The following is the foreword for Dropkick Murphy: A Legendary Life, by Emily Sweeney. The foreword is written by Ken Casey, leader of the Boston Celtic punk band the Dropkick Murphys. Foreword copyright © 2023 Ken Casey.


I was lucky enough to get into recovery at a young age, and I would hear a lot of older gentlemen—who were instrumental in helping me turn my life around—talk about the time they had spent at Dropkick Murphy’s Bellows Farm, and their experiences there. I had also heard my grandfather and some other family members talk about it.

And there was a point in my life when I felt like I could not get away from the term “Dropkick Murphy’s.” At the same time, I was forming a band—one that we weren’t taking very seriously. We started the band to win a thirty-dollar bet that I made with a coworker. The bet was that I couldn’t form a band on three weeks’ notice to open for my friend’s band, so we had three weeks to come up with the band name. And the name Dropkick Murphy was just everywhere I went, so we used that as our band name. We liked that it paid tribute to a local legend.

When we started to gain some popularity, playing all-ages shows at the Rat, we would silkscreen our own T-shirts and sell them for five bucks, so we would sell a lot of them at that bargain price. Inevitably, the next show all these young kids would be coming back, saying “Hey, what the hell is this place? I have old guys stopping me all over the place, telling me, ‘I was there in 1965 or whenever. . . . ’” It was in those early days—before the band really became known and recognizable—that we would often get fans who were perplexed as to why old guys with red noses were stopping them to tell them stories about Bellows Farm.

Ninety percent of the stuff I knew about Dropkick’s came from the mouths of old timers who were there, but you gotta remember: they were in a fog. A lot of their stories didn’t necessarily add up, because they weren’t exactly in the best frame of mind when they were arriving there. So it’s nice to have the facts documented in this book and proper tribute be paid to the man, the myth, the legend—John “Dropkick” Murphy.


Ken Casey


December 2022