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Flogging Molly bring Green 17 tour to Grand Rapids

A pinch of Irish heritage, a splash of American rock ‘n’ roll and a sprinkle of a wide variety of instruments creates the increasingly popular band, Flogging Molly.

The seven-member group started their musical career in 1997 when lead singer Dave King, a Dublin, Ireland native, formed the band, combining his Irish heritage with the other members’ experiences and sound.

Their popularity started with early hits, such as “Black Friday Rule” and “Devil’s Dance Floor,” which has let them tour across the U.S. and around the world.

But it was their newest album, “Speed of Darkness,” that helped create an even larger fan base for the band.

The album debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 Charts and No. 4 on the Independent Billboard charts. The band’s worked with well-known producer Ryan Hewitt, who has also worked with The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Avett Brothers.

Their latest tour, the Green 17 Tour is an annual tour, with the ninth year kicking off Jan. 24 in Grand Rapids at The Orbit Room.

Singer and guitarist Dennis Casey said that the band is excited to begin this tour for another year.

“Being on tour is a whirlwind of constant motion and partying and excitement and hangovers and luxury and good times,” Casey said. “My least favorite part is the hangover and missing your loved ones.”

He said they enjoy every experience on tour. The good ones and bad ones have transformed Flogging Molly into a family.

“When you live in such close quarters, when you have been playing with people for fifteen years, they become like your second family,” Casey said. “And you know, with any family you have your ups and downs.”

The band has grown together and recently began to experience a constant growth of popularity.

“We have had a steady build, from starting out in a band playing to ten people to constant touring to playing all over the world, I think we have built a fan base,” Casey said.

But even with growing popularity, the band hasn’t let the fame get to their heads.

“We play every show like it is our last and we put everything we have into it,” Casey said. “People know that they can expect that, and the word is still spreading. The word gets around and you can tell what you can expect.”

Before getting on stage Casey said that the band members all have their own routines. Casey takes a few shots of whiskey and stretches before being ready to perform.

“Being on stage is very exhilarating, I can’t compare it to much else,” Casey said. “I guess I can compare it to being five years (old) and waking up on Christmas day and getting everything you wanted. It may be a lame analogy, but it is really rewarding and really exhilarating. It is an energy that I know nothing else in life compares to.”

He appreciates having the band because being a professional musician has been his dream since he was a teenager.

“For many years I failed and failed and failed and then I finally got into Flogging Molly and we grew together and it has grown into what it is today,” Casey said. “And it has grown into something that I love and cherish and it is kind of defined me as a person. It is who I am. It is a big part of my life.”

And the big part of his life isn’t over yet. He said they plan to keep writing music and perform around the world. The Green 17 Tour ends on St. Patrick’s Day, but it commences the band’s album production process.

“We have been doing it long enough that now it is just you kind of do what you feel and whatever hits you, then you play it and you just know if it works or not,” Casey said.

For Flogging Molly, music is not just a sound, but also a piece of art and a way of expression.

“Being creative and trying to make something of nothing is not always a clean and organized process,” Casey said. “It is kind of all over the place and there is not much of a formula to it.”

But it’s with each member’s creativity that Flogging Molly is able to produce its sound and lyrics.

“The sound in the future, we will keep doing what we do and making the sounds and music that comes to us and comes to our heart,” Casey said. “Whatever comes out comes out. And we think in the future, it is a matter of doing what you do and not getting in the way of it.”

For more information on the Jan. 24 concert, go to www.orbitroom.com.
spendowski@lanthorn.com



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