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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The Hoot meets with Flogging Molly

Published: October 20, 2006
Section: Arts, Etc.

Before the Flogging Molly show here at Brandeis, I got to sit down with bassist Nathen Maxwell and got him to spill a few fun facts and, well, his beer.

Hoot: Youre officially a back-up vocalist, but you do the lead vocals on two songs, Cruel Mistress and Queen Annes Revenge. Do you see that becoming a trend?

Nathen: Yeah, I hope so. I really enjoy writing and singing. Im definitely writing a lot of songs. If they make it on another Flogging Molly album or not, I dont know. I hope so. Id like to think they will.

Hoot: Would you say that Flogging Molly is a punk band with folk roots or a folk band that likes punk rock?

Nathen: I dont really want to be in any category whatsoever. Ive always said that were a soul band. I mean people just naturally categorize things because our brains are so compartmentalized. Im trying to break down those barriers. I dont really care if were considered a punk band with folk roots, a folk band with punk roots, or a dance band with drunk roots. [Laughs]

Hoot: What do you think it is about your music that makes it so widely accepted?

Nathen: I definitely come from being a punk and [Dave King] definitely comes from being born and raised in Dublin with Irish roots and that kind of music, but were all just trying to play the best music that we can. Were not trying to pigeon-hole ourselves. Even those people who think they only like a certain kind of music will come to a Flogging Molly show and theyre just like, Sh*t, I wouldve never thought that I wouldve liked this but I just had the best time of my life. Because its just honest and a good time. We believe in having fun. Were a live band. Thats the future of music. Its going back to the basics. There are going to be the top 40 plastic pop stars and then theres gonna be us.

Hoot: Which is more important to take away from your band, the depth of the lyrics or your fun presence?

Nathen: I think theyre both equally important. You gotta have fun. If you dont have fun youre an idiot. Life is way too short and way too precious and there are way too many people who have way less of a good thing than you do. And if you cant manage to have fun then I think youre full of yourself and youre probably full of sh*t. I think that theres a coffee house culture where they have intellectual conversation over coffee. But theres equally a bar culture thats doing the same exact thing just over a pint rather than a cup of coffee. Not every bar is full of drunk frat kids. One doesnt cancel the other out.

Hoot: How is it working with SideOneDummy Records?

Nathen: Oh, SideOneDummy is great. We know them personally. We go to their house and hang out with their kids. They dont tell us what to do whatsoever. We write songs, record songs, and figure out some artwork. We just put an album together and theyre stoked. There have never been any contracts and we never have to sign more than one record deal. Its only been one record at a time. So its like its got to be mutual. If they want to work with us, they work with us. If we want to work with them, we work with them. It couldnt be better.

Hoot: Speaking of artwork, what was it like working with the esteemed graphic artist, Shepard Fairy, for the album art of Whiskey on a Sunday?

Nathen: He just knew the band and knew what we were about. It was just an honor that he would take the time to make that artwork for us. The fact that he was willing to do it was pretty sweet.

Hoot: For your 2000 album, Swagger, you worked with the infamous Steve Albini. What was that like?

Nathen: We worked with him for Swagger and Drunken Lullabies as well. We recorded our first two studio albums with Steve Albini. It was great. We needed to take a break;

we needed a different experience as a band for our third album, Within a Mile of Home, and so we went through a different process for recording it and didnt go back to Steve. I would like to go back to him for our next album. I really liked the experience of working with him. Its kind of like how SideOneDummy is with us. Theres zero input whatsoever. He just knows where to put the mics and hes a hard worker. And hes just strictly not a producer. You can get an album done with more raw energy when you record with him. And I think thats a good thing. Its something that our last two albums had that maybe [Within a Mile of Home] didnt have that much of.

Hoot: Youre on the college tour now, about to play at Brandeis. What are you most excited about?

Nathen: My goal being on this tour really would be that were playing in front of college students that maybe wouldnt come to our show unless it was free or at their school. Hopefully were getting in front of new fans that will maybe come back to a regular show. The only downside to college tours is the weird rules with alcohol. I just think that people should be able to have a beer at a show. Its more civilized that way. [Laughs] But I just hope that you guys are stoked on us and that we can have this opportunity again.