Los Angeles, California, 1997
Before Flogging Molly, there were the metal years:
Prior to forming Flogging Molly, frontman Dave King was the vocalist for heavy metal bands Fastway and Katmandu, and then retained a recording contract to record a solo album. When his record label balked at the idea of him introducing traditional Irish music to his sound, he was able to get out of the contract.
The days at Molly Malone’s:
In 1993, King put together a lineup of friends (including fiddler Bridget Regan, who is still with the band, and is also now married to King) and started playing Celtic punk weekly at a Los Angeles pub called Molly Malone’s. It was at Malone’s that the band would develop a following, solidify their sound, and take their name (after years of playing Molly Malone’s, the band felt like they were “flogging” the bar to death.
During the Molly Malone’s days, the band self released a live album, Alive Behind the Green Door and gained the attention of SideOneDummy Records, who offered them a contract.
Flogging Molly’s Success:
In the years since their signing with SideOneDummy, the band has released four studio albums and acoustic/live album and DVD. They continue to generate a solid following, and are now legendary for their live shows.
Green 17 Tour:
For several years now, Flogging Molly has made an annual event out of their Green 17 Tour. Spread between February and March, the band takes a tour across the country, making the St. Patrick’s Day celebration last as long as they can.
Despite the band’s U.S. origins, the themes that deal with are heavily Irish. Along with traditional sounding and pirate-themed drinking songs, many of their tunes are politically defiant or melancholy ballads on historical issues of Ireland.
Flogging Molly’s accordion player, Matt Hensley is also a former professional skateboarder who was widely influential in the skateboarding world in the late ’80s. In 1990, he left the world of professional skateboarding to become a paramedic, before eventually discovering a new career with Flogging Molly.
Dave King: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Bridget Regan: Fiddle, Tin Whistle
Dennis Casey: Electric Guitar
Matt Hensley: Accordion
Nathen Maxwell: Bass
Bob Schmidt: Mandolin, Banjo
George Schwindt: Drums
Alive Behind the Green Door – 1997
Swagger – 2000
Drunken Lullabies – 2002
Within a Mile of Home – 2004
Whiskey on a Sunday – 2006
Float – 2008
Flogging Molly has yet to produce a bad album, but if you want to start out with the best, begin with Drunken Lullabies, the band’s sophomore studio album.
With songs like the title track and “Rebels of the Sacred Heart,” Lullabies has some great fast upbeat pub burners, followed up with melancholy tunes like “The Son Never Shines (On Closed Doors).” And for a sheer perfection, you can’t beat the simultaneously sad and upbeat “If I Ever Leave This World Alive.”
For fans who are not Irish, there are some albums that make you wish you were, and some that make you feel that, even if you’re not, it doesn’t matter, you’re still welcome. This one is one of the latter.
Bibliography: Cooper, R. (2015). Flogging Molly Profile – A Brief Biography of Flogging Molly. [online] About.com Entertainment. Available at: http://punkmusic.about.com/od/floggingmolly/p/floggingmolly.htm [Accessed 19 Feb. 2015].