With blaring bagpipes and growling guitars, the Dropkick Murphys’ "I’m Shipping up to Boston" is blasting through movie theater sound systems around the world.
In the hit film ‘‘The Departed,- the Boston punk-rock anthem blasts out between Jack Nicholson’s foul-mouthed rants and Leonardo DiCaprio’s chiseled chest. On "The Departed" soundtrack CD, released today, the Dropkicks’ song sits beside tracks by the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and Patsy Cline.
Martin Scorsese’s crime epic has boosted Dropkick sales, but that isn’t what thrills founding member and bassist Ken Casey.
"It’s like the Red Sox thing," Casey said, fondly recalling the band’s reworking of the old chestnut ‘‘Tessie," the theme song of the 2004 World Series win. ‘‘It’s all about Martin Scorsese. In 20 years, after the band is over, maybe I’ll have ‘The Departed’ DVD and get to tell my grandkids that my music was in a Scorsese movie. That’s so cool."
Of course, Casey admits the sales boom also has been cool. Sales of the Hub heroes’ 2003 album, "The Warrior’s Code" - from which "I’m Shipping up to Boston" was pulled - tripled the week after "The Departed" was released. On top of that, Dropkick manager Dianne Meyer calculates that there have been about 15,000 paid downloads of the song since the movie came out. It has also been streamed more than 200,000 times on the band’s MySpace page.
All this because someone slipped the right someone a Dropkick disc.
Being a bunch of Boston boys, the Dropkicks knew about the movie weeks before the film’s crew showed up. Seeing an opportunity, band members got their album into the hands of extras, crew members and anyone else hanging around the set.
"At the time we were handing out CDs, I didn’t know anything about the movie," Casey said. ‘‘I didn’t know what it was about or if it was based in Boston. But when I heard ‘Martin Scorsese,’ I asked all my friends if they could pass some CDs around."
A year went by and the band didn’t hear a thing. Two days before the film’s final edit, someone called asking to use "I’m Shipping up to Boston."
According to a Scorsese spokesman, The Band’s Robbie Robertson, a longtime Scorsese collaborator, introduced Scorsese to the song.Not that Scorsese needs a lot of advice when it comes to music and film - last year he directed the Bob Dylan documentary ‘‘No Direction Home"; now he’s working on a Rolling Stones concert movie - but Casey sure is happy Robertson suggested "I’m Shipping up to Boston."
"I’m a pessimist about these things," Casey said. "Years ago they used one of our songs in ‘The Sopranos.’ I was on the phone with a friend waiting for it to come on when he said, ‘Did you hear it?’ "I said, ‘Hear what?’ The song was so far in background you didn’t even know what it was. I expected ‘The Departed’ would be that way. I was blown away when I heard how loud and prominent it was."