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A Conversation With Dennis Casey
by
Samuel Barker
November 7, 2001

Flogging Molly

Samuel Barker: What is your name and what do you do?

Dennis Casey: My name is Dennis Casey and I play the electric guitar.

Samuel: What were some of the things that led you to wanting to be a guitarist growing up?

Dennis: Iíve always wanted to do it since I was a teenager. When I was really young I would watch Elvis movies when they were on TV and I had an uncle who had a lot of really old 50ís records, that wasnít my year, so thatís weird, but I loved all the early Elvis records. That made me really want a guitar so I got one. Then I listened to all kinds of different music.

Samuel: Are you guys ever surprised that youíve gotten such acceptance from the punk scene with music based in Irish Folk?

Dennis: Not really. There are elements of all of it in there. Itís got something for everybody. It could fall into any kind of genre. Thatís what I think is so great about our band, you canít pigeon-hole us.

Samuel: Did you have any other bands before joining Flogging Molly?

Dennis: I did, but they were just bands in LA who didnít do anything.

Samuel: What kind of music were they based in?

Dennis: It was rock, definitely, but there was some punk as well.

Samuel: Have you guys finished the new album yet?

Dennis: Yeah, itís all done. We finished it at the end of September in Chicago.

Samuel: Chicago? So did Steve Albini produce this one as well?

Dennis: Yeah, just like the first album.

Samuel: Has it been fun working with him?

Dennis: It was a really good experience, we did it all in about 10 days...15 songs I think.

Samuel: Have you guys figured out a title for the record yet?

Dennis: No, we havenít. Weíre kicking around a few ideas, but nothing definite yet.

Samuel: I saw you guys released a live album before the studio album?

Dennis: Well, the live album was the first thing the band released. We did it ourselves, no record company, we wanted to get something out there. We used to play at that club, Molly Maloneís, every Monday, and we just wanted to get something out there so we recorded one day at Molly Maloneís. It was nothing more than that, put it out ourselves, nothing more than that.

Samuel: Are you guys playing any of the new songs on this tour?

Dennis: Weíre playing 3 or 4. We change them up every night, but usually around 3 a night.

Samuel: I know in the past youíve stuck with the upbeat songs live, are you guys doing that with this tour as well?

Dennis: Yeah, itíll be all that. Because weíre a support slot we donít have a lot of time to play, usually around 45 minutes, so we donít have time for all the slower tempo song, we just want to rock out for 45 minutes and leave.

Samuel: So how did you guys get hooked up with the Bouncing Souls?

Dennis: We met them on the Warped Tour and they asked us if we wanted to do a tour. We did two weeks off the Warped Tour on the East Coast.

Samuel: I know you guys are playing a lot of larger venues now, is it nicer to get in a bigger place with such a large band?

Dennis: Yeah, itís great. Playing the smaller places is fun too because everyone is right there in front of you. The bigger stages are nice because we have more room to move around, there are nicer monitors, and more people can come. The more the merrier.

Samuel: Was the songwriting on this album handled in the same manner as ĎSwaggerí with Dave doing the lyrics and the band writing the music?

Dennis: Dave wrote all the lyrics and he pretty much had a lot of the structures down. We all collaborate on the arrangement of the songs.

Samuel: Are there going to any surprises with this album or is it going to follow the same path as ĎSwaggerí?

Dennis: I think there are going to a couple of songs on there that will definitely go a different direction than weíve ever gone, I mean the instruments will all be the same, but I think theyíll be a little more toward a different direction. Youíll have a lot of your typical Flogging Molly songs in there.

Samuel: I know the band was together for a while, then they broke up and re-staffed, were you in the first line-up of the band?

Dennis: No, I was not. I was the last member to join, actually.

Samuel: I know a lot of the bandís music draws a reaction from the crowd, is it important to you guys to get good feedback from the sound, rather than having the Ďweíre up here, youíre down thereí thing?

Dennis: Weíve always been a live band. Iíll never forget my first gig with the band up in San Jose. I was in bands where people were just standing there with their arms crossed, you know LA isnít the most responsive crowds, but for some reason this band, my first gig I was soaked in Guinness, beer bottles smashed at my feet, and there was almost a riot because everyone was so into it. It happens everywhere we got. I think itís the nature of the band and itís what we like to do. The fans get off on it and we do to, so itís like a circle.

Samuel: Being a bigger band, does it help having a lot of members to help pull someone who isnít really into it on a particular day through?

Dennis: You know, speaking from a guitar playerís point, youíd think that, but no. You donít need to play so much, you need to be on and all, but it doesnít require so much out of you, or so Iíve found. I think as tired as Iíve been at some shows and sick as a dog with a fever of 103, there is something about it, you just get through. I think everyone shares that sentiment. Itís a great job, great fun.

Samuel: Now that you guys have a few tours under your belt, is it still just as fun to get out on the road?

Dennis: Fuck yeah! We donít get played on the radio, but to see people still buying CDs and T-shirts, and knowing all the lyrics and the crowd keeps growing, it makes you happy. And people come up and say the music really touches them and they really like it. That can never get old, if it does, you might as well quit, because youíre in the wrong business.

Samuel: Is it ever amazing to being out of California to have people in some place like Virginia singing along with the songs?

Dennis: Yeah, being from California and playing the west coast, you then go out to Milwaukee and there are a thousand kids going berserk for you. Itís like Ďhow the fuck do they know about us?í But I guess they find out about us and they tell a friend and their friend tells a friend. And playing on the Warped Tour helped a lot.

Samuel: How was it going up on the Warped Tour stage for the first few times?

Dennis: We didnít know what to expect. Some kids would be standing there watching us set up and thereíd be like the accordion, the mandolin, and the violin and kids would be like Ďwhat the fuck is going on?í Then by the second song they were into it. You donít see too many accordions and mandolins on the Warped Tour.

Samuel: I see you guys have the Ďpied piperí thing going. At shows everyone doesnít know what to expect but once you start everyone in the house is totally into it. Is it something with music?

Dennis: If I could put it into words...I donít know what it is. Itís not like you sit down as a band and plan on that happening. I guess itís a connection people feel. There is no other way to explain it. Itís like hearing a great song on the radio, you hear it, itís a great song to you, and you connect with it.

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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