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DropKick Murphy's
Hard rock

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The hardcore punk outfit Dropkick Murphys formed in south Boston in 1995; vocalist Mike McColgan, guitarist Rick Barton and bassist Ken Casey comprised the original nucleus of the group, with a series of drummers passing through the line-up before the addition of Matt Kelly in 1997. After a series of EPs including Fire and Brimstone, Tattoos and Scally Caps and Boys on the Docks, the Dropkick Murphys signed to Hellcat Records to issue their 1998 full-length Do or Die, produced by Rancid's Lars Frederiksen; McColgan exited the group soon after, and was replaced by vocalist Al Barr for the follow-up, 1999's The Gang's All Here. Mob Mentality, a split release with Business, appeared in mid-2000, but at the same time the band was going through an extensive redesign. Their five-piece arrangement expanded into a septet, for Mark Orrell stepped in after original guitarist Rick Barton left the band to get married. James Lynch (guitar), Spicy McHaggis (bagpipes), and Ryan Foltz (mandolin) were also added to the line up to enhance the band's growling sound. Lars Frederiksen, who produced the band's first two albums, left the Dropkicks to venture on their own for their third studio effort Sing Loud, Sing Proud. Bassist Ken Casey took over, and the album, which featured collaborations with ex-Pogues Shane MacGowan and Cock Sparrer's Colin McFaull, was issued in early 2001. Their Irish pride shone through the next year, when Live on St. Patrick's Day from Boston, MA was released in the summer. Recorded at the biggest Irish-American celebration of the year in a town known for its widespread Irish heritage, the set was a blistering example of their intense and lively gigs. As the band prepped for the annual Vans Warped Tour in summer 2003, the hearty punk rock sounds of Blackout appeared in June. Jason Ankeny

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