The eighth album from Dropkick Murphys comes out on January 13th. Signed and Sealed in Blood will be the second album that the band has put out independently. The Bostonian icons are back and it’s worth celebrating, moreso in Massachusetts than any other place. Alternative Addiction recently caught up with Dropkick Murphys co-vocalist Ken Casey to talk about Boston and the connection he and the band have to their home city.
“To me, there was always D.C., Boston, New York, L.A., and Chicago... Everyone had this scene and this identity and this sound. When we started in ’96, Boston had the most amazing punk scene. Bands like us, the Showcase Showdown, the Trouble, The Ducky Boys... there were so many great bands. You had that pride in your scene. You’d go to another city and say you’re from Boston and want to represent that," said Casey.
It’s more than just representing their town though, the Dropkick Murphys are rooted in the very history of Boston. The words in their songs personify the love of their hometown and are worthy of being Boston anthems.
“We write lyrics based around what we’ve seen in the world; family experiences, documenting the history of our lives and our families’ lives,” said Casey. “Obviously that stuff takes place in Boston. Then on top of that, you take all of the great history of characters around that we’ve written about-; John L. Sullivan, the bare knuckle boxing champ, Mickey Roarke- the boxer, or JFK… whoever it may be. There are so many great and colorful characters to write about from this area, all of that ends up leading back to Boston with Dropkick Murphys.”
They sing about family and they sing about Boston history but they also relate to Boston’s historic sports scene, something that’s uncommon for a punk band that started in the 90’s.
“Punk music and sports are supposed to be enemies... kind of like the jock vs the punk," said Casey. “When we started, I was traveling around other towns on the weekends, playing shows and talking about how good the Boston punk scene was. Maybe I’d mention how much better the Boston Bruins are than their particular hockey team. We just kind of got known as that. Different bars in different cities people would say, ‘what’s with these guys? Boston this... Boston that...’ It was cool to be proud of where we’re from and to antagonize the other town’... all in good fun.”
Because of the Murphys relationship with Boston, and the fact that they’re such die-hard sports fans, Boston franchises have embraced Dropkick in return. When you go to a game in Boston, you're likely to hear some Dropkick Murphys and it's not uncommon to see the guys around an arena or stadium. When asked if he felt fortunate to get to do all of the things he’s gotten to do with the Bruins, the Red Sox, and all of the other things he’s gotten to do around Boston, Ken said he thinks about that all the time.
“As a kid, I went to a lot of great sporting events. I was up in the nosebleeds or sneaking into the garden. We climbed over the right field fence and snuck into Fenway. I saw it all, but never from the good seats. All of this stuff, being on the field in St. Louis when the Red Sox won, or flying up with the front office people, and getting to be on the ice and holding the Stanley Cup in Vancouver when the Bruins won... it’s special."
“My grandfather on my father’s side, he was 86 years old and still alive when the Red Sox won and I called him from the field. 86 years old… waited his whole life for a World Series and I got to call him from the field. My other grandfather John Kelley used to take me to games. He took me to my first Bruins game, and he took me to meet Bobby Orr and all of those guys. To be able to think about him as I’m lifting the Stanley Cup over my head on the ice in Vancouver was amazing. The first thing I think about is how grateful I am and where I came from to get the opportunity to do that stuff. At the same time, it’s not wasted on some rock band that’s doing it for the pomp and circumstance of it. When it comes to sports, we’re as legit and die-hard as you can get. For us, to get those opportunities it’s not wasted on people who aren’t grateful for every moment of it.”
In honor of the season, Dropkick Muprhys have a new holiday song out now called "The Season's Upon Us." It's available on iTunes now. The new album comes out on January 13th.