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11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory
Al Barr lead vocals
Tim Brennan guitars, accordion, mellotron, whistles and vocals
Ken Casey lead vocals and bass guitar
Jeff DaRosa banjo, bouzouki, mandolin, harmonica, acoustic guitars and vocals
Matt Kelly drums, percussion and vocals
James Lynch guitars and vocals
From the early days at the Boston landmark The Rathskeller (aka The Rat) beneath Kenmore Square, to 80,000-plus
on the main stages of European festivals, the Dropkick Murphys have spent a large chunk of the last 20 years touring the world.
All that travel has only strengthened their love and appreciation for their hometown. When they finally get back home from
a tour, it's hard to pry them away again. When the band is off the road, they spend most of their time with family, or working
with The Claddagh Fund, the charity foundation they launched in 2009.
As much as Dropkick Murphys love Boston, they were determined to start their third decade with a bang. They wanted
to take it to the next level. For that, they knew they'd need to make a record that blew people away. To do that, they'd need
to focus. To do that, they'd need to remove all distractions. To do that, they'd need to go to...El Paso?
You heard that right! They packed up their gear and hit the road, joining longtime producer Ted Hutt at a studio 30
miles east of El Paso. Sonic Ranch Studios, whose property abuts the U.S./Mexico border, is a place where the only cell service
is the occasional bar that pops up from a Mexican carrier. This bold move, this dedication, this desolation and this
amazing studio helped the band capture something magical on their new album, 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory.
To me, the whole journey starts with the fact we actually agreed to go and then went to Texas.
Because weve never left home to make a record, says bassist and founder Ken Casey. As everyones lives
have become crazier and busier with kids and families, its gotten harder to buckle down at home. We decided to leave
Boston, go down to literally the middle of nowhere and lock ourselves in a room.
There was nothing around us for miles, says guitarist Tim Brennan. It was just us and the studio.
I think it gave us the ability to work without distractions in a way that weve never really been able to before. All
we could do was focus on music. It was one hundred percent devotion to the songs. Once we started to put everything together
in El Paso, the songs took on a whole new life and exceeded our expectations.
From the start of the songwriting process there was a sense of urgency and passion in the room. The opiate epidemic
ravaging the country in particular Boston and New England was hitting closer than ever to home. Sadness, anger,
and dismay fed the writing process. This was personal. The crisis directly struck the bands family circle in 2014 when
Barrs brother-in-law died of an overdose.
Between Al's loss and all the friends and people that I know, I'd say Ive been to 50 wakes in the last
three years, Casey says. The state has decided to almost give up on kids in a way with prescribing Suboxone, which
is like the methadone of our generation. Of course, that doesnt work either. You cant give up on the people society
has deemed will fail.
One of the main focuses of the bands Claddagh Fund is to support addiction recovery. The band is hands-on
in raising funds, mentoring, and lending a helping hand in the fight. Many of the songs reflect these experiences. Rebels
With A Cause was written about kids who are given up on and left behind by a system that has written them off as hopeless.
Paying My Way is about the way up and out of addiction and the dream of bigger and better things in life.
But the first song that was on the docket for this record was the daunting cover of Youll Never Walk Alone,
the Rodgers and Hammerstein song made famous by Gerry and The Pacemakers. "I was leaving another overdose wake and the song
came on in the car, says Casey. My music was on shuffle, and Youll Never Walk Alone randomly
played. As I heard the chorus, Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone, it struck
me how powerfully the song related to the struggle and how you dont have to do it alone.
With no fanfare, the members of Dropkick Murphys get into the lives of other people. With financial resources from
The Claddagh Fund, they have helped many men, women, and teens who have found themselves in the depths of addiction. They
stand with the families to help them navigate the life-altering road to recovery. Its something Dropkick Murphys are
dead serious about.
With all of this in mind, its fitting that 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory is a soundtrack
to tragedy and triumph alike, and by the time these songs made it to tape in Texas there was a power to them unlike anything
the band had captured before. On this album, Dropkick Murphys carry on the tradition of rough and tumble storytelling
the kind of writing that never leaves fans wondering whether the band have lived what theyre singing about.
A look back at childhood life, a snapshot of a clueless Masshole, a stop-you-in-your tracks reflection on a terrorist
tragedy...its all there across the records 11 tracks. There are moments of ass-kicking Celtic punk attitude, ball-busting
wisecracks, tear-jerking confessions, and the kind of upbeat words of wisdom that can be chanted loud and proud across arenas
and stadiums worldwide. Its real. Its raw. Its Dropkick Murphys.
The album begins with the bands interpretation of classic Irish staple The Lonesome Boatman.
Driven by a whistle and tribal drum that wouldnt be out of place in The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, the instrumental
quickly ramps up with a gang chorus punctuated by gnashing guitars. Its got that loneliness of being out there
in the desert outside El Paso, which sets the tone for the record, says Casey. Our version has that Southwest
influence to it.
11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory quickly snaps into the anthemic, punked up clarion call of Rebels With
A Cause. For the first time in years, Casey and lead singer Al Barr trade verses, painting a picture of Dead end
kids you dont want em // you dont need em // and youll always find a reason when you need to
write em off, before announcing, Kid--you got heart.
Like the title says, this album is everything from pain to glory, affirms Casey. Its
the successes, the failures, the heartache, and the laughs. Its like a chapter book, and each song is its own part of
that story. Theyre different feelings, moods, and emotions, but theyre still Dropkick Murphys.
Blood lands a one-two punch of traditional bagpipes and crunching riffs, culminating with the chant, If
you want blood // well give you some. Brennan goes on, Its old style Dropkicks, but the delivery has
evolved. Theres a lot more space to it musically. Were still doing what were known for doing, but in a more
sonically expanded manner. Blood is the story of the bands 20-year career, and the mutual respect
and dedication the band and its fans have for one another.
What started as a catchy piano melody developed into
one of the more stirring songs on the album. Hinging on a bombastic drum loop, Paying My Way swings from a commanding
piano riff into the powerful refrain, "But my hopes are so much higher // don't count me out I'm a survivor. The song
is as uplifting as it is undeniable.
Paying My Way is not just about paying your bills, says Casey. It's about doing what you have to
do in order to be a good person. But at the end of the day, never losing sight of the fact that doing the next right thing
may lead to great things one day.
First Class Loser calls out a lovable lout. Before I play that song for people, I say its
about them. Then they get pissed once they hear the words, chuckles Casey.
11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory seizes on idyllic summers of childhood mischief on Sandlot, a sun-drenched
look back at youthful disobedience. The song developed on the road over the past few years. Even without a recording, fans
at the biggest European festivals could be heard carrying the tune loudly on their own, sometimes drowning out the band as
they played the acoustic version.
4-15-13 stands out as one of the most emotional pieces in the groups catalog. With its traditional
instrumentation and somber folk-inspired elegy for their hometowns innocence, the track pays homage to the victims of
the Boston Marathon Bombing, most of whom the band grew to know personally after many visits to their hospital rooms in the
Since that day, we felt like not taking the challenge to write a song about what we all went through would
be taking the cowards way out, Casey reflects. We put more importance on writing that piece of music than
anything weve ever done, because if youre going to touch that day, it has to be done right. We went through so
many emotions with that whole experience, as did everyone in Boston. It changed the city forever.
11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory represents a high-water mark for Dropkick Murphys as they invite listeners everywhere
to once again take an active part in their story. Weve stayed true to what the band is and has always been. And
were still expanding on our sound and lyrical content, offers Brennan.
There is lots of messed up stuff going on in the world but you can't let it take you down, Casey
continues. The only way to survive in life is to enjoy it and make the most of it. Thats what this record is.
Theres good times. Theres bad times. Theres happy times. Theres sad times. In just 40 minutes, you
feel all of that. We truly put our heart and soul into every record weve ever made. This is no exception. We wouldnt
let it go down any other way. Well break up before that happens.
11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory
is the perfect way to kick off another 20 years of Dropkick Murphys. Hold your head high, and crank it up.
DROPKICK MURPHYS HISTORY
Dropkick Murphys have become ambassadors for their city. In Boston, it seems like everybody knows someone connected to the
band whether by blood, friendship, or the time they shared a brew at a Bruins game. Theyve built a legacy that does
Beantown proud. Since their 1996 formation, theyve sold a staggering 4 million albums worldwide with 2005s The
Warriors Code achieving an RIAA Gold certification and its smash single Im Shipping Up To Boston nearing
double platinum and appearing during a key moment of Martin Scorseses Academy Award-winning The Departed. Most recently,
2013s Signed And Sealed In Blood netted their second consecutive Top 10 debut on the Billboard Top 200, and debuted
at number 6 in Germany. The album spawned standout tracks The Boys Are Back, Out Of Our Heads, Prisoners
Song, and Rose Tattoo, a fan favorite that has accumulated 24 million views on YouTube without the
aid of being a radio hit. A special version of this song featuring the bands buddy Bruce Springsteen was released as
a benefit for the Boston Marathon bombing victims. Theyve hosted sold out concerts at most of the citys landmarks,
including Fenway Park, TD Garden, the Boston Pops, and even the last voyage of the USS Constitution. They updated the Boston
Red Sox anthem Tessie in 2004, which may or may not have had something to do with the teams first World
Series win in 86 years