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The Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys formed in 1996 in Boston, MA, and blend influences from Punk Rock, Irish Folk, Rock&Roll, and Hardcore into one their music. To date the band has released over ten singles, one E.P. CD, and two Full Length albums, and two more full length albums are coming up this year, and has toured in the U.S. Canada, Europe, UK Ireland, Scandinavia, and Australia. The band has a strong emphasis on representing working class values and a working class background.

Gardar Eide Einarsson: On the DM bio on your webpage you say that you want to share your beliefs in self improvement as a means to bettering society. Could you talk about what you feel is the social/political function of your music, and whether you feel that it can contribute to changing society/ the system?

Matt Kelz, Dropkick Murphys: Well, I suppose it may just make kids aware of certain things they may take for granted, such as one's past, history, family, etc. I don't think the band can change the world or beat "the system", but we try to live by example and encourage others to follow suit. Maybe it can open kids up to a more no-nonsense, stick-to-your-guns attitude, as opposed to complacency in music, culture(or lack thereof), or attitude. You can't change people----but you can expose them to something they wouldn't ordinarily encounter.

GEE: You also describe on your webpage wanting to create an all for one, one for all environment and of viewing the audience and the band as the same. Could you talk a little about what effect this flat structure has in getting your message across?

MK, DM: I guess it shows that the band is just a bunch of regular guys who happen to play music for a living-- --not some untouchable rock stars with huge inflated egoes. We're a bunch of guys who love punk rock and having a pint or ten. The "all for one, one for all" stage environ is sort of putting into action the words of our songs and lyrics.

GEE: Which role do you feel that fanzines (and other fan initiated
projects like web pages) play for the distribution of your music?

'Zines, et cetera, obviously help spread the word for bands(especially smaller or new bands) to people from different regions of the country or world who would have otherwise never heard (of) the band...I'd say 'zines have always been the backbone of the punk scene; today they and web pages continue that integral task.

GEE: Which role do the smaller independent record labels in your
experience play in the Boston punk scene? Do you feel that it is
important for punk music to be put out by smaller (perhaps more
idealistically run) record labels?

MK, DM: Labels are another invaluable part of local, national, and international scenes. Atlantic Records isn't going to put out some new punk band of fifteen-year-olds from Schenectady, NY; major labels are and always have been solely about profit.
Smaller labels (usually) release records for the love of the music, and certain-styled bands sometimes go with labels of their style. This isn't always necessarily true, though.
There are some great punk labels in Boston, too: A.D.D. Records, Rodent Popsicle, Flat/TKO(we run the Flat part), Suburban Voice(also a fanzine going strong after about 18 years!!), Espo Records, X-Claim, Bridge Nine, Acme Records, and probably many, many more.

GEE: Do you do a lot of touring? What role does touring play for you and your relationship to the audience?

We toured about 10 1/2 months in 1999, and at least 8-10 months between 1997-'98. This definitely gets the word out to other parts of the country and world-- --straight from the horse's mouth!

GEE: Do you feel that there is a different sense of community and unity (both between the bands and the bands and the audience) on your shows and when you take part in events than in the more commercial music scenes?

MK, DM: The underground music scene has always had its downsides (infighting, stagnation, namecalling), but I'd rather deal with that than giant egos, labels telling you what to sound like/act like/wear/endorse/etc. Plus I don't really know too much about what's going on in mainstream music...I don't watch much television(unless it's History Channel, Discovery, or movies), and I only listen to classic rock and oldies radio stations...I'm out of it! What I have heard pretty much sounds like shit to me(with a few exceptions), and I don't think I'm missing anything, except maybe being "cool" and "hip"-- --screw that!

GEE: You describe having a working class background and dealing with issues from a working class perspective. Do you feel that your audience share your background? Do you feel that this is important for their understanding of your music and lyrics?

MK, DM: I think some of our crowd comes from it, but how many working-class kids are there? I'm sure a lot of 'em listen to rap, techno, or country for all I know...but I do think that being able to sympathise with a band's lyrics brings you closer to them and gives it personal meaning for the kid(s). We don't care if rich kids listen to our songs; hell, they're still kids who need some sort of outlet for their angst. I just don't know if they can sympathize. I don't just listen to bands whom I can relate to: I just listen to what sounds good, which usually happens to be punk, hardcore, Oi!, folk, and good old-fashioned Rock and Roll.

GEE: How do you feel that your music has evolved compared to the scenes and bands that you describe as influencial on your music?

Well I don't think there were too many Irish-influenced punk bands out there before us...there were the POGUES, who gave Irish folk a punk kick in the ass, and there was PIST-N-BROKE whose song "Ireland" was longing for their motherland...I'm sure there were a few here and there, but...I think our sound is somewhat uniquely different from normal punk, Oi!, folk, hardcore, and rock and roll in the fact that we try to blend all of them without sounding jumbled, ridiculous, or becoming a parody of ourselves. We never set out to be the House of Pain of punk rock...we just play what comes out.

GEE: To what extent do you think that the internet has affected the distribution of your music and your relationship to your fans?

MK, DM: I guess there are a lot of distributions who have online mailorder(as do we), so that gets world-wide notice...that right there is a big way for kids to hear the name and/or get records and cds...I guess that's the biggest and fastest-growing way to spread the's sad but true...

Read an interview with 'No Redeeming Social Value'