Dropkick Murphys are a band that needs no introduction. Their honest blend of Celtic punk has been a permanent and respected staple in the genre for some time. With a new album out and an Australian tour (including Bluesfest) on the horizon, Killyourstereo.com caught up with drummer Matt Kelly to discuss all things Dropkick.
G’day Matt, Kane from Killyourstereo. How’s it going? Thanks for doing the interview.
Hi Kane, I’m well. We’re in Copenhagen, Denmark gearing up for a European tour with Frank Turner. Had a nice walk around the city and just settling down to rip this interview. Thank you for the interest.
The New Year is an exciting time, almost like a clean slate with everything lying ahead. The album just dropped, how are things in camp Dropkick Murphys at the moment?
They’re great; we’ve been playing almost the whole album’s worth of songs (though not all of them every night), and the reception thus far has been ridiculously good. People already know the words and are really into the songs. We just finished the Irish and UK leg of the tour and left on a high note doing two gigs in London at the Forum.
And on the album itself and the reception, ‘Signed and Sealed in Blood’, obviously you’re familiar with the songs having recorded and heard them in the studio. But, what’s the feeling like when it’s actually time for fans to hear the material?
Well we’ve actually been playing "Rose Tattoo", "My Hero", and a couple others since our June European tour… and people have really, really dug the stuff. As far as other new songs, the reception has been awesome. "Burn" and "The Boys Are Back" go over awesome, as do pretty much all the new songs. Our supporters have been incredibly receptive to the new stuff; maybe more so than when the last few records were new.
From an initial listen, it appears you guys were really channelling a fun and engaging album here. How does this album differ from its predecessor?
"Going Out In Style" was a concept album, a tiny bit more serious. This one didn’t have the constraints that a concept album has, so the subject matter wasn’t limited to that. Some of the songs on ‘Signed and Sealed in Blood’ were written in a matter of hours, and I don’t think we overthought anything with this record. Things happened organically, and I think the simple, anthemic style of a lot of the songs show that. We’re really proud of it.
You’re coming back to Australia for Bluesfest. An exciting line-up. Obviously, a bit different from traditional punk, rock festivals. What are you looking forward to most about this festival?
Playing that festival should be really cool; I dig a bunch of the bands/artists playing. Iggy Pop, Michael Kiwanuka, Robert Plant, the mighty STATUS QUO, and so many frigging others I can’t remember right now. Really psyched for this.
And you’ve got some headline shows too. How much of a difference is there between playing a club show to that of a festival performance?
Obviously the logistics are different, and the atmospheres– while both are great –are different. Festivals are grandiose and sweeping. Clubs are intense and sweaty. Festival sets are usually an hour tops, whereas our regular club gigs go for over an hour and a half. While I prefer clubs, a lot of festivals can be truly amazing.
You’ve played Fenway Park a few times. 2010 NHL Winter Classic performance on top of a show last year if I’m not mistaken. What’s it like playing a venue like that? Fenway Park just seems like such an iconic venue and big part of Boston.
Well they’ve only been doing gigs there for a short time and we’re definitely one of the lucky bands that have been able to do it. The Winter Classic was really sick– the day before the band and a bunch of others had the privilege to ice skate on the hockey rink that was built specifically for the Winter Classic. That summer, we did two headlining gigs at the park on a proper stage– the band was really blown away about that thing. The history and sheer awesomeness of playing there was overwhelming.
Obviously, doing the tour circuit and playing shows for many years you would’ve played the same songs many times. Are there any songs you’re sick of performing live?
Not really. We play a different set every night, so it keeps things fresh. There are a few staples that we play most nights, but almost every song gets switched out so we don’t play the same set twice in the same city. That’s important to us.
What are the aims for 2013?
To tour like savages, play our hallowed Boston Garden arena in March, and tour like savages some more.
And because last year is still relatively fresh in the minds, what was the best part of 2012?
Myself and some buddies drove to Montreal, Quebec, and saw Iron Maiden at the Bell Center. It was a religious experience.
And, worst part of 2012?
The NHL lockout.
Any final words for our readers?
Yeah, thanks for all the years of support. If you haven’t heard us, look on http://www.dropkickmurphys.com or facebook.com/dropkickmurphys. Also check out our charitable organisation, http://www.claddaghfund.org
Thanks for the interview, really appreciate it.