Marc Orrell was only 17 years old when he joined his favourite Punk band, the Dropkick Murphys, as lead guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Marc has continued to write and play innovative music since his Murphys departure. Most recently alongside ex- Flogging Molly Ted Hutt and The Pogues James Fearnley in the Celtic-Punk supergroup The Walker Roaders. Ray Ball our man in NY had the pleasure of speaking to Marc and our thanks go to them both.
How to start this off-My first concert was Dropkick Murphys. They played at the Town Ballroom during the Warriors Code tour in 2004. Far From Finished opened, followed by Big D and the Kids Table. I think by the time they played LAX everyone had already bought all the Big D merch (none of us had heard of them yet). But me and the two friends that I came with were there to see DKM. I had passed my Jimmy Page and Angus Young phases of guitar heroes, but was really focusing in on Irish music, and my guitar hero if you will, at least lead, in that realm was Marc Orrell.
Flash forward a fair bit, I sent a message to Marc, who I’ve followed for a fair bit in social media, seeing if he’d be willing to do an interview for us. I figured what the hell, nothing ventured nothing gained. I was floored he agreed and we got a chance to talk on the phone yesterday. Marc is really an easy guy to talk to. I could have spent three times as long on the phone talking as I had time to. He greeting me “Hey, Ray, what’s up?” Like we were friends and really kept just going the whole time. He seemed genuinely interested in having a story to tell.
One of the first things we obviously had to talk about was his start in Dropkick Murphys. According to Marc, James (Lynch) and he were huge fans of the band from day one, essentially. I don’t know the exact timing of Rick (Burton, founding guitarist) and his departure from the group, but when James got the job as DKM guitarist, Marc was stunned. They both had been huge fans and James was now part of the group. We talked a bit about James’ playing. I compared it to Malcolm Young if AC/DC, and I don’t think Marc objected. Strong, steady, solid. I compared them to truly having a strong Angus/Malcolm thing going on. Marc attributes a lot of his influence to to Chuck Berry’s bluesy playing, along with The Rolling Stones. Marc’s solos and playing with DKM are really as blues as punk, to me at least, and I can really see that over the discography.
Despite the obvious career we all know and love with DKM, it seems like Marc has no shortage of irons in the fire after his departure from the band. The Wild Roses were brought up to me a number of years ago as his next project. I asked him a bit about it. It seems that the Roses are as much as a revolving group of friends who make music together, again in that same Rock / Rockabilly / Punk vein we see reoccurring.
The Walker Roaders were my next topic. To me, at least, they were the Celtic group I never knew I needed to hear until I heard them. Ted (Hutt) is a master producer and musician. We all know and love the Pogues. James Fearnley, accordion and vocals on the record, is unparalleled in his playing prowess. Someday I’ll strive to achieve even figuring out a snippet of what’s going on in London Girl. But as much of the walker Roaders is a band, it seems like it’s an entity. It’s the traditional group we all needed with a rock twist that we all didn’t know we wanted. There’s more music to come, according to Marc, but not something on a dead set schedule as of yet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, though.
Marc as a few other irons in the fire in terms of playing and producing. I’ll pass on some links when we get them and we hope to hear soon from him and his projects soon.
Thanks to Ray Ball for the interview. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys covers
was one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board our team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp