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St. Patrick's Day coming to town

On Feb. 17, Flogging Molly will be bringing its seventh annual Green 17 Tour to the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach.

The band blends traditional Irish instruments and sounds with good old-fashioned punk pace and style, a combination that has earned it international popularity.

The Sun News chatted with a member of the band, mandolin player Robert Schmidt, who discussed everything from the band's origins to an international bus driver's abandonment of the band on an English country road.

The conversation shed insight into who Flogging Molly is and how it got there.

Can you tell everyone a little bit about how Flogging Molly got started?

We all met at a bar in Los Angeles called Molly Malone's. Essentially everybody in the band had been watching Dave [King] play there for a couple of years and when he decided to put this band together, everybody kind of got into it.

Your website says that several members in the band play numerous instruments. You play the mandolin. Is it different than playing the guitar?

I usually play banjo and mandolin on tour. I grew up playing guitar and bass. The technique is the same, but the tuning is different. I've been playing since I was 7 though, so I've got about 35 years under my belt.

You guys are known for having a lot of fun on stage. What's life like behind the scenes? What do you do for fun?

A couple of the guys like going golfing when the weather is right. Some of us will spend time recording demos and stuff like that. We all like having good food. I think the nice thing about being in the band is we get to travel all around the country.

This is your seventh Green 17 Tour. How did the whole thing come about?

We had been touring around the country for a couple of years and we'd just been doing the St. Patrick's Day show. We kind of came up with an idea for a tour that would bring St. Patrick's Day to everybody. We did one year where we did Green 17 and Black 17 where we did over 21 and under 21. We like that people associate the February and March months with our tour.

The band is slated for a new album sometime in May. Can you talk a little bit about it?

The album is called Speed of Darkness and it releases May 24, I believe. I think it's part of the progression. Every album we're trying to stretch the boundaries of what we do. I think it falls in line with our story arch of our albums.

The Green 17 Tour isn't your first tour. Have you done others and what would you consider your most memorable tour experience?

We've done a ton of Warped Tours. We were touring in the UK and we had a driver who was really particular about his bus. He didn't want to cut or dent any of the furniture. It's a bus, you live on it.

He ended up getting so pissed off and dumped us off on the side of the road and we ended up having to sit there for eight hours waiting for a new bus and we were just sitting there with all our luggage, our equipment and all our stuff drinking whiskey.

Can you describe what the show will be like for the Myrtle Beach faithful?

We're always mixing the set list up, trying to get some new songs in there. I think they can expect to hear some old favorites come out. I mean it's going to be a good party at the House of Blues. It's always a good show.

We've been six months without a tour, so this is our first tour in awhile so we're excited to get out there and do what we do best.