Dropkick Murphys' history with Woody Guthrie dates back decades, from covering "Gonna Be A Blackout Tonight" on their 2003 album Blackout, to using some of Guthrie's writing about Boston in their immortal hit "I'm Shipping Up To Boston." This Machine Still Kills Fascists finds the band taking that admiration to new heights.
In the 10 songs that make up This Machine Still Kills Fascists, Dropkick Murphys bring Woody Guthrie’s perennial jabs at life – many of which are from the 1940s and ‘50s – into the present, with the resulting music eerily relevant to today’s world. And they’ve done it all without their usual arsenal of electric guitars. In fact, not a single amplifier was used to animate Woody’s words in these songs, but DKM harnessed all of their trademark power to bring Woody’s lyrics to life.
Dropkick Murphys founder Ken Casey explained, “The project has been a long time in the making. Nora Guthrie thought her father would’ve got a kick out of us, would’ve liked us, that we were somewhat kindred spirits so to speak, which to us was a huge honor.”
The idea for the collaboration that became This Machine Still Kills Fascists has been percolating between Woody’s daughter Nora Guthrie and the band for more than a decade, with Nora curating a collection of her father’s never-published lyrics for the band over the years. The challenge was always finding the right time to pull it together. When Dropkick Murphys co-lead vocalist Al Barr was sidelined in the latter half of 2021 – taking a leave of absence from the band to care for his ailing mother – the band was apprehensive about making a normal DKM album. The perfect time to take on the Woody project had presented itself, and the band leapt at the chance to bring more of Woody’s timeless lyrics to life with a DKM musical twist. The end result is This Machine Still Kills Fascists – the true fruition of like-minded rebellious artists collaborating – albeit nearly a century apart.
Nora Guthrie explained, “I collected lyrics on all kinds of topics…lyrics that seemed to be needed to be said – or screamed – today. Ken Casey is a master at understanding Woody’s lyrics, which can be complicated, long, deadly serious, or totally ridiculous. Dropkick Murphys are capable of delivering them all.”
DKM’s James Lynch said, “Nora gave us the privilege of going through the archives and selecting some lyrics to use. The common thread that I see through everything was this love for people and this understanding of the universal truth that there is no one person fundamentally better than another person.”
The album title itself pays homage to the powerful message Woody Guthrie began painting on his guitars in the early 1940s, in the midst of World War II: “THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS.” A man and a credo laid bare – on the face of his guitar.