Recently I got to do a "Q&A" with Dropkick Murphys' drummer, Matt Kelly. Kelly has been with the band almost since their first day seventeen years ago. The band will be playing at WestConn's Ives Center in Danbury this coming Thursday. Here's what Kelly had to say about being from Boston, coming to Connecticut and Dropkick's latest album.
KC: Let's get the bad stuff out of the way. Was there a Dropkick Irish wake for the Bruins and the Cup this year. :) ? Black banner on your drum kit?
MK: Wow, that is cruel!!! Well, my neighbor got tickets to the final game and my brother and I went with him and his bro… Crushing defeat, but what do you do? Regroup and go for it next year!!!!
KC: Speaking of the Bruins, there are other bands from Boston....how did they come to pick Dropkick as their theme music?
MK: They have extraordinarily discerning taste in music!
KC: What town are you from originally? My last DM interview was with Tim last year and I know he's the CT kid in the group.
MK: I'm from Leominster, MA. However, I have relatives in Naugatuck and my Dad is a bona-fide Brass City Lord, having been born in Waterbury, CT.
KC: Dropkick is on its 8th studio album and have been together for 17 years. Do you ever worry about running out of new songs?
MK: No way. With the different influences and styles we play, the sky's the limit as far as what we can do. If you listen to our first album, "Do Or Die", and then an album like "The Meanest of Times", there may be a lot of similarities, but there are enough varying musical styles to keep it interesting and make them separate bodies of work. All the albums in between and subsequently have a common musical thread but I believe we're able to make each album unique enough to keep it interesting and not homogeneous. New life experiences, world events, and influences from history and literature are always popping up, so there's never a lack of ideas floating around.
KC: Anything you want to say about "Signed and Sealed in Blood"? Favorite song(s)?
MK: We're really psyched about how it came out. It was written between and during tours, and recorded between tours. The last couple years have been pretty gung-ho as far as touring goes, so finding the time to get all our new ideas down was kind of tough-- but I believe the outcome was great. We'd been playing some of the new songs for six months before the album even came out, so I think people were comfortable with them, and yearning to hear them in a studio recording. Favorite song? Hmmmm… Maybe "Rose Tattoo", or possibly "Out On the Town". I don't know, I think I give a different answer every time I'm asked that--- which I hope speaks for the strength and integrity of each song, and not my lack of commitment to one, hahaha!
KC: This album ended up playing some special roles since the Boston bombings. I feel that your music was a perfect fit for city's show of tenacity through the tragedy. One thing that will always stick with me was everyone coming out after the manhunt ended and literally dancing in the streets. Can you share some of yours and/or the band's feelings about being Bostonians and being part of the core culture of the city?
MK: Thanks a lot, that's a big complement. As far as the band goes, we were on tour when it happened, although we were obviously in constant contact with our wives and families as some of us live in or close to the city. I really think the guys in the band and crew were spared the real firsthand unease and horror of the actual tragedy. It certainly was surreal seeing these images on TV and people being told to stay in their homes, etc. It's crazy how it all went down.
As far as being a Bostonian, I think the way people banded together and supported the victims and their respective families speaks volumes about the charitable character of the people of the Hub. They did what they could to help their fellow man, kept a stiff upper lip, and got on with it.
KC: Is this your first time performing in Danbury? At the Ives Center? Knowing DM's commitment to social and political involvement do you plan any special song or tribute to Sandy Hook for this show with Newtown being so close to Danbury?
MK: I believe this is going to be our first Danburian gig. I'm sure we'll address the situation, as it was a tragedy of far-reaching proportions for many reasons.
Ticket links can be found on LiveNation or Bowery Presents but you will ultimately be forwarded to Ticketmaster. Doors are at 6 p.m.
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Dropkick Murphys & Swinging Utters @ Ives Center, Danbury CT
To learn more about Dropkick Murphys visit their official website. "Signed and Sealed In Blood along with all of Dropkick's music is available on iTunes and Amazon MP3.