By bringing together both — both the Irish stuff and their family stuff, their neighborhood stuff — they kind of bring a different kind of sensibility to their punk rock.
Back to punk rock in general, I feel like it's really odd how that came to be defined as a particular sound. There was that sound back then. The Ramones had it, or some of the hardcore stuff that came out of the real simple structure. But there are so many bands that just sounded like weird stuff. Like the kids now who are going for punk rock, they'll be going for this hard, two-minute, three-chord song or something rather than back then, when it was really just about pushing boundaries. What's lost is people experimenting and pushing boundaries — that whole idea that you're really supposed to question everything and push limits.
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT STRUCK ME ABOUT THIS PIECE IS THAT IT CAPTURES THIS CHARACTER, CORNELIUS LARKIN, AS HE'S LEAVING BEHIND COMMUNITY AND HE'S ANTICIPATING FINDING A NEW COMMUNITY IN AMERICA. IT SOUNDS AS IF — FROM HIS OBIT — HE DID FIND IT, BUT WE CATCH HIM IN A MOMENT WHEN HE'S ALONE.
Exactly, and we'll get to the rest of the story on the website, but it's definitely going that route. I looked at some of the Dropkick Murphys' songs and I heard some of their fathers' or grandparents' stories. The one that I know most intimately is my own grandfather's . . . the scapulars and things that the mother put in the packet [for him]. Leaving everything you know to go to another place that's completely a mystery to you, it's almost like the equivalent of death. There's obviously in the story a parallel to that other journey that we all have to go through. And my grandfather is where I know that, where I get that from. It's always bothered me; I've always felt no matter what my life was like growing up in the projects, people dying left and right, I can't imagine what it's like to just have to leave everyone you know and know that you're never gonna see them again. I feel like a brat sometimes because I can get on a plane and go to Ireland. To go back to Ireland was just a like a dream for my grandfather. [Laughs]
THE DETAILS LIKE THE SCAPULAR AND THE WOOLEN POUCH, THAT'S YOUR GRANDFATHER?
Yeah, his mother gave him exactly that kind of a thing that he had till he died. I had to take a picture of it because he wanted to be buried with it. It was his only request.
THIS STORY, HAVE YOU WRITTEN IT ALL, OR ARE YOU WRITING IT AND REVEALING IT SLOWLY?
I'm working on the extension of it for the website. I've drafted it, of course, and I'm rewriting and all that, and I think that at the end of the day, who knows where it could go? The story could have part two and so on and so forth, but where it's going is to be a complete short story, but I want to write it in a way that's also open.