Flogging My Molly

In music on February 19, 2007 at 6:45 pm


Growing up on the mean streets of San Diego, California, I never really had much use for punk music.  Too fast, too mean, not nearly as fun as that “New Wave” that gripped me.   

However, a funny thing is happening to me as I get older.  I’m becoming more and more left wing, which is not the topic of this post, but I’m also becoming more and more enamored with punk rock.  But not your ordinary, run of the mill, “Let’s Lynch The Landlord” punk (although that is a great song); no, my punk has to have roots. 

Let me explain.  For whatever reason, I’m not really a fan of punk for punk’s sake.  Black Flag doesn’t do anything for me; The Sex Pistols aren’t even on my radar.  But add another element of music to it, and I’ll love it.  Social Distortion is punk with a dash of Johnny Cash; X is rockabilly punk; The Clash regularly threw reggae into their music.  And all three bands are regularly near the top of my “recently played” list. 

Which brings me to Flogging Molly.  This band….well, it’s hard to describe.  But it’s not.  Flogging Molly is Celtic Punk; happy little melodies and traditional Irish instruments (mandolin, accordion, and fiddle, among others) sped up to light speed.  I call it “heart attack music” because I often think someone of my age could easily have a heart attack listening to Flogging Molly.  A friend of mine calls it “Riverdance on speed.” 

But that’s far too simple.  It’s more than that.  To whit, Flogging Molly has songs about pirates (“Seven Deadly Sins”), the frustrations of life (“The Worst Day Since Yesterday”), and rebels (“Rebels of the Sacred Heart”).  Songs that sometimes start out at mid-tempo, with a lovely little melody played with a flute, and you find yourself singing along with the fantastic melody but then, all of a sudden, the song takes you and throw you off the precipice into something much more manic and energetic, but you can’t stop singing along because it’s so catchy.  And you’re dancing.  And you’re reaching for a Guinness to toast your friends.  And your good fortune to have found music that touches your soul.   

And touch your soul it does.  This is happy music.  Celebratory music.  Music of life.  That’s the part that gets me.  Witness the following lyric, from “Rebels of the Sacred Heart:” 

“Now bless me father for I have sinned
But it`s the same old story again and again and again
Ah well, such is the bread of an everyday life
From mornin’ to noon to this shadowless night”

Good ol’ everyday living music.  Something we can all relate to.  You screw something up, you sin, you make a stupid mistake?  At some point, you gotta stop yourself and say, “Ah, well, that’s part of life.”  I love that lyric.

Which brings me to Flogging Molly’s best song.  Out of an amazing amount of great music (they have 3 studio CDs and 2 live CDs – all of which are worth picking up), it’s hard to suggest that any song is better than any other, because there really isn’t a bad one in the bunch.  But then there’s “If I Ever Leave This World Alive.”  It’s a slower song (one of a handful in their repertoire) , played with acoustic guitar, and it’s perhaps the most powerful song they have:

“If I ever leave this world alive
I’ll thank for all the things you did in my life
If I ever leave this world alive
I’ll come back down and sit beside your
feet tonight
Wherever I am you’ll always be
More than just a memory
If I ever leave this world alive

If I ever leave this world alive
I’ll take on all the sadness
That I left behind
If I ever leave this world alive
The madness that you feel will soon subside
So in a word don’t shed a tear
I’ll be here when it all gets weird
If I ever leave this world alive

So when in doubt just call my name
Just before you go insane
If I ever leave this world
Hey I may never leave this world
But if I ever leave this world alive”

Somebody please play that song at my funeral. 

Flogging Molly plays next Monday, February 26, at the Boulder Theater.  It’s been sold out for weeks (as all FM shows usually are) and my tix are all spoken for (you KNOW who you are!), but you should beg, borrow or steal to get a ticket to this show.  They are the best live band around.  You’ll spend two hours in a show bouncing around to the fast songs, getting moist in your eyes to the slow songs; you’ll feel like you’ve been hanging out with dear friends who just happen to play a mean fiddle and play Celtic music at 200 bpm; but most of all, you’ll leave the show feeling alive and invigorated.  That’s what Flogging Molly does.

Such is the bread indeed.    


Cross-posted at Waking Up With Morning Song



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