By Mark W. Danielson
We’ve all been warned not to judge books by their covers. The same can be said for musical groups’ names. For example, The Who is a rock band, not part of Abbot and Costello’s routine. So are XTC, The Kinks, Traffic, Black Uhuru, Nirvana, and Genesis. There are plenty of odd and unusual band names, and it’s rare when the name has any bearing on the quality of their music. Add Irish rock band Flogging Molly to the list of odd named bands that play great songs.
Last spring I was introduced to Flogging Molly, not through their music, but rather their bus idling beneath my hotel room in Tempe, Arizona. Curious, I looked out the window, saw a tour bus, watched some people step out for a smoke, climb back in, and then the bus departed. After getting dressed, I began my hike up nearby Hayden’s Butte and along the way saw a large green banner that read “Flogging Molly”. After my trek up the hill and enjoying the view, I returned to my room to check out the Flogging Molly web site (www.floggingmolly.com). Sure enough, the people I saw were Flogging Molly band mates. When I called my wife to tell her, she was so ecstatic that I checked out their tour schedule and saw that they were playing Denver. Without hesitation, I purchased two tickets.
I had no idea what to expect at the concert and literally suffered through the first two acts. Not only were they LOUD, they weren’t my style of music. With ear plugs in and hands pressed against my ears, there was still little defense against the noise powerful enough to vibrate my pants. But Flogging Molly was well worth the wait. Their musical talent is astounding, their lyrics powerful, and their stage presence exuberant. I've never seen a band pack so much energy into a single performance. Lead singer Dave King's humor intertwined with heart-pumping music at a pace fast enough to blur their hands had everyone in the audience stomping their feet. Few bands would even consider the blending banjo, accordion, and fiddle with guitars and drums, and yet they make it look effortless. No doubt these seven musicians captivate their fans wherever they go. Thanks to Flogging Molly, our musical night out was magical.
One day while browsing through Target, I spotted Flogging Molly’s Live at the Greek Theatre CD/DVD album and immediately purchased it. Without sounding like an advertisement, this is one of the finest live albums I own. The videography and sound quality in their DVD is as superb as their live performance. Including the DVD with the CD is nothing short of brilliant marketing.
So, how does this concert relate to writing? Simple. I learned some valuable lessons from my experience. First, prejudging usually proves me wrong. Character naming is as important as band naming. Staying within my comfort zone prevents me from experiencing new and wonderful things. Well-written lyrics inspire like well-written prose. Ans as for their name? Well, I you must admit that Flogging Molly sticks with you, so that’s pretty brilliant, too. Just be careful when checking out their web site and listening to their music -- you might find yourself doing an Irish jig.