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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, April 19, 2014

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In Music

Dropkick Murphys invade Wisconsin tonight at the Rave. (PHOTO: Illustration by Jason McDowell)

In Music

Jonathan Papelbon's fan club, aka the Dropkicks. (PHOTO: Illustration by Jason McDowell)

In Music

Founding member Ken Casey. (PHOTO: Illustration by Jason McDowell)

In Music

The band in action on stage... (PHOTO: Illustration by Jason McDowell)

In Music

... and celebrating a Red Sox pennant at Fenway. (PHOTO: Illustration by Jason McDowell)

Dropkick Murphys prepare for a hair-raising Rave-up


When the band Dropkick Murphys first formed nearly 12 years ago, bassist / co-front man Ken Casey had a simple goal in mind:

Recording a CD of high-energy, Irish-infused, Boston barroom punk? No.

Recording several CDs, with each one showing increases in musicianship, fan appreciation and critical acclaim? No.

Appearing on national TV? No.

Touring the world and playing before a legion of loyal, fist-pumping fans in Japan and several Eastern Bloc countries? No.

Meeting heroes like the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer of the Clash and Shane MacGowan of the Pogues? Good guess, but... try again.

How about writing a theme song ("Tessie") for his beloved Red Sox and becoming the unofficial house band at Fenway Park, where he and bandmates could celebrate a pennant victory on the field with their heroes? No.

Recording an unpublished Woody Guthrie song ("Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight")? Wrong.

What about writing a song ("Shipping Up to Boston") that Martin Scorsese used prominently a movie ("The Departed") and seeing Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon appropriate it as his warmup music? Wrong.

How about having Bruce Springsteen accompany his teenage son to a show and raving about the band's performance skills in an interview with Rolling Stone? Nope.

How about test-driving (and sledge hammering the windshield of) an Infiniti G37S for a story / photo in Rolling Stone? Wrong again.

All those things have happened for the Dropkicks, who will visit The Rave tonight with the Briggs and the Tossers, but they weren't part of the original blueprint.

"I always joke with my wife my goal when we started the band, all I wanted to do was to get good enough to open for my friend's band, who I was a big fan of," Casey told OnMilwaukee.com during a phone interview last week from Edmonton, where the band was touring in support of its latest disc, "The Meanest of Times."

"I remember saying 'If we ever get to open for them, that will be it. We can retire.' That was 12 years ago. It's been a good 12 years."

As for the aforementioned cool stuff, like Springsteen, Scorsese, the Red Sox, etc., Casey -- the only original member in the current lineup - isn't taking anything for granted.

"It's nice when you get some of the extra perks," Casey said. "That's not to say that getting an opportunity to see the world and play to a core fan base is a grind, because it isn't. It's still the best job in the world. But, to get some of the extra perks and I guess what you might call some of the easy breaks isn't a bad thing, either."

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Talkbacks

littletinyfish | Nov. 12, 2007 at 8:48 a.m. (report)

Shouldn't it be "hair razing?" It's interesting to see what a writer's perspective and style brings to a story. I'm sure I can think of at least three other people (not necessarily writers) who would have approached the story from three completely different areas (from the music, to the Irish culture, to the punk culture, to their involvement with sports, etc.) That diversity is kind of amazing, considering how easily they could have been pigeon-holed from the outset.

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