Flogging Molly founder Dave King reflects on triumphant ‘Anthem’ album, how Ireland’s remarkable rebound can inspire world

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Twenty years after the release of their landmark Gold album, “Drunken Lullabies,” Flogging Molly are widely heralded as legends of the Celtic punk genre – but being a standard-bearer of this sound wasn’t the initial intention of founder Dave King from Dublin.

King’s first brush with rock stardom was as singer for Fastway, a heavy metal band established by classic Motörhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clark. A decade after King split ways with Fastway, he found himself disenfranchised by his experiences with major record labels.

Flogging Molly

While King worked menial jobs to stay housed, he would brandish his acoustic guitar and sing at the Molly Malone’s pub in Los Angeles as a mere creative outlet. Nursing this hobby at the pub proved fruitful beyond his imagination; as King hung and sang at Molly Malone’s, he met his future bandmates one by one – and the rest is history.

Flogging Molly are back with a new album, entitled “Anthem,” which they’re currently touring behind with co-headliners The Interrupters. WOUB’s Aaron Schultz was on the scene as they made a raucous return to Ohio at the ICON stage in Cincinnati; and WOUB’s Ian Saint got to speak with founder Dave King ahead of their shows in Cleveland (Jacob’s Pavilion at Nautica) and Columbus (KEMBA Live!) on June 19 and June 25.

Saint and King had an invigorating discussion about key takeaways from Flogging Molly’s fascinating past and present, including:
• Ohio being a standout state for embracing Flogging Molly’s novel sound and concert presentation
• How weathering the pandemic influenced the direction of their new album, “Anthem,” and why King decided to tackle this mass trauma event rather than pursue a purely escapist direction
• Reuniting with Steve Albini, mixer of their dam-breaking first two albums, in Chicago for the making of Anthem; and why revisiting their roots was essential for them reinventing themselves
• King being 38 at the time of Flogging Molly’s debut album, “Swagger,” being released; and how he kept motivated in the wake of a major label musical career that had ended in devastation
• Why King begged Epic Records to drop him in the ’90s, even though such a record deal is a dream for so many musicians; and how being pitched as a Michael Bolton contemporary ignited his jettison
• How King pursuing what he truly wanted to write and play, rather than what a major record label had envisioned on his behalf, led to the formation of Flogging Molly in a very organic way – and a sustainable music career of his sincere craft, even though it was preceded by years of menial work
• Reflecting on the remarkable turn of fortunes in his native Ireland – King was born in a British army barracks, and grew up during The Troubles – and how the whole world can take cues from Ireland in order to exit this era of polarization
• and much more!

Stream the entire Flogging Molly segment on-demand, by clicking the Play button in the SoundCloud widget beneath the headline.

Flogging Molly’s tour with The Interrupters has two more Ohio shows ahead: Jacob’s Pavilion at Nautica in Cleveland (2014 Sycamore St.) on Sunday, June 19 and KEMBA Live! in Columbus (405 Neil Ave.) on Saturday, June 25. For tickets, and a complete tour itinerary, visit their website: