By Erin O'Brien
New York, NY, USA
Dropkick Murphys. The name alone conjures up all kinds of images - mainly those of drunken St. Patrick’s Day patrons slinging green beer and Jameson, all while wearing kilts and Doc Martens. These Massachusetts-bred punk rockers have kicked audiences’ asses for more than 15 years. Not just as a band, but more as a cultural movement. The Dropkicks attract a loyal, fanatical crowd. Their latest record, “Going Out in Style”, dropped at the beginning of this month. THIRSTY had the opportunity to chat with guitarist James Lynch just before the band headed out on tour.
Dropkick Murphys (credit: Kerry Brett)
THIRSTY: I know many European punk bands have influenced the Dropkick Murphys. Do you have any American Punk band influences?
James Lynch: Well, my dad was in a punk band growing up in Boston, so my influences were from bands like the Dead Boys, the New York Dolls, and, of course, the Ramones. I am a huge Ramones fan.
THIRSTY: The movie The Fighter was about growing up in an impoverished place, a story of struggle, and never giving up. What prompted you to write “Warrior’s Code”, a song about the main character Mickey Ward, an underdog fighter from Lowell, Mass. who rises above?
James Lynch: It was amazing to see an underdog like Mickey Ward rise against all that stuff. We are big fans of his.
THIRSTY: You got to play one of the last shows at CBGB’s in 2006. What was that like?
James Lynch: Playing at CBGB’s was unbelievable. It was a timeless place where the music was always the best. I was obsessed with the Ramones growing up. I learned how to play guitar by listening to their live albums, so it was great to play there.
THIRSTY: You guys have been keeping it real since 1996. So many bands today sell out and have lost their punk roots. What keeps you guys so real?
James Lynch: It’s up to the band to make certain choices. For us, what works is hopping in a van and coming out to the shows. As long as the people keep coming to support us, we’ll just keep doing what we do.
THIRSTY: “Shipping Up To Boston”, is a huge hit for you guys. It was in The Departed, it’s played at the Red Sox games, the Celtics games, and many other events in Boston. It has so few lyrics, but such a powerful sound. What made you do this song?
James Lynch: Well, it was actually written by Woody Guthrie. His daughter contacted us and we got to dig into his archives and pick a song to cover. We chose this one, and there you have it!
Erin O’Brien has lived and breathed Rock n' Roll since moving to NYC in 1996. She has managed bands, and promoted and booked gigs in the Lower East Side. Although her main occupation is working in fashion, she devotes all of her spare time to the music business. She is on the committee for the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash, and loves punk, new wave, and classic rock.