Boston's got Dropkick Murphy's, Chicago's got The Tossers, and Tempe's got Flogging Molly.
The Celtic-punk band has become a firm tradition here, and this year marks their 8th annual stop at Tempe Beach Park. The show's practically a festival, with the band joined by a litany of rock 'n' roll acts like Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Suedehead, Sean Wheeler, Zander Schloss, Brother of Brazil, Inpet Hero, Halocene, Black Bottom Lighters, Wiley One, and Wescott Avenue.
Guitarist Dennis Casey and I caught up to discuss what the band has been up to over the past year, launching Borstal Beat Records, and where he eats and drinks in Phoenix/Tempe.
Up on the Sun: We talked a year ago, right before you played Tempe Beach Park. What has gone on with Flogging Molly in the past year?
Dennis Casey: A lot has happened in one year. We put out another record called Speed of Darkness, and we started our own record label, Borstal Beat Records, and signed a band called The Drowning Men, some of us had some more kids...you know, it's life?
What made you guys want to take things into your own hands, label-wise?
We had been on a label, Side One Dummy, for 13 years and did five records with them. We were about to make Speed of Darkness and we just thought, Why not try it on our own? Why not do it ourselves. We weren't unhappy with Side One, but we thought it would be a fun experiment, and we tour so much and wanted to sign other bands. We've toured 13 years hard, and you meet all these great bands and make friends. We wanted to start putting out bands we believe in, that have a lot of talent but need some help and a push. That was the other factor.
You guys have become an established St. Pat's tradition here in Tempe. Last year we talked about why you come out here, but I'm curious about what you look forward to doing once you get out here. Where do you like to eat and hang out?
I'm from New York, so you guys have this pizzeria, Grimaldi's. They moved out and expanded. It's coal-fired pizza, and it's my favorite in the world. I'll never forget when I flew into Arizona and saw the big sign at the airport. I was pretty giddy. I usually go there when I can...Usually afterward, we have a great afterparty at Casey Moore's.
I've never gone, but I hear it's pretty crazy.
It certainly is my friend. I have no complaints but I also lose my memory quite a bit.
I think most folks in Tempe have at least one or two "Casey's" experiences like that. You guys have a really dedicated fan-base - do you notice anything particularly "Irish" about Arizona?
There are Irish people all over the world, you know? There are Irish pubs in Japan. Everywhere, you know, little islands in Greece and there's an Irish pub. It's a big population that emigrated from their homeland. But I would say that Arizona is really the first place to really embrace Flogging Molly as a band in a commercial sense. The Edge played our records - and people come out to the shows. We started on the West Coast, and you know...the first time we played Phoenix or Tempe, because the station was playing us in regular rotation. But there was this great turnout, and people were really into it.
In the year since you've been here, the Edge, or X103.9 has switched formats. They play more adult contemporary stuff now.
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Well, that's what happens when you play Flogging Molly.
Flogging Molly is scheduled to perform Saturday, March 17, at Tempe Beach Park.