Intro and Info
An American Celtic/Punk band formed out of Quincy, Massachusetts during 1996. The band was initially signed with the Independent Punk label Hellcat Records, releasing five albums for the label, and making a name for themselves locally through constant touring and yearly St. Patrick's Day week shows, held in and around Boston.
The 2004 single "Tessie" became the band's first hit and one of their biggest charting singles to date. The band's final Hellcat release, was the 2005 release "The Warrior's Code", including the song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston"; the song was featured in the 2006 Academy Award-winning movie The Departed, and went on to become the band's only Platinum-selling single, it also remains one of their best-known songs.
In 2007, The Dropkick's signed with Warner Bros. Records and began releasing music through their own vanity label, Born & Bred, the 2007 release, "The Meanest of Times" made its debut at No. 20 on the Billboard charts and featured the successful single, "The State of Massachusetts", while 2011's Going Out in Style was an even bigger success, making its debut at No. 6, giving the band their highest-charting album to date. Their eighth studio album, "Signed and Sealed in Blood" was released in 2013 making its debut at No. 9 on the Billboard charts.
1) Do or Die (1998)
2) The Gang's All Here (1999)
3) Sing Loud, Sing Proud! (2001)
4) Blackout (2003)
5) The Warrior's Code (2005)
6) The Meanest of Times (2007)
7) Going Out in Style (2011)
8) Signed and Sealed in Blood (2013)
Political & Charity Work
The band have been known for supporting many working class and union causes, they have a strong relationship with the AFL-CIO.
All of the shirts sold by the band are 100% union made in the United States to show their support for American laborers.
The band has said that they are all Democrats, and during the 2004 United States presidential election were part of Punkvoter, a political activist group dedicated to defeating George W. Bush. That year they also appeared on the Rock Against Bush, Vol. 2 compilation contributing the song "We Got the Power".
In 2005, they released a two-song CD single for the family of Andrew K. Farrar, Jr., a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps who was killed on January 28, 2005 in Al Anbar, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Farrar, who was a big fan of the Dropkick's, he made a request to his family that if he did not survive his tour of duty, he wanted "The Fields of Athenry" to be played at his funeral. The single features a slower version of "The Fields of Athenry" that was originally recorded and placed in Farrar's casket, although the band decided to release the alternate version. The disc also features the track "Last Letter Home," which was written about Farrar and was featured on the Murphys' 2005 album The Warrior's Code. All of the proceeds for the $10 single go to the Sgt. Andrew Farrar Memorial Fund and can be purchased through the band's website or at one of their shows.
The band shot a promotional music video in 2008 for their song, "Tomorrow's Industry" which supported the United Healthcare Workers East and hospitals of Massachusetts who were fighting for free and fair union elections so their voice could be heard in the workplace and would provide a better future for their families and communities.
In 2009, Ken Casey founded the charity organisation, The Claddagh Fund which supports community-based non-profits with a focus on children and veterans organizations and programs that support alcohol and drug rehabilitation in cities across the country and around the world. In 2011, the band donated $1 from every ticket sold on their nine date Sham Rock-N-Roll Festival to The Claddagh Fund. $1 from every ticket sold at the September 11 show in Altamont, New York on that tour was donated to various 9/11 charities.
On February 22, 2011, in support of Wisconsin workers' rights, the band released their song "Take 'Em Down" from the album "Going Out In Style" on their website along with creating a limited edition "Take 'Em Down" T-shirt which will benefit the Workers’ Rights Emergency Response Fund. Two days later on the MSNBC news show, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, "Take 'Em Down" was used as an intro song to a news story on the Wisconsin workers protest.
On Saturday August 13, 2011, Dropkick Murphys issued a statement of solidarity with the 45,000 Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) on strike from Verizon Communications, Inc.
Following the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, Dropkick Murphys created a special "For Boston" T-shirt they sold through their website with all donations going to the victims of the bombings. The donations reached $65,000 in less than 15 hours and totaled over $100,000. The band also will donate all money from sales from a special three song charity EP titled Rose Tattoo: For Boston Charity EP through iTunes featuring a re-recorded version of their song, "Rose Tattoo" with guest vocals by Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen contacted the band following the tragic events asking if there was anything he could do to help.
The band also played benefit shows where all money was donated to the victims including the four who lost their lives.
On October 19, 2014, the band played a special surprise performance at the memorial ceremony for Maj. Michael Donahue, who was from Whitman, Massachusetts and was killed during combat in Afghanistan the previous month. Donahue was a huge fan of the band and they closed out the ceremony which included a performance of his favorite song, "The Green Fields of France".
In November 2014, an 18-year-old was arrested for assaulting two Lancaster, PA police officers (one being a female, who needed to be hospitalized). During the assault the teen screamed out "Dropkick Murphys". A few days following the incident, Ken Casey called the police chief to offer his condolences and apologized for the fan's actions. Casey also sent the officers a UPS package full of shirts, hats and other band garb along with tickets to their show. When asked if the officers would wear the band's gear the police chief joked "probably to court". The police chief wasn't familiar with the band prior to the incident but his officers, including the two assaulted were. The teen was charged with two counts of felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and possessing drug paraphernalia. He was released on $40,000 bail.
In January 2015, Republican governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker used the band's song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" when he took to the stage at the Iowa Freedom Summit. The band, who strongly opposes the political views of Walker, posted on their Twitter page "please stop using our music in any way...we literally hate you !!! Love, Dropkick Murphys". This wasn't the first time the song was used by a Republican politician. Wisconsin State Rep and Speaker of the State Assembly Jeff Fitzgerald used the song to which the band replied "The stupidity and irony of this is laughable. A Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate and crony of anti-Union Governor Scott Walker using a Dropkick Murphys song as an intro is like a white supremacist coming out to Gangsta Rap! Fitzgerald: if you and your staff can't even figure out your music you might wanna give up on the politics!!!!! We stand beside our Union and Labor brothers and sisters and their families in Wisconsin and all over the U.S!" The band's comments towards Walker gained national media exposure with those in the left-wing media defending the band and those in the right- wing media condemning the band for their comments. The band released a full statement on the issue saying "The bottom line is: when a politician uses our music to walk out to, for better or worse, it brands us with that person. If one of our favorite teams' rivals, such as the Montreal Canadiens, used a Dropkick Murphys song when they took the ice, we'd be equally displeased. We feel that we have the right to ask to not be associated with certain events or people - we don't think that's too much to ask. This isn't a legal issue to us—we're not looking to sue someone. Yes, our words were a little harsh, but it was borne out of frustration with the past history of Wisconsin Republicans, such as Jeff Fitzgerald, using our music. The band has stood for and aligned itself with certain principles since its inception in 1996, so people who react as though we're jumping on some sort of political bandwagon simply don't know the history of the band. We are what we are, we believe what we believe—and for the most part, try to leave our politics to our lyrics."
Members Name Check
- Ken Casey – bass guitar, lead vocals (1996–present)
- Matt Kelly – drums, bodhran, vocals (1997–present)
- Al Barr – lead vocals (1998–present)
- James Lynch – guitar, vocals (2000–present)
- Tim Brennan – accordion, mandolin, bouzouki, keyboard, piano, tin whistle, vocals (2003–present), lead guitar (2008–present)
- Jeff DaRosa – banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, guitar, keyboard, piano, harmonica, tin whistle, vocals (2008–present)
- Jeff Erna – drums (1996–1997)
- Mike McColgan – lead vocals (1996–1998)
- Rick Barton – guitar (1996–2000)
- Spicy McHaggis (Robbie Mederios) – bagpipes (2000–2003)
- Ryan Foltz – mandolin, tin whistle (2000–2003)
- Marc Orrell – guitar, accordion, piano (2000–2008)
- Scruffy Wallace – bagpipes, tin whistle (2003–2015)
Touring Members Name Check
- Joe Delaney – bagpipes (1998–2003)
- Stephanie Dougherty - vocals (2005-2009 - would make random appearances after leaving the group)
Signed And Sealed In Blood reviewed by The Independent Voice.