Kenneth William "Ken" Casey Jr. (born April 15, 1969) is an American musician who is a bass guitarist, primary songwriter, and one of the lead singers of the Boston Celtic punk group the Dropkick Murphys. Casey was one of the original members, starting the band in 1996 with guitarist Rick Barton and singer Mike McColgan. He is the only original member of the Dropkick Murphys left in the band, though drummer Matt Kelly joined shortly after formation in 1997. He is known for his melodic vocal parts and solid punk rock bass playing. Dropkick Murphys released their ninth album 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory on January 6, 2017. Casey also founded the charity group The Claddagh Fund, owns two Boston restaurants, McGreevy's and Yellow Door Taqueria, and runs his own boxing promotion called Murphys Boxing. Casey has a small role in the 2016 film Patriots Day, about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the subsequent terrorist manhunt.
Casey was born Pittsfield, Massachusetts and raised in Milton, Massachusetts, the son of Eileen Kelly and Ken Casey, Sr. He is of Irish descent on both his mother and father's side of the family. His father died when he was very young and he was brought up under the wing of his grandfather, John Kelly, a teamster and union worker. The Dropkick Murphys song "Boys on the Docks" is dedicated to Kelly.
He worked in various jobs and studied at University of Massachusetts Boston before forming the band.
Casey lives in Hingham, Massachusetts with his wife and children. Casey is a die-hard fan of the Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics and New England Patriots, and participated in the Boston Bruins AT&T Legends Classic hockey game on January 2, 2010. Other participants included Tim Robbins, Bobby Farrelly, Terry O'Reilly, and Lenny Clarke. Casey scored the winning goal for his team in the second period.
Casey is the owner of a sports bar in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston on Boylston Street near Fenway Park, called McGreevy's. It is dedicated to the memory of the founder of the Royal Rooters, "'Nuf Ced" Michael T. McGreevy. He was also part-owner (with Shawn Thornton and Tim Wakefield) of a Pembroke, Massachusetts restaurant called Turner's Yard, which closed in 2014. Casey announced in December 2019 that he will be opening another restaurant, Yellow Door Taqueria, in South End which will open in February 2020.
In 2009, Casey founded The Claddagh Fund, a charity foundation based on the attributes of the Irish Claddagh symbolism: "Friendship, Love and Loyalty." It was founded with the help of Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr.
In October 2014, Casey, a lifelong Democrat, announced that he was co-hosting a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker. Casey stated that "Charlie is a Republican and I'm a Democrat, but I will take a big heart and strong character over political party any day." Casey, who publicly backed Mayor Martin J. Walsh's campaign in 2013, also said that Baker helped several of Dropkick Murphys' charitable causes over the years, including supporting military families. Casey is among many Massachusetts Democrats to have supported Baker.
On May 20, 2016, Casey and the Dropkick Murphys received the "Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps' Embracing the Legacy Award" for years of charity work with various organizations including work with children and military veteran. The award, "which parallels Robert F. Kennedy's quest for social justice on behalf of society's most vulnerable people" will be presented to the band at the Kennedy Library.
In 2018, Ken Casey was involved in a motorcycle accident and suffered severe damage to one of his vertebral disc which required surgery in May 2018 and caused him to lose feeling in his fingers and forced him to be unable to play the bass during the band's shows until he fully healed. The band was unsure if Casey would be able to begin their 2018 summer tour due to the injury. However, Kevin Rheault, the band's longtime stage tech and who filled in for other band members in the past, filled in on bass until Casey fully recovered. By March 2019, Casey began playing bass again. During a St. Patrick's Day show at the House of Blues on March 17, 2019, Casey attempted to defend fans that were being attacked by another concert-goer. He was hit in the head by a beer can, causing blood to appear on his face, though he stayed on stage and finished the concert while the involved fan was escorted from the building.
Being left-handed, Casey primarily plays left-handed Fender Precision Basses through Ampeg SVT bass amplifiers and cabinets with Dropkick Murphys, though he has been seen playing Fender Jazz Basses and, as of 2018, a Duesenberg Starplayer bass as well. He almost always plays with a pick and wears his bass lower than many players, explaining that when he first started playing, he cared more about his bass "being low and looking cool" than a proper strap length.
In 2015, Casey started the boxing promotion, Murphys Boxing. Casey has promoted various local fights in the Boston area which have also aired nationally on television. Danny O' Connor (ranked as one of the top 15 boxers in the world), Spike O'Sullivan, Logan McGuiness, Stephen Ormond and Michael McLaughlin currently fight for Casey's promotion. Casey said of his promotion "My grandfather was an avid boxing fan and an amateur boxer himself. He turned me onto the sport from about the age of three and the band has always had connections too. We have a song about John L. Sullivan (the bare-knuckle champion) and another one about Micky Ward (former WBU light-welterweight champion). But how I actually got into promoting was through my friend Danny O'Connor, who's a boxer from here. I was watching how hard it was for him – training in Texas, trying to sell tickets for his fights up here, he had a newborn baby and, like, how do you sell tickets when you're in Texas? I thought I'd just do some social media, promoting him to the Dropkicks fans, and the next thing you know is that five years later I'm immersed in boxing."