Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 66 - KEN CASEY
DROPKICK MURPHYS - KEN CASEY
"Doing charity work made the band feel more like a real job." - Ken Casey, bassist, and vocals, Dropkick Murphys
JUNO spacecraft mission we finally know what the interior of Jupiter is like, and the answer is surprising. The details are revealed in Science this week along with the first up-close infrared look at the north and south poles of the gas giant. There is a sneak peek of this week's guest, Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys, and he talks about not letting life pass you by and being your own boss which we discuss on What Fuels You.
ABOUT KEN CASEY:
Ken Casey started the band Dropkick Murphys on a dare and now that band has become an international success. with nine albums and countless world tours, their music is closely associated with the city of Boston, the sports team surrounding it and the punk rock scene itself. Ken isn't satisfied with just that and has worked hard to create The Claddagh Fund, a charity organization, and Murphy's Boxing, a sports promotion company. Ken joins the show to talk about all of this and the recent collaboration between Dropkick Murphys and Death Wish Coffee.
Also, for even MORE from Ken Casey and Dropkick Murphys, click here to check out our Grind It Out where we followed Ken around Boston for a day!
Jeff: Awesome. So let's start kind of ... Okay, I want to get this out of the way because I think it's great. You guys are just coming back from the states after European tour with Flogging Molly. How did that all go?
Ken Casey: Oh, good. We're old friends, and we've been talking about doing a tour together. The timing just worked out. Sometimes when your friends with bands that also tour a lot, it's like two ships passing in the night, you know what I mean. Maybe once every three years you're on the same festival together. So it was really nice to spend three solid weeks with people you like. It's nice. It's like this tour. We're old friends with everybody, and not that we don't have bands we don't like on tour, you know what I mean. But it's just nice when its people you know and you're comfortable with and there's no ... Sometimes all it takes is the band to have one freaking diva in it and there's just a bad vibe backstage. I've had to have talks like that many of time in people in the opening acts and be like, "Hey, listen. Who the fuck do you think you are? We're trying to have a good time. Don't take yourself ... Lighten up, Francis."
Dustin: Are you getting good at having those kinds of talks now?
Ken Casey: Yeah. Yeah. I'm like the dad on the tour. More like an old school dad that's threatening to hit you with a paddle. You know what I mean.
Dustin: Oh good. So like a real dad.
Ken Casey: Yeah. No, but when it's guys you just ... Even it's nice people that you just never met, there's still that feeling old process when you're touring with an old friends. It's just so fun from the get go.
Jeff: Yeah. This is the first ... It's crazy to think that both of you as bands have been around for so long. This is the first time that you guys have really been able to do a bunch of dates.
Ken Casey: Yeah. One time. We've done some random festivals and one time we did a show planned together with both of us in Philly. But that was the only time. Yeah. But there's also that we're ... You see it in metal a lot, they package up and pop backs. There is a bit of that theory that if you're similar enough bands, there's one plus one equal two. Sometimes one plus one might equal one and a half, and then you're not really doing either of yourselves a favor. But, man, in the European tour, one plus one equal four, you know what I mean. I think because it becomes an event that you don't want to miss, you know what I mean. So people were traveling for it and stuff. But yeah, it was fun.
Jeff: I was following you guys on social media and everything you were posting from every night, it just seemed like the crowd got bigger and bigger. You guys do Europe pretty much on the regular every year, right?
Ken Casey: Yeah. Europe's our biggest market actually. I mean, I don't know. I think it's maybe they don't have 2000 TV channels to watch at home. They just still go off for their entertainment or whatever. But also for a band of our nature, we've been able to work our way up the festival circuit. There's more and more festivals here, but even the festivals here are a little like, I don't know the right word. You got to be like the flavor of the month in the festivals. So it kind of mirrors radio in a way. So for us, throughout our career to not really be a radio band but to go on to these Europe festivals and keep climbing the slots to be getting the bigger crowds and stuff has really helped our career over there. They're just so, not to diss American fans, but they're so vocal. It's that nature of like the soccer. They're singing all the words. Like last night we played the Mohegan Sun Arena, and it was a great show for America. But there's a couple parts where you just like expecting the whole audience to sing it and we're like, "Oh shit. We're back in America. I better get on the mic." So it's different.
Jeff: A lot of bands talk about that, and I think you kind of said it, I think. Americans, we have too much in the form of entertainment, 2000 channels and the whole nine. It's like a lot of bands when they talk about going to Europe or Asia or even Great Britain and stuff, they always talk about people go to a show. That's the thing to do is to go see live music. It's a shame that we don't have that in America.
Dustin: Well, I here the Midwest is more like that, right? Because they don't have ...
Jeff: As much to do.
Dustin: As much to do.
Ken Casey: They don't have cable yet?
Dustin: They just don't have as many channels.
Ken Casey: I don't know. I mean, listen, I think obviously people still go all to shows here, but I do think that for a lot of bands, they tend to be bigger over there. I don't really know. I also think people ... The scenes, the different genres cross over more. Like on the festivals, it could be us then 50 Cent then Metallica. People just like, "Yeah. Music." Here's it's like, "I don't go to that music. I go to this music." So everything's a little more smaller and divided. But in general it's really hard for like a European band to crack America like touring wise and stuff because in Europe they really go ... They also take way better care of the bands with even in our early days. Not only feeding you but like making sure ... They'll arrange in some place for you to sleep and everything when you're starting out. It's just a different mentality. But we love America.
Dustin: We love you too.
Jeff: I got to ask then, will we ever see a Dropkick/Flogging Molly tour in the States?
Ken Casey: Maybe stay tuned for an announcement.
Jeff: I love it. I love it. Well, good. I hope so because like I said and like you said it looks like you guys had a ton of fun out there.
Ken Casey: At the end of this, I'll tape a breaking news, you hear it here first with Death Wish. But when and if it ever becomes official, then you can cut it in.
Jeff: I love it.
Dustin: Perfect. Perfect.
Jeff: I love it. Okay. That's perfect.
Ken Casey: Or I'll be like, "Announcing now, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly this summer in June. Announcing now, Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly this summer in July." Just keep doing that.
Jeff: We'll just keep going until we get one right.
Ken Casey: You'll be covered. Yeah.
Jeff: Perfect. I love it.
Dustin: So you guys are extremely well received here and obviously super well received in Europe. How's it go in Ireland?
Ken Casey: We're getting the key to the city in Albany today.
Dustin: Oh, really?
Ken Casey: You know what I'm saying.
Dustin: Wow. What's it open?
Ken Casey: Like we're big in Albany. I think we've only got it because it's a Sunday so they didn't have like anyone else to give it to today.
Jeff: I love it.
Ken Casey: No, but it's nice when people ... I think it's because it's the first show in this venue.
Jeff: Yeah. You guys are christening this venue the Albany Capital Center.
Ken Casey: Blocking some real interest in the downtown. The Sunday's down here, it's like the tumble weed blowing.
Jeff: Yeah. For sure. For sure.
Ken Casey: No, but, I mean, we're so lucky to be able to go where we go and travel.
Dustin: How's it go in Ireland for you guys?
Ken Casey: Good. Good.
Dustin: Is that crazy for you?
Ken Casey: Yeah. It's always been really good. I mean, the world now in the internet age, it's not so ... Like in the beginning, it'd be like, "Where's your pockets of popularity based on how many times you went there." Even like what bands were you friends with that maybe you got good shows going together in the early days. Now it's like people really know what they're getting and what you do and how you are based on they can just YouTube every show. Even before the internet was really a big player, I think just the nature of the punk rock word of mouth, I think we had a very ... Obviously, if you're playing New York, you're going to have more people than in a city that has 200,000 people in it. But over all it was a pretty across the board, whereas going back to the like the radio days. If it was a band that was a radio band, they might be like, "We're big in this because this station plays us," but then nobody knows us. We never had that. We had a pretty good, loyal, even following across the board.
Jeff: Talking about your early days, when the band started, it's a known story and I've actually heard you say it before that it was a bet to start the band. That was back in '96. When did this become ... Was there a tipping point with Dropkick Murphys where you guys were just kind of playing in the beginning and having a good time, and then it was like, "Oh, I want to have it as a career." Did the career just kind of like fall into place?
Ken Casey: Yeah. We never thought of music as a career.
Ken Casey: Never. But at some point you had to say, "I can't hold my day job and do this." But it was always kind of like ... So when the band started, I was back in school trying to get my special ed teaching degree. I was bartending. So I was going to school in the day and bartending nights at Symphony Hall, where the symphony plays in Boston. Killer job. I was kind of started as just functions and stuff, but you actually ... The way you got your own official bar was when someone had to die to get it. A guy died that work there like 50 years and I got his bar. The symphony's closed in the summer so it was a lot of teachers because they all worked two jobs and then they had the summers off. That's where my head was at at the time summers off.
So anyway, a kid that I worked with there was like he went to Berkeley School of Music and he was talking about starting a band. I did open for my band. It was three weeks notice and we did it as a joke. Had the notes taped on the back and just faking our way through it. But we actually wrote a couple songs. Anyway, then it was like couple more local shows and then a couple bands like, "Hey, just come up and play with us in New Hampshire." I can do that around work. "Oh, you should come down to New York." Then it was like, "You should do this weekend." Then we got offered some tours. The Bosstones offered to take us all around the country and to Europe, and actually even before the Bosstones, another U.S. tour. You're just kind of hold on to things and not burn bridges. I finally took a leave of absence from school and I went to Symphony Hall and I said, "Can you hold my job if I take a little leave of absence?" They said, "Sure."
It's funny because every year I would go with my family, bring the kids and stuff to they call it the Christmas Pops. It's like the symphony playing Christmas songs. I go out and see all the bartenders. They're all still there. They just redid the bars. Next to each bar they had like a little closet/hang out room that if no one was there yet, you could kind of hang in there. They tore those down. They said when they were tearing them down, this is a good 20 years after I left. People would hang their work clothes. They found my shirt and pants, my work clothes. They're like, "Wow." I'm like, "Man, that's not very cleanly right there." But my point is, for many, many years I was like, "You're still holding my job, right?" There was a good point where it had to be our job or our full-time occupation, but even at the same time, we were like, "This is fun but we got to go back to the real world at some point." I don't really ever remember having a moment where I said, "I don't have to go back to my real job." Because how knows. You might be back there someday. Who knows.
Dustin: You still kind of have that mentality that one day the fun times, the party's going to be over?
Ken Casey: Well, I don't think it's in that sense, but I think what job in the world now is like ... There's few and far jobs between now where you know you're going to retire in the job you started in. I think we just don't think of it as a job. I mean, it is what we do. But it's like a blessing. So when it's over, it won't be like, "Oh, that sucks. It's over." I think we'll legitimately be like, "Wow. I can't believe we got," as of right now, "21 years." I mean, that's way over the curve of what we were shooting for.
Dustin: How much longer do you think you could do if for?
Ken Casey: We're young at heart. The schedule we keep on is a little tough just because we have kids. So we're trying to balance life. It's a great opportunity but you're leaving for that first day of Europe and you know you're not going to see your kids in three weeks. It's like, I don't know if you guys liked school when you were kids, but it's how I'd feel like starting in mid-August when I know I had to go back to school in September. Just like, "Oh." It's bittersweet. You love your job but you miss your family. But it could be in Afghanistan so it's not something to complain about either. You balance it in your head, you know what I mean.
Jeff: Speaking of family, I think this is such an interesting thing about Dropkick Murphys. You guys have had a lot of members throughout the years. On and off some. Some new. Some old. But you seem to always be this tight nit group. When you get new members in the band, do you do an audition process or is it just kind of ...
Ken Casey: No, it's always been people we knew of friends of friends. I mean, we're a four piece and then James joined as the second guitarist. He was in bands, The Ducky Boys and all these bands we played with. We knew him well from the start of our career. So it was like, "James is in the band." It was like seamless. Ryan Foltz who was our first multi-instrument guy. He's a funny story because he just showed up at a show in Cleveland one time and got up on stage and just brought BYO banjo, whatever he brought. "Boy, you're pretty good. You want to be in the band?" He's funny because he stayed and then he left because he wanted to be a front house guy.
It's interesting with people. Sometimes it's not what they thought it was cut out to be. We're not very glamorous. We're pretty ... We treat it as a business. We're not living lavishly on the road. We're just it is what it is. Sometimes people or musically, but we've never really had falling outs and we've never had a weirdness when people come in. It's kind of like I've always said, "Lot it or leave it. Do not stay in this band if you can't make yourself happy with the touring. If you want to play different kind of music, don't try to turn Dropkick Murphys into a pop band because you want to write different songs." There's been people that go like, "Yeah, I want to do different music." We'll say, "Then you should go do it," you know what I mean. But that attitude. I think if you treat it like the whole thing is not Dropkick Murphys isn't the end all be all in the sense. It's like, "If you want to do something else, man, do it. We'll be all right." I always say that the band is bigger than any of the members anyway because it's more like a thing than a band.
Jeff: It definitely is. You guys have such a unique position in the music industry whereas a lot of bands will start to either want to tour the world or be famous or write the music they want to write. You guys, at your heart, are obviously writing the music and performing the music that you want to write, but you are now ingrained in other parts of that industry that lots of bands aren't. Such as sports, you guys have done so much with the Boston Red Sox, the Patriots, the Bruins, and also Boston, as a city at large, embraces you guys. That can't be something that you guys set out to day, but has it changed your mentality being in the band now that you have these other aspects to it?
Ken Casey: No, it's just they were all natural things. I mean, Boston supported the band. I always say like we had good support in the city, not so much coming from the sports teams back now. It's from even in the beginning we were starting out where grew up there, knew a lot of people, and there was that home grown support where it's six degrees of separation probably everyone in the city of Boston whether they're a relative or a friend or grew up with somebody. So there was that kind of not like a band that went to college there and said, "Oh yeah. We're from Boston," you know what I mean. We actually had roots and knew people. Then the sports things were really just ... Sometimes people would be like, "Oh yeah. You did that as a marketing thing." I'm like, "If we did, it would've been a great idea, but sadly, I did it because I love the fucking teams." There would be nothing wrong with doing it as a marketing thing.
But we wrote the song Time To Go about the Bruins. That song was just about my experience of how, as teenager, early teens, when you get to that age where you're going to Bruins games on your own with your friends. Taking the subway to the game, and that coming up onto Cosway Street and what the old Cosway Street used to be and that excitement of like, "I'm going to a Bruins game." It was like about being a fan. That song kind of got not like over the top accepted by the Bruins, but they would play it and that was kind of our first connection to sports. Then the Red Sox obviously when they asked us to remake the song Tessie.
Jeff: So they approached you.
Ken Casey: They approached us and they said, "We want you to redo this old song." I said, "Send me the song." Then I said, "Oh, we're in. Send me the song." Then they sent me the song and I said, "We're out," because it was just a horrible song. It was a Broadway song. It was a woman singing about how she tells all her secrets to her parrot. Whatever. But it was popular at the time. So what the Red Sox Royal Rooter fans would do is take that song and change the names to make it about ragging on the other pitchers and stuff. So we took the melody, kept the melody and changed a bunch of the words to be rebuild the history of the timeframe. [inaudible 00:18:15], a great sports writer for the Herald, Jeff Oregon, who knew a lot of the names and facts from the early 1900s. I'm a big Red Sox fan, but I don't really go back to the ... I knew about the Ruth trade and a lot of that.
Really that connection happened more because of the fact that they one. That became so big. I mean, I have one of my proudest things of everything we've done in the band is July of 2004, had a Boston Herald article framed on my wall about when we released the song Tessie and I said, "I guarantee a World Series." I meant it, you know what I mean. I meant it, I was talking out my ass because I was like, "I mean it. I feel it. I'm going to say it. If we don't win, everyone will forget." But no, but I really ... I don't know. I felt it, you know what I mean. So when we won, that was ... Then I always say we've only been ass back two other years by the Red Sox perform on the field in the playoffs and that 2007 and 2013. Those are the two other World Series in this century. So we're three for three. I don't think we'll go again. I think we'll just stay. We'll stay patting. Don't hit me.
Jeff: Speaking on that too, famously the Red Sox closer Papelbon used Shipping Up To Boston as his walk out music or stuff like that. When that kind of happens, is that again the team contacting you guys for the ability to use that or does he just do it and it just kind of ...
Ken Casey: I forget what happen there. I want to say ... I'm a little foggy here, but I think one of the radio stations like WVCN or something did a contest like should Papelbon use Wild Thing or Shipping up To Boston. I think that's what lead to him using it.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Ken Casey: Obviously we're not going to say no. We did say no when he went to Philly, but that wasn't even in a no. It was more like ... someone asked me in an article, "Can he still do it when he goes to Philly?" I said, "Why would he want to do it? It says 'shipping up to Boston'," then the article headline was 'Dropkick's say no to Papelbon'. I don't really care what ... I think it would be hilarious if there was a Shipping Up To Boston in Philly. People would be like, "What?" But no, that's been good to us. When he would come in and everyone's standing up and clapping. I was awkward for me as a Red Sox season ticket holder because you can't be up like, to your own song. So I was like, "Eh." Obviously when the closers coming in, everyone's in a good mood because you're winning.
Jeff: Yeah. Because I'm such a Red Sox fan, I just want to ask too, what was it like performing on the field, being able to do that?
Ken Casey: I mean ...
Jeff: All of Boston strong. The whole nation there.
Ken Casey: We were like kids in a candy store. I remember we filled the video for Tessie and we went out and shot it on the field. But the green's people was like, "Yeah, you can't go on the field because of the grass." So we were shooting kind of around the edges and playing out there. Then I came up with this idea because I was like, "Ah. I didn't think of this. I want to catch balls against the Green Monster." So we called up the Red Sox and we're like, "We got to finish this video." They're like, "Okay." Just going to catch balls against the Green Monster. It wasn't even for the video. We just lied because I wanted to go at this. Frank came with a camera. I'm up there and they were doing a tour of like kids from the school, like third graders, and the kids are all just walking by looking like, "Ah. I'm so jealous. That guys getting to catch balls against the Green Monster."
We're using every ... I remember when we did played before the Winter Classic at Fenway when they played the ... Who the hell did we beat in over time? Was it Philly?
Jeff: Philly, yeah.
Ken Casey: The NHL sent us credentials like two weeks in advance, which was a big mistakes because the rink was there. It was all kind of corporate rentals, but we had these All Access, like go anywhere you want passes. So I was just on the regular bringing huge amounts of people in the skate on the ice. It might have been some corporate event, but I'm like, "Right this way, guys." We're out there skating.
Jeff: All Access.
Ken Casey: The teams and all these guys that were running that things were like, "What the ..." I say, "Don't ever send the Dropkicks their passes two weeks early."
Then the ultimate really was I was on the field in St. Louis, that was really the ultimate when we won in '04. My grandfather who was 86 at the time. So the year he was born was the last time they won. He's since deceased, but I got to call him from the field. That was like, "Man." That was cool and then in 2013, we sang The Anthem at the World Series clinching game. It was a home game. That was our first out of the three that we won at home. So I had my kids there, my family. My kids were running the bases and sliding into home. I'm like, "Man."
Now, when I was a kid, I got to do a few things that I thought were as cool as could be. My grandfather was friend with Johnny Pesky was a legend for the Red Sox. So after the games, just a regular game, if we stayed and waited, them and we knew all the cops, they'd let me out on the field and dive on the field like I was Fred Lynn or something. So I thought like I had it made beyond what any kid could ever do on the field. Then I'm watching my kids and Big Poppy's kids are like racing around the bases. I'm like, "I hope these little shits appreciate this some day." I'm always like, "Do you realize?" But the younger kids of the generation of Boston sports, they're just so used to winning. They're kind of like, "Won't I be back here doing this next year?"
Jeff: Yeah. It was 84 years before they ...
Ken Casey: My daughter actually, after we sang The Anthem, we played Shipping Up To Boston on the field. My daughter, at the time, did Irish step dancing. Her school that was eight girls on each of the on deck circles dancing. So it's like she got to dance on the field. So it's like most of my sports kind of things now are more like the fact that my kids got to be on and be part of it in a way.
Dustin: That's really cool. Well, speaking on sports, I got to ask, what made you want to start a boxing promotion?
Ken Casey: I'm a glutton for punishment. No, I was ... A friend of mine, Danny O'Connor, Boston area kid, he was a 2008 Olympic alternate in Beijing. Turned pro. Following his career, watching, "Man, this kid was in the Olympics." It's so tough. He had a newborn baby. Just trying to train down with his trainer in Houston. Get ready for fights. Supposed to sell tickets, promote himself. It was just like, "I'll help. I can help you with this." I really just thought I'd be introduce him to the Dropkick's fans. Then it's really like quicksand. It's like, "Oh, you need that. Oh, I can do that. We can put on a show for you. I don't know if I can promote a concert. I can do a boxing show. Well, if we're doing it for one guy, might as well help these fighters." Fast forward six years later, we have probably 20 fighters signed a promotional contracts. Probably have maybe five or six that are in the top 15 in the world. One that's number one in the world with a guaranteed title shot coming up. Another one that just had a big knock out win on HBO and signed a huge two fit deal for his next two fits on HBO. So it's like ...
But I think with the boxing has done for me is like re-energized my promotional side because in the early days of Dropkicks, you really had to push it up the hill. Now its on autopilot. When I say its on autopilot, it's because we have the best people working for us. Friends that have been with us for 10 years, and they know their job. I can say like ... I never thought it would be this way to say like, "Hey, what time do I got to be there to be on stage?" Instead of like, "What time do I got to do this?" Now, with boxing, I'm back on, "Ah." But it's kind of re-energized that. Because boxing isn't what it used to be, but it's kind of on an ups. Well, again, particularly in Boston, there's a lot of great fighters. If we can use whether it's our connections or our ability to promote or style of the sport to kind of drive. It's great.
I also feel like I'm in my 40s. It's an awesome thing either a, father/son whatever to do, or guys my age because you're not going to club anymore. Not that I ever really went to the club. It's a good night out. You can see your friends it's not somewhere the music's blaring, you can't talk to. People enjoy that it's going. Obviously, culturally, I promote a lot of fighters from Ireland as well. They've traditionally had a big kind of home base in Boston. So it's nice to kind of keep that going.
Jeff: Yeah. It's so great. Not only I mean doing that, I mean, you've got the band going.
Ken Casey: And wanted to thank Death Wish for their support of Murphy's Boxing, one of our service sponsors.
Jeff: I was going to say, not only with Murphy's boxing on top of the band, another thing that we were so happy to support and help you guys out with is your Claddagh Fund. I just wanted you to talk a little bit, briefly on that too. How did you guys get into working with a charity and that kind of thing?
Ken Casey: We were always ... The band always had this attachment to charity stuff whether it was just because it was our way of making ... Not being like musicians at heart, there was always something we couldn't rectify in ourselves. "Oh, we should have real job." So doing charity work made the band feel more like a real job, like you were paying it back or whatever. So I think about 2009 now, we decided to start our own foundation because we're always doing little things with people here and there. When we did it under our own umbrella, it really ...
Jeff: Bless you.
Dustin: Bless you.
Ken Casey: Live podcast.
When we did it under our own umbrella of the Claddagh Fund, I really got all the fans got behind it. Like this is our thing too. We get crazy support in this sense that sometimes in this world you run into guys that have been successful and they have a company and they say, "I want to write a check from some pig corporation." You've got great companies like Death Wish that will want to get involved. Then sometimes you get just a kid whose like ... I mean, we literally have got like five dollar bills cash in the mail from a kid who's saying ... I'm sure his parents probably ... Whatever. But it's pretty awesome.
We've raised, I don't even know, over $2 million plus. We help people in the Boston area and substance abuse programs. We help veteran's programs and a lot of just children related charities. So we're just kind of partner up with other people. But we use our abilities to raise funds. We have two friends on the whole tour that volunteered their time to come and they're doing raffles and selling Claddagh Fund t-shirts. They'll raise $75,000 on this tour just from that.
Jeff: That's so excellent. I can hear. You're probably getting ready for a sound check so we'll wrap this up. But this is the question we ask everybody on this show, and for someone like you who has been in the music industry for so long on top of now doing all of your charity work, doing the stuff with Murphy's Boxing, probably a thousand other things that you're doing, what fuels you to keep doing that?
Ken Casey: Coffee.
Jeff: Thank you. That's an extra $10 in our check. But for real though, what fuels you to keep going out there and doing these different things, especially on top of it being a rockstar?
Ken Casey: Well, you're out seeing, meeting people, seeing the world, chasing life, living it. I would assume it's what everyone would dream to be able to do to be their own boss. I'm the type of person that would rather work 23 hours a day as my own boss than punch a clock. You know what I mean. I don't know if it's the entrepreneurial spirit or whatever. Yeah, it's what kind of motivates me in life. The grass is always greener I suppose, right. You could say, "It stinks to be away from home." But like I said, I think if I was ever at home all the time, I'd be like, "Oh, remember when I used to go there," you know what I mean. I never left Boston before the band. I went to Florida once to visit my grandparents when they moved down there. So it's like I've seen the whole world after that, it's pretty awesome. I look at my passport sometimes I'm just like, "Holy shit."
Jeff: That's so cool.
Ken Casey: How did I get to all these places. I saved every laminate that we've a tour laminate. Because that's really ... You could try to save all the newspaper articles or whatever, but to me the tour laminates in one Ziploc bag encompassing 20 years of touring. Well, we couldn't afford laminates in the early days, but probably encompassing the last 15 years of touring. I just look at those sometimes and go like, "Wow." So it's cool to be able to look back on it like that. Wouldn't trade it for the world. We'll do it as long as we have the good fortune to have people asking us back.
Jeff: That's so great. So you guys just got back from your European tour. You're now on a U.S. tour right now. Going into probably one of your busiest times of your year, the St. Patrick's Day, which, again, we were so excited to do a joint mug with you guys for St. Patrick's Day.
Ken Casey: When does it hit the streets?
Jeff: When this airs, it'll already be out.
Ken Casey: Okay.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah.
Ken Casey: Because my phones blowing up. People like, "Dude, how do I get one?" I'm like, "Ahh."
Jeff: Yeah. When this airs, it's going to already be out. So we could say the day.
Dustin: The fifth and the sixth.
Ken Casey: Okay. When you do something that has you as a person excited, I look at that mug and I was sent the pictures along the way. I'm just like, "Man, that thing is cool."
Jeff: It's so cool.
Ken Casey: To see the demand that you guys have built up in the whole series and stuff and be able to take that to our fans and the amount of money. It's so great. That's the type of thing. You guys have that kind of built in support and so do we that people would buy it just because they're supporting charity.
Ken Casey: Then they get something cool on top of it. So it's really cool. I'm excited about that mug.
Jeff: I am too.
Dustin: Me too.
Ken Casey: What I think what we want to do is take some of the ones that we'll get and raffle them every night. So if you come to a Dropkick Murphy show on this tour, you'll be able to get an already exclusive, limited edition mug but then signed by all the band members. You can buy a raffle ticket and someone will win one every night.
Jeff: That's so awesome. I'm really excited about this version.
Ken Casey: Then come back and we'll have a coffee backstage.
Jeff: I love this version of the mug because it's a big 20 ouncer. So I mean, obviously you can have a pot of coffee in there. You can put your beer in there or I always say on this show, one of my favorite things ...
Dustin: His damn chili.
Jeff: I love chili. I love to eat chili out of it. It's like the best chili bowl.
Dustin: He's putting chili in his mugs.
Jeff: Because you can get a nice, hot bowl of chili, but you got a handle for it. You just eat it all up. It's the freaking best.
Jeff: I'm just saying.
Dustin: It's really great to be able to take this fan base, this cool little object and turn it into a charity and be able to make it benefit to people who need it. It's really cool, man.
Ken Casey: It's cool because the amount of money raise is a legit amount of money. You guys are generous. Sometimes people are like, "We'd like to do this joint project and we'd like to give you one tenth of one cent for every 20 mugs you sell." This is going to raise like a lot of money for charity and help a lot of people. So buy a mug.
Jeff: We're very, very excited. Finally, you guys are on the heels of your ninth studio album came out last year. Are you actively writing the tenth one or you guys have you started?
Ken Casey: Yeah, we have some songs. We have probably like eight or nine songs that are some are finished, some are in the developmental stage. We're not in a real hurry to ... Because we did two albums back to back that are two years apart. I just don't like to ... I wanted to do one of those albums where you just don't tell anyone, you just drop it.
Jeff: The Beyonce.
Ken Casey: Yeah. Our manager said, "That's all well and good in theory, but unless you're Beyonce, no one knows it came out." What I mean is I didn't really want to go through the whole promotional ramp up because I just feel like I'm grateful to the people who want new music and stuff, but I also don't like to be ... We don't like to be like, "Here we are again." In your face. So it's kind of like, "Let's let another year go by and take the time to write more songs." We were really happy with what we got. Matter of fact, at the time, we even talk about doing a double album on the last one. You know what, those double albums people, getting back to that changing times. It's like people can barely take an album at a time because they're used to just singles. People starting to do things where they release like a song a month then an album at the end of the year. So to do a double album, hand someone 22 songs, in today's ADD kind of mindset of music. Be like, "Hey, what did you think of the second of the double album?" "Oh, I haven't got to that yet," you know what I mean. Then you'll hate us.
Dustin: Could you release something like that in Europe though? With attention span being a little bit more.
Ken Casey: No, I just say they come to concerts. I didn't necessarily their attention spans good.
Jeff: The industry as a whole, we really have kind of hearkened back to that whole 1950s mentality where the single is the commodity, not the full album anymore.
Ken Casey: Well, it's nice ... Speaking of singles, at least the vinyl has made a come back. That's how we really got our starters. We did all singles because that's how if you wanted to check out a band, you got their single because you didn't want to go buy a CD at the time or whatever the store was Barnes and Nobles or some of those selling it for $20, which is probably what led to the demise of if the record labels hadn't been so greedy back in the day overcharging for CD, people might not have tried so hard to find a way to download it illegally or stream it, whatever. But we've always ... We did a lot of split singles with other bands. Fan base. That's always been a huge thing for us with the vinyl. I mean, I think, I want to say like 25% or a third of our sales from our first week of the last album were all vinyl.
Dustin: Oh wow.
Jeff: That's excellent.
Dustin: That's great.
Ken Casey: I thought that's pretty cool because now if you want to own the ... If you want the thing to hold in your hand, you're not going to get the CD.
Ken Casey: Kids gave me CDs on tour. I'm like, "I don't even have a CD player. My car doesn't even have a CD player."
Jeff: Yeah. It's true.
Ken Casey: It's sad to say, but my daughter, who's now 16, last year, for Christmas when she was 15, she asked for a record player. It's like, "That's cool." She didn't do it from me pushing it on her.
Dustin: I got one for my birthday yesterday.
Ken Casey: Happy birthday. We've done this whole broadcast and you didn't somehow bring up your birthday.
Dustin: I did at the end though. I had to sneak it in there.
Ken Casey: Well, guess what. It's not your fucking birthday anymore.
Jeff: Damn right.
Ken Casey: Happy birthday.
Dustin: Thank you very much, man.
Jeff: Well, we can't thank you enough for taking time before the show.
Ken Casey: We can't thank you enough for everything you've done for the Dropkick Murphys. We love Death Wish and we love the charitable spirit and just how much fun you guys have with. You guys have fun with what you're doing. I'm a big fan of the Instagram and everything.
Jeff: Well, thanks a lot.
Ken Casey: It's cool to see people enjoying what they're doing.
Jeff: Well, I know that then it's safe to say that Dropkick Murphys and Death Wish Coffee will be doing lots more in the future together.
Dustin: Hell yeah.
Ken Casey: Absolutely.
Jeff: Again, thanks a lot for talking with us.
Ken Casey: Thank you guys.