On Oct. 3, I drove down to Denver to interview the bands Zox and Flogging Molly, two touring acts on the label Side One Dummy. You may recognize other bands from this label such as Mighty Mighty Bostones and Gogo Bordello.
While walking around, I see Flogging Molly’s bass player with his young daughter just walking around backstage. I walk by and gently say, “Hey Nate.” He turns around slowly, nods his head up and says “Yea, what’s up?” I ask for a moment after he is done sound checking and he says, “Sure just go up to the dressing room later around eight.”
I make my way into the dressing room where Matt and his cousins are sitting around watching a football game. Matt introduces himself with a firm handshake and invites me to sit down next to him for the interview. During the entire interview I have his attention and he has mine.
Azrael: “I want to be straightforward with this: How did you prevent from selling out? You never did, you were like, ‘We can do it on our own.’ Where did you get the drive to do that?”
M.H.: “We could change our sound a little bit and change a couple of things and probably make more money quite frankly. But we are a touring band and playing live for people is what we do. I feel that we will always keep it real; you know in the back of our minds not let the industry, the record industry and loads of bullshit warp what we are doing. ”
Azrael: “What are some words that you could share with other hard-working bands who want to make a career out of playing live music?”
M.H.: “I just say believe in yourself. Never let any thing or any one bring you down. Keep that internal compass. Like I am going to do this and never let anybody tell you fuckin’ can’t, cuz as soon as you start believing that you might as well keep your job.”
Azrael: “At what point did you know you had it? That you were able to say ‘We are a rock band.'”
M.H.: “See.um.I, I don’t know what would be a good answer for that, every night I still try to reach that. You know as a band we are still trying to get there. And I think that it’s the struggle that makes it worth its while. Oh yeah we are totally a rock band, we have totally made it. I just feel like I enjoy the climb more than I enjoy the ‘there.”
Azrael: “How long have you guys been playing the song ‘Laura’? Because I know it was originally released on ‘Alive Behind The Green Door.’
M.H.: “It was only ever released on that live record, it was not until just recently that we rerecorded it and put on that DVD that is coming out (‘Whiskey On A Sunday’) and we’re going to play it tonight. Dave refused to play it for like the last nine years.”
M.H.: “I think that for him it was an old song, and you know he wanted to move on. But, it’s just a beautiful song and I think the song won.”
After the interview I strike up another conversation with bass player Nate Maxwell, get a few words into my brand new audio recorder and sip a beer that Matt hands me. And at the moment that I am stepping downstairs to catch the last bit of Zox. I see Flogging Molly’s lead singer and songwriter David King. I am surprised, he as well is down to earth and invites me back up for a bit. I ask him for a ‘band drop’ which he gladly supplies to top it off.
KCSU Local Music Director Matt Azrael Martin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org