DROPKICK MURPHYS are set to release their sixth studio album THE MEANEST OF TIMES--a collection of spirited, cathartic and heartfelt anthems--September 18 on their own Born & Bred Records in association with Warner Music Group's Independent Label Group. The Boston band will also hit the road September 12 for an East Coast headlining trek in support of THE MEANEST OF TIMES with The Horrorpops and Everybody Out.
From their early beginnings playing all-ages matinees at now-defunct Boston clubs to the prominent placement of their song “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” in Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award-winning film The Departed, the Dropkick Murphys--Ken Casey (vocals, bass guitar), Al Barr (vocals), Matt Kelly (drums, backing vocals), James Lynch (guitar, backing vocals), Tim Brennan (mandolin, accordion, banjo, bouzouki, tin whistle, and acoustic guitar), Marc Orrell (guitar, accordion, piano, backing vocals) and Scruffy Wallace (bagpipes)--have evolved over the past decade into one of the most beloved punk-inspired bands in the world.
The band performed at the Sex Pistols’ infamous 2002 Golden Jubilee gig, wrote the theme song to the highly improbable 2004 Red Sox World Series Championship (their first championship in 86 years) and collaborated with Woody Guthrie’s estate to utilize the folk pioneer’s unpublished lyrics to craft “Gonna Be A Blackout.” In addition, the new Discovery Channel series “Lobster Wars”--about the trials and tribulations of lobster fisherman off the coast of Southern New England--also features “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” as the title track.
At the heart of The Meanest Of Times lies “The State of Massachusetts,” a song that plays to the strengths of DKM. The song, with its instantly memorable driving banjo riff is sure to be an immediate hit with diehard Murphys fans as well as the legion of new fans that have come on board in the wake of The Departed. “I think we all like the fact that it crosses the spectrum between Irish folk music and rock & roll. It’s really indicative of what the band is all about,” BARR says.
Produced by the band, The Meanest Of Times contains all the best elements of the DKM sound: a complex distillation of classic punk rock, Celtic folk and American rock 'n roll. This album puts the band's diversity, intensity and sincerity on full display. The album’s stirring opus “Flannigan’s Ball” features guest appearances by Spider Stacey of The Pogues and Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners, bringing together three generations of modern Irish folk music.
“You know, Irish music is a family thing,” CASEY notes. “I can imagine a father, son and grandfather all sitting down to listen to that song, each with their own generations represented.”
As evidenced by the explosive and uncompromising album-opener, “Famous For Nothing” and the set bowing, optimistic roar of “Never Forget,” The Meanest Of Times is book-ended in top form and captures among its 15 tracks what founding bassist CASEY calls “themes of childhood, growing up and family.”
“Growing up, I saw my share of hard times. I think a lot of us did. But looking back on it, I wouldn’t trade them for anything, because those hard times made us all who we are today,” he explains.
“To me the record is a celebration of life,” BARR adds. “It’s about redemption. It’s about coming up in the world and the way it shapes you. It’s about not taking your family and friends for granted and it’s about living in the moment. The cover is a bunch of Catholic School kids messing around and looking angry on the playground. And if you think back to your elementary and high school years, in a lot of ways, they sometimes really were the meanest of times.”
With their label debut, DKM have turned out what is arguably their best album to date, a notion upheld by the scorching two-minute working class anthem “Tomorrow’s Industry,” the whiskey, war, suicide and guns chant-along of “Vices & Virtues” and the disc’s socio-political hardcore bruiser “Shattered.”
“In this day and age, I think it’s natural for bands to write songs based on topical, political and social issues,” CASEY explains. “But as we started to take a look at all the songs, we had eleven that dealt with family, and by that I mean our direct families, people in the neighborhood, fans and friends. For whatever reason the songs just gravitated in that direction. Each song tells a story about people in our lives or parts of our backgrounds.”
Catch DKM on the road in the following cites and go to www.dropkickmurphys.com for additional information.
Date City Venue
with The Horrorpops & Everybody Out:
Wed 9/12 Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance
Thu 9/13 Philadelphia, PA Festival Pier
Fri 9/14 Providence, RI Lupos
Sat 9/15 New York, NY Roseland Ballroom
Sun 9/16 Binghamton, NY Magic City Music Hall
Mon 9/17 Baltimore, MD Rams Head Live
Tue 9/18 Cleveland, OH Agora Theater
Wed 9/19 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
Thu 9/20 Buffalo, NY Lafayette Square
Fri 9/21 Clifton Park, NY Northern Lights
Sat 9/22 Richmond, VA Toad’s Place
Mon 9/24 St. Petersburg, FL Jannus Landing
Tue 9/25 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution
Wed 9/26 Orlando, FL House of Blues
Thu 9/27 Atlanta, GA Masquerade