The Dropkick Murphys get the drop on St. Patrick's Day partying!

"We've got surprises for every night," promises Dropkick Murphys bassist-vocalist Ken Casey of the band's annual St. Patrick's Day extravaganza, which kicks off at Avalon tonight.

This year the Murphys have got to come up with a couple of more surprises than usual, because the three-show affair has blossomed into four, all sellouts. Casey thinks he knows why the Irish-flavored punk rockers sold more tickets this year. ``We put the live record out from last year and that
made a lot of people who weren't there last year want to be there this year.''

He promises that ``for the few die-hards that might subject themselves to the torture every night'' there will be different set lists, interesting covers and some surprise guests.

Fans should also expect some kind of tribute to the late Joe Strummer of the Clash.

``Most of my idols that I have met unfortunately have let me down, but I can
say he's definitely not one of them,'' Casey says.

Strummer requested the band's presence at a local performance a few years ago through their shared label, Epitaph. ``He came in the backstage and there was a group of about 30 people and everybody was talking and partying, and when we walked in he says to the whole room, `Everybody shut up! This is
the Dropkick Murphys.' And he introduced us around and my jaw was just hanging open. He was a really down-to-earth guy.''

Though ``Everybody Shut Up! This is the Dropkick Murphys'' does sound like an excellent title for another live album, the band will first finish and release its new studio album, ``Blackout,'' in June.

Along with barroom sing-alongs and rapid-fire rockers, the Murphys also will perform a pair of new Woody Guthrie songs. ``We had the good fortune of being contacted by Nora Guthrie, Woody Guthrie's daughter, and she allowed us to have access to some of his unrecorded lyrics and let us put some music
to it, similar to the Billy Bragg-Wilco thing,'' says Casey. ``We did two songs, `Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight,' which is where we got the title from, and one called `Chipping Off to Boston,' which we're probably going to use
as a B-side.''

Following the album's release, the band again will hitch its wagon to the Warped tour.

For now, Casey just hopes he and his bandmates make it through the weekend.
Not the shows, but the backstage parties with family and friends. He says with a laugh, ``Sometimes I wonder if there's more people backstage than out front.''

By Sarah Rodman
Friday, March 14, 2003

Courtesy of the href='' target='_blank'>Boston Globe