Flogging Molly brings Celtic energy to JJ’s Live in Fayetteville March 7

Flogging Molly brings Celtic energy to JJ’s Live in Fayetteville March 7

A poorly attended gig in the ’90s led to the opportunity of a lifetime for guitarist Dennis Casey of Flogging Molly.

“I was living in LA and was playing with as many bands as I could — as most people do when they move there and don’t know anybody, just trying to make something in music,” Casey says. He says that there were only about five people at one of those gigs, but someone told him about an Irish punk band called Flogging Molly which needed a guitarist. At the time, Flogging Molly was a regular band at Molly Malone’s and had gained some attention for their album “Live Behind the Green Door.” Despite the album’s success, the band’s guitarist was leaving for another project.

Casey auditioned for the band and won over Flogging Molly frontman Dave King. Then one of Casey’s other bands needed him.

“That project fell apart quite quickly. And I saw Dave maybe six months later, and he asked me again, and then that was it. I was in the band. We just became a family together,” Casey says. “I love telling my story, especially to the new musicians. If I wasn’t playing out to those five people, my whole life would be different right now.”

Casey worked on “Swagger” and is listed as the guitarist on “Drunken Lullabies,” both of which were produced by legendary producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, PJ Harvey, among others). Albini joined Flogging Molly in the studio for their seventh album, “Anthem,” which they are touring in support of now.

“It’s a pleasure to work with him, and we have a really good relationship,” Casey says. “We went purposely with him because of his skills. Also, he stays out of the way with arrangements and production. He’s more of a catch-what-you’re-doing type of guy,” unless the artist is looking for a certain sound, in which case he’ll rely on his skills as a musician.

“He’s really efficient,” Casey adds. Along with Albini, they were able to record 14 songs in 14 days, which was a record for the band.

“We’ve been a band now for over 25 years, so I think that plays a part in it too, doing it so much,” Casey says of how quickly the album came together. After spending time in covid-19 lockdown with members of the band scattered around the world and facing the fear of never playing together again, he says that they had a lot of ideas going into the studio.

“There was a certain energy. I think that also helped it to come together really quick. And we also wanted to get back to the basics, back to the old days. That’s the way we used to do it,” he says.

When asked if that meant back in the days when they had little money for studio time, he says, “Exactly!” with a laugh. “We had to hurry. We had to get back on tour [in those days] Necessity is the mother of invention.”

Since the release of “Live Behind the Green Door,” which was recorded at Molly Malone’s where the band got their name — King famously quipped that they played there so often that they were “flogging it to death” — they’ve sold well over a million albums. They’ve also sold out venues across the globe as a band that can share the stage with metal bands, punk bands and folk bands alike.

“It starts with great songs,” Casey says. “I think we write music that everybody can relate to no matter what genre it is.” He owes a lot of the crossover to the myriad of festivals that Flogging Molly performs in; whether it’s a Celtic festival, a metal festival or a folk festival, crowds have a good time.

“I think we’re just kind of a band that fits in into all these genres or groups seamlessly. In some of them, obviously, we stick out a lot, but people always want to have a good time. Get crazy and get rowdy. So I think that’s part of it.”

At the heart of their more than 25 years as Flogging Molly is the devotion to making music for lifelong fans.

“I love the music. It’s like a family now. And I think we’ve all created something bigger than any one of us,” Casey says. “We have an incredible fan base. They keep us going.”



Flogging Molly

WHAT — Celtic folk punks Flogging Molly perform with special guests Anti-Flag and Skinny Lister.

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. March 7

WHERE — JJ’s Live, 3615 N. Steele Blvd. in Fayetteville

COST — Tickets start at $37.50

INFO — jjslive.com; floggingmolly.com

Categories: Cover Story