The Dropkicks talk about the letters they get from places as far away as Japan, and feeling connected to these people as "community" (and they to the DKMs). The fans send pics of their kids, whereas when they first came backstage at DKM shows, they were kids themselves.

We talk about how locals want to think they are the only ones who can connect to the material. Though that sense of specialness is a good thing, the DKMs feel very connected even in faraway Australia. Ken talks about his connection to new friends in Australia who bring them to meet his entire family.

KC: That's all beyond the wildest dreams of what this was supposed to be.

I can relate to what they're saying. And in these waning days of the neighborhood that I still know as The Best Place in the World, my mind wanders back to the crumbling walls at Old Colony Housing Project. I focus on the idea that regardless of what becomes of the time or place where one first found community, you can always take it with you wherever you end up. I also relate to the inability of the Irish to get too big for their britches, since they'll always be smacked right back down to size if they ever display self-importance. Then — as if on cue — my mother interrupts the interview, her call disabling the recorder app on my iPhone. I check the message and play it for the guys.

Matt Kelly
Ma: Mike, I don't know who the fuck you think you are that you can't pick up the goddamn phone!

I play it for Ken, Matt, and James. Ma's words blend in with all the chatter, past and present, bouncing off the walls of Mul's Diner. We laugh — my own laughter filled with a satisfaction that all is not lost, and that we'll never really be able to wander too far from home.

>> Michael Patrick MacDonald is the author of All Souls: A Family Story from Southie and Easter Rising: A Memoir of Roots and Rebellion. He collaborated with the Dropkick Murphys on their previous album, Going Out In Style. :: @MickPaddyMack

Tune into starting on Sunday, January 6, for details on how to win exclusive Dropkicks prizes, including tickets to their St. Patrick's Day shows in Boston and signed copies of their new album, Signed and Sealed in Blood. Plus: tune in Monday at 6 pm to hear the new album in its entirety before it's available in stores.

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