Flogging Molly

Flogging Molly

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  1. Flogging Molly

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A musical mix of celebration and commiseration, veteran Irish-American folk-punk septet Flogging Molly continue to rock forth with their unique blend of Celtic anarchy. Truepunk speaks with mandolin/banjo player Robert Schmidt on the phone from Atlanta.

Hey Robert, what's going on?

Robert Schmidt:
"Well today our bus driver got fired from under us so that was a little wacky."

What, drinking on the job was he?

Robert Schmidt:
"No he's a great guy, the company he works for just decided that they, um, well I'm not quite sure what went on, ha. But they flew another guy out. We were sad to him go."

You're promoting the new album Float at the moment .. why the four year break between albums this time?

Robert Schmidt:
"We've just been really touring a lot and building up our fan base the last couple of years. Our last couple of albums came more organically at the time but with this one the touring schedule was more relentless so that we found ourselves without the space to write. We kept saying 'well get together and do the album after this tour' but something else would pop up. We've been thrown a lot of great opportunities to play with great bands and great festivals overseas and in here America.

Robert Schmidt:
"But then when we realised it had been that long (between records) we just had to put time aside. So part of the impetus for recording in Ireland was carving out chunks of time where we would just work on the album. And being an Irish-influenced band and (band leader) David (King) just moving back to Ireland last year it seemed like it was about time we tried to see how much the influence of the country would rub off."

So how does it work with Dave residing in Dublin and rest of the group in the States?

Robert Schmidt:
"Well, we're all over the States too, we haven't lived in the same city for probably three or four years. But generally when we get together for a tour it rarely starts in LA anyway. And with people starting to have families they just moved back to their cities of origin and then when Dave moved back to Ireland it's not that long a flight."

The title track Float seems to carry a theme of overcoming adversity?

Robert Schmidt:
"Absolutely! I think we all build these little boats to get through life, you know, your family and your friends and the things you love and you're passionate about. Life throws a lot of left hooks and does its best to kind of drag you back under. So I think that song is about remembering that you built this thing and when life gets hard you start abusing all those things that you put around you to hep you get through life. It's a song to help to remember that those are the things you need to get through those times so don't try to take it out on the people around you."

Ken Casey from Dropkick Murphys is quoted a saying he grew up in a household where musical get-togethers were the norm and how being surrounded by Irish balladeers influenced his career .. was that a scenario familiar to you?

Robert Schmidt:
"Yeah absolutely! Dave grew up in a council flat and there was a piano and a guitar and an accordion and all that stuff. And on weekends all the family members and friends would come over and they'd sing and that's just kind of what he grew up with. I think that spirit is what drives our band, to re-create that spirit and to have everybody commiserating and celebrating at the same time. I think it's that spirit that we try to bring to our live shows, you know, that things suck but we can get together for a little while and try to forget about it."

So how did punk rock fit into the equation?

Robert Schmidt:
"Dave's started writing a lot of the stuff for the band after he'd been out of Ireland for a long time because he was unable to return at that point because he was having visas problems. So I think he had a lot of nostalgia for those experiences and those memories growing up.

Robert Schmidt:
"My mother's side of the family is Irish and the stuff that I listened to growing up in the family was more Van Morrison and Clancy Brothers and that kind of stuff but I didn't have a lot of real rootsy traditional stuff. But then as a teenager I got into the Pogues and the Waterboys and that kind of stuff so I think it's always naturally been something that everyone in the band has been interested in. And obviously growing up in LA with a punk thing happening."

There's a real timelessness to the sound.

Robert Schmidt:
"Yeah, with Matt's accordion there's a certain old world-ness that when we're 80 we'll still enjoy what we're doing and it'll still sound as good. Whereas when you're 80 and still plugging away at a Ramones tune it becomes a little odd."



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