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Molly Hatchet at Hellfest 2012
|Origin||Jacksonville, Florida, United States|
|Genres||Southern rock, hard rock, boogie rock, Southern metal, jam rock|
|Labels||Epic, Capitol Records, SPV/Steamhammer|
|Associated acts||The Danny Joe Brown Band|
|Past members||Dave Hlubek|
Danny Joe Brown
Molly Hatchet is an American Southern hard rock band that formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1971. The band was founded by guitarist Dave Hlubek in 1971. The band is best known for their 1979 hit song "Flirtin' with Disaster".
Molly Hatchet was founded by guitarist Dave Hlubek in 1971. The band originated and was based in Jacksonville, Florida and shared influences and inspiration with what is perhaps the most well-known act in the Southern rock genre, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Hlubek, along with Banner Thomas, also wrote/co-wrote and co-produced many of the band's songs. Hlubek has stated that the demise of Lynyrd Skynyrd opened the door for Molly Hatchet. Members of .38 Special referred the band to manager Pat Armstrong, who, with partner Alan Walden, had briefly been co-manager of Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1970.
Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant was slated to produce Molly Hatchet's first album, having helped in writing arrangements and directing rehearsals prior to his death. Molly Hatchet cut their first demos in Lynyrd Skynyrd's 8-track recording studio using their equipment. Other demos were cut in Jacksonville's Warehouse Studios. Warner Bros. Records expressed interest in the resulting recordings from these sessions. However, the band ended up being turned down by Warner, who instead picked Van Halen over Molly Hatchet. After this setback, Hatchet toured the Florida roadhouse and bar circuit. About six months later, Epic Records signed the band to a recording contract in 1977 and brought Tom Werman in as producer.
Werman, known for working with straight hard rock acts such as Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent, combined boogie, blues and hard rock making Molly Hatchet's sound different from more country-influenced acts, such as The Outlaws.
Molly Hatchet was followed by Flirtin' with Disaster in September 1979, with its title song another AOR hit, as was its first track, "Whiskey Man", from the album.
Molly Hatchet proceeded to tour behind the records building a larger fan base. Lead singer Danny Joe Brown left the band in May 1980 because of diabetes and other reasons, only to return two years later.
After Danny Joe Brown left Molly Hatchet, he formed The Danny Joe Brown Band. Brown was replaced in Molly Hatchet by vocalist Jimmy Farrar, a native of La Grange, Georgia, where he was formerly lead singer for the local Southern rock band Raw Energy.
With the addition of Jimmy Farrar as lead singer, a new approach came to the band's sound. The earlier albums seemed to some commentators to exhibit a distinct southern cultural influence – which changed with the addition of Farrar. Danny Joe Brown's stage persona, gruff voice and cowboy horse-whistling was replaced with Jimmy Farrar's new vocal style, mixed with a new harder-rocking sound.
By 1981, Molly Hatchet had evolved to a straight-ahead rock style and a slicker production, as exhibited on Take No Prisoners (November 1981). The band remained a successful act on the touring circuit.
Long time bass player Banner Thomas left in November 1981 and was replaced by Riff West. And in 1982, drummer B. B. Borden (also known as B. B. Queen as a member of the funk rock band Mother's Finest) replaced Crump, who had moved to Los Angeles and would later end up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, playing and recording with Canadian rockers Streetheart.
Farrar then left the group to make way for Brown's return. He would later rejoin other members of Molly Hatchet in Southern Rock Allstars and Gator Country. Brown rejoined the band in May 1982 after the departure of Farrar.
In March 1983 the line-up of Brown, Hlubek, Holland, Roland, West and Borden released a new album titled No Guts...No Glory.
But guitarist Holland, tired of the road, decided to leave for good in 1984 and was replaced by former Danny Joe Brown Band keyboardist John Galvin.
This period saw the band return to the more overt southern style it had displayed on its debut record in 1978. Critics hailed No Guts...No Glory as the band's return to form and did rejuvenate interest from the band's fan base, who had started to drift away after the Take No Prisoners album of 1981.
December 1985 saw the unveiling of the band's double live album Double Trouble Live, after which the band was dropped by Epic and the group's members began to ponder changing singers again to pursue more of an 80s pop rock sound. They ended up retaining Brown and their Southern Rock sound despite it being increasingly out of fashion in the mid-80s.
Guitarist/founder Hlubek, who later admitted to suffering from drug troubles, left Molly Hatchet in January 1987. He was replaced by Bobby Ingram, who was guitarist in The Danny Joe Brown Band.
In late 1990, a revised band led by Brown and Ingram featured new players Rik Blanz (guitar), Rob Scavetto (keyboards), Eddie Rio (bass) and David Feagle (drums). But the Hatchet's lineup in the 90s was a bit of a revolving door. Rio was replaced in 1991 by Rob Sweat and then Kevin Rian. Feagle was succeeded the same year by drummer Kenny Holton. Blanz left in mid-1991, Phil McCormack stood in for Brown briefly in early 1992 and by 1993 the lineup was: Brown, Ingram, Erik Lundgren guitar, Mac Crawford (drums) and a returning Banner Thomas (bass), with Mike Kach (keyboards), who was replaced in 1994 by Andy Orth. Bryan Bassett (ex-Wild Cherry) took over as second guitarist in 1994 and Buzzy Meekins (formerly of the Outlaws) was bassist from 1994 to 1995.
During the first half of the 1990s, Molly Hatchet played selected shows and tours but didn't record again until 1995 when they began working on a new studio album with German producer Kalle Trapp.
In April 1995, after continuing health problems, Brown had to once again leave the band and Phil McCormack (formerly of The Roadducks and Brown's 1992 stand-in) was brought back.
During the rest of the 1990s, the band's line-up did not feature any of the members who had performed in Molly Hatchet prior to 1984. Bobby Ingram leased, then obtained in 2000, the trademark ownership to work with the name. At this point, the band consisted of vocalist Phil McCormack, guitarists Bobby Ingram and Bryan Bassett, returning keyboardist John Galvin, bassist Andy McKinney and drummer Mac Crawford. In 1998 this line-up recorded the album Silent Reign of Heroes (June 1998).
Former Hatchet singer Danny Joe Brown, despite a long battle with diabetes and the effects of a stroke, was able to take the stage one last time at the Jammin' for DJB benefit concert in July 1999 in Orlando, Florida. With the help of his friends and former members Bruce Crump, Banner Thomas, Steve Holland and Dave Hlubek, he ended the show with "Flirtin' with Disaster".
In June 2000, Bobby Ingram became the sole owner of the trade and service mark "Molly Hatchet," acquired from Pat Armstrong, the band's early manager.
Also in 2000, Kingdom of XII was recorded and released in Europe, and the band then toured Europe to promote the album. It was released in the United States in June 2001.
After appearing on Kingdom, guitarist Bassett left the group for to rejoin Foghat and Russ Maxwell came in on guitar, with drummer Dale Rock, then Shawn Beamer (from Southern Rock Rebellion) joining to replace Sean Shannon in the fall of 2001.
Bassist Jerry Scott (formerly with Brian Howe's band) joined in early 2002 after McKinney departed.
Locked and Loaded (a live recording from 2000) was released in March 2003 and 25th Anniversary: Best of Re-Recorded followed in January 2004.
John Galvin, though he continued to appear on the band's albums, was again not touring with the band in the 2000s (except for a short European tour in December of 2001). Tim Donovan (1997-2002), Scott Woods (2002), Jeff Ravenscraft (2003-2004), Gary Corbett (2004) and Richie Del Favero (2004-2005) played live keyboards up until 2005, after which the group dispensed with having a touring keyboardist for awhile.
In 2003 Tim Lindsey former Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rossington Band and Mind Garden (with Dave Hlubek) bassist coming full circle back to his roots replaced Jerry Scott and Jake Rutter was briefly brought in on guitar after Maxwell left.
Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge (May 2005) featured the return of Hlubek.
Danny Joe Brown died on March 10, 2005 at his home in Davie, Florida. He was 53.
On June 19, 2006 guitarist Duane Roland died at his home in St. Augustine, Florida at the age of 53. His death was listed as being of "natural causes" according to a June 25, 2006 obituary in the Boston Globe.
In 2008 keyboardist John Galvin returned to the live stage again after Hlubek's recurring health issues prevented him from appearing at all of the band's gigs.
In 2011 drummer Shawn Beamer had a heart attack and was temporarily replaced by drummer Scott Craig. In 2013 Beamer returned to the band.
As of 2012, Molly Hatchet were touring in the United States, Germany, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Belgium, Sweden and other markets in the Pacific rim and Australia.
Bass guitarist Riff West died on November 19, 2014 at age 54 after injuries suffered in a car accident.
Dave Hlubek died of a heart attack on September 2, 2017, at the age of 66.
Former Hatchet singer Jimmy Farrar died at age 68 on October 29, 2018 of congestive heart failure, kidney and liver failure
The band, which now consists of Bobby Ingram, John Galvin, Phil McCormack, Tim Lindsey and Shawn Beamer, is still touring full time and performing in the US, Japan and the Middle East for United States Military fans.
Molly Hatchet took its name from a prostitute who allegedly mutilated and decapitated her clients. One iconic aspect of Molly Hatchet's image is that many of the band's album covers feature art inspired by heroic fantasy, several of which were painted by artists such as Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo and Paul R. Gregory.
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions||Certification|
|1979||Flirtin' with Disaster||19||54||2xPlatinum||Gold|
|1980||Beatin' the Odds||25||90||Platinum||—|
|1981||Take No Prisoners||36||—||—||—|
|1983||No Guts...No Glory||59||—||—||—|
|1984||The Deed Is Done||120||—||—||—|
|1989||Lightning Strikes Twice||—||—||—||—|
|1998||Silent Reign of Heroes||—||—||—||—|
|2000||Kingdom of XII||—||—||—||—|
|2005||Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge||—||—||—||—|
|2008||Southern Rock Masters||—||—||—||—|
|2012||Regrinding the Axes||—||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes the album failed to chart, not released, or not certified|
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions|
|1981||Molly Hatchet Live E/P/A Series||—||—|
|1985||Double Trouble Live||130||94|
|2000||Live at the Agora Ballroom Atlanta Georgia 1979||—||—|
|2003||Locked and Loaded||—||—|
|Greatest Hits Live||—||—|
|2007||Flirtin' with Disaster Live||—||—|
|2013||Live At Rockpalast 1996||—||—|
|"—" denotes album that failed to chart|
|1995||Cut to the Bone||—|
|2003||The Essential Molly Hatchet||—|
|25th Anniversary: Best of Re-Recorded||—|
|2011||Greatest Hits II||—|
|"—" denotes album that's not certified|