Posted by: ericclark | July 1, 2008

Dropkick Murphys’ original singer going strong with Street Dogs

Street Dogs     Street Dogs

Dropkick Murphys’ 1998 debut, “Do or Die,” ranks as one of my favorite punk albums of the ’90s. Much of the album’s appeal was due to lead singer Mike McColgan, whose ramshackle growl brought to mind The Clash’s Joe Strummer and made the Murphys sound like Boston’s toughest group of barroom brawlers.

I was shocked when I picked up the Murphys’ follow-up, 1999’s “The Gang’s All Here,” and found out McColgan no longer was in the band. As I would later find out, McColgan, a Gulf War veteran, had left the group to become a Boston firefighter. He was replaced in the Murphys by Al Barr, whose voice was similarly rough and tough but not as charismatic as McColgan’s.

At that point, I thought I had heard the last of McColgan. But in 2006, I received my second McColgan-related shock. He had formed a new band, called Street Dogs, that had just released its THIRD album! I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard about McColgan’s new band, but I chalked it up to the group’s relatively generic name. So I picked up “Fading American Dream,” and there was McColgan, sounding just as strong and urgent as ever.

Street Dogs just released their fourth album, “State of Grace,” this time on Hellcat Records, the former home of Dropkick Murphys. While the Murphys have kept their Irish influences front-and-center in their music, Street Dogs have abandoned most of that sound, instead focusing on more of a street-punk approach. The result is 11 songs of fast and furious punk rock, with McColgan singing about topics related to gritty city life.

I was a big fan of Dropkick Murphys’ latest album, last year’s “The Meanest of Times.” Barr has really found his niche as a vocalist, and fellow singer Ken Casey also never has sounded better. I’m not yet sure if Street Dogs’ “State of Grace” will have as big of an impact on me, but it’s off to a good start after a few listens.

Check out two of Street Dogs’ new songs, “Mean Fist” and “Two Angry Kids,” on the group’s MySpace page. What do you think?




  1. I also was a big fan of Dropkick’s first album and Mike. I think Dropkick has never sounded better as right now. The poppier sound works better for them. Street Dogs is a great street-punk band and it works better for him. It kinda reminds me of Schleprock. By the way, have you heard that new Gaslight Anthem?

  2. Hey Kyle,

    Glad to find someone else who thinks Dropkick’s new stuff is some of the best of its career. Too many people in the blogosphere seem to write off a band just because they’re popular, which is what I think a lot of people are doing with Dropkick.

    I’ve heard the first song from Gaslight Anthem’s upcoming album, but I haven’t listened to it enough to form much of an opinion. I’m a little worried about the echo they’re putting on the vocals, but we’ll have to wait and see how that turns out on the actual album.


  3. I agree about everything! The Dropkicks are still as comanding a presence as ever! Imagine now though if you will…. In Boston on St. Patty’s Day… Darkbuster opening for co-headliners Street Dogs and Dropkick Murphys!!! I would come there from Edmonton Canada to see a show like that!!!

  4. […] screenshots of their elf-mage on Reddit and updating the Dropkick Murphy’s Wikipedia page with inane observations about the lead singer’s haircut. Category: Tech News Share on facebook!Share on twitter!Send to a friend!  Like More […]

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