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Wild Roses w/ Marc Orell from Dropkick Murphy's! Free Show!


To fully understand the Dropkick Murphys, you will benefit from a

history lesson of sorts. This lesson starts one hundred and two years

ago, long before even the parents of Al Barr, Ken Casey, Matt Kelly,

James Lynch, Marc Orrell, Tim Brennan, and Scruffy Wallace were born.

The place is the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds, the date October

13, 1903. Now imagine the Royal Rooters, the Boston Americans' devout

fan club, singing "Tessie" at the top of their lungs to celebrate the

team's 3-0 win over Pittsburgh in the eighth game (that's not a typo,

sports fans) of the inaugural World Series. A part of baseball legend

was born on that day, and as a result, the song earned itself a

cherished place in the team's history.

Boston continued to win at a blistering pace, tallying 5 titles in 15

years. However, in 1916, following their fourth win, the team abandoned

the former Broadway hit as the Royal Rooters faded into the sunset.

Despite winning the Series two years later, they endured eighty-six

years of futility. It wasn't until 2004, when South Boston

street-punkers Dropkick Murphys got ahold of a copy of a mangled

recording of the song that an idea was born. Fostered by the team's

vice president and Herald writer Jeff Horrigan, the project

became a labor of love for the band. "When I first heard about it,"

guitarist Marc Orrell tells The Trades, "Ken [Casey, bassist] had this

old CD of it that was really ratty and I could barely tell what the hell

was going on. I could tell it was in the key of B flat, the bagpipes

key, you know? We had something there. We just developed it and it

evolved to winning the World Series and it came out pretty good."

Pretty good, indeed. Since the band rerecorded the song, it is played

following each Boston win. Orrell remarked on the rekindled tradition,

"My buddy called me wasted at the game the other night screaming,

'They're playing 'Tessie,' they fucking won!'"

The Dropkick Murphys barely resemble their earliest incarnation ten

years after current bassist Ken Casey teamed up with a trio of musicians

who have since pursued other projects. One in particular, original

vocalist Mike McColgan, has moved on to front another Boston band,

Street Dogs. As a result, their sound has changed dramatically over the

years. Kicking off their career with the rough-and-tumble and

explosively raw Do or Die in 1997, they matured musically during the personnel changes, refining their tone and attitude. 2001's Blackout

clocked in at 14 tracks, but could have been even longer according to

the grinning guitarist. During a discussion about the chilling World

War I epic "Green Fields of France," which appears on their latest

album, he explained, "We were originally supposed to do that on the last

album, but I didn't know how to play piano yet, so we saved it for this

one." Yes, that's right. Not only did Orrell teach himself accordion

(which he doesn't list as one of his instruments), he shreds on the

guitar and holds the title of the band's pianist.

A lot of the time spent with Orrell was spent talking about the nuances of the new album. His favorite song off The Warrior's Code

is one that will be passed over for fuller tracks. "The Burden," he

says is, "about James Lynch's guitar. Ever since I've known James, he's

had that guitar. It's always shit the bed onstage and just crapped out

all the time. One day, right before we were recording the record, they

were going to get rid of it. I was like, 'No, man! You've had that

forever.' It's this Epiphone that we call Frankenstein. Lynch called

Marc Orrell one night with good news. "He was like, 'Frankie's gonna be

all right.' I told Al and he mangled it into a song." Despite the

fact that there isn't a whole lot of buzz surrounding this album (a

crime in this author's opinion!), Marc firmly believes that The Warrior's Code is the best Murphys album yet. "Blackout I was proud of, but I felt like we could have done better. It's just the way I always imagined Dropkick Murphys to be."

For those of you who would like to see the band in person, they are

currently embarking on a European tour that will hit the Reading and

Leeds festivals in Britain before returning to the United States. A

stateside tour with GangGreen and Lost City Angels is in the cards, and

toward the end of the year, they will invade Japan. The band's live

show is something that any devout music fan should experience. "We have

quite a crew working for us. We crank the hell out of the bagpipes and

accordions and shit onstage." It's easy for the boisterous guitarist

to keep motivated on the road. "I'm having a good time every time I go

out onstage. Every time you hear the crowd cheering for you and

clapping, it's always an adrenaline rush. I love it. The more we hear

it, the more we get revved up and the better show we have. It's always

better to see us live; it's the more intimate moment. You can get a CD

anywhere. We love playing live." If that doesn't sell you, maybe the

sight of the band itself will. Scruffy Wallace, the band's Canadian

bagpiper, wears absurd outfits including a kilt during their

performance. "He doesn't get groped as much as Spicy [Mchaggis, former

bagpiper] did. People used to go under and grab the pink bullfrog.

He'd get groped a lot, but Scruffy, doesn't get that much." Yes, that's

right. In addition to being a crazy performer, Wallace (referred to as

Canadian bacon by Orrell) has to fight to keep his crown jewels intact

beneath that kilt. Despite that, the Murphys will keep toiling on

across the world, spreading their brand of folk-punk to all corners of

the earth. Don't worry about them stopping anytime soon. When asked

what's in store for the future of the band, Marc replies assuredly,

"More music and more CDs."

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