Waving the Irish flag in the name of Boston, the Dropkick Murphys began as a four-piece punk group and have gone on to record unreleased songs by Woody Guthrie. Frontman Al Barr says it's not that much of a stretch.
"The Pete Seegers, the Woody Guthries of the world, they were the Joe Strummers of their time," he says. "Folk music is the punk of then -- music by and for the people. And with the band, we take the old trad songs and put our own spin on it. Kids bring their grandparents to shows to hear us play 'The Rocky Road to Dublin' or one of the other ones we've managed to fuck up."
Representing the Murphys' extremes, two highlights from the new The Warrior's Code are very different-sounding memorials. Their take on Eric Bogle's "The Green Fields of France" is a tearjerking piano lament, while instant fan favorite "Your Spirit's Alive" is a rowdy punk send-off for a fallen crew member. For this tour, the band continues to reach into its back catalog, including nuggets from its other 2005 release, Singles Collection, Volume 2, for some timely cover tunes.
"It's still fall, so we'll play [the Misfits'] 'Halloween,'" says Barr. "And we'll bust out [Creedence Clearwater Revival's] 'Fortunate Son.' And someone might ask us for some Sham 69, so we might play 'Hey Little Rich Boy.' We go into a show like we're going to see the band -- Do you just want to hear new songs? No."