Interview by tosnob
Celt-punk veterans Dropkick Murphys are set to begin their North American tour in November. The shows will include a November 19th stop at the Sound Academy in Toronto.
I'm ecstatic to have been able to do a Q&A with Dropkick Murphys drummer Matt Kelly in advance of their tour.
Here's our conversation:
T.O. Snob: Matt, thanks for agreeing to do this.
Matt Kelly: Hey, no problem Peter; it's my pleasure!
T.O. Snob: You are coming into Toronto to play the Sound Academy on November 19th, what are your thoughts or impressions of the city?
MK: Well, ever since my first time there, when I was 13, I've enjoyed the city, the people, and general ambiance of TO. The crowds always go bananas for our gigs there, so of course it's definitely one of the highlights of the Canadian leg of our tour.
T.O. Snob: This will be my fourth time seeing Dropkick Murphys and you've never disappointed. How do you keep up the energy level for the fans and keep it fun for you guys on stage?
MK: Wow, thanks a lot! As far as the energy goes, the way we look at it is 1. if there's ten people or ten thousand people in the crowd, you've got to play like it's your first and your last gig you'll ever play. People are coming to see us, and this is really all we do, so why not give put everything we've got into each song every night? 2. We enjoy playing the songs we do, especially when we throw in a cover tune of a band favorite or bust out a new tune nobody's heard before. 3. Aside from a basic template of a set, we change it up every night to keep ourselves and traveling fans on their toes. You'll notice the next gig will have quite a different setlist from last time we were in Toronto.
T.O. Snob: After performing hundreds of shows there must be songs that you're sick and tired of playing. What is your least favorite song to play but the fans keep demanding?
MK: Hmmm, that's a tough one. I like playing pretty much all the tunes we do. However, some of the guys are sick of "The Spicy McHaggis Jig", "Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced", and others are sick of stuff like "Barroom Hero" or "Boys On the Docks". It also depends on the night. There are so many variables that could make a particular song click just right, or make it sound old and tired.
T.O. Snob: The Meanest Of Times came out in 2007, what is the status of a new Dropkick Murphys album?
MK: Well, as a matter of fact, we're finishing up mixing a new live album recorded over six days in March at the House of Blues in Boston. There'll also be a DVD, etc.
Also, having the time off the road that we're currently experiencing, we're going in the practice space a few times a week to flesh out some song ideas we've had for a while, put some new ones down, and come up with some new ones. We're putting lyrics to chords and all that fun stuff... so far we're having a lot of fun!
T.O. Snob: With the recent demise of Pennywise there's a big void on the punk rock landscape. What up-and-coming bands do you think are ready to step up?
MK: That's a tough one. I think that when bands like Pennywise were starting, the climate was different for Punk. It was truly underground and all your mainstream kids weren't going to the Warp Tour. I don't think there can be a replacement for the type of band Pennywise was, as they were pretty unique, had a certain identity, but at the same time typifying the "California Punk" style of the last twenty years.
Tough call, man! Somebody step up to the plate!!!!
T.O. Snob: If someone to look at your CD collection (or iPod playlist), what would they find that would surprise them?
MK: They'd see a lot of LP's in the place of CD's(just busting chops, I buy and spin way more vinyl than CDs)! Maybe aside from the Punk, Oi!, hardcore, etc., you'd find a bunch of jazz like John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Dave Brubek; a good amount of Britpop like Oasis, Stone Roses, the Enemy; a wealth of obscure but awesome international '70s Glam and Pub Rock like the Frenchies, the Jook, Heart(not the American band), Dr. Feelgood, the Hammersmith Gorillas, Little Bob Story, and Trevor White; the whole Led Zeppelin discography; German chamber music, and the list goes on... I listen to all kinds of stuff.
T.O. Snob: I'm trying to convince my wife to come the show with me. What you say to her to sway her?
MK: I promise not to make a drunken ass out of myself this time!", or "they serve enchiladas onstage!"
T.O. Snob: I was always a big Cam Neely fan. Who is/was your favorite Boston Bruin?
MK: Yeah the great #8 he sure was. My favorite Bruin was Terry O'Reilly. Hard as nails and played with heart and soul.
T.O. Snob: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to say to your fans in Toronto?
MK: Yeah, thanks for coming out to support us! We've been coming up there for twelve years and you maniacs still come see us. Our humblest gratitude for listening to a bunch of lowlifes for so long.
T.O. Snob: Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us. We really appreciate it. MK: You bet man, thanks for the interview and the exposure.