The accordion isn't exactly the cool instrument to play. Did you ever get heckled?
Absolutely. When I first bought it, my friends, roommates, everybody was like, "You lost your f-ing mind, dude." And I was just like, "I have a bigger picture, and I think it's going to work." I got lucky. Actually, a guy tried to kill me one time for playing.
What? A guy tried to kill you?
I was in an English pub, and this band that was playing saw that I had an accordion with me and wanted to see what it sounded like. So we went out to the parking lot after the pub was closed, and I was a little intoxicated, but I started playing some music. Well, this guy comes out of I don't know where, in his underpants, and he's tapping my accordion. He's telling me to shut the fuck up. I'm with all my friends and everything, too, and he's half-naked, telling me to shut it. So I tell him to stick it. And it's kind of like hitting a guy with glasses are you going to hit a guy with an accordion? He ended up saying "Fuck it," and he turned around and he had a 9 mm in his hand. I thought he was poking me with his finger, but I couldn't see because the accordion is like being pregnant. It sticks way out over me, and I couldn't see it, but he was pointing a gun at me. Had I known, I would have shut up and told him, "Yes, sir."
A lot of skaters look up to you as a skateboarding icon. Do you get a lot of attention from aspiring accordionists as well?
Every once in a while I do. A couple people have started playing accordion since talking to me or getting into Flogging Molly. I've actually given away a lot of accordions, too. I have a collection of them, and if someone looks like they're really going to be into it, and I have an old one lying around I'll just hook them up.
Was the accordion difficult to learn?
You play a guitar and hit three chords, and you can play almost any rock song. You can't play the leads, but you can get something going that doesn't sound like shit. Well, on an accordion, if it's played wrong, you can immediately hear it, and it's enough to make people want to kill you.