September 18th was a big day for the Dropkick Murphys. Their new CD, The Meanest of Times, hit the streets while playing the Agora in Cleveland that same night. According to Ken Casey, the band’s bass guitarist, fans won’t be disappointed with the new CD.
“It’s not one bit different from our other albums, I’m proud to say. We’re the AC/DC of Celtic punk rock.” He does concede that this album “has more intensity – more of a live feel.”
So why is it the meanest of times? Turns out, the title reflects not only the struggles of growing up – kids can be mean! – but also the state of the world, with an eye on the war in Iraq.
It’s true, the band does have a political dimension. You can find their track “We Got the Power” on the Rock Against Bush, Volume II album, and Casey underscores the message, saying, “There are no George Bush fans in the band.” But don’t expect to see the Dropkick Murphys on a star-studded political campaign. “We’re just pro-working class, pro-Union guys. We grew up in working-class neighborhoods. Our dads were policemen or firemen, not movie producers.”
Maybe not your typical blue collar guys though, as your average man on the street does not have his songs featured in movies like Fever Pitch and The Departed. Casey hasn’t lost his cool, though.
“You know, [Dropkick Murphys] have been together for 12 years. And we’d been headlining venues around the world for eight or nine of those years. Then our songs were featured in The Departed and Fever Pitch. When Martin Scorsese called me, I almost fell out of my chair! But my grandma kept saying, ‘You should go back to college!’ It wasn’t till “Tessie” became the anthem for the Boston Red Sox in 2004 that all that stopped. It was like once we were associated with the Red Sox, my grandma finally felt like my career was all right, after all!”
Overall, Casey seems like the kind of guy you could safely invite to a family barbecue. He’s outspoken about people having a sense of personal responsibility, and bettering themselves. Not that the band seems themselves as role models. “With music, there seems to be this air of entitlement to be crazy and be on drugs, but we want to be good guys, and have our hearts in the right place.”