Top of Mind: Ken Casey, Extended Version
Dropkick Murphys Frontman, Publican, Philanthropist, Lucky Bastard, 41, Hingham
yeah!” And I always assumed it was a couple buddies from Southie who should take credit for getting us in the movie. Then I randomly read an article six months later that said Robbie Robertson from the Band, who is kind of Scorsese’s musical director, brought him the song. So a lot of people take credit for what happened with The Departed. It’s kind of like me taking credit for the ’04 World Series. Thank God for Robbie Robertson; he got it off the table.
MRB: Speaking of being a good luck charm, do you have any plans for getting the Bruins a championship? Because, of course, that would be all thanks to you if it happened.
KC: [sighs] Gee, I was growing a beard, you know, for the Beard-a-Thon this year. I was in first place, and I thought I might be on to something, but luckily I didn’t claim that my beard would bring us a Stanley Cup. I don’t know, the Bruins, I’ll say this: We’ve played at three Bruins games and they’ve won all three. Two of them in overtime, with the last one being – if you want to count it – that one song this year before the Winter Classic. We’re 12–0 when playing at sporting events. Ten of them being in Boston. One was a Celtic soccer game in Glasgow, Scotland, which was nerve-racking in itself. Seventy-five thousand people who just want a soccer game to start. But they use one of our songs, “Fields of Athenry,” as a club anthem. So we played three songs. The first two, the crowd looked at us like, “What the hell are they doing here?” Then we did the club anthem and they were very receptive. We also did a bunch of Red Sox games, and they’ve won them all. A bunch of those were all at the last at-bat, too, so the streak stayed alive at the risk of a heart attack. And then the last game we did, we were at the Bradley Center, where the Bucks play in Milwaukee. There’s an AHL team that plays there called the Admirals. And they had to win in overtime. They almost lost, and I’m thinking to myself, “We’ve got all of this stuff in our winning streak, like, you know, the World Series, and we’re going to blow it on a minor-league hockey game in Milwaukee…”
MRB: In terms of your music, you guys are obviously loud and your shows are fun and you make people bounce like crazy. But lyrically, there’s a lot of heavy themes and a deep sense of Boston history.
KC: In terms of history, the influence of traditional Irish music in a storytelling manner is probably where the desire to do that comes from. It’s a bit of a lost art in modern music, especially modern U.S. music. One of our earliest songs, “Boys on the Docks,” is about my grandfather, John Kelly, a union organizer. And I think, what greater tribute is there to a person that long after we’re not popular, that somewhere – maybe on a CD in someone’s attic – there’s a song about someone’s life, long after they’ve passed on? Same with our friend, Greg Riley, “Chickenman” – people can listen to an old song, and think, “Geez, he must have been a great guy.” Whether they’ve passed away or they’re just people in our lives, family or friends who have instrumental impact on us, or whether it’s just great stories about legendary characters, we like to write about them. Like John L. Sullivan. How can you be a Boston band and not write a song about John L. Sullivan? It’s a no-brainer. Obviously, a lot of characters come out of this place, a lot of good lyrical fodder.