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Members originally included John Galvin, keyboards; Bobby Ingram, guitar; Phil McCormack, vocals; Andy McKinney, bass; Russ Maxwell, guitar; Sean Shannon, drums. Previous members include Danny Joe Brown (replaced by Jimmy Farrar; group member, 1975-80, 1982, 1991-95), vocals; B.B. Borden (group member, 1982-84), drums; Bruce Crump (replaced by B.B. Borden; left group, 1989), drums; Jimmy Farrar (group member, 1980-82), vocals; Dave Hlubek (replaced by Bobby Ingram), guitar; Steve Holland (left group, 1984), guitar; Duane Roland (left group, 1989), guitar; Banner Thomas (replaced by Riff West), bass; Riff West (group member, 1981-89), bass. Addresses: Record company--CMC International, 5226 Greens Dairy Rd., Raleigh, NC 27616. Website--Molly Hatchet Official Website: http://www.mollyhatchet.com.
Through more than 20 years of performing Southern rock, Molly Hatchet has gone through multiple incarnations. The original lineup, which formed in the mid-1970s, released two multiplatinum albums--Molly Hatchet and Flirtin' With Disaster. The 1980s brought several member changes, and by 1990 the group had decided to take a long-term break. In the mid-1990s, Molly Hatchet did return but without any of its original members. Although the latest version of the band created some controversy, its releases reached fans around the world and its tour schedule included approximately 200 concert dates per year. "From the beginning, it's a blue-collar band," guitarist Bobby Ingram told Vinnie Apicella in AMZ Music Zine. "We're a common band playing for a common man, and that's the way it is."
Molly Hatchet first formed in 1975 in Jacksonville, Florida, with Danny Joe Brown on vocals, Bruce Crump on drums, Banner Thomas on bass, and three guitar players: Dave Hlubek, Steve Holland, and Duane Roland. The latter helped provide a harder sound than most other Southern rock bands of their time. As one reviewer wrote in People, "The interplay among their guitars generates a contagious excitement that gives Hatchet a sense of energy as great as any band in pop music." The group came up with their name after having played under various monikers in Florida nightclubs. They decided it was time to pick a name and stay with it. Each member put suggestions in a hat, and Molly Hatchet--a legendary seventeenth-century Salem prostitute known as Hatchet Molly for beheading and mutilating her clients--was the last one drawn.
Earned Platinum Sales with Debut
Molly Hatchet started out playing in local clubs, and in the process grabbed the attention of both Epic Records and Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynrd. Van Zant had agreed to produce the band's debut before a 1977 plane crash killed him and other band members. The tragedy put Molly Hatchet's album on hold until the following year.
On August 28, 1978, guitarist Dave Hlubek's birthday, Molly Hatchetarrived in record stores across the United States. The band toured with artists such as Aerosmith, Bob Seger, REO Speedwagon, UFO, and others, gaining exposure on tour that helped their debut album reach platinum sales. Although success was exciting for the members of Molly Hatchet, they did not expect such a rapid response. "We were well rehearsed, but we were not prepared for the whole arena thing and star shock," Hlubek later explained to Jeb Wright at the Classic Rock Revisited website. "We were rubbing elbows with stars that we were covering their songs in bars!"
The follow-up to their debut, Flirtin' With Disaster, was released in 1979. The momentum from their first release only multiplied, and the album sold more than two million copies. Supporting their recordings with a strenuous touring schedule, the group played an average of 250 shows each year.
In 1980 singer Danny Joe Brown decided to leave the group after some disagreements with management; he'd also just been diagnosed with diabetes, and the touring schedule was wearing on him. He formed his own project, the Danny Joe Brown Band, which released DJB and the Danny Joe Brown Band. Jimmy Ferrar took over vocals on the next Molly Hatchet release--Beatin' the Odds. Success eluded the band this time around, however, and sales were disappointing.
Continued Lineup Changes
Molly Hatchet returned to the recording studio for Take No Prisoners in 1981. This time they experimented with their sound by adding horns to the arrangements. Following the release and tour, they also made several lineup changes: bassist Banner Thomas was replaced by Riff West. Ferrar also decided to leave to spend more time with his family and pursue a solo career. Bruce Crump exited and B.B. Borden took over on drums. Perhaps most significantly, Brown returned as the frontman. He brought with him John Galvin, his keyboardist in the Danny Joe Brown Band.
With the new lineup in place, Molly Hatchet recorded and released No Guts, No Glory in 1983 and The Deed Is Done in 1984. But the changes to the band continued: Crump returned on drums that same year, and Steve Holland departed the group without a replacement. In 1985 Molly Hatchet released a live album titled Double Trouble Live, which included a cover of Lynyrd Skynrd's "Freebird." Hlubek decided to leave the band the following year to deal with his drug addiction. He was replaced by guitarist Bobby Ingram, who had played with Brown in a band called Rum Creek before the formation of Molly Hatchet. Hlubek later went on to play with the Southern Rock All-Stars.
Despite all the personnel changes, the band continued to play about 200 concerts each year. At the end of their contract with Epic Records, they signed with Capitol Records, producing Lightning Strikes Twice in 1989. By the following year, the group's internal difficulties could not be resolved. They decided to take a long-term break and gave their farewell performance on July 8 in Toledo, Ohio. Epic released the Greatest Hits compilation in 1991, which included two previously unreleased tracks--"Shake the House Down" and "Raptop Deluxe." The album was certified gold.
New Life Breathed into Group
After further discussion, most band members decided to disband. However, Brown and Ingram wanted to keep going. "Molly Hatchet was going to die if it remained in that same format," Ingram told Dave Cockett at Hard Roxx Online. "It wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for Danny and me being there to pick up the pieces and put it back together again." They continued to tour, and eventually Duane Roland, who owned the Molly Hatchet name at the time, agreed to license it to Brown and Ingram.
In 1995 the German SPV/CBH label offered to sign Molly Hatchet to a multi-year European recording contract. By this time, Brown's health problems had worsened, and he could no longer handle the touring schedule. He asked singer Phil McCormack to take his place, and Ingram took over as the leader of Molly Hatchet. "It was important for us to keep the tradition and the spirit of the band alive when Phil joined," Ingram told Cockett, "and obviously, with his vocal style being very similar to Danny's, that helped a lot. He's a pretty gutsy type of singer, and that's what the band needed."
Molly Hatchet traveled to Hamburg, Germany, to release their first album in six years, Devil's Canyon. CMC International picked up the band for distribution in the United States, and the album became the number-one record in Europe in 1996. Two years later, they released Silent Reign of Heroes. The album was dedicated to unsung heroes: "[T]he guys that have been out in the trenches, you know doing all the work, doing all the heartache and the sufferin', and never getting credit for it," Ingram told Vince Apicella in AMZ Music Zine. "And we thought it was time to do a tribute to those guys." In 1998 Danny Joe Brown suffered a stroke. The original members of Molly Hatchet, along with Jimmy Ferrar, Riff West, and other friends of the singer performed a benefit concert for him as the Dixie Jam Band. A CD and video of the performance were released the following year.
New Incarnation Continued Success
Meanwhile, the new incarnation of Molly Hatchet continued to tour and record. In 1999, they toured the United States with the "Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam," the first time the "Volunteer Jam" was taken outside of Tennessee. And Molly Hatchet continued its hard-touring tradition, playing an average of 150 concert dates per year. On June 5, 2001, they released Kingdom of XII, which was followed by a 20-month tour. Charlie Daniels contributed to two songs on the album--"Gypsy Trail" and "Angel in Dixie."
By this time Bobby Ingram had acquired full rights to the Molly Hatchet name. Although the newest lineup had created some controversy with the original members, Ingram continued to keep the tradition alive. "There might be a time where some of the original members come back in and then leave again," Ingram told Michael B. Smith at Gritz online. "Molly Hatchet is a legacy, spirit, tradition, and future.... [I]f it wasn't for the original six members, there would not be a legacy to continue."
As for the original members, they continue to stay in touch despite taking different paths. As Hlubek explained to Smith, "I think the relationships between the original members and myself are really good considering all the things we've been through, and put ourselves through over the years.... We conquered the world together, and that's not a bad thing!"
by Sonya Shelton
Molly Hatchet's Career
Group formed in Jacksonville, FL, 1975; signed with Epic Records, 1977; released seven albums, 1978-85; released Lightning Strikeson Capitol Records, 1989; disbanded, 1990; re-formed with Ingram and Brown, 1991; signed European record contract with SPV/CBH Records, 1995; signed U.S. record contract with CMC International, 1996; released three albums, 1996-2001.
- Selected discography
- Molly Hatchet , Epic, 1978.
- Flirtin' With Disaster , Epic, 1979.
- Beatin' the Odds , Epic, 1980.
- Take No Prisoners , Epic, 1981.
- No Guts, No Glory , Epic, 1983.
- The Deed Is Done , Epic, 1984.
- Double Trouble Live , Epic, 1985.
- Lightning Strikes Twice , Capitol, 1989.
- Greatest Hits , Epic, 1991.
- Devil's Canyon , CMC International, 1996.
- Silent Reign of Heroes , CMC International, 1998.
- Kingdom of XII , CMC International, 2001.
March 10, 2005: Band member Danny Joe Brown died on March 10, 2005, at his home in suburban Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from complications of diabetes. He was 53. Source: CNN.com, www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/Music/03/15/obit.brown.ap/index.html, March 15, 2005.
May 24, 2005: Molly Hatchet's album, Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge, was released. Source: Billboard.com, www.billboard.com/bb/releases/week_5/index.jsp, May 30, 2005.
- People, April 4, 1983.
- Classic Rock Revisited, http://www.classicrockrevisited.com (January 26, 2002).
- Gritz, http://www.gritz.net (January 26, 2002).
- "Molly Hatchet: Biography," CDNOW, http://www.cdnow.com (January 26, 2002).
- "Molly Hatchet: Biography," RollingStone.com, http://www.rollingstone.com (January 26, 2002).
- Molly Hatchet Official Website, http://www.mollyhatchet.com (January 26, 2002).
- "Molly Hatchet--'Waving the Rebel Flag for a New Generation'," AMZ Music Zine, http://www.amzmusiczine.com (January 26, 2002).
- "Return of the Peacemakers," Hard Roxx Online, http://www.hardroxx.com/interviews/molly_hatchet.html (January 26, 2002).
Molly Hatchet Lyrics
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