Former Dropkick Murphys frontman, Mike McColgan, recently placed his desires to become a Boston firefighter on hold in order to join up with punk-rock newcomers Street Dogs as lead vocalist. Savin Hill, just outside of Boston, Mass., is where Mike McColgan, was born and raised.
Hence, it is also the link to McColgans latest effort since parting ways with Dropkick Murphys in 1998. Released in September of 2003, Savin Hill is the debut record from the Street Dogs, an up-and-coming punk band that sought McColgans vocal talent despite his decision to leave Dropkick Murphys (their final record is considered to be a punk-rock classic) to become a Boston firefighter.
Ive lived in Boston my entire life, since I was a wee child, I wanted to pursue a career with the Boston Fire Department, McColgan said. Im actually on vacation right now [and] Im able to go on tour and support the record.
Savin Hill features 15 tracks of powerful punk-rock guaranteed to start mosh pits, circle pits and crowd surfing at each show. At just over 40 minutes long, the album is full of catchy choruses that inspire singing along.
McColgan joined the band in 2002 when Dropkick Murphys drummer Jeff Erna was recruited by guitarist Rob Guidotti to play on some songs he had written. Erna brought friend and former band mate McColgan to fill the vocalist position, and once Johnny Rioux was contacted to be the bassist, the band was officially formed and thus began brainstorming for a fitting title.
Rob had a song called Street Dogs, McColgan explained. We worked the song and it wasnt really coming to life, but we were searching for a name for the band. I felt like Street Dogs was good, were from the streets. We are from middle-class backgrounds.
Street Dogs aims to infuse their musical influences of the past with a real, honest portrayal of the world. As part of Street Dogs, McColgan not only offers his experience as a singer, but helps the band achieve this goal through his talents as a songwriter.
I write an abundance of lyrics [and] when they have songs that dont have lyrics, I try to infuse my lyrics into those melodies and thats how we write songs, McColgan said. [Lyrics are inspired by] my life experiencehow I grew up, what I went through, my work situation, relationships Ive been in.
The kind of rock the Street Dogs are attempting to make is nothing like the pop-punk rock infiltrating mainstream radio and television. In fact, it is best described as a combination of blistering rock songs and melodic, infectious punk rock.
The sound of the Street Dogs is indeed different from McColgans previous work, which included bagpipes and tin whistles.
The Street Dogs emergence onto the scene resulted in attention that McColgan did not see coming despite his previous success with the Dropkick Murphys.
We recorded a seven-song demo and that circulated around for a while, McColgan said. We had a lot more label interest than I had anticipated.
Although Street Dogs wrapped performances on the East Coast in anticipation of the recent holiday season, they first made several appearances in Los Angeles and Orange County, playing a Halloween show at the House of Blues in Anaheim. McColgan and the Street Dogs are planning a U.S. tour likely to kick off in February or March.
For McColgan, touring is actually something he looks forward to doing especially since his departure from the music scene, McColgan experienced somewhat of a void that is only sustained by performing in front of a room of enthusiastic, energetic kids who live and love the music.
What I like about touring is the 45 minutes that we play, McColgan said. Theres monotony involved with touring, but the 45 minutes that you perform makes that all null and void and its not that much of a drag because you know eventually you get to perform and its something that you love to do. If I didnt love to do it, I wouldnt be doing it.
While on hiatus, McColgan continued to write musicproof that he never really did leave it all behind.