After a year of performing in front of a virtual audience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, punk band Dropkick Murphys was ready to hit the road once it was declared relatively safe to do so. So the guys have teamed up with longtime friends Rancid to relaunch the previously announced Boston to Berkeley II tour, which will end in October with a trio of performances in Southern California.
“We have such a history,” said Dropkick Murphys bassist-singer Ken Casey in a recent telephone interview. Rancid singer-guitarist Tim Armstrong originally signed the Massachusetts-based band to its Epitaph Records subsidiary, Hellcat Records, in 1997. The band’s debut album, “Do or Die”, was produced by Rancid guitarist Lars Frederiksen .
âIt’s nice to be on tour with people you feel comfortable with, and it’s just a great vibe,â Casey continued. “Anytime we can tour with bands like this, it makes it even more special and with us, and our old history is very special.”
The tour, which takes place at outdoor venues, will take place at the Festival grounds of the OC Observatory in Santa Ana on Saturday October 9, Gallagher Square in Petco Park in San Diego on Sunday October 10, and the final date of the tour will take place at the Shrine Auditorium Grounds in Los Angeles on October 16. Each venue has its own list of health and safety measures, including clear bags and COVID-19 vaccination policies, so be sure to check the venue’s websites before the show date.
Fans will be able to hear new music from Dropkick Murphys, who released “Turn Up That Dial” in April. Primarily written during the lockdown, the album is upbeat and focuses on the importance of music in these tumultuous times. Casey said it wasn’t too hard to try and see the bright side just because he needed to escape all the bad news.
âMentally you just had to put yourself in this place and you had to imagine a lot of the time, thinking about all the music and songs that inspired us,â he said. âIt was a lot to look back at happier times. The good times will come and return already right now.
Since the group has always been looking to create, but not spread COVID-19 among their team over the past year or so, Casey said they had the brilliant idea of ââusing puppets in their music videos and even for a little colorful commentary during live events.
âYou can never have enough puppets in your life, you know,â he laughed. He admits that he was probably the most enthusiastic about bringing the puppets on board for the band’s âHBDMFâ video and that in the past he had been on a tour where he only spoke through a puppet. and “the group was ready to put me in a place that I couldn’t get out of at night.”
âWe’ve done a lot of cartoon and puppet videos for a big reason,â he said. “Puppets and cartoon characters don’t get COVID.”
At the height of the lockdown, Dropkick Murphys performed four live performances, including two St. Patrick’s Day shows in 2020 and 2021, an album release show, and performed in an empty Fenway Park in Boston, which practically included a guest appearance of Bruce Springsteen, who performed his song “American Land” and joined the group for his “Rose Tattoo”.
âIt was a special day that we will not soon forget,â he said of his performance at Fenway. Although the group had performed inside the stadium before, this time was unique: While the livestream was free, it was also a fundraising effort that brought in over $ 750,000 which went at the Boston Resiliency Fund, Feeding America and Habitat for Humanity in Greater Boston.
âIt was the icing on the cake of it all,â he said. âOur manager kept running across the stage with the totals and he was like ‘$ 750,000!’ and I was like, ‘Does he have an extra zero on that? What is he talking about ? It was pretty awesome and it makes you proud to know that you have people like that in your area.
Casey said virtual gigs are important, but for a band used to inviting dozens of their fans on stage and braving mosh pits to mess with the crowd every night, performing in front of a single camera was hard to understand. about.
âYou have to mentally adapt to that,â he said, noting that he would not rule out other live performances in the future. âYou just tell yourself that when you look at the camera, there are these other people on the other side looking at you. Mentally it’s tough because we’re so lucky to have an energetic, enthusiastic fan base and we just feed off of it, but when a song ends and there’s no applause and no one to interact with is like, ‘Hey, okay.’ You just have to work a lot harder. Now, however, getting back to those shows, it looks like a piece of cake. “
He said the group could feel the crowds releasing their pent-up energy, but they were always cautious, only performing these shows outdoors and not inviting people on stage. They are also not venturing into the audience just yet.
âHey, if we and the fans can get 90% of normal it’s better than what we got,â he added.
Dropkick Murphys and Rancid: From Boston to Berkeley II
With: The Bronx
When: 5 p.m. Saturday October 9
Or: Observatory OC Festival Grounds, 3503 South Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana
Tickets: $ 50 to Ticketmaster.com
Also: 6 p.m. Sunday, October 10 at Gallagher Square in Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., San Diego. Tickets are $ 35 to $ 45 at Ticketmaster.com; 6:00 p.m. Saturday, October 16 at the Shrine Auditorium Grounds, 700 West 32nd Street, Los Angeles. Tickets 49.50- $ 60 to AXS.com.