What's on your rider? Ken Casey of Dropkick Murphys

Fri, Jan 11, 2013, 00:00

What’s on your rider?Everything from cereal for breakfast, peanut butter jelly for lunch and Poptarts for dinner. All the basic food groups. But the most important sought-after items on the rider would be Budweiser and Marlboros.

What would be on your fantasy rider?We request new socks every night. We don’t always get them, but when we do we are very happy. No matter how many socks you bring on tour, you never have enough.

What’s your pre-gig ritual/ routine?Right before we take the stage we all get together and touch fists. It’s partly to make sure everyone is pumped up for the show and partly to make sure all seven hands are in. Why? We have gone on stage with someone in the bathroom.

What’s the best gig you’ve been to?Many years ago we played a festival in London with Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, and The Pogues. I sat on the side of the stage with Strummer watching The Poques play. Watching one of my favorite bands while sitting next to my favorite singer was an amazing experience.

And the worst?I had to take my daughter to Justin Bieber . . . Ouch.

What are your favourite and least favourite venues?CBGB’s in New York, The Rat in Boston, which is where we got our start, and places like the Palladium in LA and Brixton Academy in London. I don’t have any specifics I dislikes, but we don’t like venues if there’s a real stiff corporate feel or the security is heavy-handed with the audience.

Who is the most famous person to have shown up at one of your gigs?Norm from Cheers showed up one time, but by far it would be Bruce Springsteen, who has come to many of our shows and joined us on stage and invited us to join him on stage. In our eyes, there’s no topping that.

Groupies. Would you?I’m in Dropkick Murphys, not Mötley Crüe. We once had a tour bus driver that said he’d seen more groupies on a gospel tour than on our bus. But aside from being family men, our music really has to do with sincerity and respecting our fans.

What’s the worst thing ever thrown at you?At a festival in Switzerland I was once hit in the forehead with a large battery. I saw stars for a few minutes, but I am happy to say I did not go down.

What’s your best tour story?My favorite moment of stupidity was when, at 4am one time, the bus driver in Finland made the mistake of telling us that the Russian border was just a short hike through the woods. So of course we had him pull the bus over immediately and set out on foot for Russia.

After about a kilometer we crossed onto Russia soil in the pitch black and as we celebrated and danced a jig, the skies lit up from a flare and we looked up to realise we were right beneath a Russian guard tower. We hauled ass back to Finland with soldiers and guard dogs on our tail.

Only the Dropkick Murphys could stumble into Russia with miles of open boarder and end up having their celebration beneath a goddamn guard tower.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea. Dropkick Murphys play Dublin’s Vicar St on Saturday and Sunday

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