Top of Mind: Ken Casey, Extended Version
Dropkick Murphys Frontman, Publican, Philanthropist, Lucky Bastard, 41, Hingham
shit, did we do that?” And so many of those years, it was in a van. I remember we’d be out for 12 weeks straight in the U.S., and it’d be my fifth time on that particular tour passing a tree I recognized in Nebraska. I mean, I really look back it now and go, “Wow, we put in some serious road work,” but there are a ton of funny stories. Nowadays, when you’re touring in a bus and getting a good night’s sleep, it becomes a lot more sane. But the insanity is what you can look back on and laugh, and it makes the whole story what it is. However, would I want to do it all again? Probably not. If someone said, “When this band is over, you can start another band that will have success if you get in a van for 10 years first and if you plug away…” I’m not sure I’d say yes, but then again, I’m not in my early twenties anymore.
MRB: How do you balance everything, especially now that you’re getting into philanthropy?
KC: Just the best you can. You know, some days you run around like a crazy person, but I think that’s the nature of philanthropy, but also the nature of entrepreneurship, where you’re your own boss. You’re putting in a lot more hours than if you weren’t your own boss, but you’re on your own clock, be it 24 hours around the clock. It’s great. I have good people to help me, and we just take a stab at it. Most people in my life know I’m crazy, that I’m running from one place to another. I have two phones going, but I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I didn’t have a lot going on, I’d find something. But juggling that with the family and everything is definitely tough, and you have to make them the number one priority. It’s funny, when we were filling out the paperwork – the 501(c)(3) paperwork for the charity – the accountant said, “So what would you say your time investment is? Two hours a week? Four hours a week?” And I’m like, “What? I’m gonna do 30 hours a week!” Everything you do – whether it’s a band or whatever – when you really do something the right way, when you really put your heart and soul into it, it’s usually never less work than you thought. It’s always more, but it’s all fun stuff, and all positive stuff.
MRB: Just thinking about you being a dad, how do you feel about getting older?
KC: I think kids keep you younger. I honestly do. Ask me that question again in five years, and I’ll probably be like, “Holy shit, what have they done to me?” But I think it’s really cool. You’re out playing street hockey with all of the five-year-olds, all the kids in the neighborhood, and it brings you back to doing stuff you haven’t done in a long time. We’ll see when they hit their teens if I’m still saying the same thing. I have a big payback coming.
MRB: As far as going out on the road and keeping up this punishing schedule, do you ever feel at some point you’re going to have to scale it back?
KC: We already have scaled it back. Maybe we do 100 shows now, whereas we used to do 200-plus before. So I consider our schedule scaled back. I think we’re only scheduled to do 60-something this year, but we’re in a kind of writing and recording period. It’s interesting how the music business has changed. You know, none of us want to be millionaires. We’re the type of people who would rather earn enough money to put a roof over our families’ heads and then stay home and enjoy the family, instead of being like, “I’m going to go make more and more money,” and then never be home. We’re fortunate we make a living through touring, because a lot of bands didn’t and tried to live off CD sales.