-wrenching song composed of a deployed soldier’s letters home. The Murphys prefer to let their songs present their message, rather than preaching political rhetoric on stage for cheap applause.

“We keep out of it because we’re not smart enough to present anything and sound like we know what we’re talking about,” explains Kelly. “Sure, some people know about politics, but in this realm you just come off as a know-it-all pompous prick.”

Abstaining from the political sphere hasn’t prevented the Murphys from becoming a big name in the world of punk. Their shows are patronized by some of the most die-hard fans in music today.

“Our hardcore fans go to all the shows,” boasts Kelly.”They’re the greatest. They come out to see us, get shitfaced, and have a good time.”