Latest release: Going Out in Style (Dew Process)
The Dropkick Murphys are a hardworking, blue collar band that has set out and achieved everything on their own terms, with no compromise, while busting through every brick wall in front of them. With a blend of unique Irish American Celtic Punk fusion, the Dropkick Murphys came from the late 1990s hardcore scene. Out of the bars in Boston, they achieved world wide success from writing anthems for the Boston Red Sox to Australian football, with a grueling tour schedule and explosive live shows in between. While kicking off the first night of the tour in Buffalo NY in support of the band’s seventh studio album entitled Going Out in Style, Loud had a chance to speak with guitarist/vocalist James Lynch about the new release and jamming with The Boss.
Q: Congratulations on the release of Going Out in Style. Why was there a four year gap between The Meanest of Times and Going Out in Style? Was there added pressure due to the success of the The Meanest of Times?
A: It wasn’t a conscious thing. We wrote the record, and then we just started touring. Once you get out there (on tour), it’s easy to forget about everything else. We just kept going and going. We stopped and took some much-needed time to rest. We waited for the right time to do it so there was no pressure on us. It worked out for the best. When it was time go start working, we got in (the studio) and we did. Everything came out great!
Q: An album title like Going Out in Style, has many fans worried. Is this a reference to the last Dropkick album?
A: No, it is not. We discussed that and knew it was going to be a problem. People would think that, but it’s a reference to one of the songs.
Q: Going Out in Style has a concept to it. Can you explain?
A: It’s based around a fictional character that we and our friend Michael Patrick McDonald created. It’s kind of a composite of my grandfather and his grandfather and a bunch of old family stories. We always put pieces of our lives in songs, and this seemed like a good way to tell about stories of struggles from when you move, to when you are growing up to the end of your life.
Q: That’s a cool tribute.
A: Yeah, it turned out really well.
Q: What was it like working with Bruce Springsteen on the cover of “Peg O’ My Heart”? How did that collaboration come together, and did everyone record collectively?
A: Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get into the studio together; we were in Australia by the time we heard back from him. We met him a few years ago in New York City, at the Roseland, and it has always been a dream to work with him. So, we dared to ask for this album, and he got right back to us. Unfortunately, we were out of the country, and we had to send him the tapes. He recorded on his own. He was totally professional, and what a great guy to take some time out of his schedule to get that done for us. Hopefully, in the future, we will get in the room together and do something a little more hands on. (Ed’s Note – Chris from The Living End guests also)
Q: You guys jammed with him at the Boston Garden a few years ago, didn’t you?
A: A bunch of the guys in the band did. I was actually at my sister’s rehearsal dinner for her wedding. So, I can never pretend to be upset because I missed it. Why wouldn’t I want to support my sister?
Q: Hopefully, the opportunity will come up again
A: Yeah, you can say that about a lot of things, but I’m not sure that’s one of them (laughs)
Q: This was the fist time The Dropkicks worked with producer Ted Hutt. Did he push you musically in ways that you had never been challenged before?
A: Me personally, very much so. This is the first record we did since Marc (Orrell) left the band and it was on Tim (Brennan) and me to get all the guitar stuff done. I have always considered myself a rhythm guitar player. Usually, we finish the drum tracks in the first week, but Ted had me working. I appreciate it very much. I came out a better guitar player, and I’m really proud of what we done.
Q: What are some of your favorite guitar parts from Going Out in Style?
A: I’m excited about the whole album; I can’t pick out anything specifically. I’m proud of the whole thing beginning to end.
Q: Musically, the Dropkicks have progressed leaps and bounds from earlier albums. Is this due to line-up changes or maturing as musicians?
A: A lot of changes haven’t hurt anything. Every member of this band is incredibly talented and able to pick up this and pick up that. The sound is, I guess what you could say, it’s always what we wanted, but just didn’t have the means to create.
Q: Every St. Patty’s day, you guys play a special show in Boston. What can the New England crowd expect this year? Any secret shows?
A: This year we are going to take it to every different size venue we can. We are doing three shows at the House of Blues, and then we are doing an arena show (Tsongas Arena in Lowell, MA). Then, we are doing a show at the Paradise.
Q: Early on during the Dropkicks formative years, shows would get out of hand with different gangs and hardcore crews, but now Dropkicks have no specific demographic. Do you prefer the scene, or a broad audience? Do you prefer smaller venues or the arena shows and festivals?
A: There is good and bad things about both. It’s a whole different experience playing on a huge stage than it is being in a bar with kids right in your face. Both of them can be fun, but you adjust what you do a little bit. I don’t necessarily like one more than the other. I just enjoy playing. It doesn’t matter were it is. We put on the same show.
Q: Did you enjoy the fight getting to the top of a mountain, or do you enjoy the view from the top now that you reached a summit with you career? What is your proudest achievement while in Dropkicks?
A: It’s funny; we have been working steadily the entire time. People ask a lot like, “Did this make a big difference? Did the Red Sox make a difference?” It all looks the same when you get on stage everything. It doesn’t feel any different than it did ten years ago. We just keep on doing things the way we always have, and I don’t see anything changing.
Q: I remember seeing The Dropkicks at my old union hall, I.B.E.W (International Brotherhood Of Electrical Works), for an acoustic performance on St. Patty’s days a few years ago. Has there been any discussion about going over to Wisconsin or Ohio on a day off to support the collective bargaining rights of the unions and perhaps break in the track “Take Em Down”?
A: On this tour, we will be in Milwaukee for a few days.
Q: Will you show up at the rallies?
A: I’m not sure what we are going to have time to do. We did release one of the tracks on our album “Take Em Down” early, to show our support for the workers out there. So, we can at least help in spirit.
Q: I missed the 07’ series between Boston and the Rockies. Do you know who took the title?
A: (Laughs) You are from Massachusetts and missed the series?
Q: No, no, I live in Colorado now, and I like to rub it in any chance I get! (laughs)
A: I was actually out there for that game when they won.
Q: How did the theme song “Tessie” come about? (written for the Boston Red Sox 2004 Championship) Did the Red Sox nation come to you guys?
A: Dr. Charles Steinberg (former executive VP for public affairs for the Boston Red Sox) approached us about it. We did the song and brought it to the World Series.
Q: Australian Football used “Shipping Up to Boston” as a theme. Did you ever expect that kind of success?
A: We travel all over the world, and the band in universal. It’s pretty funny, even though we play Irish music at the end of the day, we have had kids all over the world, like in Japan, the kids tell us that you make us proud to be Japanese. It’s a universal thing, and it makes sense.\
Q: Any last words?
A: Our record comes out March 1st in the US, and we hope everyone enjoys it. We will keep coming back.