By Michael Cerio 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is no slowing down for Dropkick Murphys.

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Over two decades of rock from the Bostonian band and they keep churning with their ninth album 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory released earlier this month. The result is a revealing offering that lands at number eight on the Billboard album chart this week, and a reminder that Dropkick Murphys is miles beyond just being a St. Pat’s party.

Traveling away from Beantown and into the desert of El Paso for recording allowed them to dig deep and get personal on everything from the Boston Marathon Bombing to the opioid epidemic that has blanketed the nation. It’s a confessional, emotional look at wounds not even close to healed.

“I lost my brother-in-law back in 2014 to an overdose,” explains Dropkick Murphys lead singer Al Barr on call from the road in Boston. “He was a working, functioning human being. He worked in the daytime, my sister worked at night. They didn’t see each other but one day a week and he was able to keep it from her. She didn’t have any idea, so when she found him deceased it was a huge shock and our family is still feeling the aftershock of that.”

“It is heartbreaking, but our family is just one of thousands that’s been affected by this horrible crisis.”

For Barr and the band it’s a reality that has become all too common, losing friends and family in such a manner. As he explains, New England has been particularly hard hit by the opioid epidemic with New Hampshire and Massachusetts among the leaders in overdoses across the country.

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“I guess it toughens you up a bit. It wasn’t the first time I’ve lost somebody,” says an exasperated Barr. “I feel like I’m sitting underneath an acorn tree in late September, early October. Acorns are just dropping and hitting the ground. I’m just watching and it’s crazy.”

That experience is in the fabric of 11 Short Stories and hopefully serves as a message of hope for others going through it.

“We do it to maybe shed a little more, maybe light and maybe hopefulness into this conversation,” adds Barr. “There is light at the end of the tunnel and there is hope and you don’t have to live that way anymore. There are people that are waiting with their hands outstretched to help you.”

11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory is out now, and Dropkick Murphys return to the area with a show at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center on February 21.

To hear much more from Al Barr of Dropkick Murphys check out the full interview below.

 

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