The first release by the Dropkick Murphys was a split with fellow Bostonians The Ducky Boys. The lead song, "Barroom Hero" was a mini-classic during the east coast's street-punk resurgence in the late '90s. A slew of seven-inch splits and singles followed, but there was little indication that the Dropkick Murphys would become a Billboard charting band.
After their debut full-length, Do or Die, lead singer Mike McColgan left the band to pursue dreams of becoming a firefighter. Former Bruisers frontman Al Barr---with his distinct voice---became the logical successor to McColgan.
Six albums and seven personnel changes later, the band has moved beyond the spearhead of a street-punk resurgence. They've contributed songs to three Oscar-nominated films (The Departed, The Fighter, Restrepo), became the musical good luck charm of the Red Sox, had Bobby Orr cameo in the "Going Out in Style" video and backed up Bruce Springsteen. Most would think the band's attitudes and allegiances have changed drastically in that time. They haven't. They're one big family, according to current guitarist Tim Brennan. Though bassist Ken Casey is the only original member, the newer members aren't just ringers---most of them played alongside one another in various Boston area bands. "I've played music with guys in the band since I was 16 or 17 years old so it's really a familial thing," says Brennan. "The Dropkicks used to tour with The Ducky Boys all the time and when they needed a second guitarist, they asked James [Lynch] to join."
Brennan has moved from merch guy to mandolin player to guitarist. "Everybody that's involved has been involved in some aspect for awhile, it's a very family-oriented environment," he says. "As somebody who was a part-time member when I first showed up, to be up there on every song all night, it's a dream come true."
And as to whether Boston Bruin, Stanley Cup champion and Hammonds Plains native Brad Marchand will put in an appearance at the Halifax show? "That's entirely possible, we would love to have him there."