To celebrate St. Patrick's Day, here are the first 16 minutes of a 29 minute interview with Dave King, the Irish singer songwriter of the Celtic punk band Flogging Molly. I interviewed him by telephone on February 5th, 2009. He was in a doctor's office in Dublin. I was in Urawa, Japan. In a breathtaking performance, King also snatched Bruce Dickinson "Y'know World Champion Crown" with an incredible 60 "y'knows" over the 16 minutes transcribed, approximately 3.75 "y'knows" a minute.
CBL: Hello, can I speak to Dave King please?
DK: This is he. Who's calling?
CBL: Hi, this is Colin Liddell, em, calling….
DK: Hi there, Colin, how ya doing?
CBL: Good, fine… calling from the… from Japan, for the Asahi Shimbun International Herald Tribune.
CBL: So, you'll be coming on tour here in a couple of months, I believe.
DK: Absolutely – yeh, yeh, yes.
DK: I'm just in a doctor's office right now, but I'm OK. I can talk
CBL: Good. Eh, well, basically the article's just going, eh, to give a bit of an outline about the band and what you do, and fill people in, and talk about the last album a bit as well.
CBL: Well, you're, eh, first big break in music was, eh, Fastway.
DK: Yeh, many years ago.
CBL: Yeh, it's a long, long time ago. Yes. Em, and you were unknown at the time, so could you tell me how that happened?
DK: Well, I was living in Dublin at the time, in Ireland, and, em, and I think that Fast Eddie was leaving Motorhead and Pete Way was leaving UFO and it [garbled] any particular genre of music. It's just that I knew there was no future for me at the time in Dublin, and I thought I could get a demo tape together and, em, I was in a band at the time and we had made a demo tape, so I sent that to Fast Eddie and I got a phone call a couple of weeks later saying come over to London, and I said yeh and I did, and the rest is history.
CBL: What was the, em, what was the factor that, em, decided them to choose you at the time?
DK: No idea. No Idea. I mean I think they knew what they were looking for. I don't know, but I'd just seemed to fit the bill, y'know (1). Probably my good looks, actually
CBL: Aha, yeh. It's just cos it's like… It's like every kids dream really, just to…
DK: It definitely was, I mean, to go on tour with bands like AC/DC and stuff like that was an unbelievable experience, y'know (2)…yeh.
CBL: So, how was that? I mean could you, could you… Any anecdotes about AC/DC there?
DK: I think, y'know (3), being on tour with AC/DC was definitely one of the greatest experiences that I've ever done as a musician. Er, they're the nicest people on the planet. Em, they’re probably the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world, and em it was… Just to go out and watch them every night after we were finished was just truly incredible, y'know (4). It really was…very, very good.
CBL: That must have made a big impression on you, and…
DK: It did. It really, really did. I remember having a conversation with, em, Angus Young one night, and, y'know (5), he was saying to me that, y'know (6), he had absolutely no fear of any band in the [garbled]. What he was doing, he was convinced it was the best thing that he could do. And I never felt… I didn’t feel that in myself at the time. And I think when we got this band together, I, I, I know exactly what he means, because I can go on before AC/DC or after AC/DC, y'know (7) what I mean. Y'know (8), he instilled that, like, belief and it’s something that you have to have. It's not something that… As I said, I was 19 years of age. Probably back then when he told me that, and I remember it and thinking that, yeh, it was a fine lesson
CBL: Yeh, so in your line of work, it's not optional. You have to have that, eh, absolute belief in what you're doing, don't you?
DK: You really do. I mean you really, really do. It's very true.
CBL: Now, em, the thing about your career is very interesting, because you had this kind of early hard rock heavy metal background and then you kind of lost the way with that, y'know, what I mean, so, em, so later how did things end with Fastway? How did that fizzle out?
DK: Emmm, well the thing wasn't Fastway, for me…that was… The final nail in the coffin for me was that we got offered to do a movie soundtrack in America, em, and it was a horrible movie…
CBL: Which movie?
DK: And it felt like, y'know (9), what… It was called "Trick or Treat."
DK: I know Ozzy was in it and stuff like that, and Gene Simmons was in it, but it was just such a naff movie and I was like… We were commissioned to write basically the soundtrack for this movie and I felt, y'know (10), this is not what I wanna be doing in my life, eh, it has nothing to do with my life, so I said this is it for me. I just, y'know (11), I left.
CBL: So it's like, em, well it didn't feel like organic, or the music wasn't coming from you. It was like it was being made to order.
DK: Yeh. I mean I went from that to, y'know (12), painting houses, driving trucks, em… I, I, y'know (13), I needed to do that to be able to build, re… I mean when I was in Fastway, y'know (4)… You can't say I actually worked for it, because I got lucky, y'know (15). I felt like if I was going to do something worthwhile in my life I would have to work for it, and that’s the way, that’s the way I look at it, y'know (16).
CBL: So you felt you hadn't paid your dues, in a sense.
DK: Exactly, yeh, yeh, exactly, yeh, yeh.
CBL: Well, later the traditional Irish music that you imbibed in your youth started to come through. Eh, did that come through at all when you were in Fastway or, y'know, any of these other rock groups you were in?
DK: Not really, no. It was one of those things. It was one of those light bulb situations, y'know (17). It seemed like somebody switched on a light that lit up so many things, like as a youth I was brought up in Dublin on Johnny Cash, and later on in the band… You probably remember a band named Horselips. Do you remember Horselips, Colin?
DK: Do you remember a band called Horselips?
CBL: Nah, I'm sorry, I don't.
DK: There was an Irish band years ago called Horselips, who at the time were mixing traditional music with the…
CBL: Yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh. This line's a bit garbled.
DK: Yeh. But they were, they were like a huge influence and stuff like that, y'know (18), but it wasn’t really until, like, I mean I met Bridget that, em, it kind of gelled as what I was meant to do for the next whatever how many years. I mean I remember meeting her and we got together and she started playing fiddle. And it just seemed to hit me like, y'know (19), what, because I can't really physically go home maybe, in some way, with the history I have, maybe I can go back musically, and do something as a… I don't know. It just seemed to do something to me and I haven't looked back really. It's been the way it is.
CBL: But at the time you must have felt that this is something I can do personally, but I can't really expect it to take off or be a big success, y'know, commercially.
DK: Absolutely. You nailed that one on the head, that, that…but it was just… It didn't matter. It really, really didn't matter, y'know (20) what I mean, it was, it was just something that I was meant to do, y'know (21), something that had to be done.
CBL: The ironic point is that actually you hit on something which people were actually very interested in.
DK: Yeh, I mean, um, I mean it was something… When we started playing together, the excitement of it was something I'd never felt before, y'know (22). There was an energy that you knew that it wasn't, it wasn't, it didn't, it wasn't, it couldn't belong in the room that you were playing in. It belonged in so many other rooms, y'know (23), what I mean. It just felt like it needs to get out and just, y'know (24), go wild.
CBL: Yeh, um, I mean, what you're basically doing, to simplify it, eh, you're taking this hard rock/punk whatever tradition and you're mixing it with the traditional Irish music, and the two things in a way kind of needed each other, didn't they?
CBL: Because, like, without the Irish music, the punk can be quite, sort of, simplistic, raw, and brutal, yeh. And the traditional Irish music gives it a kind of texture, and on the other hand, the traditional Irish music sometimes has a bit of an old-fogey-ish atmosphere about it, y'know, for a lot of people, and so they kind of… Those two things kind of fed off each other quite well, didn't they?
DK: Yeh, I mean, they seem to, y'know (25), fall into each other's lap, y'know (26). They were like, y'know (27), something screaming out to be done and I think we were lucky enough to, y'know (28), do it, y'know (29), and… The thing is it was so easy. I mean that's the thing. It wasn't like… It wasn't, it wasn't… The music itself… Maybe the surrounding part, y'know (30), everything else involved in what you do is hard, but the music itself was simple. It [garbled] y'know (31).
CBL: Yeh, em, I mean, the music kind of really arose out of your unique, eh, kind of life experience, though, didn't it? Because you’re this Irish kid, who is sucked up into these heavy metal bands. You find yourself in America and you're a bit homesick and you're feeling this nostalgia and then you've had this, em, you’ve imbibed all this traditional Irish music in your childhood, so it seems related to your life story the creation of this kind of music.
DK: Yeh, I mean, as I think I said to you earlier on, Colin, to me, y'know (32), when I was a kid in Fastway, I didn’t know what to write about, I didn't… I wasn't living. I was just a young kid who got lucky, who, y'know (33), was living a dream, but at the end of the day, I need to live a life to be able to write, I mean that, y'know (34), to me, y'know (35), I needed to be kicked in the face and stuff like that to be able to learn from that and write about it. And that's the way it was for me. I mean other people, y'know (36), just the songs… But for me that's the way it was, y'know (37).
CBL: So, yeh, the downside had an upside there, and…Now, em, also the thing is the Irish thing is very, very popular in a lot of places around the World, not just the Irish music, the Irish vibe, the Irish pubs – they're almost everywhere aren't they?
CBL: And, what do you think it is that people find so kind of appealing about that Irish vibe? It’s like, y'know, Ireland sometimes seems like the world’s favorite country.
DK: Heh heh heh heh. Well, y'know (38), em, I, I, I remember growing up in Ireland. It was always a struggle, y'know (39), I mean, but there was always a sense of humor attached to that. Em, I, I think what might have something to do with the spirit of Irish, and being Irish is that we moan a lot and we'll complain a lot, but we'll do what is required, y'know (40), and we'll get through the day like that, and I think that's the spirit about that. For want of a better word, there's a fighting spirit about that, y'know (41), there’s a, y'know (42), and I mean a…y'know (43), obviously, the economy the way it is right now, it's pretty dire, em, but, y'know (44), Ireland has, has really come a long way, y'know (45). It's been a hope, y'know (46), I mean, y'know (47), growing up in the Ireland that I grew up in is not the Ireland that I live in now, y'know (48), and, em, it's incredible.
DK: It's not just… I'm talking about, I'm talking about, y'know (49), y'know (50), violence being now finally, y'know (51), done away with, basically, I mean, and, y'know, (52) what have we learned? We’re all living here and we're all looking at each other and talking with each, and the violence is gone and the hope that any country can achieve, y'know (53).
CBL: Yeh. So the Good Friday Agreement and all that… So it's still hanging together?
DK: Yeh, y'know (52). [garbled] y'know (53) [garbled] the spirit people have realized, y'know (54), that this is really sad what we were doing to each other, and know we've, y'know (55), we’ve got together and we're [garbled] in a different direction now, in a positive direction y'know (56).
CBL: So, it's nothing to do with Bono?
DK: Ha ha ha ha. Well, he's got something to do with everything, hasn't he?
CBL: Yeh, he's solving all the World's problems.
DK: Y'know (57), he's… I know Bono and, em, he's a great guy, I mean he means nothing but the best. That's for sure, I'll tell you that, y'know (58).
CBL: Yeh. He's what most people think of when you say Irish rock, yeh, or Celtic rock. Now em… Sorry.
DK: No, go ahead, go ahead.
CBL: Now em, I was… Before I was just saying that the music of Flogging Molly really comes from your kind of life story, and, y'know, well in a way you're life story's taken a few changes now coz I believe you just got married.
DK: Yeh, myself and Bridget got married. Actually we got married in Tokyo.
CBL: Yeh, wow. When was that exactly?
DK: That was last April. We're actually going to be there for our anniversary, which is fantastic.
CBL: Why Tokyo, because it seems like an unusual venue.
DK: Because we love it, because we love it there. We love… Em, we got married in a Shinto shrine.
DK: Em, and a lot of our best friends are Japanese, um, and we have this, y'know (58), Bridget is…I mean we both are. Bridget can almost speak Japanese, I mean, she knows….She can have a conversation in Japanese. Um, and so it's a big…It's a wonderful culture to us, y'know (59)