Flogging Molly wsg. The Mighty Stef, Pasadena
The Orbit Room, Grand Rapids
Dec. 5, 7 p.m.
$27.50 advance, $33 day of show
orbitroom.com, (616) 942-1328
Back in the late 90s, a band assembled by former heavy metal vocalist Dave King was rocking a little Irish pub called Molly Malone’s every Monday night with their own flavor of Celtic punk. Much like The Pogues, who founded the genre, King’s group aimed to seamlessly blend traditional Irish tunes with a healthy dose of ass-kickery. And they did it well, catching the attention of L.A.-based indie label SideOneDummy Records and hurling the band known as Flogging Molly into the mainstream.
With a gold record in the group’s 2002 release Drunken Lullabies as well as their certified platinum Whiskey On A Sunday, Flogging Molly’s influence on the genre, as well as music in general, speaks for itself. Even the band’s multi-instrumentalist Bob Schmidt has been recognized by Fender for his contributions, first with the release of his own signature electric mandolin and most recently with a tenor banjo that bears his name.
“It’s really exciting to have something out there like that,” said Schmidt. “That’s not something I ever really saw happening in my career. It’s difficult to put into words. It definitely feels very gratitude-inducing.”
Most recently, aside from its normal touring schedule, the band has been in the studio working on its sixth record, slated for release in the first half of 2015. While the band has taken a slightly different approach this time around in that they’re actually writing in the studio, the process is otherwise the same: Creating great Irish punk songs that are all Flogging Molly.
“Our creativity has always come from the songwriting,” Schmidt said. “We try to incorporate more and more of the world over the years. I think we have employed this thing and that thing, but we’ve always been pretty direct about our recording process. We’re still a band that’s based on the live show.”
Something they have done a little outside of the box over the years is their highly anticipated Green 17 Tour, which was a month-long, touring celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in the days leading up to March 17. After 10 years, however, the band felt the idea had run its course, and according to Schmidt they “just kind of wanted to put that concept to bed.”
But you can’t be an Irish punk band and ignore St. Patrick’s Day, which is why the group is hosting its first ever Salty Dog Cruise in 2015 just prior to the big day. This four-day, three-night cruise sets out from Miami and heads to the Bahamas, and will feature a variety of DJs and live bands, including Flogging Molly themselves.
“We’ve been talking about it for four or five years, having different ideas for how it works or what it would look like,” said Schmidt. “I think there’s just something about taking the show out to sea.”
In the meantime, the band is thrilled to be closing out the year with their current tour schedule, including a stop at The Orbit Room in Grand Rapids on Dec. 5.
“We haven’t done a non-major city tour in a while,” Schmidt said. “You get used to going to Chicago and going to New York and those places. We’re really excited about it.”–Dwayne Hoover