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Ken Casey

Ken Casey and
The Dropkick Murphys
The Music of Red Sox Nation

Since forming in 1995, the Dropkick Murphys has created a worldwide following for its fierce, impassioned music. The bandís been on a roll lately: its hit song, Shippin Up to Boston, was the featured track on the hit movie The Departed. And Tessie has become the unofficial anthem of the Boston Red Sox Nation. The bandís newest album is The Meanest of Times.

We caught up with Ken Casey, founder of the band, bass player and vocalist after the bandís recent stint as house band for the Boston Red Sox during the World Series at Fenway Park.

Tell us about the name, Dropkick Murphys.

The name came from hearing old timers talk about a defunct rehab center called Dropkick Murphys. A lot of characters went there to dry out, politicians, cops, ball players etc. It seemed like a cool name and it had a real sense of folklore to it because you could never get any accurate information on the place since most of the people were pretty banged up when they were there.

Youíve cited the Pogues and Clash as early influences. Did you grow up playing or listening to Irish music?

I grew up knowing Irish music by osmosis. I heard it as a kid in my grandparentsí house and in friends and neighbors homes and of course at any kind of party or social occasion.

As I got into my teens and was a punk rock fan the Pogues were around melding the two sounds -- Punk and Irish music -- and it made kids like me feel like Irish music was no longer my grandparentsí music.

How did your song, Shippin up to Boston, end up in Martin Scorseseís film, The Departed?

I had some good friends who were in the movie bring some CDs down to the set to try and educate Marty on who we were and why we should be in his movie. Low and behold it worked.

One of the highlights of the post season was Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon doing a jig to your music. How did that come about?

A DJ named Hardy at WBCN started a campaign to get Papelbon to start using our song and low and behold that also worked. We became friendly with him as a result, heís a great guy. Lots of fun, full of energy, a bad ass closer and dare I say; one hell of a dancer!


What about the Irish step dancers who joined you at Fenway Park during the playoffs? 

They are from the Forbes Academy of Irish Dance in Quincy, Massachusetts  My 5-year-old daughter goes there now and they have been dancing with the band for years at our St Patrick’s Day concerts. The Forbes sisters are great and the girls who dance with us are awesome.


The band always makes a point to play in Boston during St. Patrick’s Day week.  What’s it like having the greatest fans in the world right in your hometown?

Unbelievable, playing our hometown is a blast, we have loads of friends and family out every time we play. Big parties backstage.  The most loyal and dedicated fans you could ask for. From the early days at the Rat up till now it’s always my favorite town to play.


You travel throughout the USA and the world.  What’s the perception that people have about the Boston Irish?

They perceive us to be the most funny, quick witted, honest, good natured, hard partying, sharp tongued, vengeful, angry, vindictive bastards you’d ever wanna meet!

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by Michael P. Quinlin

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