FLOGGING MOLLY'S DAVE KING
interview by vinnie baggadonuts

THIS MAY VERY WELL HAVE BEEN THE GREATEST PHONE CONVERSATION I EVER HAD. DAVE KING IS AN ABSOLUTE PLEASURE OF A HUMAN BEING TO TALK TO, AND ONE HELL OF A SONGWRITER. PLUS, HIS BAND-- FLOGGING MOLLY-- PUTS ON A FUCKING GOOD TIME OF A LIVE SHOW. I'LL BE RAISING A GLASS TO 'EM ON JULY 30TH, WHEN THEY STOP IN COLUMBUS WITH THE WARPED TOUR.

PEACE,

VINNIE

Vinnie: I'm gonna do this real quick, because I know you have a lot of stuff to do.

Dave: Well, yeah. I just got back last night from Florida.

V: So is the tour done?

D: Yeah, the tour is done.

V: I actually saw you guys here in Columbus.

D: Columbus? Yeah!

V: It was an amazing set. You guys completely kicked my ass.

D: It was at the Newport, wasn't it? I like that place.

V: And you were reunited with a friend you hadn't seen in 20 years.

D: Oh my God, yeah! Jesus Christ, that was crazy!

V: What was that about?

D: Well, when I was about 18 or 19, I was in a band called Fastway. And he-- his name is Pete Way, he was the bass player in a band called UFO. He's a really great guy. When I flew to London to do auditions for Fastway-- Fast Eddie from Motorhead was the guitar player.

V: No shit!

D: Yeah. And he (Pete) was the bass player. I got the gig, but shortly after that he had to leave to do something else. I talked to him a couple months ago, and I'd forgotten that he was in Columbus. So I was singing, and he came up on stage. Remember?

V: Yeah.

D: The poor fucker didn't know when to get off the stage. I think it had been so long since he'd been on stage that he couldn't get off it. But he's such a sweetheart, he really is. That was funny.

V: I also remember you pointing out some people from LA that you knew.

D: Well, what it was, our drummer George, and our manager Gary, their sister was getting married that weekend. And so all these people had flown in from all over. So when the lights would come on we’d see people we hadn't seen in ages! I was like, "Jesus Christ! Where am I?" You know? It was weird.

V: So how was the wedding?

D: The wedding was great. She got off safe and sound. (laughs) It was a nice little family thing, and it was nice of them to invite us. We didn't cause too much trouble.

V: Now, the show I saw was you guys, The Slackers, and Avoid One Thing, which was a pretty diverse lineup of bands. I was so impressed, and the crowd was into all the bands.

D: Yeah, it was really great. It's amazing to see the reactions of all the cities that we went to. I was blown away. I mean, it was like that every night! And then shortly after that show, The Casualties came on.

V: I know. I kinda wished I could've seen that, too.

D: I really had a great time on this tour. It was long, but it was really a lot of fun.

V: So are you excited about the Warped Tour this summer?

D: Oh yeah. When we did our first Warped Tour, obviously we didn't know what to expect. And I still don't, to a certain degree. But I personally know how to deal with certain things this time around. Like the weather, for example. Being a redhead and stuff like that--

V: --Oh yeah. I'm a redhead, too.

D: Are ya?

V: Yeah.

D: Well, you're fucked then, pal, because there hasn't been a sunscreen built that can take us on. There really hasn't.

BOTH: (laughing)

D: But you learn how to go through your day and stuff like that. It's like the Survivor of fucking punk rock shows.

BOTH: (laughing)

V: Now, I know with the first album you'd been playing those songs for a while. But when you first started playing the ones off of your newest album live, were you more concerned with people's reaction, because they were newer to you?

D: No. I think we get to this level where we know what we're doing in regards to our enjoyment level and commitment level. And by the time we take the songs to an audience, we're happy to play them. We're not doing it to please anybody else. We just do it for ourselves, and I think that translates to the crowd. I hope it does.

V: Oh yeah. As soon as you start playing, I'm completely alive. You have to be moving. I really dig that about you guys.

D: Well, with gigs-- it could be a classical show, or a punk rock show, or whatever. It has to have energy. You have to grab someone. I mean, when I write a song, it has to grab me. I have to be fuckin’ pulled into it.

V: Yeah.

D: So I think there has to be an intense level no matter what it is, to really pull people in. A lot of our songs are about life, and celebrating life. And I think that's something in all of us, you know?

V: I'm really taken aback by some of your songs because lyrically it does grab you. Sometimes it seems so sad, but then you walk away from it with this great feeling.

D: Exactly. For example, I write songs about my father, who I never really had the opportunity to communicate with because he died when I was very young. But I and take that situation and turn it into something positive, so it's all good. I don't try to sing about negative things. There's always, hopefully, a better way out at the end.

V: You've probably been asked this a million times, but when you sit down to write a song, who do you think of and say, "Man, they wrote a great fuckin’ song. I wanna write songs as great as they do?"

D: That's a funny question. I don't really try to write songs as good as anybody else. I do think lyrically, I have a host of writers I am inspired by. A lot of the old Irish writers, for example. Their imagery. The way they use their wording. They use their words in a lot of ways like the natural tongue of the Irish people did. Which is something that, living in America, it's something I'm very attracted to. Because I want to keep that, you know what I mean?

V: Yeah.

D: So, I don't sit down specifically to write something, because I can't. To me, it's a spontaneous thing. I don't think of other people. I think of something that occurs to me, or affects me. That's what makes it very personal. It's good for me to do it that way. Don't get me wrong, we are influenced by a lot of people! There are tons of bands we were influenced by. We wouldn't be doing this if we weren't. But I think you have to take what you've been influenced by, learn from that, and then put your own element into it. I think that's what Flogging Molly is.

V: And the sincerity really comes through. I don't listen to you guys and think, "Gee, these guys are full of shit.” You guys don't write about stuff you don't know anything about. The authenticity is really nice, and it's relatively rare as far as what's being presented to the public these days.

D: Yeah. We're individually all like that. If you look at any of us, we're all very sincere people in the sense that we only like to do what we like to do. At the same time, we're a fun fucking band. We met in a bar. We were sitting around having drinks, and we got this band together, and it’s great fun. But as people, about what we do, we're very serious. I'm in a very lucky situation with this band, because I can be as personal as I want to be, but still be a fun rock and roll band.

V: Does the business side of things ever get in the way of that?

D: Years ago it used to. But now, Flogging Molly is its own machine. We don't depend on any other machine to do what we do. Foremost, we're a live band. As long as there's a club to play in, we can play. We're very fortunate with our label, Side One Dummy, right now because they're musicians. And they know what it's like to be in a band and try to do what you do best. They've done nothing but guide us and help us. When I'm driving around the city and I pass by their office, I always stop in and say hello. Or every now and then I’ll have a sandwich with them. It's much more of a family atmosphere than your record company big boys.

V: I hear that's one of the good things about the Warped Tour, too: that everybody's on the same page.

D: Yeah, the Warped Tour is great for that. You get so many bands together who have the same energy, and they're all doing it because they love what they do. They're not out there to impress people. It's a very, very positive thing. If you go into a chain record store, or turn on MTV, you can be blinded by how depressing the music situation is. But then you see the Warped Tour, or the Deconstruction tour in Europe, and you see that there's a lot more going on. And there are kids out there who know that. They're not fucking derailed by the big machine. I mean, the Warped Tour is a big tour, but it's not aimed at big people. It's aimed at true music lovers.

V: So how much time off do you have now?

D: Next Tuesday I fly to Europe because I've got a tour over there. Then I come back. I’ve got a week off, and then we start the Warped Tour. The day that ends, we fly back to Europe to do another tour. So when I get home now, I just fucking collapse.

V: I was just gonna say, what do you do in your weeks off?

D: Right now I've got things to take care of, like DMV shit. My car's gotta get registered again. I watch a lot of movies. I bought a DVD player, so I watch a fucking shitload of that. Hang out with my wife, and give her all the loving I can. Hang out with my dog and my son. I take it easy.

V: Do you look forward to a larger chunk of time off once the touring is done, but before you go back to the studio?

D: I never really look forward to the future much for anything. I'm a very day-to-day type of guy. I don't look forward to when we have December off or something like that. I mean, I'll probably end up in Ireland for that. I'm gonna be spending a lot more time there, with me mother, and stuff like that.

V: How often do you get to go back to Ireland?

D: I've only been back once in eight years.

V: Wow.

D: I had a few legal problems, so last Christmas was the first time I'd went back in years. That's what that whole song “The Son Never Shines (On Closed Doors)” is about.

V: That is an amazing song. A month or two ago, I'd written a review of the album, and I just wrote about that song. I was working on something and that song came on and I just stopped. I mean, man, that song was just pulling on my fucking heartstrings.

D: Yeah, that was about knocking on my mother's door for the first time in eight years, and when I did do it, it was exactly as I'd expected.

V: Wow.

D: It was a pretty hardcore situation.

V: Man, you've become one of my favorite storytellers.

D: Well, thank you.

V: It's probably unprofessional for me to be flattering the person I'm interviewing, but seriously, I appreciate someone who can tell a good story and make me react like that.

D: When I hear something, and I listen to the lyrics and it drags me into it, it makes me feel like I could've written it, because that's how I feel. That's what's so amazing about music. One of the greatest things that ever happened to me was listening to Beethoven. There are no lyrics involved there. But it was a piece of music I felt I could've written myself! I was dragged into it emotionally. That's why we love music. That's why you write about it, and that's why I write it. We all have a fucking heartbeat in our chest, you know. Unfortunately, most record companies don't. That's the sad part.

V: I'm gonna let you go, because I know you have shit to do, but I have one last question.

D: Absolutely.

V: It's our staple question: do dogs have lips?

D: Do they have lips? Well, you know what? My dog does something I've never seen another dog do, which makes me believe they do have lips. When I come in after having been gone for a while, he runs to the door, and he lifts these things, and he shows his teeth, like he's smiling! It's fucking hilarious. He puts his lips up and he shakes his head. He shows me all his teeth! I think my dog has lips. Especially when I'm kissing him. He definitely gives me a bit of lip. I slip him the tongue, but he just gives me lip.

BOTH: (laughing)

D: I love my dog. He's the fucking best. The bastard.

CHECK OUT MORE FROM DAVE AND THE GANG AT FLOGGINGMOLLY.COM OR SIDEONEDUMMY.COM