Drummer finds dream worth followingview image
By GARTH BISHOP
Suburban News Reporter
Renowned Irish-influenced rock group Flogging Molly came to town Sunday evening to headline the Celtic Rock Stage at the Dublin Irish Festival.
Flogging Molly is touring to support its third album, 2004’s Within a Mile of Home.
And with this visit to Central Ohio, one of its members was pretty close to being within a mile of home.
Drummer George Schwindt, a graduate of Westland High School, always knew he would end up with a career in music. Once he decided on his path, he knew he would not waver from it.
Schwindt, 42, has been drumming since he was 12 years old and attending Norton Middle School.
“I found something that I loved and I just kept doing it,” he said.
“Although he plays in an Irish punk band, Schwindt’s family background is Hungarian, and when he joined the band, he knew nothing about Irish culture.
“There’s not a drop of Irish blood in me that I know of,” Schwindt said, laughing.
Schwindt’s musical background is in rock. When he became part of Flogging Molly, he saw it as a rock group first – with the occasional fiddle, accordion and tin whistle thrown in.
“It never came across as Irish to me,” Schwindt said.
“There’s an Irish guy up there,” he said, referring to Dave King, the band’s Dublin, Ireland-born frontman.
The clash of styles is one of Schwindt’s favorite things about Flogging Molly’s sound.
Although band members generally come up with their own parts in their songs, they also make frequent suggestions to each other to improve the sound, he said.
“You mesh styles and come up with your own creative voice,” Schwindt said.
Schwindt brought up Tobacco Island, from Within a Mile of Home, as a good example of meshed styles.
The words focus on the plight of 17th-century Irish forced into slave labor, while the music is exciting and fast-paced.
“A lot of the lyrics are sad, but the music is upbeat,” Schwindt said.
Tobacco Island is one of Schwindt’s favorite songs to play in concert, as is the title track, Within a Mile of Home.
Schwindt said the group’s fans respond well to upbeat tunes like What’s Left of the Flag, but they can also get into the slower offerings such as Whistles the Wind.
When he’s in Central Ohio area, Schwindt’s first order of business is to see his family. His mother and two sisters live in the area.
is brother, Gary, lives in Los Angeles and works as Flogging Molly’s manager.
Schwindt graduated from Westland in 1981, then went to the Ohio State University and received a degree in music.
He then spent the next 10years traveling from place to place trying to make his mark in music.
He was working in a Los Angeles restaurant when a friend advised him to go to a bar called Molly Malone’s and see the Dave King Band which played on Monday nights.
Schwindt said he went to see the band every Monday for a year.
In 1995, Schwindt learned the band was looking to hire a new drummer. He auditioned for the part and got it.
Over the next few years, members came and went from the band until a final lineup was formed in 1997.
Having played Molly Malone’s every week for four years, the band members felt they had beaten the bar to death and decided to make up for it by renaming themselves Flogging Molly, Schwindt said.
The band’s playing style places an emphasis on live performance and they are known across several continents, so their tours are longer than those of most other bands.
“It takes us about two years to tour behind a record,” Schwindt said. “It’s hard to take time off because we’re a live band.”
The band hopes to be able to put out a new recording in 2006, Schwindt said.
Schwindt has traveled the world with Flogging Molly. The band has made stops in England, France, Italy, Japan and countless other countries.
“You get to see a lot of places in the world that other people don’t get to see,” Schwindt said.
However, one recent location will forever be etched in Schwindt’s memory – just a few weeks ago, he and his girlfriend of seven years, Meredith, got married in Greece.
The Dublin Irish Festival was fun Schwindt said because he enjoys playing a wide variety of venues.
“Most punk bands wouldn’t do this (play the Irish Festival),” he said.”It wouldn’t make sense for them.”
In his 10 years with Flogging Molly, Schwindt said he has played alongside the Pretenders at a festival in Europe, been part of a 30-minute Dutch documentary, toured the Vatican and heard his band’s music in a major motion picture, Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
It took him 20 years to make it as a full-time musician, but Schwindt is achieving one of his lifelong goals.
“It was worth the wait, and I’m glad that I did It.” he said.
“That’s what’s great about the people in the band. They are all doing what they love to do.”