“But that’s the way I’ve always been. And that’s the way I’ll always be. And there ain’t going to be no changing me. ‘Cause that’s the way I’ll always be.” Defiant words from Birmingham’s THE TWANG track is just one dimension that helps explain the merging passions of FLOGGING MOLLY and their communal celebrations. Once again on the slopes of Naeba Ski Resort for SMASH’s FUJI ROCK, Dave King (vocals, guitars, banjo) and Bridget Regan (violin, guitar, vocals) share their looking glass into their Japanese food favorites, surreal festival happenings and more:
THIRSTY: So good to see you both again. Such sustenance is of course gained from our diverse relationships. That being said, what is the essential snack before going on?
Bridget: In Japan?
Dave: Well, Japan is full of great snacks.
Bridget: Yes. There are too many to list for here, but onigiri, preferably one with umeboshi inside. That’s my favorite. Ume, is like marmite, people either love it or hate it (big smile).
THIRSTY: What makes people love it?
Bridget: I don’t know.
Dave: It’s too salty for me I think.
Bridget: I don’t know, the first time I tried it, I liked it. Most people just spit it out. Most gajin (foreigners) spit it right out.
THIRSTY: Yeah. They do. But such is life, eh? Good and bad, up to personal tastes, but for you both, what do you think has been a silver lining for FLOGGING MOLLY?
Dave: A silver lining? It all depends on your period of life. A silver lining is that we’re very lucky to be doing what we’re doing. And we enjoy what we do.
Bridget: That’s what I was going to say - that we’re actually so lucky to still be doing this.
Dave: Yeah. It’s just, coming all the way here to do a show and people back home are like…“You’re going to Japan to play a show? How will they like your music?”
Bridget: Coming here to do our own tour is one thing. Coming here to play an hour set is… Well, most guys are flying back tomorrow. I mean, we just got in yesterday.
Bridget: Bailing tomorrow. You guys are crazy.
Dave: We’re staying until Wednesday.
Bridget: They got kids and um…
THIRSTY: Oh man, that’s torture.
Bridget: That’s ridiculous. They’re going to spend more time in transit, in the air than being here.
THIRSTY: I learned that lesson a while back when I had an interview with KILLING JOKE. They were playing the EL REY.
Dave: Oh yeah.
THIRSTY: And I got there Thursday, the show was Friday and I was back on a plane Saturday, here Sunday.
THIRSTY: Never again man.
Bridget: We’ve had to do that a few times. And actually the last time was WEENIEROAST. We flew from Switzerland then played WEENIEROAST then flew right back.
Dave: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Bridget: The time before that we flew in to play FUJI ROCK, we then flew straight back to Europe to continue the tour.
THIRSTY: An arduous journey I’d say.
Dave: We love coming to Japan. It’s just such a fun place to be. People are great.
Bridget: It’s our favorite. We got married here.
Dave: Yeah. Two and a half years ago.
THIRSTY: Right on. So, what is the mandatory meal for each day whilst here?
Bridget: Ah…That’s too hard.
Dave: Well, tonkatsu… We always need to have and uh…
Bridget: Tonkatsu is always our first, but the noodle houses are always good late-night drunk food.
Bridget: Izakayas are our favorite way to eat hands down.
THIRSTY: Why aren’t there izakayas all over the planet? That’s what I want to know.
Bridget: I wish there were one in our village in Ireland, at least in the nearest town. It’s just the best way to eat.
Dave: Bits of everything you know.
Bridget: To try 15-20 different things…and drink the whole time you’re doing it. And it takes like 3 hours - it’s great.
Dave: Yeah, it’s great. It’s lovely. It’s a great social way to eat.
THIRSTY: I would say the izakaya is the social lubricant of Japan.
Bridget: It’s so much fun.
You must have Adobe Flash Player to use this function.
THIRSTY: For back home, what is?
Dave: Well, we don’t have a kitchen right now in our home as it’s getting replaced, but usually we cook at home.
Bridget: Yeah, we cook at home. Unfortunately, back in our village, if we go out for drinks, the only late night option is a fish and chips shop.
Dave: Yeah, the late night fish and chips.
THIRSTY: So what’s the difference between fish and chips here versus home?
Bridget: Never had fish and chips in Japan.
Dave: Never have.
Bridget: And never have and never would - there is too much good food to eat here than to eat that shit.
Dave: Fish and chips back home is a very heavy batter, you know, and I mean when you’ve had a few drinks on you, it’s pretty good.
THIRSTY: The interesting thing is that when my parents came to visit me back 7 years ago, my mom swore that the best fish and chips she ever had was not in London, but here in Japan, in Kamakura.
Bridget: I can imagine it probably is.
Dave: I’m sure the batter is really light, crispy.
THIRSTY: Yeah, it’s very light.
Bridget: Like the tonkatsu batter, you would never know that you are eating something battered and fried. Ours is the heavy, soupy batter. It is good if you’ve had a few drinks. I just tend to get bummed out because why would you do that to such a nice piece of cod.
THIRSTY: Yeah… Now you guys didn’t catch the bands yesterday.
Bridget: Yeah. How was MUSE?
Dave: They’re a great band.
THIRSTY: Their sound tech guy is fantastic.
Dave: Oh, he’d have to be.
THIRSTY: It was packed. Green Stage (where MUSE played) was just a mountain of people with some light rain going on as well.
Dave: Yeah, we played a few times, like READING and LEEDS and they just sound awesome you know.
THIRSTY: The last time I saw them was the same time we first met in 2007.
Dave: Oh, yeah, yeah…
Bridget: And we had to leave straight after as well.
THIRSTY: Yeah we met inside (the Naeba Prince hotel).
Dave: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
THIRSTY: To sign (the Amnesty International towel) and take a group shot. Then, boom you’re all gone.
Bridget: Yeah, we were out of there. But yeah, MUSE is one of those bands that we’d go out of our way to see.
Dave: Ah yeah.
Live at the Greek Theatre (2010)
THIRSTY: Music has been an integral part of both of your lives, it’s brought you together and it’s helped you form so many relationships. So what brings that together?
Dave: A lot of luck.
Bridget: Yeah, there’s that.
Dave: Uh, it’s like… It’s a funny thing. Like, how it’s like, I hadn’t a clue personally what I was doing, you know, in LA. I knew that I had to go to LA, but I really didn’t know musically bloody where I was going. Record companies were saying you should try going this way or that way and I was like no way, I don’t want to do fucking that. I’m not interested in that you know. And I met Brady and it all hit me like a ton of bricks, you know. And, um, we’re playing music the very next day and the rest is history.
THIRSTY: So it was like one door opening to another?
Bridget: It all fell sloppily into place, but it did fall into place nonetheless (smiling).
Dave: Nothing was planned.
Bridget: Nothing was strategically planned at the slightest.
Bridget: Yeah, like you said, it was luck. Things just fell into the right place for us. I mean not everything has happened the way we’ve wanted, but does that happen for anyone?
THIRSTY: What would be the way you want it then?
Bridget: Well, if you could go back in time, there are things on albums that I’d say every one of us would like to fix.
Dave: Um, I think everybody’s like that.
Bridget: Yeah. I mean even say a painting, you can still go over. Once the album is mixed and mastered and out, it’s done. This band, we’re such a live band.
And that’s our appeal.
THIRSTY: It’s a gathering.
Bridget: It’s not about our videos. It is about the albums because the songs are… FLOGGING MOLLY is such a band and it’s all about the live show. And that’s why we’re lucky to still be doing what we’re doing.
THIRSTY: Yeah, I saw !!! (Chk! Chk! Chk!) last night and they’re just so much fun
THIRSTY: You know Nic? (lead singer of !!!) He’s such a crazy disco dancer and got the crowd moving because, you know, people are starving to celebrate.
Dave: Exactly. Exactly, I think so, too. Celebration is a big part of music.
THIRSTY: Especially now.
THIRSTY: Let’s face it, it’s kind of grim times now, either people don’t have a job or…
Bridget: That’s the thing that we’ve noticed and not just in the States. It is everywhere. The economy has taken such a giant dump on everybody’s heads. That’s what’s surprising to us because people are still coming out to see shows. And maybe they can only afford to do it once a month or some people maybe once or twice a year, but when they do it by God they make the most of it. People still need to have a good time.
THIRSTY: What for both of you and the band motivates you to push the parameters?
Dave: What you mean? Live or recording?
THIRSTY: Ah, both or either.
Dave: Um, well, I think we know when we do. You know, we have a certain thing about us. We’ve been together so long that we know what we’re about, you know what I mean. And I think it’s getting even stronger now as time goes by. Ah, a lot of people used to think that FLOGGING MOLLY was a joke band, certain record companies. We were having fun, but, you know, we were never taken seriously.
Bridget: We were never taken seriously.
Bridget: And then we were a pub band and that was it.
Dave: I think being a live band, we’ll always, in any economy or situation, we’ll stick by it, you know. It either helps people remind them of something or… It’s just life. We celebrate life and that’s all we do.
THIRSTY: Oh man, my godson, who’s 18, just graduated from high school and is now going to the Coast Guard Academy.
Bridget: Well, that makes us feel young (both laughing). Our godson is just over 3 ½ weeks.
THIRSTY: So then what for you is the biggest cause of celebration?
Dave: Um, the fact of where we are. The fact that life can throw a lot bad things at you, you know. For example, for me personally, I have written about things that I would’ve never have years and years ago, because I wouldn’t know how to deal with them. But now being able to write about them and not be morbid about it and actually celebrating that that’s in fact life and that goes for everything in life. No matter what it is.
THIRSTY: It cuts across all the classes.
THIRSTY: Now if you were having a festival, going to curate one, where would it be?
THIRSTY: And what would you call it? Who would you invite? Because you have ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES and all these other ones, too.
Bridget: That’s a great name for a festival and that’s one of my favorite VELVET UNDERGROUND’s songs.
Dave: Yeah, that’s a good one. I’ve never thought about something like that. Uh, that’s one thing in America that’s sort of lacking in right now. I mean, it’s getting there, but you go to Europe or come here and you play this or you play festivals in Europe and they’re just like fantastic.
Bridget: Well, the festival in Michigan, THE ROTHBURY…
Dave: Yeah, that’s a good one.
Bridget: That’s like the closest thing to a Euro festival that we’ve done in the States.
THIRSTY: What about BONNAROO?
Dave: Haven’t done it.
Bridget: Yeah, we haven’t done it. COACHELLA is great, but…
Bridget: It’s just not… I mean, ROTHBURY was full on, like playing a European festival. Kids camping out and just…
Bridget: It was just really great. You know, when you get off the stage and David Hasselhoff is waiting to take a picture with you, that’s kind of fucking weird.
Dave: That was bizarre.
THIRSTY: Are you serious?
Bridget: Yes. Dead on.
THIRSTY: David Hasselhoff was…
Dave: Waiting for us. Yeah. And I remember we were talking, ‘cuz we just got off stage and he was all like, “Ah man, you remind me of myself when I sing.” And I was okay. I’ll never forget that.
THIRSTY: David Hasselhoff was waiting for FLOGGING MOLLY.
Bridget: Yes, when me and Dave walked off the stage.
Dave: And then we introduced the guy who was on the other stage after us, who was PRINCE. Yeah, so I mean, I was like so everyone over here is going to meet PRINCE. And I was just like, that is just so bizarre.
THIRSTY: That’s an interesting bookend there.
Dave: Isn’t it?
THIRSTY: So if you were going to continue from that, going Hasselhoff to PRINCE…
THIRSTY: Who would be after PRINCE and after him?
Dave: Oh Lord, it is a bizarre festival that way.
Bridget: See, that’s the thing. Festivals can be surreal like that.
Bridget: Some of the lineups just don’t make any sense although they kind of do.
Dave: Yeah, the kind of. That’s why I like music. Music is music and I think it all goes together.
Bridget: It’s like, one time in the WARPED TOUR, which is another touring festival in the States that has just crazy lineups, but like KOOL KEITH was on right before us one day. So we walk onstage and Dave’s all, “Ladies and gentlemen, KOOL KEITH.” That was pretty cool.
Bridget: He had no idea what to say.
THIRSTY: It could have been someone like XZIBIT you know.
Dave: Ha-ha, yeah.
THIRSTY: Check out my ride! You know, he played here and EMINEM has played FUJI ROCK, too, and when XZIBIT came out, he’s all, “Yo! Welcome to Mt. Fuji!”
Dave: Ah…That’s a fail.
Bridget: You think someone would’ve told him. How long ago did it move? We did, what was it, 5 years ago ASAGIRI JAM which is actually at Fuji and FUJI ROCK is not at Fuji.
Dave: Why did they move it?
THIRSTY: Well, the first year, in 1997, the year, it was only a two-day festival, but a typhoon destroyed it.
THIRSTY: Yeah, but that was a long time ago now and things are different. Everyone is used to the festival culture now. I was talking to Masa Hidaka, the main guy at SMASH and he told me that people showed up with shorts and sandals that first year.
Dave: They weren’t geared up.
Forever ready to ride, FLOGGING MOLLY, they’re life: