HOMAGE from a can of spray paint.
It’s been a good year for Dropkick Murphys. Their most recent album, The Meanest of Times, released on their own fledgling label, debuted at an impressive number 20 on the Billboard charts. Marty Scorsese sang the band’s praises at the Oscars, after having featured their punk chantey “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” in The Departed. That song was subsequently adopted by Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon as his entrance music — marking the second time in four seasons that the band have been inextricably linked with a World Series victory. (They had pride of place in the parade, as well, trundling through town on the first float as Papelbon hammed it up.)
As if further proof was needed of the Dropkicks’ world domination, gaze upon this mural of the late and unlamented Saddam Hussein, the vanquished tyrant’s face scrawled over with the name of the little Boston-Irish punk band that could.
The photo was e-mailed to the Phoenix from a local GI, back from Iraq, who perpetrated the graffito after having received a care package from the Dropkicks themselves. (We’re redacting his name on the off chance that any disgruntled Ba’athists are readers of this paper.)
He and a fellow soldier had e-mailed the band to say that being in Iraq gave “Far Away Coast,” a song from their debut, Do or Die, about the first Gulf War, “a new meaning for us,” he writes. “They sent us autographed photos, patches, and a bunch of stickers. So we got the idea to deface Saddam with them.”
Dropkick Murphys have always (in the best, non-politicized sense of the term) “supported the troops” — much more tangibly than most who wear flag pins and slap stickers on their bumpers. In 2005, they performed the Irish ballad “The Fields of Athenry” at the funeral of Weymouth marine Andrew Farrar. They later dedicated a song to him on their album The Warrior’s Code.
The soldier who’d tagged that Baghdad wall with the band’s name? He and his buddy were geared up to return stateside the week before the band’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day homestand in 2006. But the Army’s computer security settings made it impossible to order tickets online. So the Dropkicks offered two free tickets and backstage passes.
“We met the band,” he writes. “It was totally awesome. To this day I think the Dropkicks treat their fans better than any other band.”