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Flogging Molly’s Dennis Casey on Inspiring Deep Conversation Through Music

"That's the big reward right there: When you've inspired someone where they can either talk to you or amongst themselves about something you've created"
Dennis Casey of Flogging Molly performs at Riot Fest 2023 at Douglass Park on September 17, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/WireImage, via Getty Images)

Throughout their 28-year career, Celtic punks Flogging Molly have stood for artistic expression in music. For guitarist Dennis Casey, that mindset began early on, when he was inspired by the creative voices of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan.

“I think I was 12 years old or something like that,” Casey tells SPIN backstage at Louder Than Life. “And it was there that I started looking for people [who] have something to say.”

The group’s frontman and primary lyricist, Dave King, was born in Dublin, and Casey says that his bandmate often draws on the turmoil his home country has experienced: “When talking to [King], his whole attitude is, ‘How can you not talk about certain things?’ He’s from Ireland, so coming from a country that, not too long ago, was at war or at odds with another country—border problems, bombings, and the horrendousness that unfortunately is happening other places. I think, him growing up with that, he can’t just let it go and sing about other things.”

Casey says that the biggest reward of making music is when listeners can have conversations that sprout new understandings of complex topics, whether it’s losing a loved one, politics, or war.

“That’s why we do it,” he says. “That’s the big reward right there: When you’ve inspired someone where they can either talk to you or amongst themselves about something you’ve created. And then they have this connection with you, and you have a connection with them now.”