Published Feb 01, 2000Timing is everything and the Dropkick Murphys couldn't have picked a more appropriate point on the calendar to release their fourth disc. Out just in time for St. Patrick's Day, with a tour that will see them play their hometown of Boston on the day the Western world has dedicated to Ireland's patron saint, Sing Loud, Sing Proud finds the old school drunk punks getting more in touch with their Celtic roots than ever. Not only has the band expanded its line-up and added such traditional instruments as tin whistle and mandolin, the record features a cameo from the epitome of Irish attitude, former Pogues pin-up boy Shane McGowan. The result of his drunken jam session with the lads shows up once on the CD (the song "Good Rats"), and twice on the vinyl with the addition of a rousing rendition of the classic Irish shanty, "Wild Rover." It all makes for a very Irish experience indeed.
But as front-man Ken Casey explains, "It's not something we really have to explore, it's just there," he says in a thick Bahstahn brogue. "The Irish-American experience here is a culture within itself. Our history goes back 150 years in Boston and its very much a clan-like thing. The family structure and the way traditions were passed down is something that's been instilled in me and I've known about since I was a kid."
But nothing says Irish to North Americans like St. Patrick's Day. And this year for the first time since the band formed in 1996, the Murphys will be at home for the holiday. "This will be my first St. Patrick's Day in Boston for a while," says Casey. "We're playing Boston that day and it should be quite a good time. It makes the show that much more amped up. People get a little more lubricated."
They're probably hoping, though, that the experience is a little less hectic than their last St. Paddy's Day gig there in 1997. "We played Boston the very first year we were a band on St. Patrick's Day and that was frightening," Casey recalls. "That was a bit of a blood bath. It was a 19-plus show and I swear there were 12-year-old kids in there drinking and it got ugly. There was a mix of green beer and red blood on the floor." As Kent Brockman once wondered: Is this how we've come to regard the Irish?