As ringleaders of the Celtic Rock world, Flogging Molly are a down to earth and humble bunch of rockers that have cranked out five albums abounding with Irish culture from vocal accents, drunken melodies and serving an ode to the mandolin. Blending together headbangers and punks in massive crowds and energizing a celebration every time they hit the stage, Flogging Molly has put the pieces together to create a Celtic musical tale that is cast adrift of the mainstream. I caught up with bassist, Nathan Maxwell, to discuss The Flogging Molly Cruise Ship, St. Patrick’s Day, the current state of punk rock, tattoos and more.
Flogging Molly’s annual “Devil’s Dance Floor” is right around the corner. How would you explain experiences of past years to an individual who will be attending for the first time this upcoming St. Patrick’s Day in Inglewood, California?
It’s amazing. Definitely the best St. Patrick’s Day party on the West Coast every year. We build a bar on stage that fans can sit at and have a pint of Guinness while we’re playing the show. In the past we’ve always played with great friends of ours, like Gogol Bordello and Hepcat, and this year is no different. We’ll be sharing the celebration with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Mariachi El Bronx.
The Flogging Molly cruise ship which takes off on March 10th, 2017 with a lineup for the ages sounds like it’ll be an absolute blast! How have you guys had to adjust your stage routine to accommodate the ship’s features?!
The only difference is that we are playing on a pool deck of a massive cruise ship in the middle of the Bahamas and on a private island with two thousand of the coolest people on the planet (AKA the Shipmates).
Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about some of your favorite pieces and the artists that brought them to life.
I really love the piece on my right hand of a ship at night by Rob Hostetter. It’s a reminder of an equally heavy and hopeful time in my life. Another favorite of mine is a Sailor Jerry piece on my right leg of naked woman on a dagger by Tokyo Hiro. Tokyo owns the original piece of flash art by Sailor Jerry himself. I felt honored to have him be the one to tattoo it on me.
2017 is set to be a huge year for the band. Tell us about some of the musical projects that you are working on and any tour/festival appearances fans have to look forward to?
The biggest news right now is that Flogging Molly is finishing up recording our sixth studio album, and of course, the Salty Dog Cruise where we will be playing new material for the first time. Also, my own band, The Bunny Gang, is about to release two new singles, and are hitting the road with Less Than Jake and Pepper starting at the beginning of February.
What is your perception of the current state of punk rock?
I can only hope that the next four years are going to produce some relevant, new punk music. I’ve noticed that having a Republican in the White House tends to inspire great, pissed off punk rock.
Nathen, you had the pleasure of joining Flogging Molly at an incredibly young age. Tell us the story of how your journey with the band began.
I snuck in the back door of Molly Malone’s and met Dave. Turned out he needed a bassist and asked me what I thought of the music. I told him I would follow him anywhere. The rest is history.
What was your favorite show that you attended as a kid? Were you at Warped Tour back in the day when NOFX would play?
We (Flogging Molly) actually played those Warped Tours back in the day with NOFX. As for my favorite shows as a kid, I have to say house parties in the South Bay of Los Angeles were the best. Seeing bands like FYP, Litmus Green, and The Fixtures at my friend Justin’s dad’s house in Lawndale I’ll never forget.
As for songwriting, is it a collective process for the band? Or is there one individual that solely focused on that aspect?
Dave King is the primary songwriter of Flogging Molly. However, each member contributes to the songwriting process.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?
I’d just like to thank all of the fans for their support, and I look forward to many more good times ahead. Cheers!