R13 Hi, so you're Dennis Casey from Flogging Molly, what do you play in the band?
DC Hi, nice to meet you, I play electric guitar
R13 I've heard that you guys haven't played in Ireland much, yet you're an Irish punk band?
DC Last year actually we did a 5 date tour over there, we've started playing there over the last two years, but for a long time before that Dave [the singer] had green card trouble so we couldn't come over to Europe, that was why we hadn't played over here in a long time.
R13 So how does playing over here in Europe compare to playing in the States?
DC One of the big difference I see is that they're a little more easy going about alcohol consumption, especially, I'm not sure if it's Austria or Germany, but kids like 14 or 15 can drink.
R13 Do you think that's a good thing or a bad thing?
DC I think it's a good thing, I think we probably have more alcohol problems over there [in the States] with people driving and drinking. I think the more you take it away from people the more they want it, and when they do it they just go absolutely crazy.
R13 So what's that you're drinking now?
DC Just a throat tea.
R13 So it's not the Guiness tonight then?
DC Oh yeah, I just have this because I'm loosing my voice.
R13 So do you have that before every gig then?
DC Yeah I brought it with me on this tour because it's hard to find over here, Dave uses it too a lot sometimes.
R13 So have you got any other creature comforts you bring with you on tour?
DC Erm, my usual, iPod, my laptop, some books..
R13 What's the last book you read then?
DC The last book I read was called The Perfect Soldiers, about the 19 hijackers, who they were and why they did it, it's a book about the hijackers from September 11th, it really digs into their backgrounds, each one's history and where they came from, what they did and tries to figure out why they did what they did.
R13 So on the latest album you've got some anti-bush lyrics, is that something you feel quite strongly about?
DC Yes, we did a tour actually in the States, I can't remember what it was called, it was trying to raise awareness about voting. The compilation was Rock Against Bush, I've forgotten what the tour was, but we had people all over trying to sign people up to vote at the shows. I don't know about over here but in America it's crazy how many people don't vote.
R13 Do you think that's why Bush got in?
DC Well the second time, he was a war-time president. But the whole system is kinda weird, like the majority, I'm not sure if you wanna get into all that, I don't know if you guys know what that is, but there's more people in New York that California so they get more votes. But first time I think he sorta stole it, if you look at people who are in the Supreme Court they sorta gave him the presidency. There was a great documentary on - I can't remember the name - anyway there's more than one reason why he became president, both because a lot of people don't vote and the other reasons, stealing the election and so on. It's funny when you read about poorer countries where 98% of the people vote and I think it's only 60% in America. I think that would be a good research project to find out why people are voting, and who they are and so on because I also think that our society (I can't speak about over here, but in the States) is becoming more and more dumbed. They're more into just consuming things and wanting things instantly, instant gratification, it's harder to read the newspapers and form your own opinions and seek out information when you're married and you've got kids and a job. I think's it's that people are just too lazy to get involved, it's really easy to vote just not enough people do.
R13 Do you think that applies to music as well, the fact that now you can just download whatever you want from the internet and people don't take the time to listen to albums any more?
DC That's a very good point, I'd never really thought about it that way, they have access to so much now.. I think the Smashing Pumpkins were the last band I heard of that released a double album, but downloading music from the internet wasn't even happening back then. But I think it's a good thing too though, because then bands that really wouldn't get the radio play or be heard of can get their music out there in an underground way and a lot of people have access to that, so I think it works in both ways.
R13 You worked with a lot of amazing bands, like you just did some shows with Green Day, if you could tour or work with any band who would it be?
DC Dead of alive?
DC Wow.. we'll that could go on for a long time, I'll say this: you know I'd love to tour with Rolling Stones or ACDC, you know that's just dreaming, but I think an ideal tour that I've always been talking about and would love to see happening is us, the Dropkick Murphies and the Pogues.
R13 The Dropkicks are playing with the Pogues later this year, is there no chance of seeing you on a similar bill then?
DC I have no idea, that's around Christmas isn't it? Ah I don't know!
R13 So you don't mind being compared to bands like the Dropkick Murphies then?
DC No, they're a great band, I mean what other bands are you going to compare us to? We're all influenced by them [The Pogues], and we all play Irish music, maybe not consciously, but you know, maybe we're like the next generation of what they were in the 80s.
R13 So had you listened to traditional Irish music before you met Dave?
DC No, I mean I listened to the Pogues, but I'm well, you know the electric guitarist, so I joined the band with rock roots in my background. Guys like Matt [Accordion] and Bridgett [Fiddle] are more inclined to play traditional music. I like listening to folk music though, I like British artists like Pentangle, that music I was into before I was in the band. It's not Irish but it's you know, folk music.
R13 So there's no thoughts of a solo project or anything then, to pursue the folk thing?
DC No. Well I'm a guitarist so I like to play that kind of music and learn their songs because it's challenging, you know in a different kind of way, it's challenging to play.
R13 So do you still practice your guitar a lot?
DC Erm.. if I'm trying to learn one of those songs, or you know early blues and ragtime guitar, then yeah I'll have to practice or else I won't get it. But being in the band we play so much together we don't have to practice so much. I mean on this tour it's three weeks and we only have three days off, and we tour a lot so we really only get together to write nowadays.
R13 Doesn't it make it difficult for you guys living scattered across the States?
DC Haha, I see the band more than I see my family because we're all on tour so much! This next album is going to be a challenge to work out where we're going to all get together and do it, because we're all gonna have to converge on one place.
R13 Are you still going to be working with the same producer that you had for the last two albums?
DC I don't know, we haven't really talked about it yet.
R13 So there's nothing in the pipeline yet then?
DC Yeah actually, there's this documentary we're working on. We had a guy filming us for a year and a half almost while we were working on the album and he came over here to Europe with us once, he was in the studio with us, everywhere. We're editing that right now and that's going to be the next thing that comes out. It's going to be a DVD, I haven't got a date yet but I know they're working on it as we speak right now! And then we'll write another album and probably put it out in 2007.
R13 What's the writing process like for you guys?
DC Dave's the principle songwriter so he'll come up with the majority of the song like the verse and chorus and then we'll all add to it.
R13 So you get together in a big room and jam it out?
DC Sometimes we jam it out, sometimes it comes together really quickly, there's always a lot of opinions and ideas going round so sometimes you can spend a lot of time on a song. It's all different, but the majority of it Dave writes all the lyrics, somebody might have an idea, a riff or chord progression, and we'll take that and make a song around it.
R13 Do you ever have moments where he might have seen the song going one way in his head but everyone else goes another way with it?
DC Yeah, actually that song on the last album, 'Wanderlust', he wrote it as a really slow song but we ended up doing it fast. So now we rerecorded it and did an acoustic version for Sony, did you guys hear about that? It's going up on their mp3 site where you can download it, I don't know if it's available yet but we recorded about four songs, that's the latest thing that we're doing. We did the original slow version of 'Wanderlust' and I think it sounds better. There's other ones too, can't remember which ones they picked though.
R13 If you had to put together a demo with just three of your songs on from all your albums which ones would you choose?
DC I would put on 'Salty Dog', 'Drunken Lullabies' and 'Seven Deadly Sins'.
R13 Any reasons for those three?
DC Just personal favourites really, but I think those are the songs that if you wanted to get a taste of what the band is about then those would be a fair sample of what we're about.
R13 Do you have any favourites to play on tour?
DC Dave and George [Bass] usually put together the set lists for the tours, right now I like to play 'Bag Of Bricks' but we're not playing that tonight.
R13 To round it up, if you were interviewing yourself, what would you ask?
DC There's always one question I wished I'd get asked and that was what I'd read recently. The band's been around long enough now for people to read about us online and find out where we got our name and stuff, you know, so it's nice to get a bit personal now. It's nice when people listen to the albums and read the words, I never get asked about my guitars or my amps though. I love playing the guitar but I never get asked.
R13 So what guitar are you going to play tonight?
DC I've got a Les Paul Special, like a Bob Marley guitar. I used to have an older telecaster but I sold it, vintage guitars are really expensive now, I'd love to play an older guitar but I just can't afford it.
R13 So does the band make you a decent living nowadays?
DC Well yeah, you know I was poor for 10-15 years so I can adapt. I've always just wanted to be a musician and make some money doing it. I never set out to make a lot of money, you know I was a house painter before we started touring, so I had to stop doing that when we went out on tour! But now, yeah I make a living.
R13 Ok then, so what gauge strings do you use?
DC Haha, 10 to 52, Ernie Balls.
R13 And how do you get that guitar sound?
DC Well you know, what I tell people who think I have a good guitar sound, you know bands we play with and so on, the way I relate to running an amp is just to turn it all the way up, because you're driving the power section of the amp more. Whereas when you turn the gain up and the volume down you just get a really fuzzy sound. I like the full ballsy guitar sound, it's real clear too. You don't have to go all the way up, but you know at least past 7.
R13 Ok Dennis, well thanks very much
DC No problem!
R13 Hi, so you're Dennis Casey from Flogging Molly, what do you play in the band?