After long sessions playing X-Box inside his bus, Scruffy Wallace from Dropkick Murphys takes a moment to speak with me before preparing for his set.
Scruffy, can I call you Scruff?
So, Scruff, have you seen any bands perform today at Warped Tour that you liked?
Not really. We need more punk bands on this tour.
Like the old school stuff? The Casualties were sick.
Unfortunately I haven’t seen them play yet.
They already performed. We did the Death Wall. I got someone else’s blood on my shirt.
How many Warped Tours have you guys played?
We did ’98, ’03 and ’05.
98 Warped Tours!? I didn’t know they did that many!
(Scruffy chuckles heartily.)
Yeah, so this is number four. We did the full tour on all of them.
Did you go to Warped Tour as a kid?
Of course. I got to see Bad Religion and NOFX on the same stage. But there are no punk bands left.
Bad Religion was dope last year. I got to catch The Adicts as well.
Yesterday Fear and the Angry Samoans played, which was unreal. It’s good to see punk bands coming back. This emo this…
I heart Agent Orange and GBH were supposed to be here, but they flaked. Anyway, let’s talk about this new album of yours. Where will you guys record it at?
We have a place in Stoughton, Massachusetts called the Outpost. Tim Cevos is our guy and it’s a great studio. It’s a great place to relax and when it comes down to doing the job it’s really comfortable and easy and everyone can just get it done.
How many albums have you recorded there?
All of them except The Warrior’s Code. We did that at a place called Q Division in Massachusetts. It was because someone else was recording something in the studio and we had a timeline to get it done so we didn’t record that one there.
How much material do you have written for the new album?
We have recorded it. We have a multi-tracker in our studio and whatever ideas come up, we record so that way we don’t forget. Writing a new record is chaos when you’re like, “Oh, shit, there was a break here, chorus there.” So we record everything we do and then after that, we go back and sort everything out and keep condensing, condensing, condensing until we have a song.
So that is the Dropkick Murphy production process.
That is the production process.
You make a little rough draft and then string it together?
Yeah. And then what we’ll do is, I’ll send a pipe or whistle line to the guitar player and he’ll listen to it and then he’ll send that on with a guitar track and then everyone gets it at home.
Right on. What is different with this new album compared to the last?
Well, you know, it’s Dropkick Murphy’s, so we’re going to stick to things we think are important. Family and friends and the loss of people and things that happened to us during the album’s process is usually what we write about. There are obviously certain themes we write about like unity, unions, free speech…
And drinking and fighting.
Drinking and fighting and just hanging out with friends.
It’s good stuff, and you guys definitely have your own iconic style.
What kind of length are we looking at for the album?
It will probably be another fourteen or fifteen track album. Maybe one cover we’re talking about, that I can’t tell you about because it’s a bit of a surprise, but I think everyone will like it. Last album, we did a Thin Lizzy cover, so this time we’re going to do something to top ourselves even more.
Is the cover song within the same vein?
Not so much.
Have you played any of the new material on the tour?
No, nothing yet.
So you guys must have the largest number of people on this tour.
There are about 30,000 of us on the bus.
(Scruffy and I share a laugh)
No, there are about 18 or 19 of us.
Is it kind of annoying to keep track of everyone or is it intimidating when you walk into a venue with that many people?
No, we’re just a big happy family. I think that comes across in what we do and the way we carry ourselves around venues and tours and shit like that. We like to drink every night. If you want to have a beer with us, come on over.
You don’t get drunk and go intimidate the emo bands?
No, no. We’re all old men. I’m 38 years old. Ken’s 40. Al’s 41. We’re all older dudes and those days for us are all gone.
Yeah, you all have families and everything.
That’s it. I have a son. Our singer has a boy and a girl. Our bassist Kenny has three little ones. We’re all family oriented and I think that comes across in our music.
Definitely. Thanks for chatting with me, Scruff.
Thanks for having me.
Photos by Pamela Lin