The Boys are back!
Hello Tim! It’s been 4 years since your last album! Why did you wait for so long?
Tim Brennan (guitar): We did a lot of touring on our last album and then we took a little bit more time to write the album than we normally do. We started writing songs for this album like two years ago. It wasn’t until the beginning of 2016 that we sat down and put everything together. So I don’t know why it took that long. (laughs)
“11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory” is the band’s 9th album. For this one, you went to Texas to record it. Why this choice to go somewhere far from home? Did you already think of that in the past?
Tim: We didn’t thought about it before simply because it’s very nice to record at home but at 6PM people are looking at their watches and going back home. (laughs) In Texas when you’re surrounded by 30 miles of desert, there’s nothing to do but record. We went down there to just really focus as possible and also to get a little bit of a different inspirational point. Being in the desert was a different headspace for us.
What’s the meaning/aim of this title? What does it refer to?
Tim: It makes reference to, in folk and Irish music, stories. I guess it just ties the whole traditional storytelling and the music which I think is cool because this album musically has stepped out. There’s still the Dropkick sound but musically it’s a bit different. Each song is telling a tale on their own.
And what about the cover? Where is it taken from? It looks old.
Tim: Yeah it’s an old picture that we’ve found. It’s a kid standing on a box and has a super passionate look on his face and surrounded by all the other kids eating up everything that he’s saying. It’s funny because we picked up the artwork before the election and all that but coincidentally that’s what it looks like in America’s streets now. We saw it like a little-kid meeting and thought it was a resonating image.
You released “Blood” as the first single. Isn’t there some kind from “Ring Of Fire”? It sounds pretty similar.
Tim: We take influence from so many places but yes that’s our little tip of the cap to one of our heroes.
Some of the songs relates to your charity’s activities, but not only. Can you say more about that?
Tim: Sure. We have a charity named the Claddagh Fund. Basically we realized we were in a position to do decent matter of good as we played charity gigs so we started our own and helped the places we wanted to. One of the topic we deal with is drug and alcohol abuse recovery. One of the songs, a cover, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is like the mission’s statement of the whole thing.
Especially in this time, we’re really trying to help people in the North East. There’s like a horrible drug epidemic going on and we want to let know people out there that they can ask for help. We’re just trying to help.
What inspire you the most as a guitar player?
Tim: I really suppose other music. I listen to so much music, different stuff and guitar players. I really get inspired by pieces of music that I hear whether I want to figure out how to play it or just come up with something similar. I also watch a lot of television while playing guitar. That inspires me too. (laughs)
How is a record process in the band? Do you work from scratch in the studio? How’s the interaction between the different instruments?
Tim: Typically we have a fairly good idea of how the songs, for the most part, will sound before entering the studio. For the interaction, we know how it works or not. We’ve been pretty good now for hearing those additional instruments but that being said, there’s sometimes when the idea come up in the studio but that’s pretty rare even it’s fun to do.
There’s also “4-15-13” about the Boston marathon bombing. What did make you wanna write about this tragic event? Is it to honour the victims or also a kind of therapy?
Tim: First when that happened we were on tour away from home on the West Coast. A lot of us had trouble with that because we had people at home and if they weren’t running they were watching it in the city so that wasn’t the most fun day for us.
Ken did a phenomenal job on the lyrics because to be able to nail the feelings of something that like is pretty tough. The song is about that kind of person or these ones but at the end we need to stand together you know. No matter who we are we’re just trying to make it through the day. It’s a tough thing to write about.
Two days ago, France honoured last years’s attacks’ victims. What was your reaction when you heard about it? Is it something you think of walking on stage?
Tim: No but only because you can’t think about something like that. That was awful. Not only we played the Bataclan but typically people were going to a show just to have a good time. The fact that all of those people were just fuckin’ happy two seconds before it happened. It’s so devastating. The other side of that, walking on stage knowing that could happen or like Dimebag or whatever, unfortunately you can’t think about it because if you do you’ll never walk on stage again. We need to get up there and entertain people. I’m sure people there were out to forget about stuff and just have fun that night.
I felt personally attacked. It’s scary and it’s terrible. But you can also see how amazing people can be after such tragedy like after 9/11 in New York City but also how awful.
This album still is a party record! Which songs are the best to party hard here?
Tim: The opening song is an old Irish song where we put the chants on, it’s bang and great opener. “Blood” that just got released, it’s not super up tempo but is powerful. Then “I Had A Hat” sort of standard Dropkick song. For the most part, except the one on the Marathon bombing, you can party your face off to the whole album.
There’s many people in the band. How do you manage to keep a good mood while working and touring?
Tim: First of all we have the best crew in the world and that makes touring easy because we’re 6 or 7 in the band that could easily never want to see each other again. (laughs) And then we have the crew guys who bring us all together. We’re all good friends and we’re family. Going out on the road is like just hanging out with friends. Playing live every night is the best job in the world so that makes it easy.
Once again you’re releasing the record through Born & Bred, your own structure. The business is evolving nowadays but you did it back in 2007. What did it allow you to do comparing to a simple music deal?
Tim: We could put everything on our own terms. We’re our own record label. We don’t have to answer to anybody about how the songs must be or anything like that. We have total control about our stuff and that’s obviously the ideal thing. We were thinking of it at a time where people were asking “what do label do for you? Other than owning your songs”. It was a way for us to control our music and everything else and it’s been great so far. We have to answer to ourselves and that’s it.
Before the last question, we have something important to ask you: what’s your favourite drink?
Tim: I would have to say a straight up Coca Cola. (laughs)
Finally, we are “RockUrLife” so what rock your life Tim?
Tim: Music, family & friends those are the most important things to me.