NOTE: Due to severe weather conditions, the Flogging Molly show at the Complex for Thursday, March 14 has been rescheduled for Sunday, March 24. All tickets will be honored at the new date.
SALT LAKE CITY — For the 21-year-old Irish-American punk rock band Flogging Molly, hard times call for celebration.
The band’s new album, “Life is Good,” plays heavily on that idea.
“It was a record that was inspired by many things,” Dennis Casey, the band’s lead guitarist, told the Deseret news. “Some being the passing of Dave’s, our singer’s mother, the passing of my father and other events that happened in the world. So the title ‘Life is Good’ is kind of tongue-in-cheek. Meaning that life really isn't good, it's both (bad) and good.”
“Life is Good” is the band’s sixth studio album, arriving six years after its 2011 release “Speed of Darkness.” The band will bring its Irish-American “Drunken Lullabies” to Salt Lake's The Complex on Thursday, March 14 — right in time for St. Patrick’s Day, or the international celebration of the death of Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick.
“I know the Irish have a way of celebrating horrendous things — they’re crying in their beer but then making you laugh by the end of it," Casey said. "It’s in limericks, it’s in poems, it’s in literature, it’s in music."
Although most of its seven members are not actually Irish by birth, Flogging Molly carries on the Irish tradition of making light of morbid things in part thanks to its Dublin-born lead singer and founder Dave King, who, Casey said, embodies "Irish culture in every way."
“I think Dave’s done that in a wonderful way,” Casey said. “I think people are really touched and moved by his life and experiences, but also you rev it up and turn it up really loud, and — it’s time to celebrate.”
As far as the sound of its music, the band worked with a new producer, Joe Chiccarelli, who has also produced albums for the Shins, Counting Crows, Etta James, the Killers and many other famous rock-influenced groups. Additionally, the band’s new drummer, Percussion World (aka Mike Alonso), significantly “changed the dynamics” of the band, Casey said.
But the band’s songs are ultimately rooted in a patriotic nostalgia for Ireland, an idea which Casey said unites Irish emigrants across the globe.
“I’m getting metaphysical, but it’s fascinating that people who are from all over the world, who are of Irish heritage, love the culture and they like to go back to the homeland to see our band play songs about missing Ireland,” Casey said in an interview with the blog Elsewhere.
That idea — missing Ireland — has been a major part of the band’s real-world story. Lead singer Dave King did not visit his Irish home country for an eight-year period because he lacked a United States green card. King’s separation from his homeland and family, Casey said, ultimately inspired the band’s sound.
“It took that long for him to be able to go back home and come back, because it's not like one day you just file a paper and then they're like 'OK' — it's a long, expensive … process," Casey said. "And in that time, he couldn't see his foreign mother, and that’s a very long time to go without seeing your mother.
“I think personally that's what inspired Dave to start writing this Irish-themed music because he was an Irish citizen who couldn't go home. And the only way to go home was to write the music that he grew up with, which was the music he knew.”
The band’s spring tour is bringing Irish sound and culture to venues across the U.S. — and, while the records are good, for Casey, Flogging Molly's live shows most clearly demonstrate the band’s message and energy.2 comments on this story
“I think we've always been a live band since the beginning, and that's how we kind of proved ourselves. … There's more energy because it’s a communal experience where a couple thousand or a thousand people are all into the music that’s being played.”
If you go …
What: Flogging Molly with special guests Face to Face and Matt Heckler
When: Sunday, March 24, doors at 7 p.m., show 8 p.m.
Where: The Complex, 536 W. 100 South
How much: $35 + fees
Note: Open to all ages. For 21+ premier seating upgrade (must already have a GA ticket), email: [email protected]