FLOGGING MOLLY STAYS TRUE TO ITS IRISH ROOTSview image
By HEATHER TURK
For the Irish punk rockers Flogging Molly, mainstream success was never the agenda. Despite being one of the most marketable punk groups since the Ramones, the band was happy simply playing at Molly Malone’s, a Los Angeles landmark that’s been credited with bringing some of the best Irish music to the City of Angels for over 30 years.
That being said, it’s no surprise that Flogging Molly was playing there.
“We always knew our music could connect with a larger audience, but we were never the type of band that wanted to rock the world or take over the country,” said Robert Schmidt, who not only plays the mandolin, banjo, mandola and bazouki in the band but also provides backing vocals. “We were just happy for the opportunity to play.”
With the band’s Sept. 16 performance at the House of Blues, Schmidt reassures the loyal Flogging Molly fans that have been supporting the group since its pub days that despite now headlining international tours, Flogging Molly’s still that same Irish band from Molly Malone’s. Schmidt is especially excited to return to the House of Blues, a music hall that encompasses everything Flogging Molly stands for.
“We’re not a big fan of seated venues,” Schmidt said. “It’s always nice to have a big stage to run around, but you don’t get that mob mentality of energy. Plus we never want to be that band that charges $70 a ticket.”
Las Vegas is a frequent stop for the Los Angeles group, but unlike most tours, the Sept. 16 show isn’t Flogging Molly’s final performance. The seven-piece band returns to Hollywood the following night before jetting off to Japan, only to return to California in October before flying overseas once again.
“Nine times out of 10 Vegas is the final stop of the tour, which is great because the city has a certain energy where it’s okay to let the chips fall where they will,” Schmidt stated. “Whenever we play in Los Angeles, since it’s our hometown there’s always this expectation that things will go their best.”
When asked where the band receives its biggest response, Irish cities like Boston or overseas in Ireland, Schmidt surprisingly answered neither.
“We have great shows in the Netherlands… it’s really weird the cities that are into it. I can’t figure it out.”
But for anyone who’s heard the band perform, it’s not that difficult to comprehend. Flogging Molly’s combination of Irish folk music with anarchic punk rock is able to attract a demographic of listeners who may have never purchased a punk rock or Irish CD before. And as the band’s popularity continues to grow with the release of Flogging Molly’s third album, Within a Mile of Home, Schmidt wants to remind those who may be skeptical to check out the band live that Flogging Molly doesn’t just appeal to the Hop Topic generation.
“We get labeled as punk rock, but really I think we’re more rock. It’s just cause our music is aggressive, fast and loud – all elements of punk – that our energy has an attitude of punk rock. But there aren’t that many more punk fans who show up at the show – we have 80-year-old guys coming to the show who can whoop it up just as much as anyone else.”