Ken Casey Discusses The Dropkick Murphys Doing 'Serious' Songs On New Album

March 17, 2017

The Dropkick Murphys have been celebrated as one of the greatest acts to emerge out of the Boston area, which was formed by frontman Ken Casey over a bet. 20 years later, they are still a storm force of hard rock, punk rock, and a dab of celtic influence with their ninth studio album 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory. 

With songs ranging from serious topics like addiction and the Boston Marathon bombing, to simply having a beer while ripping on the upper class. This is also the first album the band recorded in El Paso, TX, instead of their home turf. "We are definitely homebodies," says Casey, "Heading out on tour, I feel like a kid going back to school in sixth grade. I get anxious. Normally studio time, you are in Boston, you are working very hard, sometimes 16 hours a day, but you come home to your own house and see your family. To add extra time away is something we avoided in the past. I think this decision was not wanting to rest on our laurels and we thought, if we’re going to keep making records, we have to raise the bar."

They certainly did raise the bar with songs like "Paying My Way," which illustrates the battles of addiction and all of the obstacles to overcome that come with it. "A lot of the songs are dealing with the opiate crisis in Massachusetts. 'Paying My Way' was the hope of getting out of that. We do so much work through our charity with kids, especially teens that are fighting this." Casey added, "With so much heaviness, sadness and negativity, 'Paying My Way' was a song about the possibilities of turning your life around. I think anyone can apply that to whatever diversity they may face in their life."

"4.15.13" was another serious topic that the Dropkicks had to approach very delicately, as it deals with the infamous Boston Marathon bombing and the necessary healing that followed. "I went into writing that song thinking it would be this cathartic thing, but not thinking it would ever go on a record. If you are trying to write a song to express your feelings or emotions on something and it’s such a horrible thing, the song might be a downer. I didn’t want that. If it was going to be a song that was going to bring people back in a bad way we wouldn’t have done it." Casey continued, "That day rippled so far. The marathon is a family oriented day. It’s another song I’m very proud of."

These days, the Dropkick Murphys can't go anywhere without automatically being associated with representing the city of Boston, which according to Casey as a badge of honor that can double as a burden. "We definitely wear our roots on our sleeves. As we’ve gotten bigger and people say we represent Boston, we like to think we do that well especially with the charity work, but it’s also a tag we don’t want. It’s too much pressure. We prefer to think of ourselves as the Bad News Bears of rock that started on a bet. We’ve fumbled through it, had success, had failures and have learned from everything while truly enjoying the journey."

(source: Artist Waves)