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Livewire's One on One

Tim Brennan
Tim Brennan

Exclusive Vans Warped interview
with The Dropkick Murphy's Tim Brennan

by Phil Bonyata & Karen Bondowski
July 6, 2005

CL: So, where are you guys from?

TB: Boston.

CL: How is Warped tour going an how's everything working out with the band?

TB: Good! It's only day two. but we're having a good time. Yesterday and today have both been beautiful days - so it's kind of nice to just be able to hang outside. We're playing some new songs and people seem to dig them.

CL: Do you have any good tour stories from the past?

TB: Hmm... I've had some stories that I won't tell. But, I don't know - like two years ago when we did the Warped Tour and I wasn't officially in the band yet, I was doing merch for them and playing accordion on like a couple of songs and that was the worst summer of my entire life. I think I dropped about thirty pounds and I was about four shades darker by the end of summer. They put me to work, but shortly after they asked me to join the band, so I guess it all worked out. But yeah, it was just a typical hellish tour. I mean you'd wake up at like eight in the morning and push a bunch of boxes across a field and then at like ten at night, you'd tear everything down and put it back on the bus.

CL: Do it again tomorrow!

TB: Yeah. Pass out and then wake up and do it again. (laughs)

CL: What is punk to you?

TB: I don't know. I mean obviously there's a lot of different opinions about that. Now there's some people who think that punk is a whole commercial thing and that it's just sort of a fashion thing and it's just a fad. But, I don't know. I think punk music is... I don't know! It's not as narrow as some people might think it is as far as punk music goes. You've got so many different bands out there that have this punk ethos but, don't have the punk sound. I think it's just doing what you want to do and if for some people punk rock is just completely anti-establishment.. I don't know... I don't think you have to go that extreme.

CL: Who are your biggest inspirations?

TB: Obviously bands like The Pogues. I think recently we've all been listening to stuff like... Mark is a huge Stones fan and he does a lot of... since he's joined the band he's put a lot of subtle, underlying Stones rifs on songs."

CL: Exile on Main Street?

TB: Yeah, he lives and dies by that record!

CL: Do you have any favorite lyrics form your band or another band?

TB: "Pair of Brown Eyes" (The Pogues) is a great one - the first that grabbed me lyrically was "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" (The Pogues).

CL: "If I should fall from grace with god
Where no doctor can relieve me
If I'm buried 'neath the sod
But the angels won't receive me..."

TB: That's it! (laughs)

CL: With Lollapalooza dying - will Vans Warped ever become stale?

TB: I don't know man - 10 years this thing has been going on thus far and they keep on getting new bands all the time. Like all the bands that the kids want to hear and see. As long as they keep putting bands like that together under one show - I don't think it can get any better than that. I mean like Lollapalooza you had a lot of dull like mainstream bands. With Warped you have so many bands under the radar that are playing the main stages. Bands like The Transplants and Rancid, whoever you know. Especially, bands that would never tour together. So, I think it will keep going for a while. I have pretty good faith in that.

CL: Will a $7.00 bottle of water kill the Warped Tour?

TB: I suppose so - but that's largely up to venues to put the price on water. It's entirely possible that's what it could be that does it.

CL: Do you notice many other bands playing with the accordion and bagpipes?

TB: I see a lot of kids that are modeling themselves after The Pogues, Flogging Molly and ourselves. We were playing in Japan and there was a band that had bagpipes, accordion and mandolin and they were awesome! (laughs) They were so good - they were called The Clovers.

Tim BrennanCL: A Japanese, Irish punk band.

TB: (laughs) Yeah, they were crazy!

CL: Do you ever read your CD or concert reviews?

TB: Yes! Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's bad obviously.

CL: How do you deal with the bad?

TB: I sort of look at it as something to work on. I guess. If someone says something negative and I agree with it - I'll think about it for awhile. There was somebody that went on a message board and did the "10 Things I Hate About The Warrior Code" You know and he had some good points, but there were some things that he was just trying to take a shot at a song or whatever. If you can find like a genuine criticism between the expletives - like people saying they hate your record - you might get something out of it without paying too much attention to it. Obviously, it's better to look at the good rather than the bad.

CL: How has life changed for the members in the band especially with you coming from the merch table?

TB: We're able to support ourselves comfortably. Nobody is making enough money for lavish houses and things like that, but it has allowed Ken to have a nice house for his three year old daughter, newborn baby and wife. Al just had a baby. It's never anything that will go to our heads. We make enough money to think about our families. Obviously we love playing music, but at the same time it's a job to us. We're just happy that we're able to support ourselves doing this.

CL: Would you go naked onstage, if you could?

TB: Personally, no. Mark the guitar player probably would. I don't think it's our gimmick. I can't promise that if we gave Mike enough Jaegermeister that he wouldn't do it.

CL: What's the songwriting protocol within the band?

TB: Ken and Al take care of the lyrics. As far as the music it's pretty much myself, Mark, James and Matt. A lot of times Ken or Al will come up with a melody and we will write music around it. It's very collaborative, especially on this past record. Everyone had their hands in the pot.

CL: If you could sum up Vans Warped in a couple of words - what would it be?

TB: A sweaty, hot, drunk good time.

More Dropkick Murphys
Vans Warped Tour 2005, Milwaukee June 19, 2005

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