Flogging Molly - Biography

By Marcus Kagler

When one thinks of the Celtic punk genre The Pogues immediately spring to mind but chances are the Los Angeles septet Flogging Molly aren’t too far down the list. The band is unique as they are undeniably influenced by traditional Irish folk music, yet Flogging Molly only has one Irish member and their hometown is Los Angeles. Rather than ignore their hometown's influence in favor of Irish purity, Flogging Molly integrated LA’s ferocious, energetic punk sound into their own, giving the band more of a high energy and guitar heavy aesthetic compared to their Celtic punk contemporaries. Notable for vocalist Dave King’s fiery socio-political tirades against unjust wars, poverty, slavery, and US foreign policy, Flogging Molly is one of the more politically driven bands currently active, although they also cover traditional Irish lyrical fare like unrequited love and (of course) drinking. 

Founding member and Irish-born, Dave King, got his start as vocalist for the ill-fated British metal outfit Fastway, before leaving the band in 1987 and relocating to Los Angeles to start another short-lived metal group called Katmandu. After a few failed attempts at writing a solo album, King began writing songs with fiddle player Bridget Regan, guitarist Ted Hutt, and bassist Jeff Peters. Hutt and Peters soon left the group to pursue a career in another band, leaving King and Regan to slowly gain additional members in guitarist Dennis Casey, drummer George Schwindt, mandolin player Bob Schmidt, and accordion player Matt Hensley. The band secured a Monday night residency at the Irish-style pub, Molly Malone’s on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles where they quickly became a popular live draw. After sneaking into a Flogging Molly show, 17-year-old bassist Nathen Maxwell finalized the line-up in 1997. King christened the band Flogging Molly after the bar where they performed and the months of playing Monday night shows that left the band feeling like they were flogging a horse. By the time the live album Alive Behind The Green Door (1997 SideOneDummy) was released, Flogging Molly shows at Molly Malone’s had become legendary sold out events. The debut studio full-length, Swagger (SideOneDummy) followed in 2000 and brought the band to the attention of a nationwide audience. Engineered by legendary producer, Steve Albini, Drunken Lullabies (2002 SideOneDummy) continued the relentless Celtic-Oi! aesthetic, while also placing a greater emphasis on King’s somber ballads. Flogging Molly supported the release by stopping by Amoeba Hollywood on March 2, 2002 for one of our more raucous in-store performances.

During this time, the band toured the US and Europe incessantly, building an international fanbase on the strength of their ferocious live shows. The sharper production values of Within A Mile From Home (2004 SideOneDummy) streamlined their energetic punk into a more marketable sound with King shifting his lyrical focus toward politically-driven subject matters. Alt-country queen Lucinda Williams also makes a notable guest appearance on the track “Factory Girls.” The Flogging Molly documentary film, Whiskey On A Sunday (2006 OneSideDummy) was accompanied by a ten track live album of the same name. Float (2008 SideOneDummy) found the group revisiting the furious ire of their early work and was the first Flogging Molly album to be recorded in Ireland. The album is also the band’s most commercially successful release. King and Regan were married in Tokyo while on tout in 2008.

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