Dropkick Murphys: Celtic punks head down El Paso way

Monday 10th, September 2018 / 16:55
By Sarah Mac

Next stop: Dublin, Texas.
Photo by Gregory Nolan

CALGARY – Brace yourselves! The weltering Celtic storm that rocked the East Coast and Europe earlier this year is making its way west.

One of the best-known bands to have graced the tempestuous international punk-rock scene, the Dropkick Murphys are still blowing strong. Moreover, their Irish whiskey-infused sound has gone beyond being a niche branch of American punk to become one of the most iconic and genre defining acts still active on the stage today. Whether you’re anchored to their spicy jigs or strut out to your cage fights to their hit song written by Woody Guthrie, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” (which broke them into mainstream in 2005) there’s no mistaking the sound of Dropkick Murphys. Having paved their career path with nine studio albums, three live albums, three personal compilations and three EPs, the bagpipe touting Dropkicks were primed and ready to get down to business and deliver their latest effort, 11 Short Stories of Pain + Glory, in 2017.

We actually recorded outside the Boston area for the first time ever. We went to Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, Texas. It’s located 40 miles from El Paso, bordering Mexico, on a giant pecan farm,” explains longtime drummer Matt Kelly.

We lived and breathed the album there for three weeks. We got to wake up, eat and work all day and night if we wanted to. We could be creative and get a whole bunch of tracks down. We also got to work with some great people. It was nice to not really be looking at the clock and wondering if we’d be stuck in traffic going home, what we were going to eat that night, and the usual immediate domestic stuff that parents usually worry about. It was tough being away from our wives and kids, but being able to focus on the task at hand allowed us to really get creative and come up with some of our favorite recordings.”

While we look forward to hearing 11 Short Stories performed live, the band’s debut Do or Die turns 20 this year. On such an anniversary, it seems that band and fans can’t help but reminisce about the days of yore.

“It was certainly a big album in my life. It was the first LP I worked on that had a good budget and we could spend a good amount of time on. I have a lot of great memories from the making of that record. And, when we’re on tour we usually play three to four songs from it in the set.”

Lest we forget, the Dropkick Murphys clan will not be going it alone on this whirlwind visitation. So, make your shot a double and be sure to take in the band that is bringing these fortunate sons to our doorstep in the first place. Tour-mates Flogging Molly, fronted by Dublin-born Dave King, will ensure that no glass is empty, no eye is dry and no Blarney Stone left unturned.

Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly play September 17 at the Shaw Conference Center (Edmonton), September 18 at the Revolution Place (Grand Prairie) and September 20 at the PNE Forum (Vancouver)

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