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A pint with Ken Casey and Al Barr of the Dropkick Murphys

"I didn't know we were associated with Faneuil Hall"
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  March 24, 2011

 Dropkick Murphys
KENMORE SCARE “I always say our association as being this ‘Boston’ band stems back from the days at the Rat,” explains Ken Casey (top left). “We’d do all-ages matinees and draw 600 or 700 kids, just because the punk scene was so strong.”

For whoever's interested, here's the full transcript of my chat with Ken Casey and Al Barr at McGreevy's from a few weeks back, just in time for St. Patrick's Day. The story we ran made it seem like Barr didn't say much. In fact, he shared a whole bunch of observations on punk-related matters -- read on to learn the shocking truth about what might have turned some pioneers of British punk into dicks, what Barr really thought when Suicidal Tendencies showed up on Miami Vice, and why I'm pretty sure I need to find a Dropkicks zealot who waged a one-woman war against Avalon and propose to her.

There are things that people who aren't from here and maybe haven't been here before associate Boston with. A lot of it's from movies and TV shows, and there are positive and negative connotations to all that, but it's interesting that you guys came from the punk background and now you're associated with, I dunno, Faneuil Hall and the Red Sox 'n shit.

KEN CASEY: I didn't know we were associated with Faneuil Hall, but that's cool. Hopefully it's a good connotation. I mean&ldots;bad connotations would probably be from the Town and the movies like that, or something? I don't know. I think, obviously, being in a movie like the Departed makes you associated with Boston more than&ldots;Hold on, I'm going to turn this down. (Gets up to get the music turned down).

AL BARR: I was going to say, it's gotten a lot louder.

Good song, though. (referring to a surf rock song I thought was off thePulp Fiction soundtrack, but maybe isn't.)

AB: Better than the last one, that's for sure.

KC: I think The Departed, being an Academy Award winning movie that was made about here obviously makes you associated with Boston, and the Red Sox is another deal where you'll be associated. I always say that our main association with being this Boston band stems back from the days we started at the Rat when no one would give us a chance to play. The Middle East wouldn't book us. T.T.'s wouldn't book us, none of those clubs. At the Rat, we'd do all-ages matinees. We only had a single or two out at the time, and we'd draw 600 or 700 kids, and so would a bunch of other bands, just because the punk scene was so strong. So we'd book these all-ages matinees, and we all still had our jobs and everything. We'd have seven other bands from seven different cities, we'd put on a show, we'd give those bands all the money, and they'd go back to their respective cities going, "Holy shit we just played to 600 or 700 kids and got paid a bunch of money!" When they had us back to their city, they didn't care if they had to drag their grandmother out of bed to fill that room. They were going to make sure they filled the room, and it was always "Boston punk rock!" because they were so pumped, blown away by how many kids were coming to shows here. It created this, "Band from Boston's coming! Band from Boston's coming!" thing. It probably didn't help the stereotype that we pulled up in a handicapped MBTA van. That was our first van that we had taken the roof off of at the airport, so I should say we came up in a MBTA handicapped convertible. I think that's where a lot of that derived from in the early days. I always say if it wasn't for that time, we probably never would've gotten our start. That's before booking agents or anything. That's how we got out of here and playing around the country, y'know?

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