By Robyn Condyn
CALGARY — For the better part of the last decade, Calgary has played host to the perfect St. Patrick’s Day tradition. This tradition consists of green beers, dirty punks and a musty pub. Vancouverites and Celtic punk torchbearers The Real McKenzies are those dirty punks, adorned in their Celtic attire, playing traditional Scottish songs alongside working class anthems. Every year they play their hearts out and balls off to a sold out room. But why is Calgary so lucky?
The answer is simple in the eyes of frontman and original member Paul McKenzie: “’Cause they like us. It’s been a success since the first time we did it. We tour around that area, it’s kind of cool as the snow is starting to melt through the pass. It’s a good time of year for us to start up in Canada.”
The last year has proven very productive for these lads. Their 11th record Rats in the Burlap is to be released on March 24th in Canada via Stomp Records and on April 7th via Fat Wreck Chords for the rest of the world. It was a collaborative effort, as the band asked for input from their fans to help with the name of the album and even the artwork.
“We like to be involved with our fans,” McKenzie says.
“Where that album title actually came from was when we were playing an all-ages Celtic festival in California. They specifically requested us to refrain on profanity. So I called upon myself to use a little bit more flamboyant words and that was one of the quotes that came out of there that the band really liked.”
The band also has plans to partake in the maiden voyage of The Salty Dog Cruise in March. This cruise ship sets sail from Miami and heads into the Bahamas for three days of non-stop liquor-soaked music.
“The Salty Dog Cruise is with Flogging Molly and it was Nathan the bass player that suggested us,” McKenzie explains.
“I just had a word with him lately. It’s truly interesting. I mean, we get to hang out with Gogol Bordello. Which is something we’ve wanted to do for the last little while. Hopefully, they’ll like what they see and we’ll be able to get on a few tours with those guys.”
Also make sure to also check out the release of their “long overdue” biography entitled Under The Kilt: Real McKenzies EXPOSED! Penned by long-time McKenzie friend and veteran punk rock legend Chris Walter, the bio will be released on his GFY Press later this spring.
Paul McKenzie was very involved with its development.
”We were all over it and I was working in parallel with him, in terms of proofreading and stuff like that. There were a lot of ex-members that wanted to glorify themselves and so I had to do a little watchdogging on that.”
He concludes proudly (and also a little to aptly), “We’ve easily broken 1,000 men.”
Get broke’d by the Real McKenzies on Saturday, March 7 at the Pawn Shop in Edmonton, on Tuesday, March 10 at Bo’s Bar and Grill in Red Deer, or on Tuesday, March 17 at Dickens in Calgary.AB, Alberta, Bo's Bar, Dickens, Pawn Shop, The Real McKenzies