Sunday, January 16, 2011

What's in a Name?

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 ( 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.


Anonymous said...

Welcome to the FM world. They are the BEST !!!

Mark W. Danielson said...

I must admit I'm a convert:)

Morgan Mandel said...

I can't handle really loud music any more. My ears have already suffered from the early years of listening to Ted Nugent and some other rock groups my DH took me to see. Even with ear plugs, the vibrations come through.

I wish bands would realize they don't have to play as loud as they do. People can still hear them!

Morgan Mandel

Mark W. Danielson said...

I agree, Morgan. That's the beauty in owning DVDs of live concerts where you can control the volume. My brother plays in a blues band and they have been told to turn it down before. Do you think some bands play loud because they're deaf from standing in front of their speakers?

Terry Odell said...

My daughter is a big Flogging Molly fan-she'd travel great distances to hear them. But I confess that what brought me to this blog today was seeing the title, which happens to be the title of my newest release. Not that I expected any promotion here!

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Mark W. Danielson said...

Terry, if the post helps you gain exposure, so be it:) But I do have to ask where you got your title and how it relates to your book. (Please don't tell me it's about a girl named Molly who gets flogged!)

Mark W. Danielson said...

Terry, if the post helps you gain exposure, so be it:) But I do have to ask where you got your title and how it relates to your book. (Please don't tell me it's about a girl named Molly who gets flogged!)