It’s been almost 10 years since Flogging Molly started their career in the Los Angeles, Calif. Irish pub, Molly Malone’s. Since then it’s been a fast-paced ride for the seven musicians whose most recent release was “Whiskey On a Sunday,” a DVD which gives an intimate portrait of the band’s career. A rare find among music DVDs, “Whiskey On a Sunday” is more than just your typical live performance DVD. While telling the story of Flogging Molly, the personal pasts of each band member and how they came to join the band are simulatneously revealed. Rochester native and Flogging Molly guitarist Dennis Casey recently spoke with the Campus Times in an interview that further expanded on the band’s, as well as his, personal journey.
Casey moved to California 16 years ago in hopes of starting a music career with another Rochester native. He was part of a number of bands before joining Flogging Molly after the release of 2000’s “Swagger.” During this time, Casey learned a number of lessons about the cruel nature of the music business.
“I was involved in bands before [Flogging Molly] that got signed to big record labels and nothing ever really happened with those except for one band, but the band got dropped even before the record could come out,” Casey recalled. “It’s just typical music business stuff, and it was a real eye-opening experience – a real sad and humbling experience – to how big labels can treat bands.” However, Casey was able to reconnect with Flogging Molly’s singer/guitarist/songwriter Dave King and soon became the band’s guitarist.
Unless Flogging Molly are in the studio, you can trust that they’re on the road, bringing their phenomenal live show to devoted fans. Although, as Casey explains, the band was more or less stationary on the West coast until soon after he joined the ranks. “[After] we put [2002’s Drunken Lullabies] out,” said Casey. “Then we did the Warped Tour and it’s been non-stop ever since!”
Flogging Molly has built their career around their live show – a high-energy and truly memorable event. Their sold-out show at Water Street Music Hall on Oct. 18 was nothing short of extraordinary. The band was received by the crowd with great enthusiasm, singing along with King on every word of every song, fists in the air. The band and the crowd played off each other’s energy throughout the set, which contained equal amounts of material from all of their albums. The band was relentless in their delivery; hits such as “Devil’s Dance Floor,” “What’s Left of the Flag” and “Screaming at the Wailing Wall” came in rapid sucession with little banter in between.
The music Flogging Molly makes is in a category all its own. No one genre label can capture their sound. “Record labels want to sign bands that are out at the moment, and they want to sign bands that look and sound like what’s selling at the moment,” Casey commented. “[Flogging Molly] couldn’t be further from that. We have Dave [King] who’s not the youngest guy in the world, and we have [bassist] Nate [Maxwell] who’s a young guy, and we all come from different backgrounds; we’re all different people. [The band] doesn’t fit into the mold of marketing and what to do with bands.”
Such diverse backgrounds – from the Dublin-born King to the former professional skateboarder Matt Hensley to Rochester native Casey – have played directly into the creation of a unique blend of music that is Flogging Molly. It is neither strictly traditional Irish folk, nor solely punk rock, but a combination of the two that transcends all labels and appeals to people from all walks of life.
Swain is a member of the class of 2008.