Flogging Molly Brings Guinness-soaked Tales

Author: Stephen Rubin

Ask Flogging Molly’s Dennis Casey if those “no crowd surfing” warnings posted at many concert venues are phooey. At a May 15 show in San Fran-cisco, the crowd- surfing guitar player made his unintentional acquaintance with the ground after getting tossed over the stage barrier by fans during a set by tour- ing partners the Living End.

Flogging Molly accordionist and Carlsbad resident Matt Hensley saw Casey emerge from his fall, clutching his right arm.

“He thought for sure, I think, that someone was going to catch him, so he fell like a rock. He didn’t fall like trying to catch yourself; he just fell like waiting for someone to catch him, so he fell like a sack of potatoes. And then he hit his hands and snapped it,” Hensley said, referring to Casey’s right wrist.

The accident forced Flogging Molly to cancel its May 16 opening slot for Hank Williams III at 4th & B in San Diego.

“(Casey) felt so bad. He was sitting there, his hand puffed up to hell, and he could care less about his hand. He was just bummed,” Hensley said.

But the Irish-rock septet will appear Saturday at Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach. Hensley said the band’s previous guitar player will fill in for Casey. It is onstage where the Los Angeles band’s blend of traditional Irish melodies and punk rock aggression is winning over more and more beer-hoisting, pogo-dancing fans. Hensley and his band, which includes certified Dubliner and frontman Dave King, have seen their stock steadily rise since the release of Flogging Molly’s debut, “Swagger,” last spring.

“When we first went around the country, we were just paying our dues. We’d get these gigs and we’d get paid $20 period as a band. … And so we kept playing and playing, so after a year when we play those places, we almost sell them out most of the time now.”

Now Warped Tour alums, Flogging Molly is regularly headlining name Southland clubs and others around the country.

Living End’s New Roll On Proves Punk’s Still Alive

Author: John Thomason

The Living End: Roll On (Atlantic)

When you’re flipping through the CD racks and come across Roll On from Australia natives the Living End, give it a listen. You’ll be missing out on a rare feat if you chalk up the band’s second album as another trendy MTV punk band.

The Living End goes where not many bands in the punk scene have gone since Bad Religion’s mid-1990s break- through with Atlantic Records. The Living End manages to provide thought-provoking and innovative punk on a major label – who woulda thunk it?

The Aussie trio fuses street punk, rockabilly and metal, sugarcoated with catchy melodies. As unique as this hybrid sounds, the band’s many influences are obvious. But instead of the Living End sounding like a rehashed version of prominent bands of the past, the group is a refreshing and one-of-a-kind amalgamation of 25 years of punk.

No two songs sound alike, and the production quality is crisp and sonically ear-aweing. Rare albums like this prove major labels aren’t always a punk rock faux pas.

Trying to pinpoint the Living End’s sound is like trying to find the most annoying MTV VJ-there are just too many options.

On the one hand, there are obvious similarities to the Clash. Many of the Living End’s songs deal with social/political angst and center around rebellion and overpowering government – Prisoner of Society, Revolution Regained, Silent Victory, Riot on Broadway. Also like the Clash they sing about the sordid state of politics, yet fully support capitalism by releasing their record on a major label. The only thing they lack is the Clash’s tongue-in-cheek humor. Both bands go beyond the realm of three-chord punk and add zest and uniqueness to each song – they aren’t afraid to experiment, slipping in and out of more genres than a Robert De Niro movie marathon. The Living End could be deemed a modern-day Clash if it weren’t for the equally prominent Green Day influences. The band that has seemingly influenced every punker with an electric guitar and a dream for the last decade has also influenced the more mainstream, radio-friendly side of the Living End. Dirty Man is filled with choppy guitars and breathtaking hooks, and Pictures in the Mirror has more sweet harmonies than Green Day at its finest. It’s the accents that match up the most, however. The Australian twang is oddly but strongly reminiscent of Billie Joe Armstrong’s phony wannabe vocals.

And beyond that, it’s anything goes. Uncle Harry is just a fast, loud, barroom-friendly ditty in the obvious vein of the Dropkick Murphys.

Then there’s Carry Me Home – this song just ROCKS. It’ll lighten up any dead mosh pit, and the metallic, grinding riffs would impress everyone from Dave Mustaine to Henry Rollins. The best track on the CD is a polished piece of post-punk aggression that could have been taken right from a Fugazi recording, Don’t Shut the Gate.

If Living End is forgotten in a few months, it’s probably fitting. The message is too strong, and frankly the group is too talented for MTV and the radio.

Living And Learning

Author: Michael Duffy

Despite ongoing success at home and a growing fan base away, The Living End are still pupils and the “Dacker” school of crowd control. MICHAEL DUFFY reports.

Two children aged no older than 12 lunged for their buzzers on children’s television game show Download last week.

Even though only three letters had been exposed, they immediately knew the answer to the hidden band’s name – The Living End. Now touring the US with a band curiously named Flogging Molly, upright bassist Scott Owen is genuinely astounded at hearing about their mention on the mid-afternoon children’s show.

“It’s quite a benchmark isn’t it?” he says.
“It’s kind of a mind-blowing thing. Three or four years ago it didn’t occur to us that this sort of thing could happen.”

But for the past three years at least, life has been “rolling on” at an incomprehensible pace for the Melbourne trio.

Though the group has been together since 1994 and achieved national popularity in 1996 from the release of its self-titled debut album following its tour with Greenday, The Living End still seem to be everywhere.

In June the group will tour Australia during a two-week break from working in the US, where it is building a formidable reputation. “We’ve been playing to crowds of between 500 and 1500 people and this time we’re headlining,” Owen says.

“Last night we played in LA at a place called The Places which holds 1450 people.

“We’re happy, we always think back about how it took us years to play somewhere that big in Australia – so it’s great.”

And Owen says the Australian novelty factor seems to count for little in the US. “I don’t want this to come across the wrong way but I think Americans are too vain to really notice we’re Australian or really care where we’re from,” he says.

Meanwhile, the group has not been neglecting Australia, touring regularly and giving generous time to the nation’s media.

Recently, a new demographic was introduced to The Living End’s infectious rock when it supported Aussie rock legends AC/DC on its national tour in January.

“When we were asked to do it there was no way we were going to say no,” Owen says.
“Who would say no to AC/DC?

“That’s something we’re going to take to the grave… to rock music they’re going to end up being as important as Buddy Holly. We’re going to be able to look back and tell our grand kids we played with them.”

Once the group had overcome its awe, Owen says The Living End learned some important lessons from the “Dacker”.

“There were these big stadiums, entertainment centres and tennis centres and the places were only half full,” he says.

“We thought stuff it, if people are going to be just finding their seat while we’re on, we’ve only got half an hour, let’s play the best set we can. Make the people go away with something more than just having seen a band they’ve loved for 10 or 15 years.

“(But) no one else can get out there and do it the way AC/DC can. To have that impact you have to get out there and feel that no one can do what you do quite like us.”

The Living End will perform in Adelaide on June 3 at Heaven II Nightclub with Lash and Area 7

Big Break

Author: Unknown

What: The Living End
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Cane’s, 3105 Oceanfront, San
Cost: $10
Information: (858) 488-1780

“Roll On,” the latest LP from acclaimed Australian rockabilly-punk rockers The Living End is being billed as the album to finally break the band stateside.

Huge in their native land, The Living End has earned themselves a following among the skate-core kids who saw them on 1999’s Warped Tour.

Those kids made their anthem “Prisoner of Society,” which continues to turn up in a handful of movie trailers (see “Cheaters”), the biggest selling single out of Australia in the 1990s. Not that they had too much competition, but. that’s not the point. The point is even Green Day could learn a few things from these guys.