- 13 Sep 22
Following their European tour (featuring a highly-anticipated Dublin date), Dave King of Flogging Molly spoke to Hot Press about the trials and tribulations of Covid, touring in America, and their new album, Anthem.
Dave King, frontman of Flogging Molly, is rockingly talented, incredibly insightful, but most importantly, humble to the core. Flogging Molly's first album in 5 years has just released, with many tracks already featuring on the band's touring roster.
Speaking to the singer as they begin their North American tour, exactly the same position they were in just before the pandemic hit - Dave spoke about the wildness of the last few years and the new album, Anthem.
"We kind of ran into this album. There was no plans really like 'we have to make an album.' We were ready to go on tour when COVID hit. We were in rehearsals, went to do our first show in Nevada and the whole tour was cancelled.
"So, Bridget (fiddle-player and King's wife) and I came back here to Wexford. And then you're thinking two months at most, maybe? Who knows? But it didn't turn out that way, obviously. And so we just started writing and it was like, if we're gonna do this again, I want to do it quickly. We finished 14 songs in 14 days and recorded them in 14 days.
"It was a very positive thing for us as a band."
The themes throughout Anthem vary - from isolation to freedom fighting and more. King spoke candidly about this, claiming he never "shies away" from difficult topics.
"To be honest, I've never shied away from hard topics. The thing for me is writing about what’s going on around you.
"With Covid, a few people said to me 'you don't want to be writing songs that are influenced by it,' but you know what - I want to look back at this, listen to it, and think of the mad times when we were calling our neighbours to make sure they were okay and when we couldn't physically see them. I think it's very important that we're getting out of it (Covid) and I think the songs should represent that."
Reunited with Steve Albini for Anthem, King had nothing but great things to say about the stellar producer - who has worked with the group on previous projects.
"Going back to Steve was incredible. When you record with him you need to know what you're doing - because he doesn't have much of an opinion. He lets you do what you want to do, but you really need to know what you're doing."
The Flogging Molly frontman has always been very outspoken about issues in America, especially immigration laws - and rightfully so. Having moved to America to be part of a band which failed, King was at a loss of what to do next. Eventually starting Flogging Molly, the singer couldn't leave the country for eight years, as working visa laws had changed from when he first landed.
"I feel like America is a country that's completely divided. When you come from a country like Ireland where, when I was growing up, being homosexual was illegal, abortion was illegal, and the country was basically run by the church - I feel like we've come further in many ways than America. It feels like America is going backwards. It's starting to lose its what it was meant to be, whatever that was.
"Trump really brought out the ugliness and the horribleness of human nature in America right now. I remember when we were playing in Washington, DC just before Trump was elected. It was a huge festival and we were headlining Saturday night I think. And I saw this person in the background - way in the back with a big placard. As they got closer to the stage, I could see it said Trump. Usually I would make fun of that, I'd have a bit of a laugh about it. But all I could think was that could be your neighbour, and I was afraid. I was afraid to say anything in case that person got beaten up, or somebody else got beaten up. I felt immediately that the sense of humour had gone and things were getting very serious very quickly.
"When you think of the United States, you've got 50 states, it’s 50 different countries. The country is split. It's incredible and really sad that a country like America has been made very singular."
Staying with this topic, Dave spoke about the meaning behind 'A Song Of Liberty' - already a fan favourite from the new release.
"We've been playing a few of the songs live on that last couple of tours, and they've been going down incredible. I think one of the main songs that fans are loving is 'A Song Of Liberty’. It's a song about the Irish men and the Cumann na mBan that got Ireland its path to freedom. The song is actually about January 6th in America. You've got people storming the Capitol building, looking for democracy and liberty... and they've already got it. They just don't realise they have it.
"That's what inspired me to write the song. I thought 'no, I don't think you're right here.' This is the song of liberty, this is about the men and women of the country I come from, that had to fight for everything that they had.
"Then you have the situation with Ukraine. We've got two girls - the mad twins we call them - we sent them the album. They're animators and they wanted to make a video of the song, 'A Song Of Liberty' and put their perspective on what the song was about.
"In that sense it’s a song to me that, before it was even out, had gone way beyond anywhere I thought it would."
The soul in music is something incredibly important to King, and what drives Flogging Molly. The frontman spoke humbly about their fans and the band's success.
"It's incredible to think I'm sitting here in Wexford writing songs and I've got two girls from the Ukraine asking me if they can make a video for us. You know, that's what's brilliant about music... real true music, you know? It's not a fashion. It's soul. All music in my opinion should be soul music, no matter what it is.
"If it's from the heart, it will reach people. We've been very lucky - doing what I do in my life is an incredible thing. I'll never take it for granted."
Check out the band's sixth studio album, Anthem, below.