Inquiring Minds

Inquiring Minds: Dropkick Murphys' Al Barr On Boston Politics And His Punk-Loving Kids

Since 1996, Boston's Dropkick Murphys have been leading the young and old astray with their own brand of Celtic punk rock and rugged pub leanings. Over almost a decade and a half, the band has released six studio albums, two singles and rarities collections, and a couple of live albums, including the upcoming Live On Lansdowne, Boston MA CD/DVD concert document, due March 16.

In the late '90s, the band came roaring out of the garage with lead singer Mike McColgan out front and co-founder Ken Casey handling bass and backup vocals. Early on the band was closer to their local Oi! and hardcore forebears, with the Celtic stew not quite fully simmered. McColgan was on board for 1998 debut LP, Do Or Die, before leaving the fold a year later to pursue a career as a Boston firefighter.

Soon after, Bruisers frontman Al Barr stepped in as McColgan's replacement and the band released their sophomore album, The Gang's All Here, during the summer of 1999 in time for a jaunt on the Vans Warped Tour. Buoyed by the ace title track and the amped-up traditionals "Amazing Grace" and "The Fighting 69th," the album would also telegraph the new sound to come for the Murphy's, who began adding fiddles, bagpipes and other Celtic-derived instruments to their live show.