Formed in 1996 in the state of Massachusetts by accident (!) since the formation was a 20$ bet between Casey and a friend of his, who wanted an opening act for his live, the American Celtic punk rock group was and will actively be against any sort of fascism, publicly declining it, while they are reknown for taking part in various trade unions . Before they rose to success with Warner Bros. Records, the band released their debut album in 1998, called “Do or Die”, which is the band’s first and last record with original singer Mike McColgan (who later formed Street Dogs). “Do or Die” is an amazing mix of hardcore punk melodies and irish spices, while the opening track is “Scotland the Brave”. There is no revolution without songs whatsoever.
In 1999, Al Barr (ex-the Bruisers) joins the legion as the frontman and Dropkicks release “The Gang’s All Here”, out through Hellcat Records. Straight to the face, takes no prisoners.
After a few slight changes and a couple of additions to the lineup (Rick Barton’s departure and Marc Orrell, Robbie Mederios and Ryan Foltz’s additions), the band releases another decent album to their roster, called “Sing Loud, Sing Proud”. In addition, it includes covers of Irish folk classics, “The Rocky Road to Dublin” and “The Wild Rover”, as well as a rendition of the Boston College fight song, “For Boston”. The folk elements absorb the punk attitude of their sophomore record.
“Blackout” comes out in 2003, through Hellcat Records as well, and it is fairly described as a more polished mixture of all three previous albums of their discography, and definitely angrier than ever, all in more mature approach
And that’s how slowly things are rising for them. “Warrior’s Code” was out in 2005 and it is their final collaboration with Hellcat, since after that they moved to their own label “Born and Bred”. Straightforward punk, straightforward rock, straightforward to your fucking face! “Shipping Up To Boston” which is one of their greatest songs ever, is based on some unfinished lyrics by american folk icon Woody Guthrie.
In 2007, Dropkick Murphys release “The Meanest Of Times”, a remarkable breakthrough for them on a bigger audience. The artwork contains children from the Saint Brendan School, in the state of Massachusetts posing. Speaking of this, the album contains the legendary “State Of Massachussets” single, as well as “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya”. It is also their first album from the “Born And Bred” record label. The album had received great feedback, and is described as their tightest and more “serious” release, up to that date.
“Going Out In Style” was their first album that ranked 6th on the Billboard Hot 200 chart in 2011. It is also a concept album since it describes the life and times of a fictional character named Cornelius Larkin, a working-class Irish immigrant, as an alligoric way to describe their own personal stories on the road. According to bassist/vocalist, Ken Casey, “Cornelius has passed on to the other side, and the album becomes a retrospective of his life.” The bonus edition, includes the full studio album plus a 20-song live CD at Fenway Park in Boston.
2013 was a true breakout for them, since “Signed And Sealed In Blood” is their most commonly known release, until today. Apart from the Christmas anthem “The Season’s Upon Us” (even though it talks about a problematic family (!), the album features their iconic “Rose Tattoo” song, which reached 25th in the Rock Charts by then. Ken Casey, stated that after “Going Out In Style”, they were in need of cheerful, singalong melodies, so this one was a piece of cake for them.
After “Signed…” that introduced the band to most of the world, especially to more mainstream, rock audiences, in 2017 came out their latest studio effort, called “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory”, which they later introduced in Thessaloniki and Athens in February 2017, only a months after their first visit in Greece, as a part of the Rockwave Festival in 2016. Τhe album was the very first one they recorded far away from their home, in Mexico, while the song “4-15-13” is a tribute to all those who lost their lives in this date, at the Boston Marathon.
Two years have passed and Dropkick Murphys are shipping up to Greece once more, for two nights of sweat, adrenaline and whiskey. The band is due to appear in Athens on June 3rd 2019 at the Gazi Music Hall and the next day in Thessaloniki, at the “Ioannis Vellidis” centre.