Molly Hatchet

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Molly Hatchet
Molly Hatchet in 1982
Molly Hatchet in 1982
Background information
OriginJacksonville, Florida, U.S.
Years active1971–present
MembersBobby Ingram
John Galvin
Shawn Beamer
Tim Lindsey
Parker Lee
Past membersDave Hlubek
Steve Holland
Banner Thomas
Bruce Crump
Danny Joe Brown
Duane Roland
Jimmy Farrar
Riff West
B. B. Borden
Phil McCormack
Mac Crawford
Andy McKinney
Bryan Bassett
Sean Shannon
Russ Maxwell
Jerry Scott
J. J. Strickland
Jake Rutter
Jimmy Elkins

Molly Hatchet is an American rock band formed by guitarist Dave Hlubek in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1971. They experienced popularity and commercial success during the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s amongst southern rock and hard rock communities and listeners.[1] The band released six studio albums on Epic Records between 1978 and 1984, including the platinum-selling hit records Molly Hatchet (1978), Flirtin' with Disaster (1979), and Beatin' the Odds (1980).[2] They also had charting singles on the US Billboard charts, including "Flirtin' with Disaster", "The Rambler", "Bloody Reunion" and "Satisfied Man".[3] Molly Hatchet has released many more studio albums since their split with Epic Records in 1985, although none have been as successful as their early albums, nor have charted in the United States.

As of August 2, 2020, all of the band's original members are deceased. The Molly Hatchet trademark is owned by Bobby Ingram, their guitarist since 1987 (when he replaced founding member Dave Hlubek, who rejoined the band eighteen years later and stayed with them until his death in 2017).[4][5] The other veteran in the lineup is keyboardist John Galvin, who has been a member since 1983 (with the exception of a break between mid-1990s). Also included in the current lineup are veteran musicians of the Southern scene, drummer Shawn Beamer, bassist Tim Lindsey and vocalist Parker Lee.[6][7]


Formation, initial Danny Joe Brown-era and commercial success (1971–1980)[edit]

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.

The first lineup of Molly Hatchet to record was in place by 1976. Guitarists Dave Hlubek and Steve Holland, bassist Banner Thomas and drummer Bruce Crump were joined in the spring of 1976 by Rum Creek singer Danny Joe Brown and a former guitarist, Duane Roland, returned later during that same year to complete the group, leading to the so called "Three Guitar Army".

The producer on their first record, Tom Werman, known for working with straight rock music acts such as Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent,[8] combined boogie, blues and hard rock. The band released their first album, Molly Hatchet, in September 1978,[9] supported by "Dreams I'll Never See" (a cover of the Allman Brothers Band 1969 track "Dreams"), which got AOR (album-oriented rock) airplay. The album was followed a year later by Flirtin' with Disaster,[9] with its title song another AOR hit, as was its first track, "Whiskey Man", from the album. Molly Hatchet proceeded to tour behind both records and expanded their fan base, appearing at theaters, arenas and stadiums with the likes of AC/DC,[10][11][12] Aerosmith,[13] The Babys,[11] The Charlie Daniels Band,[14] Cheap Trick,[11][12] Def Leppard,[10] Journey,[15] Judas Priest,[10] Eddie Money,[15] The Outlaws,[14] REO Speedwagon,[13] Rush,[16] Santana,[15] Scorpions,[12] Bob Seger,[13] Thin Lizzy,[15] .38 Special,[14] Pat Travers,[10] UFO[13] and The Who.[12]

Lead singer Danny Joe Brown left the band in May 1980 due to diabetes and other reasons, only to return two years later.[17] After Brown left Molly Hatchet, he formed the Danny Joe Brown Band.

Rotating members, commercial decline and first breakup (1980–1990)[edit]

Brown was replaced in 1980 in Molly Hatchet by vocalist Jimmy Farrar,[9] a native of LaGrange, Georgia. The earlier albums seemed to some commentators to exhibit a distinct southern cultural influence; that sound changed with the addition of Farrar.[9] Danny Joe Brown's stage persona, gruff voice, and cowboy horse-whistling was replaced by Jimmy Farrar's new vocal style, mixed with a new, harder-rocking sound. With the success of the next album, Beatin' the Odds released September 1980, the band ventured away from the Southern rock sound of their first albums.[9] Nonetheless, Molly Hatchet toured successfully in support of Beatin' the Odds, opening for bands such as Blue Öyster Cult, AC/DC and The Outlaws, as well as headlining their own tour that was supported by the Michael Schenker Group and the Johnny Van Zant Band.[18][19][20][21] By 1981, Molly Hatchet had evolved to a straight-ahead rock style and a slicker production, as exhibited on Take No Prisoners (November 1981).[22] The band remained a successful act on the touring circuit.

Longtime bass player Banner Thomas left in November 1981 and was replaced by Riff West.[9] During the following year, 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. Farrar then left the group to make way for Brown's return.[22] Brown rejoined the band in May 1982.

In March 1983 the line-up of Brown, Hlubek, Holland, Roland, West and Borden released the band's fifth album No Guts...No Glory.[9] While touring for the album during the summer of 1983, Hatchet was touring with fellow Jacksonville natives Blackfoot. Just before a gig at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas, though, Brown, Holland and Roland decided to leave and return home, leaving only Hlubek, West and Borden to play the show. After a quick rehearsal backstage, Blackfoot's Rickey Medlocke took Brown's place as front man and their other guitarist, Charlie Hargrett, played behind Hlubek's lead. Danny and the other members of Molly Hatchet rejoined the tour the next day, but Holland decided to leave the band once again in 1984 and was replaced by former Danny Joe Brown Band keyboardist John Galvin, who already guested in No Guts..No Glory the year before. In November 1984 the album The Deed Is Done was released, which was more of a straightforward pop/rock offering,[23] with Bruce Crump returning on drums. November 1985 featured the unveiling of the band's double live album Double Trouble Live,[9] after which the band was dropped by Epic. They retained Brown and their Southern rock style.

Guitarist/founder Hlubek, who later admitted to suffering from drug troubles, left Molly Hatchet in January 1987.[4] He was replaced by Bobby Ingram, who had contributed backup vocals to Double Trouble, had played as a guitarist in the Danny Joe Brown Band together with John Galvin and had also played in the Seventies with Brown in Rum Creek.

Molly Hatchet's first studio album in five years, and only release on Capitol Records, Lightning Strikes Twice was published in 1989, and it was their first one not to appear on the charts. One of its singles, "There Goes the Neighborhood", did, however, enter the top 30 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[3] The band went on a year-long tour to support the album, playing smaller venues such as clubs and theaters, as opposed to the stadiums and arenas that had expanded their popularity.

On July 8, 1990, Molly Hatchet, which had been dropped by Capitol after the commercial failure of Lighting Strikes Twice, announced at a show in Toledo, Ohio, that the concert would be their final one; after that night, the band would be disbanding.[24] A greatest hits collection released by Epic, Greatest Hits, featuring two newly recorded songs, was released in the fall of 1990, with sales reaching gold status.[25]

Reformation and rotating more members (1990–2005)[edit]

Molly Hatchet performing in 2003

In late 1990, after some failed attempts to involve former members, a revised version of the band led by Brown and Ingram - both temporarily licensed from guitarist Duane Roland and the management to the use of name Molly Hatchet[26][27] - featured new players Rik Blanz (guitar), Rob Scavetto (keyboards), Eddie Rio (bass) and David Feagle (drums). But the lineup in the 1990s was more than 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 and Phil McCormack stood in for Brown briefly in early 1992. 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 and Danny Joe Brown Band) was bassist after Banner left again in 1995. During the first half of the 1990s, Molly Hatchet played selected shows and tours, but did not 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 Jimmy Farrar was brought back for a few weeks to front the group and help "legitimize" the current version. The crowd reaction to Farrar being back was not overly positive, though, so Ingram and Brown together made the decision to bring back Brown's 1992 stand-in, Phil McCormack, as the permanent singer. During the rest of the decade, the line-up did not feature any of the members who had performed in Molly Hatchet prior to 1983. Farrar later rejoined other original members of Molly Hatchet in Southern Rock Allstars and Gator Country. McCormack fronted Molly Hatchet for their next album Devil's Canyon (June 1996). 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. This line-up recorded also one second album Silent Reign of Heroes (June 1998). In that same period, keyboardist Tim Donovan began filling in for Galvin on the road and Sean Shannon became the group's new drummer in 1998 after Crawford left. In 1999 the band traveled coast to coast with Charlie Daniels and the Volunteer Jam.

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 organized by former Hatchet bassist Riff West on July 18, 1999, at Orlando, Florida's Club LaVela. 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".[28]

In June 2000 Bobby Ingram became the sole owner of the trade and service mark "Molly Hatchet", acquired from management and from original guitarist Duane Roland.[29][30][28] Also in 2000, Kingdom of XII was recorded by the pretty stable line-up and released in Europe and the band then toured Europe to promote the album. It was released in the United States in June 2001. But new changes were ahead: after the recording of Kingdom, guitarist Russ Maxwell came aboard after Bassett left the group to rejoin Foghat.

Shawn Beamer (from Southern Rock Rebellion) replaced Sean Shannon in the fall of 2001. Bassist Jerry Scott (formerly with Brian Howe's band) joined in early 2002 after McKinney departed. That same year, Ingram took a short break from touring after suffering a heart attack and the band continued with only Maxwell on guitar.[31] Also 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 2001). Tim Donovan (1997–2002), Scott Woods (2002), Jeff Ravenscraft (2003–2004), Gary Corbett (2004), and Richie Del Favero (2004–2005) played live keyboards until 2005, after which the group dispensed with having a touring keyboardist for a while. Bassist Jerry Scott was replaced by J.J. Strickland in May 2003 and then by Tim Lindsey, former of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Rossington Band, Artimus Pyle Band and Mynd Garden (with longtime friend Dave Hlubek), coming full circle back to his roots to take over in June 2003.[32] Locked and Loaded (a live recording from 2000) was released in 2003, 25th Anniversary: Best of Re-Recorded followed in 2004, and Live In Hamburg (with second guitarist Jake Rutter) in 2005.

Reunion with Dave Hlubek and deaths of former members (2005–2023)[edit]

Molly Hatchet at Hellfest 2012

From that point Molly Hatchet kept on producing music around the core duo Ingram/Galvin plus rhythm section Lindsey/Beamer, with McCormack as frontman. But 2005 marked also the return of founding member Dave Hlubek after 18 years. Initially another guitarist, Jimbo Manion, played live alongside Ingram until Hlubek had satisfied his other commitments and was able to return full time later that year.

Danny Joe Brown died on March 10, 2005, at his home in Davie, Florida. He was 53. The cause was kidney failure. 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.[33]

With Hlubek back in the line-up, Molly Hatchet released studio albums Warriors Of The Rainbow Bridge (2005) and Justice (recorded in Germany in 2010 on SPV Records), plus one live and two cover albums. The band's Southern Rock Masters (April 2008) was an album of classic rock covers and was released again in a slightly realtered form as Regrinding the Axes (June 2012). Molly Hatchet toured extensively once again. In 2008 keyboardist John Galvin returned to the live stage 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 a temporary drummer, Scott Craig, was brought in.[34] In 2013 Beamer returned to the band.

In 2014 former bassist "Riff" West died for the complications of a car accident,[35] while in 2015 it was original drummer Bruce Crump to pass away.[36] On September 2, 2017, guitarist Dave Hlubek died of a heart attack.[37] After Hlubek's passing, the group continued to perform with just one guitarist, as Ingram stated that he "could not" replace him.[38] The typical guitar harmonies of the band are reproduced by Ingram and the keyboards of Galvin. In the same year also original bassist Banner Thomas passed away.[39] On October 29, 2018, former singer of the Eighties Jimmy Farrar died due to complications from congestive heart failure, kidney failure and liver failure.[40]

Molly Hatchet continued to tour extensively but had to replace frontman Phil McCormack due to persistent illness conditions. Singer Jimmy Elkins took his place for live gigs. McCormack died on April 25, 2019.[41]

Jimmy Elkins was officially announced as the band's new vocalist in October 2019: he is featured on the Battleground live album.[42] Tony Mikus (Big Engine) briefly stood in for Elkins in some live gigs of 2022.

Steve Holland, the last original member of the group, died on August 2, 2020.[43]

Debut of Parker Lee (2023–present)[edit]

Despite having no original members left, Molly Hatchet continues to perform and record. Their current lineup features half of the Lightning Strikes Twice era lineup (guitarist Bobby Ingram and keyboardist John Galvin) plus twenty and more years serving members, drummer Shawn Beamer and bassist Tim Lindsey.

In early 2023, new singer Parker Lee suddenly replaced Jimmy Elkins (who suffered a bad bike accident) fronting the band in US and European tours.[44][45] Ingram reported to the press that a new Molly Hatchet album was in the works and intended for a 2024 release.[46] The band presented with Lee on vocals "Firing Line", their first song in thirteen years, on November 15, 2023.[47][48][49]

Name and iconic cover art[edit]

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.[23][22]


Current members

  • John Galvin – keyboards, synthesizers, piano, programming, backing vocals (1983–1990, 1995–present)
  • Bobby Ingram – lead, acoustic and slide guitars, backing vocals (1987–present)
  • Shawn Beamer – drums, percussion (2001–present)
  • Tim Lindsey – bass, backing vocals (2003–present)
  • Parker Lee – lead vocals (2023–present)

Deaths of former members[edit]

  • Original vocalist Danny Joe Brown died in Davie, Florida, on March 10, 2005, at the age of 53. His obituary attributed his death to kidney failure, a complication of the diabetes he had since age 19, along with Hepatitis C. [50]
  • Original guitarist Duane Roland died at his home in St. Augustine, Florida in 2006 of natural causes at the age of 53.[51]
  • Bass player Riff West died on November 19, 2014, at age 64, after a lengthy illness caused by severe injuries suffered in a car accident.[52][53]
  • Original drummer Bruce Crump died on March 16, 2015, at age 57, from complications after a 12-year battle with throat cancer.[54]
  • Original bass player Banner Thomas, age 62, died from complications of pneumonia and rheumatoid arthritis on April 10, 2017.[55][56]
  • Founder and original guitarist Dave Hlubek died of a heart attack on September 2, 2017, at the age of 66.[57]
  • Jimmy Farrar, who was frontman from 1980 to 1982, died of heart failure on October 29, 2018, at 67.
  • Singer Phil McCormack died on April 26, 2019, at 58.[58] McCormack had been sidelined in early 2019, after suffering from health troubles that affected his voice.
  • Original guitarist Steve Holland, in the band from 1971 to 1984, died on August 2, 2020, of pnuemonia as a complication of COVID-19 at age 66.[59]
  • Thomas "Buzzy" Meekins died on May 14, 2015 from congestive heart failure at the age of 63.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Certification
1978 Molly Hatchet 64 Platinum
1979 Flirtin' with Disaster 19 54 2× Platinum 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
1996 Devil's Canyon
1998 Silent Reign of Heroes
2000 Kingdom of XII
2005 Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge
2010 Justice
"—" denotes the album failed to chart, not released, or not certified

Live albums[edit]

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 (reissue of Extended Versions from 2002)
2005 Live In Hamburg (CD+DVD)
2007 Flirtin' with Disaster Live (CD+DVD)
2013 Live At Rockpalast 1996
2019 Battleground
"—" denotes album that failed to chart

Compilations and Covers Albums[edit]

Year Album Certification
1990 Greatest Hits Gold
1995 Cut to the Bone
1996 Revisited
1998 Super Hits
2003 The Essential Molly Hatchet
25th Anniversary: Best of Re-Recorded
2008 Southern Rock Masters (reissued as Jukebox Saloon in 2020 and 2023)
2011 Greatest Hits II: The South Has Risen Again
2012 Regrinding the Axes
"—" denotes album that's not certified


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Main
1980 "Flirtin' with Disaster" 42 Flirtin' with Disaster
1981 "The Rambler" 91 Beatin' the Odds
1982 "Bloody Reunion" 31 Take No Prisoners
"Power Play" 96
"Lady Luck" 46
1984 "Satisfied Man" 81 13 The Deed Is Done
1985 "Stone in Your Heart" 26
1989 "There Goes the Neighborhood" 26 Lightning Strikes Twice
2023 "Firing Line" N/A

Radio shows[edit]

  • Molly Hatchet Innerview (1978)
  • Molly Hatchet: Climax Blues Band BBC (1979) (Reading Festival)
  • Molly Hatchet - 38 Special KBFH (1980)
  • Molly Hatchet Innerview (1981)
  • Molly Hatchet Best of the Biscuit KBFH (1981)
  • Molly Hatchet KBFH (1982)
  • Molly Hatchet in Concert 1 (1982)
  • Molly Hatchet in Concert 2 (1983)
  • Molly Hatchet Captured Live (1984)
  • Molly Hatchet in Concert 3 (1984)
  • Molly Hatchet: Marshall Tucker in Concert (1996)


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External links[edit]