The playlist: Dropkick Murphys

The Dropkick Murphys’ Tim Brennan on stupid lyrics, punk classics and the power of Angus.

The song that inspired me to play… Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen

“My parents weren’t big music listeners but my dad had the Bruce Springsteen Live/1975-85 record and he used to listen to that all the time. So, Springsteen songs like Badlands and Born To Run were the first songs I remember hearing.”

The first song I learned to play… Come As You Are - Nirvana

“Springsteen was one of the first guys I got into, but I remember the first thing I learned to play on guitar was Come As You Are by Nirvana. I started out playing the drums, so my early music playing was all based on drumming. I was more of a fan of drummers than guitar players. Then I started playing guitar a little bit and heard a lot of guys that I liked.”

The riff that I wish I’d written… Rocky Mountain Way - Joe Walsh

“I love of a lot of those amazing Joe Walsh riffs. I wish I had written something like Funk 49 or Rocky Mountain Way. They are simple riffs that just sound awesome.”

The first song I covered… Waiting Room - Fugazi

“The first bands I played in were hardcore bands. The first cover I played was Waiting Room by Fugazi. We’d play Minor Threat songs as well… stuff like that. The first Green Day boom came when I was 13 or something and from then we and my friends just wanted to cover Green Day songs.”

To introduce someone to our band I’d play them… State of Massachusetts - Dropkick Murphys

“Something like State of Massachusetts is a good guide to what we do. It’s a melding of the heavy guitars and traditional instruments. Before that we might have an Irish song and then a punk song and then a rock song. Between 2005 and 2008 we honed in on putting all of those things together.”

The song I play when trying out new gear… Beating Around The Bush - AC/DC

“I’m a giant Ryan Adams fan. A lot of the riff s that automatically get played when a guitar is in my hand are Ryan Adams’ riffs. Cold Roses has a good intro that I use to test out what the higher strings sound like. But then if someone puts a Strat in my hand then the first thing I will do is play a Hendrix thing. Beating Around The Bush by AC/DC though is usually the first riff that comes flying out when I pick up a guitar.”

My favourite solo is… Highway To Hell - AC/DC

“The solo on Highway To Hell is one of those things that sounds so cool but at the same time it is a fairly simple thing. I would hear things like that and want to play guitar like that. I don’t have the dexterity of a metal guy. My appreciation for guitar solos is more in the ream of the simple but powerful stuff .”

The song that I’d like to re-record… Rude Awakenings - Dropkick Murphys

“Musically this song is this heavy Irish song but the lyrics are sort of jokey and at this point Ken and Al (DM vocalists) don’t like singing them anymore. It’s a great song but we can’t do it because the guys feel stupid singing it. I’d go back and change the lyrics to that one so we could do it live.”

Dropkick Murphys’ new album, 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory, is out now on Born & Bred.

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Rich Chamberlain

Rich is a teacher, one time Rhythm staff writer and experienced freelance journalist who has interviewed countless revered musicians, engineers, producers and stars for the our world-leading music making portfolio, including such titles as Rhythm, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, and MusicRadar. His victims include such luminaries as Ice T, Mark Guilani and Jamie Oliver (the drumming one).

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