Top of Mind: Ken Casey, Extended Version
Dropkick Murphys Frontman, Publican, Philanthropist, Lucky Bastard, 41, Hingham
television. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the weather or how we breed, but it’s like the Irish – how does a country of five million spread all over the world and make such an impact? How does a small state like Massachusetts and a fairly small city like Boston spread people all over the world who have such an impact? Obviously, we notice it in our shows because a lot of people come out to them. I’m in L.A., and our backstage looks like a Boston backstage. The guest list is out of control. Every time we’re going to a city that has a lot of transplants, we go, “Okay, batten down the hatches,” because it’s their big night out to celebrate. There might be 100 to 200 people backstage, and 50 of them know each other.
MRB: Are you proud to be a Masshole?
KC: Well, yeah!
MRB: Okay, next question. What’s your drink?
KC: How do I put this tactfully? I stick with the coffee these days. I get in a lot less trouble. I’ll tell you what, sometimes even that backfires on me. It’s better for the Dropkick Murphys’ sake. I’m bound to make it to a lot more concerts if I stick with the coffee.
MRB: Is there anything embarrassing musically that has influenced you? A guilty pleasure, or something that would surprise people?
KC: Nah, the other guys in the band have a lot of stuff that cracks me up when they start listening to it. I was always such a meat-and-potatoes person, with punk stuff and hardcore. I didn’t even like embarrassing metal stuff, just the usual Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and AC/DC.
MRB: What’s some musical embarrassment that one of your band members would not want us to put in the magazine?
KC: Aw man, they like some eclectic shit. Why don’t I get back to you on that? I just hear some of the stuff they’re playing and I go, “What the fuck are you listening to?” I know our roadies, and some of them were in these awful ’90s hardcore/rap/rock convergence bands. One day someone stumbled on some YouTube clips of a couple of them back in those days playing, and oh man, the banter. Anytime someone’s near a computer, the first things that come up are those clips of them onstage, and we just tear them apart. I wish I could remember the names of those bands. They didn’t do much, thank god.
MRB: All right, the Jonathan Papelbon question: What’s he like, really?
KC: Oh you know, he’s an awesome guy; he’s down to earth. He’s a family guy now. He’s always been great to me anytime we’ve asked him to do something for us, whether it’s at the bar or for charity. But he’s also got that crazy side, and I find he’ll play it up if he wants to. It’s good for him to have that image. It’s like you see him staring so intensely from the mound, and you’re going, “What the fuck is going through his head right now?” But yeah, he’s great. People see that persona of him dancing after all those ’07 games. When we did the parade after they won the ’07 World Series, the city wanted him to dance and he agreed. But by that point it was something that he had to do, not so much something he wanted to do. But he agreed to do it at the three main spots of the parade, and yet, when he started dancing the first time, he never stopped. Later on I’m like, “What the fuck, you never stopped for two-minute breaths!” He’s legit. As much as when you’re telling him he’s got to do it and he’s like “Aww…” Once he gets out there, he does it for three straight hours.