Band at top of US chart unknown at home
The Irish are reigning supreme in the US music charts after taking the top two spots on the Billboard charts last Thursday.
Flogging Molly, fronted by Dubliner Dave King and Bridget Regan, have been together for almost 10 years. The band, which has both Irish and American members, have released four albums and have slowly built up their a following. Their latest album Float, which was recorded at Grouse Lodge studios in Westmeath last autumn, has gone in at number one on the Billboard's independent and internet charts.
The album has also taken the number four spot on the Billboard top 200 album chart, the highest position for any Irish artist other than U2 since Enya's 2000 release, A Day Without Rain. The Celtic rockers are currently one of the most successful indie bands in the US, and are at present in the middle of a sell-out nationwide tour.
Ironically, the taking of the coveted number one spot meant knocking another Irish- made album off the top. The soundtrack to Once, the Oscar-winning film starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, which has now sold more than half a million copies in the US alone, was number one last week in the wake of the awards victory.
King grew up in Beggar's Bush in Dublin and he and Bridget live in Wexford when they are not on tour. Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Independent, King said: "We've been at this a long time. We're on a massive tour of the States but not many people in Ireland know of us. We are heading back home shortly and hopefully we can raise our profile there."
King said that what made a massive difference to their fortunes in the US was that radio stations have begun playing their material and plugging their gigs.
"When we first started, we were ignored by the radio, TV stations. But they are playing our stuff now which is great. "We're probably one of the biggest independent acts in the US at the moment, but we've done it the hard way," he added.
King is the main creative force behind Flogging Molly and named his parents along with Luke Kelly and the Dubliners, as key musical influences.
He said: "I grew up in a house where there was a lot of music and people around. But the force of Luke Kelly and the Dubliners are key for me."
King says Flogging Molly are more than just an Irish band. "If we didn't have the fiddle or the bodhran we would be a punk band, and if we didn't have the bass or electric guitar we'd be a traditional Irish group."
Irish artists other than U2 have had mixed success in the US in recent times. Damien Rice and the Thrills both enjoyed some success, with both managing to have their songs used in leading US television shows. But, despite selling large amounts of albums, neither managed to get near the top of the Billboard charts.
Glen Hansard and The Frames have not enjoyed large scale success Stateside but their fortunes may be changing. Hansard has signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell that includes songs Hansard has written for The Frames.