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The Dropkick Murphys, a famous Celtic-punk rock band, are making a somewhat unexpected stop in Louisville for their “Halfway To St. Patrick’s Day Tour.” Originally set to play X-Fest in Dayton, Ohio on September 16th, the festival was cancelled. The band then decided to replace the X-Fest show here in Louisville at Headliners Music Hall on Sunday, September 16th at 8p.m. which is open to ages 18 and over. Matt Kelly who plays drums, vocals, and bodhran (an Irish frame drum) for the Dropkick Murphys talked to us about playing with the band and other exciting affairs.

Louisville.com: You joined the Dropkick Murphys in 1997. How did that come about and what made you decide to take this opportunity?

Kelly: Well the band formed in 1996. I joined in 1997. At the time Boston street punk was the big thing and 80’s hardcore and Brit punk were influencing lots of music. The Dropkick Murphys came out of nowhere in 1996. They were one of the few bands who weren’t falling on the stage drunk and were really good. They were my favorite Boston band at the time. Basically I would go out and see them all the time. We had a mild rapport. I played with another band and we were actually on the same bill as them. Their drummer at the time didn’t want to do full time touring. I talked to Ken and he was like, “I like your style” and told me I should audition. I was like what the hell. I dug the music and started playing with them in April 1997. This was the stuff I was around in my upbringing.

Louisville.com: Speaking of your upbringing, what is your musical background? Did you have formal training, self-taught?

Kelly: Both. My dad is a drummer. I wanted to play saxophone until I was 8. Then my dad had his drums out one day and thought they were pretty cool. When I was a little kid I listened to a lot of Van Morrison. When I was 5, 6, and 7 I listened to a lot of ACDC and Zeppelin. Hardcore stuff like that. When it was obvious I wanted to play drums my dad said, “listen you’re gonna take lessons,” so I started drum lessons. Eventually I could just listen to drum parts and learn them. I played in elementary, high school, and after. I didn’t play much in college much to my parents’ disproval. I was playing with a lot of people. I played in high school band and orchestra. I’ve been playing since I was 9 and playing in bands since I was 12/13.

Louisville.com: I noticed on your website you have a new cd coming out early next year.

Kelly: It’s called “Signed and Sealed in Blood.” There are lots of great new tunes. We started writing a year ago and recording earlier this year. We had a break in the middle due to touring. We just finished getting it mixed.

Photos: courtesy of the Dropkick Murphys' website

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About Anna Blanton

Anna Blanton holds a Bachelors of Arts in Music (violin) and a Minor in Marketing from the University of Louisville. Anna currently plays with the Paducah Symphony, folk rock band- Field of Kings, and fuzz/folk rock band- Jack Holiday and the Westerners. From 9-5 she is the Development Information Manager at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. She is also a Production Assistant for the Beatles festival, Abbey Road on the River.

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