Breaking & Entering: A look at acts breaking at radio and retail and entering Billboard charts. This week: Flogging Molly.
Profiling acts breaking at radio and/or retail and entering Billboard's charts.
BEATING A PUNK HORSE: After years of rousing beer-swilling bar patrons with its blend of Celtic punk, Flogging Molly has graduated to beer-swilling television audiences. The group recently performed on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and its third album, "Within a Mile of Home" (Side One Dummy), is a Billboard chart success.
"Something with some real roots in it needed to be heard," says the band's Dublin-born frontman Dave King. "Traditional Irish music is root music from the heart and we've taken the guts of it and turned it into our own little thing."
That 'little thing' is a raucous mix of guitar, fiddle, accordion, banjo, drums, mandolin and even a tin whistle that debuted two weeks ago at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart and No. 20 on The Billboard 200.
The seven-member group introduced itself in 2000 with "Swagger," which failed to chart but scored the group a spot on the Vans Warped Tour, on which the band has appeared every year since. "Drunken Lullabies" followed two years later with a one-week stint at No. 157 on The Billboard 200.
King wrote the lyrics for all but one song of "Within a Mile of Home" and also plays acoustic guitar. "With every album we take a step up," he says. "We started out playing bars, but we've always played for ourselves, and no matter how much fun we're having as a band, you've got to take chances and grow."
The guitar-flurry of the 15-track set's title track, along with songs like "Queen Anne's Revenge," written by bassist Nathan Maxwell, showcase punk influences like the Dropkick Murphys and the Clash.
The group slows things down a bit for the standout "Factory Girls," which features alt-country singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams. King wrote the track about his mom in Ireland and says Williams was the first choice once he realized it needed more than one voice. "I wanted someone who could not only sing the song but put their own stamp on it and she really did that."
King got his first taste of large venues alongside Motorhead guitarist "Fast Eddie" Clark as part of the 1980s band Fastway, but says he didn't feel deserving of the success. "I didn't feel like I put sweat and blood into it," he admits. "With [Flogging Molly], we've toured now for years and years, and I feel like our entry on the Billboard charts is a great thing that we've worked hard for."
The band -- which also includes Bridget Regan (fiddle, tin whistle), Dennis Casey (electric guitar), Matt Hensley (accordion), Bob Schmidt (mandolin, banjo) and George Schwindt (drums) -- is touring North America with Street Dogs and the Briggs as part of the Side One Dummy/Punk Voter Tour through Oct. 23 and will follow that with a Europe jaunt.