When I looked at Facebook this morning, an old friend from college had requested her friends reveal what their next “reckless world takeover move” would be and what song would provide the soundtrack. I replied that I would be finishing my myth and identity chapter, and it would have to be accompanied by the Dropkick Murphys’ “Tessie.” Because I am currently in a stylistic quandary about possessives, I Googled to check the spelling of “Murphys” and came across the video for their new single, “Going Out In Style.” I have a feeling that this video warrants a mention in my conclusion because of the visuals and the song’s chorus:
You may bury me with an enemy in Mt. Calvary/You can stack me on a pyre and soak me down with whiskey/Roast me to a blackened crisp and throw me in a pile/I could really give a s–t, I’m going out in style!/You can take my urn to Fenway, spread my ashes all about/You can bring me down to Wolly Beach and dump the sucka out/Burn me to a rotten crisp and toast me for a while/I could really give a s–t, I’m going out in style!
The song is a raucous, punk-rock Irish jig, and the video features cameos by Boston comedian Lenny Clarke, Bruins legend Bobby Orr and Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis. It is a celebration and representation of a specific aspect of Bostonian culture: not the Brahmins, but the working-class, white, Catholic denizens who reside in the city and its neighboring towns. These folks are the cultural shorthand for Red Sox Nation and resemble the idealized version of Boston in most mainstream media portrayals of the region.
The Murphys have become a “house band” for Red Sox Nation in many respects. In 2004, the band recorded a cover of the Red Sox fight song “Tessie,” which featured backing vocals from Sox players, including the “Judas” Johnny Damon who would later sign with the Yankees. It became a theme for the 2004 “Reverse The Curse” season. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon uses their 2005 single “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” as his intro music when he approaches the mound. You may remember it from The Departed (and The Simpsons used it in their Departed spoof, “The Debarted”).
As the evidence suggests, the Dropkick Murphys are Boston personified. Which is why I’m dumbfounded when players from other teams use “Shipping Up…” as at-bat or celebratory music. Boston is in the title of the song! The guys are always decked out in Sox gear, and cameos by local celebrities are de rigeur in their videos. I’m fascinated by the idea that people can divorce this from the catchy riff, but I guess that many people don’t see pop culture phenomena through the same ritual/myth/Red Sox lens that I currently do.
But I hereby declare: The Dropkick Murphys are the official house band of Red Sox Nation.