.

How the Dropkick Murphys Got Bruce Springsteen to Guest on Their New Album

Springsteen contributed vocals to 'Peg o' My Heart' on the Celtic punk band's new LP

January 25, 2011 4:55 PM ET
How the Dropkick Murphys Got Bruce Springsteen to Guest on Their New Album
Bobby Bank/WireImage

The Dropkick Murphys were already done recording their new album Going Out In Style when they gathered up the courage to ask Bruce Springsteen if he'd be willing to contribute guest vocals to one track. "We were on tour in Australia when we finally got the nerve and we sent him an e-mail," says Ken Casey, frontman for the Boston-based band. "You'd think having to deal with Bruce Springsteen would be this complicated thing. But it was just like 'want to do it?' and he was like 'sure!' It was as easy as that."

Exclusive Stream: New Dropkick Murphys Song 'Memorial Day'

The band first met Springsteen about five years ago when he checked out one of their New York shows. "He came back afterwards and introduced himself," says Casey. "We were just blown away, but we really hit it off. He's since invited us to play with him a few times."

In December they sent him their rendition of "Peg o' My Heart," a song that dates back to 1913. "We reworked it and changed the time signature," says Casey. "It had this Fifties rock & roll vibe. We were like 'this sounds like something that the E Street Band would pull out.' That's how we got the idea to invite Bruce to sing on it. Thank god for modern technology. We were able to send him the song across the world."

Watch 17 Bruce Springsteen Collaborations: From Chuck Berry to Lady Gaga

They only gave him minimal direction. "All we said was 'we thought it would be great to trade off on verses,'" Casey says. "You don't really give the Boss instructions."

Casey was blown away when Springsteen e-mailed in the song with his vocal contributions. "I was like a kid opening a present on Christmas morning," he says. "Both of my grandmothers are named Peg. If you ever want to win brownie points with your grandmothers record a song for them. If you really want to win brownie points get Bruce to record on the song. Both of them are hip enough to be Bruce fans."

The collaboration is the culmination of Casey's lifelong Springsteen fandom. "I've always loved Darkness on the Edge of Town and we've covered 'Badlands,'" he says. "I wasn't a huge fan of Born In The USA because the production was so Eighties. Now those songs my favorite songs that he's ever written. 'No Surrender' is a punk rock song when you hear it live."

Dropkick Murphys Photo Gallery

Going Out In Style — in stores on March 1st — is the Dropkick Murphys' first studio album in four years. "We had just spent 12 years recording, writing and touring," Casey says. "We elected to put in a little time to enjoy some time with our families and recharge our batteries."

They started writing in September, and cut the bulk of the LP at a Boston studio in December with producer Ted Hutt — the first time they had ever used a producer. "We're seven guys from Boston and most of us come from this steel work, non-communicative Irish Catholic background," says Casey. "We're not exactly the most open with our thoughts and feelings. It was nice to have someone as a sounding board, and to have someone to crack the whip. I don't like being the bad guy."

The disc doesn't stray far from the group's signature Celtic punk sound. "We don't get overly concerned with rewriting the wheel," Casey says. "We're happy with a distinct style and sound. We just wanted to make a more well-rounded album that fills all the bills we've ever been. A lot of the songs are just straight ahead old fashioned 1970s punk rock types of things, but it might have a banjo on it."

The group kicks off an American tour in late February. "We plan on going to as many places around the world as will have us," Casey says. "It's a great feeling to have new songs to play for people after four years." They hope that Springsteen joins them onstage at some point on the tour. "I don't know what his schedule is," says Casey. "It would be a dream come true, but we're just grateful that he did it on the record."

How would they feel about recording an entire album as Bruce Springsteen's backing band? "Who would say no to that?" says Casey, laughing. "Bruce, we're ready when you are."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Promiscuous”

Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com