Hollywood Undead vocalist Johnny 3 Tears was surprised when he learned he would be in Utah to perform a Cinco de Mayo concert."I thought I would be in Tijuana," he said, before adding: "I'll bring the booze from another state."The other headliner for radio station X96's Cinco de X show is Flogging Molly, a Celtic-rock band led by an Irish expat."I have had some cocktails in my life," Flogging Molly accordion and concertina player Matt Hensley said. "There will be liquor in Utah. We will bring a stash with us."X96's show will be more about hard rock under the influence, presumably than celebrating the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Hollywood Undead's 3 Tears and Hensley talked to The Tribune about American tragedies, masks and why Detroit is an appropriate place to record an album about working-class heroes.Hollywood Undead • If you thought rap-rock had lost its popularity and swagger in Utah, think again.Hollywood Undead's sophomore album, "American Tragedy," has been one of the best-selling albums in the United States and in Utah since its April 5 release. The success of the album demonstrates that cocky rap-rock still has a hungry audience, as fans appreciate the band's wearing of masks menacing masks that make the musicians look as if they're the progeny of Jason Voorhees and N.W.A."The mask part of the band was [so we would not] look like every other band," 3 Tears said. "Once we decided that, we became creative. It wasn't gimmicky. Black hair and tattoos [of other bands] are gimmicky."The sextet was born in 2005, when members J-Dog and Deuce created a video called "The Kids" and posted it on their MySpace profile. The video attracted so much attention that they recruited their friends Shady, Johnny 3 Tears, Charlie Scene, Funny Man and Da Kurlzz to join. (Deuce and Shady have since left, with Danny an "American Idol" contestant in its ninth season joining last year.)Their 2008 debut album "Swan Songs" was successful, nearly breaking into the top 20 on Billboard's albums chart the week of its release.The second album, "American Tragedy," is also dark, filled with tales of people being spat out of Hollywood. "The way things are, we're just as affected as anyone," 3 Tears said. "Human beings are having a hard time right now. It's a direct product of what's going on, so it's natural to be morose."Flogging Molly • Lest you get the wrong idea, the band chose its name when playing at the Los Angeles bar Molly Malone's. The musicians felt as if they were playing that place to death hence the name.Flogging Molly was launched in 1993 when Irish immigrant Dave King put together a band to blend traditional Irish music with punk-rock.While King was searching for an accordion player, he went to a Los Angeles show billed as "Those Darn Accordions," a show Hensley also attended. A mutual friend told King about Hensley, but he had a hard time believing the heavily tattooed Hensley would play the accordion. "He was expecting some big German guy," Hensley said.The band is getting ready for this month's release of "Speed of Darkness." Unlike its previous album, which was recorded in Ireland, the band convened in Detroit to write and rehearse. The musicians moved on to North Carolina to record the album in an abandoned church. "We wrote working-class songs," Hensley said. The depressed economy of the Motor City directly influenced much of the album's downbeat lyrics.The accordion has always played a big part in defining Flogging Molly's sound. "I like the worldliness of [the accordion]," Hensley said. "It can sound like Poland, like Germany, like Ireland, like France," he said. "It's like taking a cruise around the world."A cruise? Did King really get the right guy?
Cinco de XHollywood Undead and Flogging Molly headline; with 10 Years, Drive A, New Medicine, Middle Class Rut, Drowning Men, and Brogan Kelby.When • Thursday, May 5, at 6 p.m.Where • Saltair, 12408 W. Saltair Drive, MagnaTickets • $38 at SmithsTix