Dropkick Murphys - James Lynch

Dropkick Murphys - James Lynch

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Maybe DROPKICK MURPHYS is not the classic Metal band but it does fit the free-spirit and fighting mentality of the metalhead. Also, the Punk foundations are something the Metal scene always respects, so METAL KAOZ could not miss the opportunity to talk to James Lynch a couple of hours before the very successful second live day in Chicago.

How was yesterday’s show here in Chicago?
It was packed and it was great. Every time we are in Chicago, we have a great time. We love it here! It feels like second home...

So, let’s talk about the new album; who is Cornelius Larkin after all?
It’s a fictional character but his story is based on true stories from my grandfather (Cornelius Lynch) and Ken’s grandfather. Michael Patrick McDonald took bits and pieces from all the stories and made a single one about this fictional character. It was a lot of fun and I learned many things about my grandfather.

In the album Cornelius has passed away; does this mean that you won’t be dealing with him in the next DROPKICK MURPHYS album?
I don’t think so; the story has taken a life of its own and I think Michael Patrick McDonald will continue writing about the character.

What about the music, how long did it take you to write the music in “Going Out In Style”?
We worked on writing the album for about three months and then we worked with Ted Hutt for the production. We haven’t worked with a producer with that capacity since the first album I did with the band and it was really interesting because we started basically with nothing. We sat down with the producer and started writing together. We actually picked up the electric guitars almost after a month. Our drummer Matt Kelly was using an acoustic guitar and we all were working on ideas. After that month we got into playing everything loud and things started getting shape. I’d say the entire process took us three or maybe four months of working every day.

So, you are working all together; that may sound strange to some, since most of the times there is one or maybe two members writing all the music.
No, with us it is a collective effort. Sometimes, one comes up with a riff and then we all work on it and build a song. It has to come through everyone to be a DROPKICK MURPHYS song.

Does the fact that working from scratch with the producer mean that you did not have a clue of what you would like the album to sound?
We had absolutely no idea and I am so happy with the result that I believe we should do it for the next album. Start with nothing and see what will come.

Did the success of “Meanest Of Times” add pressure to you to write something better and more successful?
You know, we always do what we want to do. The band has never asked help from anyone and does what it feels best. We had a lot of good things that happened like the “Departed” movie soundtrack and maybe this brought a couple of new people in the shows but in the end of the day this is what we do. We haven’t changed anything.

Do you feel the band like a family to you?
Without question! Actually, I had some bad news today and I might have to leave the tour for some days. An uncle of mine had a heart attack and does not look good. But I didn’t have to ask the band. They did not give the chance to say “I am staying” because family always comes first.

Well, we wish you the best luck with your uncle.
Thank you very much. I got a really bad streak as far as it goes; nothing bad ever happens when I am home but the second I hit the road something...

Is being away from your family the only bad thing when you are on tour?
Yes, that is the only bad thing. It is an amazing life being blessed to visit places and play live.

I have to ask you; how are you going to play today having in mind the situation back home?
Well, this is what we do and actually my uncle would tell me to play.

Of course! Ok, let’s go back to the new album; you have a lot of non electric instruments in your music when all these come to play during the music composing process?
All these instruments are actually a big help when it comes to write music because they have different and unique sounds. For example “Memorial Day” was born from a riff written by Jeff DaRosa with a new instrument he discovered and one day brought to my house. You can take the same 3 chords you use and throw them in another instrument and get a way different result.

Did you use bouzouki this time?
Yeah we did! I cannot tell specifically where but what I can tell you is that this album was kind of showcase for us. The producer wanted to see if we could play all these instruments and this I think sits on top of the record giving it another dimension.

From your point of view what are the differences between this and the previous album?
I played more guitars than the previous album. This was the first album without Marc Orrell who did a lot of guitar work. So, it was up to me and Tim Brennan to split this work. And the producer pushed me to do more than I had in mind, so I am really proud of the result.

What about “The Boss”? How did this happen working with Bruce Springsteen?
The whole thing was unbelievable. His son is a fan of the band and together they came to see us live in New York City a few years ago. We built a friendly relation with him and he invited some of us to play live with him when he was in Boston. And it seemed like a natural thing since we are singing the same songs to different generations of people. And it was a good fit! He immediately accepted the proposition, so we sent him some songs and asked him to do whatever he liked. He was totally cool and humble and I still cannot believe that we actually did this with him. All our parents were very excited about it.

How did the band get involved in the Wisconsin Union Workers strike?
It is something that has been always a big deal to the band, whether it is in the news or not, to support the workers and their rights. And we don’t care if this has an effect on the band since this is what we are and stand for.

But, what can a band do in situations like this?
For starters we try to take people’s mind of it for two hours with our shows and give them a good time. Also, we want all these people who are fighting for their rights to know that we are thinking of them and we are here to support them by spreading the word and making their issues known to others.

Yeah, music has to have an opinion after all. Ok, back to music, are there any plans to release a new DVD?
We will keep on filming and I am sure we are going to have a lot of “garbage” to put out there (laughs). We also have a lot of footage while in the studio, so I am very sure it will come out eventually.

DROPKICK MURPHYS attracts different crowds, from metalheads and punks to young kids that just like your music. So, how the band is dealing with this mixed audience?
When one enters the venue’s doors everything goes out of the window. We try to create a party and we love seeing all those different people out there. After all, they are all DROPKICK MUPRHYS fans and there is no discrimination.

I have one  more question about your connection with the Irish tradition; is this a trivial question for you?
The coolest thing with this band is that we play Irish music and feel proud of it and we have people from different countries and cultures telling us that “being proud of being Irish makes me feel proud of what I am”. And that is the message that we can all be involved.

These were the best words to finish this interview! Thank you for your time!
Thank you too, guys!