By: Jaime' En Fuego
The Irish culture is well renowned for holding their storied traditions in the highest regard! This dedicated trait as a people extends across the entire board from an unabashed affinity for their unique takes on fantastic food and delicious drink to a sincere sanctity for both religion and family. Yet an inner musical pulse often indicates so very much that might otherwise not be known about where one hails from, and this happened to be one of the deepest passions which the waves of immigrants from Ireland brought along with them on their European journeys to the United States for it promised "Land of Opportunity." Despite dire difficulties, many Irish found those chances at greatness across the pond in the New World, with a more recent and rocking example being David King, the bandleader and lead vocalist for Celtic punkers FLOGGING MOLLY.
He departed the impoverished Beggar's Bush in Dublin, Ireland during the mid-1980's after attaining merely moderate success fronting a heavy metal group called Fastway that featured former members of UFO, Motorhead and Humble Pie. King had a reasonable reputation from that previous collaboration and upon eventually departing Europe for Los Angeles touted a major label deal with Epic Records, who were lying in wait to showcase his forthcoming solo project once it was fully assembled. However, issues began to arise immediately upon Dave informing Epic of his "new" direction's bold intentions to retain the aggressive tempos of his previous work while augmenting the sound with an eclectic assortment of traditional Irish instruments to give the listening experience a more distinctive flair. A contentious disagreement that followed spurred a mutual decision to grant a release from his contract with the company to work out this new material and assemble a group of musicians all on his own instead.
Sticking true to what was in his heart ended up paying dividends in the end when King met the fair maiden Bridget Regan in 1993, a fleet-fingered fiddler who became his musical partner whilst on the cusp of forming Flogging Molly's full lineup a few years later. In 1997 a rollicking live album entitled Alive Behind The Green Door was self-released by the band, but they were still feeling damned to continue slogging it out at pubs like Molly Malone's in L.A. where the band took their name for the establishment that supported them from their humble beginnings. Call it luck of the Irish that one of the band's energetic live shows was eventually witnessed by owners of independent punk stalwart Side One Dummy Records, but it opened the green door for King, Regan and their creative accomplices gifted guitarist Dennis Casey, brazen bassist Nathen Maxwell, powerful percussionist George Schwindt, and the two gents who bring that signature flavor to the festivities thanks to banging it out on instruments that might not seem too rocking, courtesy of accordion maestro Matt Hensley paired with banjo/mandolin master Bob Schmidt.
The group's daring debut album Swagger dropped in 2000 and created enough buzz in the underground community that the arrival two years later of their sophomore offering Drunken Lullabies shot the group into the mainstream stratosphere propelled by the power of searing singles like the fist pumping title track, seen in memorable video form here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89NjEeHku8o, and it's more somber successor "What's Left Of The Flag." Not ones to allow the momentum of their breakthrough to fizzle, Flogging Molly maintained the momentum of hard work and extensive touring, watching Lullabies eventually attain Gold Status from the RIAA and in turn their next three releases all debuted in the Billboard Top 20. It should come as no surprise that their last two albums gave a nod to the best of both sides of the Western world with 2008's Alternative Press 'Album of the Year' Float finally taking the recording process back to his native Ireland where Dave once again resides along with his wife Regan, whom he married in a private ceremony while touring with the group a few years ago. Then for their most recent offering, the daringly self-released and equally spectacular Speed Of Darkness, Flogging Molly returned to America to get raucously religious by recording in a 'converted' church in North Carolina, showing that when it comes to tradition, especially in Flogging Molly's musical melting pot, that things often do come full circle.
FLOGGING MOLLY continue their yearly tradition of returning to the Phoenix area nearly year after year with a punk performance on St. Patrick's Day that is sure to be a perfect toast to the annual celebration of Irish culture. Their energetic, emotional Celtic anthems serve as one of the best soundtracks to pound down some Jameson or a few Guinness and Swithwicks to at Tempe Beach Park's joyous Green 17 tour event this Sunday, March 17. A sincere cheers to our mates of all colors and cultures!