Who is Cornelius Larkin, and how did his obituary come to be on the cover of the new Dropkick Murphys disc, Going Out in Style? Although he's the emotional core of the album, and his story shares more than a little common ground with the band, "Connie" is fictional, the creation of Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of two memoirs, All Souls and the punk-era Easter Rising, both of which touch on MacDonald's South Boston roots. MacDonald now lives in Brooklyn, but he's in LA when we speak, working on the screenplay of his first memoir, which, he says, will incorporate part of Easter Rising. The writer, an author-in-residence at Northeastern University, is also researching a non-fiction book and working on his first YA novel. Still, he takes time to chat about his collaboration with the Dropkicks, and how Connie Larkin came to be.
DIFFERENT TIMES “For me, coming from the Irish neighborhood in America and being a punk rock kid, those two things did not go together in my generation.”
HOW DID YOU END UP WORKING WITH DROPKICK MURPHYS?
I've known Kenny [Casey] since 2000. After All Souls came out, he had contacted me, I was in LA. They were going to be in LA, and they contacted me to hang out backstage and all that stuff. So I've known Kenny since then. Of course, we had a lot of friends in common, just coming from the music scene and all that. Dicky Barrett, for example, is someone I grew up with, and someone who is really close to the Dropkick Murphys.
YOU WROTE ABOUT BEING IN THE PUNK SCENE IN EASTER RISING, BUT AREN'T THESE GUYS MUCH YOUNGER?
Yeah, that's why I don't know them from punk rock, 'cause my years are '79 to '84. So they would be like the next generation, I think. Even in terms of their going to the Rat: I think they were the next generation after, probably going to hardcore shows and all that stuff.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THEIR MUSIC?
I've listened to a lot . . . of this album especially. I really love the unionizing song, "Take Them Down," with the banjo and everything. You know, I'm getting older, so I'm not going to listen to hardcore-type stuff. But I do like the Irish stuff. I like that their brand of punk rock is a little more complicated. It has a folk element.
THE PIECE YOU WROTE FOR THEM IS A LOVELY PIECE OF FICTION, STARTING OFF AS AN OBITUARY OF AN IRISH IMMIGRANT. IT DOESN'T SEEM VERY PUNK ROCK.
If you remember from Easter Rising, for me, coming from the Irish neighborhood in America and being a punk-rock kid, those two things did not go together in my generation. So that right there shows a generational difference, because the Dropkick Murphys kind of forged this blending of those two worlds that didn't exist. Like in Southie, you'd get beat up for wearing all black, you know what I mean? You didn't have to do much; you could wear a black T-shirt and get in trouble. [Laughs] So the merging of punk rock and anything Irish, at this point, did not exist in my generation at all. [Laughs]