Flogging Molly is a breath of boisterous emerald bombast, a Jameson-and-Guinness-soaked septet whose music captures the working-class Irish mythos. Here, mandolin/banjo virtuoso Bob Schmidt talks about family life and thriving on an indie-label…
French Davis: It seems you got the memo before most—doing it yourself was the way to eke out survival. Was that what you set out to do?
Bob Schmidt: It wasn’t like label A&R guys were beating down the door to try to get Irish-influenced music on the radio. Most industry people were telling us we would never make it, so it was our way of making it happen ourselves.
FD: Considering the support for roots and traditional musical influences, why aren’t there more bands like yours?
BS: It’s probably because none of our bands set out to start some kind of traditional movement. It was just what we were doing because we loved it. It has to have that legitimacy.
FD: Your recordings are smartly under-produced.
BS: I think we have always been about that uneasy balance of trying to capture the live sound and knowing that it can’t ever happen. You try to get it sounding as much as you can like when you’re playing live, but without the audience and the heat and sweat and all the other intangibles of a live show, you’re never going to capture all of that energy.