Here’s a reprint of my interview with Flogging Molly that ran in Hot Press a while back.It’s always a pleasure talking to Dave and they’re a great band so check them out.
Return Of The King
Celtic-punk innovators Flogging Molly talk to Edwin McFee about their homecoming shows, their new album Speed Of Darkness and reveal why the Mighty Stef made them want to quit music for good.
They say a prophet is never recognized in his own land and in a way that phrase could be true for Dave King, Dublin-born frontman for folk-punks Flogging Molly. You see while the musician’s band may have sold over two million copies of their fourth record Float in the U.S. alone, the group have never really cracked the mainstream in Ireland despite boasting a sound which drips with Celtic influences and imagery. This year, King and Co. attempt to put all that right though when they release their fifth effort, the rebel rousing American protest song themed Speed Of Darkness.
“Speed Of Darkness is a record that’s essentially inspired by the resiliency of humanity in the face of recession and cut backs,” offers the frontman. “It was written in a basement in Detroit and it all came together really quickly. Thankfully we didn’t feel like we were under pressure to measure up to the success of Float. We just wanted to continue evolving our sound and pushing things forward.”
As optimistic as it is angry, the record showcases the band at its most assured, with each of the seven musicians comfortable with their roles within the tight-knit outfit.
“It’s so weird, but the older we get, the closer we become,” laughs Dave. “We all genuinely miss each other when we’re not on tour and we’re always in constant contact with one other-which, as you probably know, is a bizarre situation for a band. Everyone usually hates each other’s guts!”
Recorded in what used to be an old church in Asheville, North Carolina (the studio they wanted to use in Detroit was already occupied by Eminem) Flogging Molly’s marriage of Irish and American influences has never been as strong as it is now and while Dave admits that the band (now in their 14th year) are getting older, they’re still having a blast.
“I think this record shows that musically the group have grown up, but we’re still having fun,” considers the musician, who spends his time living in both Detroit and Wexford with his wife and bandmate Bridget Regan. “The studio was amazing, but it was weird for this ex-altar boy singing what some would regard as blasphemous lyrics surrounded by stained glass windows, I’ll tell you that!”
With Flogging Molly about to hit the road for performances at the likes of Coachella, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and more this summer, there are two Irish dates at the end of August which the singer is especially looking forward to and Dave is hoping that his band’s profile at home will hopefully catch up with the rest of the world.
“I definitely think there’s room for an act like Flogging Molly back at home in Ireland,” he says. “I’d love to play more often at home and tour more there at some stage too, but I’m also grateful for the following we already have. I remember playing at Oxegen a few years ago and everyone knew who we were, which was great, and we sold out the Ambassador in Dublin which was pretty special for us too. We’re growing things in Ireland at the moment and it’s a case of so far, so good.
“We also like to keep up with what’s happening in the Irish music scene,” he concludes. “I remember when I first heard the Mighty Stef (who I absolutely love). I just thought-‘Fuck this, I’m giving up.’ People like him inspire me to make better music and hopefully we can bring him to the States with us someday. Artists like him deserve to be heard around the world.”