For more than two decades, Los Angeles-based Irish rock band Flogging Molly have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in or near its hometown. There are a few exceptions as touring has taken the group elsewhere for a year or two, the pandemic shutdown its 2020 party and a livestreaming event from Ireland happened in 2021.
In 2022, the group released its seventh studio album, “Anthem,” and they’ve been out on tour to support it ever since. The band is currently out with Anti-Flag and Skinny Lister and will return to L.A. to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year at the Hollywood Palladium on March 17 and continue the holiday weekend with a show at Riverside Municipal Auditorium on March 18.
The road has always been a second home to the seven members of Flogging Molly, who have steadily built a large following and stable career the old-fashioned way – by touring and word of mouth raves about their highly-entertaining and raucous live shows.
“I remember when we first started, I won’t mention the radio station, but they did a battle of the bands and they’d play four songs by four bands,” vocalist-guitarist Dave King said during a phone interview. “Whoever had the most requests at the end of the week would be immediately put on their playlist. And we won hands down and they refused to play the song on the radio. Their excuse was ‘Well, it’s only your fans that are calling in.’ From then on, we knew we were never going to get any favors. There was nobody going to be going we’ll put you on the radio for this and that. That was never going to happen with Flogging Molly. Everything Flogging Molly had to do, with the help of our fans, we were going to have to do it ourselves.
“I feel very proud, to be honest,” he continued. “I think we all do. I think we’re very proud that we have done it the old way.”
The talk of the early days is appropriate, not only because Flogging Molly has reached the 25-year milestone, but because the band’s latest album marks a return to their roots in very tangible ways. It marks a reunion with producer Steve Albini, who recorded the first two Flogging Molly albums, 2000’s “Swagger” and 2002’s “Drunken Lullabies.”
The four studio albums that have followed have seen King, the band’s main songwriter, and the rest of Flogging Molly embrace a wider variety of tempos, instrumental settings and musical styles while retaining their Irish punk musical foundation.
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But having been forced off the road and into isolation by the pandemic, King, his wife and fiddle player Regan, and the other band members — guitarist Dennis Casey, accordion player Matt Hensley, bassist Nathen Maxwell, mandolin/banjo/guitar player Spencer Swain and drummer Mike Alonso — wanted to go back to how Flogging Molly started, by playing together in the studio live with no attempts to dress up the sound with studio finesse.
They didn’t want outside input filtering into the project from a producer, record label or any other source. And that meant Albini, who is famous for simply recording bands live with minimal overdubs, was the man for the job.
“We wanted to go back to our first couple of albums we did with Steve,” King said. “The band is always in control when you’re working with Albini. It’s not like you’re bringing in somebody (to produce) and they put in their little two cents, which is great sometimes. But we felt that we didn’t want that this time. We felt we wanted to put all of our energy into the album and not be, I don’t want to say hindered, but we have seven opinions in this band (already). And for right now, those seven opinions were what we wanted for this album.”
By the time Flogging Molly arrived at Albini’s Electrical Audio Studio in Chicago, the band had written and arranged nearly all of the songs for “Anthem” – one exception being the album’s closing song, “The Parting Wave,” which was written and arranged during the recording session.
It took only 14 days for Flogging Molly to record the 14 songs on “Anthem.” Mission was accomplished.
“As a band, we’re really, really happy with it,” King said. “Working with Steve has always been a great experience, and then we got Atom Greenspan to mix it. He did an absolutely phenomenal job, absolutely above and beyond, a brilliant job.”
Chances are, Flogging Molly fans will agree with that assessment of “Anthem.” There are plenty of songs — “A Song Of Liberty,” “This Road of Mine” and “(Try) Keep The Man Down,” to name three — that continue the band’s tradition of crafting rowdy Irish-accented punk songs with strong melodies and solid playing. Such songs are balanced by ballads like “No Last Goodbyes” and “The Parting Wave” that share the Irish feel, but with a sturdy and folkier vibe.
Flogging Molly hasn’t been shy about introducing fans to the songs from “Anthem” at the live shows either.
“We’re going to be doing new material from the new album because we feel very strongly about it and I think people will as well,” King said of incorporating even more new music into the tour setlist. “I mean, we did a couple of (the new songs) at our St. Patrick’s Day show here in L.A. at the Hollywood Palladium (last year), and they went down incredibly well.”
With: Anti-Flag and Skinny Lister
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 17
Where: Hollywood Palladium, 6215 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
Tickets: $49.50-$99.50 at LiveNation.com
Also: 7 p.m. Saturday, March 18 at Riverside Municipal Auditorium, 3485 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside. $45 at LiveNation.com.