"Tessie" is a song from the Vaudeville era that became an anthem for the Boston Red Sox baseball team when the Dropkick Murphys recorded it. How did this happen? In our interview with Matt Kelly of the Dropkick Murphys
, he explained: "The Red Sox pitched it to us. Dr. Charles Steinberg, who was involved with the Red Sox organization, was also a bit of a baseball historian. And I guess he had been talking with Jeff Horrigan, the sports writer, about how the song 'Tessie' was the unofficial anthem of the Royal Rooters, who were basically turn of the 20th Century Red Sox supporters. They were a supporters club, kind of like hooligans, if you want to put it in a soccer sense. They follow the team around and they even have a band in the stands and taunt the players on the other team. And they'd sing 'Tessie,' which was a Vaudeville hit at the time. It was a song about a woman singing to a parrot. Nothing to do with baseball. So they presented it to us: 'We'd like you to re-do this.' I'm not sure why they picked us, but thank God. We listened and thought, What are we gonna do with this pile of crap tune? If you could only have heard it - it just seemed unusable. So we deconstructed the whole tune, looking at the chord structure, and pieced it back together as maybe a Faces or Rolling Stones kind of live song, obviously with less talent. And then Jeff Horrigan and Ken (Casey), our bass player and fearless leader, got together and re-wrote the lyrics to have to do with the Sox and the Royal Rooters themselves. We recorded it, and it just took off. That was in the 2004 season, which was a very lucky thing for us, because that was, of course, the year that broke the curse. When 'Tessie' stopped being sung in 1918, that was the last year that the Sox had won the World Series, and it came back in 2004.
It was hard work on the team's part, and luck of being in the right place at the right time for us. I would imagine if they'd blown it, that song would be forever known as an awful reminder of those sad times. (laughing) We were extremely lucky. It was awesome, too. We actually played the song in Fenway Park on the hallowed field - you're not even supposed to look at the grass, let alone be on it.
We were in the stands on the July 24, 2004 game where there was a bench-clearing brawl and A-Rod got a little slappy. We got to see these intense games first hand, and it was just ridiculous being able to be involved in that season. It's something to tell your grandkids about, because people waited so long, through so many blown victories, so many near misses. But so many decades and that finally happened. And wow, we were somehow involved. Responsible? No. But involved? Yes."