Flogging Molly Brings Rollicking Celtic Punk to SunFest Saturday

Throttling Irish punkers Flogging Molly got their start as you might expect, tearing up Monday nights at the iconic L.A. pub Molly Malone's — where they were eventually scouted and signed to SideOneDummy Records. Founded in the early '90s by Dublin native Dave King, the group is well known for...
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Like most bands destined for fame and glory, Flogging Molly had humble beginnings, starting out with regular gigs at landmark Irish pub Molly Malone's in Los Angeles. The punk rock band, founded by Dublin native Dave King, fuses traditional Celtic sounds with a modern rock style. Its biggest hits, “Drunken Lullabies” and “Devil’s Dance Floor,” have fueled its tours for the past 15 years. Flogging Molly will be performing at SunFest on Saturday at the jetBlue stage.

Bass player Nathen Maxwell joined the band when he was just 17. “I witnessed how amazing Dave King was as a songwriter, and ultimately that is what turned me on and made me want to dedicate my life to this music,” he says.

Maxwell says he still visits Molly Malone’s whenever he's in Los Angeles. Though touring has its challenges – like going through airport security, he says – it’s the songs, his family of band mates, and fans that keep him going.

“I really love traveling wide and playing music as many places on earth as possible,” he says.

Flogging Molly has produced five albums, and this past March released the new single “The Hand of John L. Sullivan,” based on the famous Irish boxer. In an article on, writer Christopher Klein said: “Perhaps no man has ever embodied the spirit of the fighting Irish more than John L. Sullivan.” The new song is the perfect single for Flogging Molly – combining a legendary, real-life story with an Irish fight song. The middle refrain slows down and is reminiscent of a drinking anthem in a local pub: 

Come gather yourself, drink to your health/It's the one thing that money can't buy/But remember the loss to the loved ones we all leave behind/So pass the glass over Sullivan just ordered/The glory days have returned/And let's live the good life, until the last goodbye.

The ballad speaks of remembering loss, but fighting on – a common theme in many of Flogging Molly's lyrics.

Maxwell says his personal favorite song is "If I Ever Leave This World Alive." He explains, “It has always hit me personally. I think its lyric of loss, and that ultimately everything is going to be all right, resonates with me.” 

A new album is currently in the works. Maxwell says he is hoping to create a timeless classic.

Asked what fans can expect at SunFest, Maxwell replied, “A celebration of life! Singing, dancing, drinking, debauchery.”  If you’ve ever been to a Flogging Molly concert, you certainly know to expect this – as well as some friendly Irish moshing.

Maxwell says, “I would like to see people coming together to overcome today’s tribulations. We don't need to pick a team. United we stand, divided we fall. Ultimately, we are one human family. Peace is possible; let's celebrate life!”

The Irish celebrations start at 4:30 at the JetBlue stage at SunFest this Saturday.
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