Top of Mind: Ken Casey, Extended Version
Dropkick Murphys Frontman, Publican, Philanthropist, Lucky Bastard, 41, Hingham
yourself around till you got back to your job on Monday morning. And we did that for a long time. We’d fly to L.A., and our first show ever outside of New England was in California, because we had bands that we had networked with. We’d fly out there and borrow their gear and do California tours, and so we’d fly them out here. And not only would we do that thing where bands all across the East Coast knew us, but then we’d double down on that and say, “Okay, when we go do those shows, we’ll fly this band out from California, put them in the van with us, and take them on the whole East Coast. And then they owe us all of California.” That’s how we built those great friendships, too. And that’s how we made our solid-core fan base. And like I said, I give it all back to the Rat, because that’s what allowed us to have a place to develop. Not every place was like that, especially on Lansdowne Street; Avalon didn’t want the headache or the trouble. And really, when the Rat closed down, there was nowhere for bands to really develop, and that led to us writing the song “Pipebomb on Lansdowne,” which is completely tongue-in-cheek. We wrote it in an era when you could make that joke, but of course, if you said that now about blowing up a nightclub, people are like, “Holy shit.” Of course, we released that song in 1999, and two years later, unfortunately that would become something that is anything but a joke. But at the time, it was a joke. It was also meant to send a message of dissatisfaction from local bands. And not to take credit by any means, but it did get a lot of coverage in the papers, and people were asking [Avalon owner] Pat Lyons about it, and the next thing you know the doors were open for us to play Avalon. That’s what led to us starting the tradition of the St. Patrick’s Day concerts there. The first year after writing that song, we lit off a pack of firecrackers onstage. That was as crazy as it got. And now when we think of Avalon, we think of how we got to play the last-ever show there before it was torn down. That makes you glad you got to be a little part of the music history of Boston. With the new House of Blues, we have maybe seven shows a year – we’re probably playing more there than anybody. But it feels good to be plugged in with so many different kinds of places, whether it’s the Rat or the larger venues. We’d like to play the Garden, but City Hall doesn’t seem fit to give us the permit. They gave it to Green Day, but not us. Obviously I’m not kissing the right asses. That’s another pet-peeve of mine. They gave it to Green Day, who started the whole goddamn problem with people having this misconception of punk rock because of that thing 15 years ago.
[NOTE: In 1994, Green Day played a free concert at the Hatch Shell that drew an unexpected 100,000 fans. A riot ensued, causing the band to stop the show midway through the set.]
So for us, it’s the ultimate kick in the pants that we were trying to get the permit to play the Garden all these years, and who but Green Day gets it. And then I heard that after they finally got the general admission permit to play there, they told the kids at the show to jump the barricade onto the floor! And then they got a permit there to play again! So obviously I’m not kissing the right asses. That’s all right, though.