St. Patrick’s Day is this week, and Flogging Molly isn’t about to leave everyone high and dry for a second straight year. Sure, COVID might’ve gotten in the way of their plans last year, but the Celtic punk legends are going above and beyond this year to bring a live-streamed show straight from Ireland just so fans around the world can chant along to “Drunken Lullabies” from the comfort of their own homes.
Tickets start at $15 and go up from there, but at least you can rest assured knowing that you’ll get your money’s worth from vocalist Dave King, violinist Bridget Regan, and the rest of the band. Plus, the show is sponsored by Bushmills, which seems like a particularly appropriate partner at a time when everyone’s drinking enough to forget the fact that they haven’t been able to buy an overpriced alcoholic beverage at a live concert for over a year. At least this way, you won’t have anyone to blame but yourself for spilling your drink while watching one of the best drinking bands of our time.
SPIN spoke with King to talk about the stream, St. Patrick’s Day shows of the past, and much more.
SPIN: Considering how different it is compared to your usual shows, what was the inspiration behind doing the St. Patrick’s Day livestream this year?
Dave King: Well, obviously it’s a huge difference. It’s something that really you wouldn’t really ever want to do. But the fact is that it’s St. Patrick’s Day and we have to celebrate it in the best way that we can. This is what we all thought was the best way that we could do it. And, you know, it’s strange in some ways, because it’s also the first time we’ve ever played on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland.
Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day shows, I used to live in Arizona and was always blown away that Flogging Molly chose to play there on every St. Patrick’s Day. As someone who went to at least a half-dozen of them, I have to ask why would you choose Arizona of all places for one of the biggest events of the year?
I always remember Arizona being one of those places when we first started that understood what we were really just all about — and it also turned out that the weather in March is quite pleasant in Arizona. It got to the stage where people were starting to come from California, Nevada, and just all over to go to the Arizona show on St. Patrick’s Day. It just made perfect sense to do an outdoor show there on St. Patrick’s Day, and it just turned into this annual event where we would play Arizona and we always had an absolute blast doing it. there. I mean, you’ve seen six or seven and you’re still here to talk about it?
Yeah, I used to go every year when I lived there. It was tradition.
That’s what makes this show we’re doing this year so special. I think we would have let down so many people — and most of all ourselves — if we weren’t making an effort to do this. This is a huge undertaking to do because it’s not like we all live in one town and can get together and do this. But the thing is, we have to celebrate something these days. St. Patrick’s Day for a band like Flogging Molly is the perfect day to celebrate. All we’re trying to do is just bring a little bit of joy into people’s home on St. Patrick’s Day.
Flogging Molly has really turned into one of those bands that transcend genres for a lot of fans. What’s it been like to see this very diverse following grow as a band with no real substitute for many people?
We’ve always been the type of band that you’re not going to really read about us or see about us, you’re just going to come and hang out with us. We play from our hearts and we put everything into our shows. It’s easy for people to put Flogging Molly in a category and say “Oh, they play that music where every song sounds the same” or that type of thing. But the fact of the matter is that when you peel away certain things, it’s a very emotional thing. I don’t like using the word organic, but it really is. I mean, when you’re standing on stage looking at a crowd and you see grandparents, parents, and children from the same family at your shows, that means a lot. That’s something that makes us feel very lucky because not many bands can do that.
In addition to the livestream, the festivals, and all of the regular shows, Flogging Molly has the Salty Dog Cruise that various promoters have attempted to imitate over the years. What made you sit down and say “Hey, let’s take this to the sea”?
Well, we usually think that if it doesn’t make us any money, it’s always a good idea. We were really skeptical about the whole cruise thing, because first of all, we’d never been on a cruise before. Then we did the first one, and I was like “This is ridiculous. This is a bunch of people getting on a boat for four or five days, simply forgetting about what they left behind, and living in the moment and just enjoying themselves and having a great time.” All the way through the last one we did in November 2019, the atmosphere and the camaraderie among the people and all of the bands that have been on the cruises so far has just been incredible. Anywhere we go in the world, there’s always a poster or a banner saying “See you on the next cruise” — no matter if it’s Europe or South America or anywhere. When we play on the cruise, it’s beautiful. I’ll never forget the last time we played on it. It was the last night of the cruise, we were on the deck and the upper deck was covered with flags from all over the world. People hung Brazilian flags, Norwegian flags, Swiss flags, French flags — it was unbelievable. I think that’s what’s going to make it even more special when we can do that again, and people from all over can gather once again to just enjoy life and have a little celebration every now and then.
As a band that’s been pretty consistently on tour for several years, what’s it been like to be more or less grounded for the last 12 months?
When the last tour was canceled in March 2020, I thought maybe it would be three or four months, so we took a little break and I started to write. It hadn’t really sunk in yet what was going on. Then as time went on, I stopped writing and started to reflect on what we had done before and what people’s lives had been like before, and it became very heavy. It was like “Well, are we ever going to do this ever again? I don’t know what we’re going to do.” But then I felt things were starting to change, so I started writing again and not dwelling on what had happened. In my opinion, if you’re a writer, you have to write about what’s happened to you. So there are a couple of songs where I feel like I’m pouring out my heart during the pandemic, but there are also songs of celebration and songs of laughter. I realized that for a band like Flogging Molly, we’ve already toured the world and had our cruises. I feel sorry for all of the young rock and roll bands and punk bands who were coming up and didn’t get to tour the world yet when they had the rug completely taken out from underneath them. Hopefully now with vaccines kicking in, we’ll all be together sooner than later.