Culture  Rolling with the cause

Warped tour favorite Flogging Molly comes to Montreal next week

Have you heard of Flogging Molly? Well, now you have. So keep your ears open, because this band might just change the way you think about Celtic rock music. Flogging Molly have been a staple on several music scenes for over ten years now. Recently, I had a chance to interview band member Bob Schmidt about Flogging Molly and their upcoming show in Montreal.

Taking place on October 18th at Metropolis, the show is part of the band’s upcoming Canadian tour with Winnipeg band Inward Eye, in support of Flogging Molly’s latest album “Float” (2008). When asked how he would describe Flogging Molly, Schmidt answered “Basically, I would just describe it as a soul band. I think we are more known as a Celtic rock band. But, you know, mostly we just do what we do and try to make it make sense.”

Schmidt was among the first wave of musicians assembled by lead vocalist Dave King in 1996 to form what would eventually become Flogging Molly. Schmidt found himself attracted to the nascent band’s songwriting aesthetic, anchored by King’s confessional writing style. “Dave’s songs are always about his life, his perspective and things that have have happened to him,” Schmidt explained. “Where his gift comes in is that he can take a song that is written in a very personal and specific way and yet you can relate to it. Anybody who has lived life can relate to the aspects that he is talking about because he is pretty general about his themes but will tell a very specific story about his father dying and yet anybody who has a father or has had a father die or anything like that can relate to that story, and I think it is a very unique talent, and you don’t see it often in the world.”

Commenting on their recent touring activity, Schmidt said, “I think that our fan base – which has always been very diverse – is continuing to diversify. You know, we’ve been pretty lucky because we’ve been able to play to soul crowds, punk crowds, and rock crowds. Old people and young people. We’ve been lucky that way that we’ve been embraced by a lot of different groups of people. There are songs on it that the punk kids love, songs on it that the folkies love, songs on it that your grandpa loves.”
Flogging Molly don’t just rock, they roll, by supporting various causes such as Save Darfur, Democracy Now, and Goal USA. Schmidt explained the band’s commitment to using its fame toward good ends: “You know we try to do as much as we can. These are just ones in particular that we’ve met people in the organization who we’ve been able to directly connect with and then learn intimately about what is going on. […] Anytime you can bring attention to something that horrific it is irresponsible not to do it regardless of whether you are in a band or not. Save Darfur was a no brainer. With Goal [USA] they help the poorest people on the planet and they do it with a lot of integrity and soul. That’s what got us involved. With democracy we feel like it’s not our place to tell you what to think […] Our place is to tell you to think. You don’t have to believe in what we believe in and we don’t care what you believe in but you have to be involved and you have think for yourself and formulate an opinion and make it count.”

On October 14th, the members of Flogging Molly will be kicking off their first cross-Canadian tour in Halifax. And though it is but one of their 14 tour stops, Schmidt spoke fondly of coming to play in Montreal. “Montreal has always been a really good time. The last couple times we played at the Metropolis were fantastic. Such a beautiful venue and such an energetic great crowd… we’ve always enjoyed it.”

Flogging Molly plays Metropolis ( 59 St. Catherine E.) on October 18.