Top of Mind: Ken Casey

Dropkick Murphys frontman, publican, philanthropist, lucky bastard, 41, Hingham

AFTER YEARS OF RELENTLESS touring, Ken Casey and his Celtic punk band, Dropkick Murphys, blew up big in 2004 with “Tessie,” the theme song of the Curse-reversing championship Red Sox. Then in 2006, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” anchored the soundtrack for The Departed, which netted Martin Scorsese his first Oscar for directing. Since then, Casey has – dare we say it – become respectable, branching out into business (he co-owns McGreevy’s sports bar in the Back Bay) and philanthropy, forming the Claddagh Fund to raise money for kids’, veterans’, and drug-recovery charities.

[sidebar]I think in this town if you’re honest, hard-working, and treat people right, it goes a long way toward making sure you do all right. If you do the opposite, people don’t forget; they’ll go out of their way to cut you off at the knees.

After shooting my mouth off that the Red Sox would win the World Series in ’04, and after being down in the Yankees series 3-0 and having friends calling me, telling me not to get involved with a sports team ever again – the team actually came back and won it all. I’m not going to say it was luck, but if we had released “Tessie” in ’03, we would have looked like idiots.

We’ve played at three Bruins games, and they’ve won all three. We’re 12-0 when playing at sporting events.

I had all these friends of mine who had small parts in The Departed, and they were telling me, “Oh yeah, I talked to Martin, and I’m going to get your song in the movie.” Then I randomly read an article six months later that said Robbie Robertson from the Band brought Scorsese the song. So a lot of people take credit for what happened. It’s kind of like me taking credit for the ’04 World Series.

Punk-rock bagpipers are a different breed. They definitely consume more alcohol than anybody else in the band.

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?

How can you be a Boston band and not write a song about John L. Sullivan? It’s a no-brainer.

The hardcore punk scene in the mid-’90s was huge in Boston. Every band on an underground level in the country wanted to play Boston, because they knew they would play to a full house. They would have such a great show here that when we would go to their town, they would work so hard to get bodies in the room for us, saying, “They’re huge in Boston.” That’s how we got going.