Dropkick Murphys Keep the Style, Pump Up Aggressive Sounds

Dropkick Murphys did not start off pursuing the Celtic-punk sound that's made the band famous. The members were originally looking for more of a straight-punk feel, but it very quickly became apparent that the Irish music they had listened to growing up had a greater influence on them than they had initially anticipated.

"The first song the band ever wrote was 'Bar Room Hero' back in late 1995," said Drummer Matt Kelly. "We just did it and it kind of came to fruition like that. The Boston punk guys were like, 'That sounds like the Ramones meets The Pogues.' It really was Irish-style songwriting."

Fast forward 15 years, and the band is sitting on a highly successful music career, including the hit single "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," (featured in the Academy Award-winning Martin Scorsese film, The Departed) and the 2011 album, Going Out in Style, which reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart.

Going Out in Style is a story that chronicles the life of a fictional man named Cornelius Larkin. The journey of Larkin is comprised partly of the band members' own experiences, and partly of those of their families. However, the band didn't exactly go into recording planning on a concept album.

"It kind of happened by accident about three-quarters of the way through," Kelly said. "We always wanted to do [a concept album], so we figured, 'Why not this one?'"

Now the guys, recently coming off a week-long string of shows in Boston dubbed the "Halfway to St. Patrick's Day Tour," are not only looking forward to a fall lineup that will make its very first stop right here in West Michigan, but also the release of their eighth and newest studio album, Signed and Sealed in Blood. The album is set to release on Jan. 8, 2013.

And while the members are always looking to challenge themselves, don't expect them to abandon their signature sound.

"This one is more aggressive than Going Out in Style. We haven't changed the style [of music], but it's a bit more muscular sounding," Kelly said. "It still has all the traditional instruments, as well as electric guitars and bass, but we don't want to make the same album twice. We've done a few songs live from the new album and they've gone over great."