A prominent band in the contemporary punk landscape, Boston’s Dropkick Murphys have enjoyed a consistent and popular musical career. On the eve of their new CD/DVD ‘Live in Lansdowne’ being released, guitarist Tim Brennan was kind enough to chat with Killyourstereo about music, performing with ‘The Boss’ and their favourite national holiday – St Patricks Day.
Could you please state your name, and role in the band?
Tim Brennan I play guitar, accordion, bouzouki and a little piano.
The Dropkick Murphys have been together for 14 years, which is a musical achievement in many respects. Can you give us an insight into what it’s like being in the Dropkick Murphys circa 2010?
Same as always. We tour pretty constantly and have the live record coming out so it’s business as usual for us. Especially in March, it’s St Patrick’s Day Month!
Having been in previous bands, do you feel it is harder being in a band with seven members as opposed to the average four or five – in terms of longevity, and getting along both musically and personally?
We’ve had our fair share of line-up changes so it clearly does get tough sometimes. But with the right mixture of people, which I think we have now, it’s a fairly painless process as far as writing and getting along goes.
You guys are about to release the CD/DVD ‘Live in Lansdowne’ from your St Patricks Day performance. What can we expect from the release?
I think it’s a good representation of where we’re at musically. It captures the live show pretty well I think and we’re all looking forward to having our fans see it.
Do you think the band’s strong Celtic influence help give you an added dynamic over other punk bands out there today?
Maybe. I mean, we have the ability to put certain textures on our songs that your average punk band may not be able to apply. We’ve got accordions, mandolins, acoustic guitars that allow us to add different layers to the music.
I know it’s a song that probably is brought up in every interview but ‘I’m shipping up to Boston’ has been featured in movies, sporting games and was even the theme for a popular Australian football ad campaign. Did you ever think the song would be so widespread and universally used?
Absolutely not. When we first started playing it live (before The Departed) no one gave a shit. It wasn’t until people had the ability to associate the song with something like a movie or a commercial that made it popular. The Departed was what got that whole ball rolling. Though, now it’s become kind of a sports anthem all over the world.
How important has that song been to the contemporary success of the Dropkick Murphys?
Very. We’ve been able to reach a new audience because of the exposure the movie gave us.
Boston is renowned as a real working class area. Does living in this environment have any effect on you as a band?
Yes in the sense that it might inspire certain topics to be covered lyrically. We’re certainly still working class dudes…we have to keep on the road as much as possible to make a living.
You guys have a run of sold out shows coming up at Boston’s House of Blues in the lead up to St Patricks Day. Can you lift the lid on your favourite St Patricks day as a band so far?
Every one is great, but one year we had trouble finding places in Boston that would let us do it, so we took it out of town and played a couple arenas and then played at a small club in Boston. Those were exciting on both levels as far as getting to play a huge show an then a tiny one as well. Kept it interesting.
The Dropkick Murphys last year got to perform with Bruce Springsteen live onstage. How did that initially come about?
He played two nights and Ken went to the first one. He called me at about 1am and told me to learn the song "American Land" because we had been asked by Bruce to play it with him the following night. From there it’s all a blur…
Can you explain what it was like performing iconic songs such as ‘Glory Days’ alongside Springsteen and the E Street Band?
What is the plan for the rest of 2010? Any plans to tour Australia again?
Not sure what our Australia plans are but we’ll be on the road behind the live album. We can’t wait for people to hear it and hope everyone likes it.
Thanks for the interview.