OK. Just going to go out there and say it. It has been a kick-arse summer for punk rockers in St. John’s.
NOFX in June and The Dropkick Murphys in July.
Now to top it off with a big bang, Flogging Molly is playing two shows, this Friday and Saturday.
Kick. Arse. Summer.
And what makes it even sweeter you ask?
Finding out Flogging Molly has a local connection.
The Telegram recently reached Flogging Molly guitarist Dennis Casey by phone from his Rhode Island home.
When Casey realized he was being interviewed for a newspaper in Newfoundland he immediately perked up.
“I can tell you a little story,” he chuckled.
Apparently, Nathen Maxwell, Flogging Molly’s bass player, has in-laws from Newfoundland and has been here several times. In fact he was here for the George Street Festival to see The Dropkick Murphys play.
“He went up there a few years back, when he came back he said ‘We gotta play up there, we gotta play up there,’” Casey said.
“Last time we got as far as Halifax and I would say 80 per cent of the audience was from Newfoundland, so we all said, ‘Yeah he’s right,’” he chuckled.
This will be the band’s first time in Newfoundland and Labrador, and if ticket sales are any indication of popularity Flogging Molly is pretty big here.
The original show, scheduled for Sept 24 at The Majestic, sold out in seconds. A few days later a second show was added, this one for Sept 23, which again sold out faster than you could say “Drunken Lullabies.” Scalpers selling tickets for either show were setting prices for well over $100 on Kijiji.com.
Pre-show buzz like that is always nice to hear, Casey said.
“I get that feeling that there’s a lot of people really fired up for us to come up there,” he said,
It will be Casey’s first time in this provincel, he added, and he said he’s looking forward too it.
“Nate told me he had a great time up there. I guess there’s a lot of Irish culture and history up there and they just said it’s such a great town. So I’m really looking forward to just exploring and checking it out, meeting some local people and hopefully drink some local beer. Canadians make some good beer,” he said.
At this point the conversation took a tangent towards local beers. Casey seemed particularly interested in Quidi Vidi’s iceberg beer and said he’d have their manager ask for a case to be in their dressing room.
Casey also mentioned the strong Irish connection in Newfoundland. It’s significant for the band whose sound is a marriage of punk rock and traditional Irish music.
He also mentioned even though Flogging Molly is an Irish sounding band, a connection to the heritage is far from a prerequisite to enjoying the music. Some of their best fans are in Germany.
“I don’t find much of a difference in terms of the audience. It’s funny because there’s a real appreciation for Irish culture and music in all parts of the world,” Casey said.
Eventually, after a friendly chat, the conversation came back to the band and specifically it’s new album, “Speed of Darkness,” out since April.
“Speed of Darkness” focuses on the plight of the dying “Motor City” of Detroit, the adopted home spouses Dave King, the band’s songwriter and vocalist and Bridget Regan, the band’s fiddle player.
The album is basically a rallying cry for workers to take back their city and features lyrics like “rise up,” “stand and be counted” and paints targets on “blood-sucking leech CEOs.”
The album is the fifth in Flogging Molly’s 15-year run and received a bag of positive and mixed reviews by critics.
The Alternative Press said, “Diehard fans might miss Flogging Molly's manic moments, but Darkness' lyrical depth — and sonic diversity — are incredibly rewarding.”
Others have been more critical, especially on the slower pace of the album as compared to some of the band’s lightning fast early work.
But from Casey’s point of view, playing the songs every night, it’s hard to see the difference in “old” Flogging Molly and new material.
“There’s always people who want you to make your first record again and still reminisce about the record you made 12 or 15 years ago. They want you to make that again. You can’t please everybody, but I’d say for the majority it’s been received pretty well,” he said about the album.
In conclusion Casey talked about how much he was looking forward to playing The Majestic, with opening act The Stanfields from Nova Scotia.
“Nothing against the rest of Canada — but this is going to be the only place we’ve never played before (on this tour) if I’m not mistaken. So I think we’re all excited about that and that the reception was so overwhelming in the beginning,” he said.
“We’re equally excited to come up and make some new fans and meet some new friends. And, hopefully, make a regular run out of it.”