Published Jul 25, 2008Kind of like a kilted, bagpiped, Canadian version of Rodney Dangerfield, the Real McKenzies cant seem to get any respect. Theyve been busting out solid Celtic punk rock for over a decade, yet youll still find kids on the internet calling them out for ripping off bands like Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, both of whom came out of the gates a few years after the McKenzies released their first album in 1996 and were doubtlessly influenced by the bands sound and look. Point is, the McKenzies are great, original and Scottish (well okay, theyre from Vancouver), and were proud to have em. Off the Leash is another rock-solid addition to their canon of ass-whupping songs about drinking, Nessie and drinking, with tracks like "Chip kicking things off with a traditional-sounding bagpipe lead and "Guy on Stage offering a subtle acoustic take on the bands throwback sound. On the whole, theres a lot more variety here than on past McKenzies outings, and the band prove equally adept with the restrained rock of "My Mangy Hound as they are with the walking bass line of "The Maple Trees Remember.
How is it you guys still get accused of ripping off bands youve influenced?
Vocalist Paul McKenzie: Years ago it infuriated me but now its just like water off a ducks back. We dont have a patent on a kilt or the bagpipes. The more people that are making that kind of music, if its making them happy, go for it. But there are myriad pocket titans on the internet who love to get their anger out in strange ways, and when we finally meet them, its kind of like The Wizard of Oz. "You were that man behind the curtain? And I was mad at you? I dont have the time or energy to spend on negativity in that respect, so let them do what they want.
Is it at all difficult to keep writing music thats original and exciting to you when youre also really entrenched in a certain style?
Weve moved off in some unexplored directions on this record. I like to think that its like a candy box with a variety of songs for everybody. Me, I dont go for the peanut clusters, I go for the dark chocolate. (Fat Wreck)