If you’ve been paying attention, you know about the botched interview on Friday. This afternoon was one of redemption and one of the prouder moments of my journalistic career.
About to exit the press compound for the last time, I decided to take one final walk around in search of a departing interview. It being the final day of the festival, many musicians had left, and most of tonight’s night’s performers had not yet arrived, subjects were scarce. With nobody around, I was about to give up when I noticed a large guy in a Boston Celtic’s jersey, kilt, and black steel toed boots strolling toward me. It was him, Scruffy Wallace, the bag piper for Dropkick Murphys.
“Nick!,” called out Evan, the Murphy’s Tour Manager. “Anybody seen Nick?
I continued to hover and five minutes later Evan came back in search of the mysterious Nick, with no such luck. We locked eyes and I seized the moment.
“I’m not Nick,” I said, “but if he doesn’t show up, I’ll take his spot.”
“Who are you,” said Evan? ”Just some guy?”
“Yes, I am just some guy looking for an interview.”
“Wait here,” said Evan. “If this douche doesn’t call me back in five minutes, it’s yours.”
Long story short, Nick never showed and I got his five minutes at a shady picnic table with Scruffy Wallace.
I’ve read about the band’s influences, but I’d rather here it straight from the source…
“Obviously we’re influenced by traditional Celtic music. We all grew up in the environment of it, like The Chief Tones and The Pogues. Then we got stuff like Stiff Little Fingers, The Clash, and Billy Bragg. Good, honest, rock and roll. And I think all of that definitely plays a very big part of our musical influence in Dropkick Murphys, the way we amalgamate all those different sounds.”
When talking influences, a lot of musicians discuss their sound, but what did these bands mean to you, what messages did you take away from their music?
“That the working class, it’s an honest way to make a living. That your family and your friends are number one. And that there’s nothing more important than the people that have surrounded you and the people that have worked to help give you what you have. We stay very true to those ideas and very dedicated to our fans because they are the people that make us what we are. Everything we produce is for them and because of them. We try to stay true to who we are as people and the music follows suit.
Bands come and go, especially punk rock bands. Dropkick Murphys are going on 14 years now. What’s the secret to your longevity?
“For 14 years it’s been the greatest fucking job ever, and we only have our fans to thank. Without them we wouldn’t be who or where we are. We try to stay true to them and remember that they’re the reason we do it. That’s why we’ve been given the opportunities that we have, because our fans have stuck by us. It’s a give and take relationship, and I think it’s very cool, very unique.”
You just put out your second live album, Live On Lansdowne, Boston MA, and you’re currently touring, so what’s next?
“We’re actually writing a new studio album, we’re in the process of it. We’re taking about 25 days to tour, we’re flying down to New Orleans tomorrow, then over to Copenhagen to do a few festivals in Europe. Then we’ll fly back and get back to the writing. The way we try to do it is, we’ll go home for a few weeks, write some new songs, get them down and let them sit, and then we go back on the road. Back and forth and back and forth. We’re always writing, even on the road, but we’re really concentrating on the new record and trying to get it done because it’s been three years since The Meanest of Times came out, we’re kind of overdue you know?”
The Murphys contributed to the Rock Against Bush Vol. 2 album, you guys are involved with the AFL-CIO, many in the band have claimed to be Democrats, you’re about head down to New Orleans, what are your thoughts on President Obama and how he’s performed in office so far?
“Personally, my best thing when it comes to politics is just not to get involved. I honestly don’t have any kind of opinion on anything political because, it doesn’t, well, it affects me in the long run, but directly it doesn’t affect anything that I think about. I bother not with any kind of that trivial shit…As far as politics go, we’re kind of a tongue-in-cheek band, we don’t really sing about politics, that’s for other people to decide. We’re just a band that wants to have fun. We want to talk about things that should be important, like family and friends, and the unity we have in our scene, and staying strong. We don’t like to get wrapped up in bullshit that mires you down.”
Well let me ask you about something you may care about. What are your thoughts on the Red Sox slow start?
“I am a Red Sox fan but I only really started watching baseball about a week ago because there was no more hockey on. I’m a big hockey guy and it was big let down with the Bruins, the Flyers were like a bad cold you couldn’t get rid of, but they [Bruins] played a hell of a season, they played through a lot of injuries. As far as the Sox go, I know they had a rough start but they’ve won the last three or four in a row so that’s cool. And now with the Lakers and the Celts I’ve been wrapped up in that, go Celts! Beat LA! So with all that, baseball’s been on the back burner a little bit. But once the playoffs are over it’s back to the Sox.”
My five minutes were up. Scruffy was on his way to go catch the Against Me! Show and so was I.