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This interview by Dave Ling (and the accompanying photo)
appeared in Classic Rock, February 2001, in England. It is reproduced in
its entirety! For those of you who don't understand English humour, the
photo's caption is using Bobby Ingram's appearance to poke fun at a writer on
Where it doesn't seem to make sense in the third paragraph, it
is an accurate representation of the article! I'm not the illiterate
one. :) The 'Peacemaker' gaffe is also not mine.
My comments? Whether you want them or not!
"We have more fans now than ever" is a ridiculous statement to make.
"Millions of fans out there still want to see this band." That
one's debateable: do they want to see this band or the old Hatchet, the one with
"I'd make more money if I re-hired those guys [the original
members]." Aaargh, the idea that the guy who bought the name could
hire Dave Hlubek or Bruce Crump shows incredible arrogance, true or not.
"I defy anyone to tell me this line-up ain't as good." Bobby, it
ain't as good.
"I own the name, the trademark and the goodwill." The first two
may be true, the latter is not universal.
"Molly Hatchet with Classic Rock hack Jerry Ewing second left"
BOBBY INGRAM BEARS THE WOUNDED expression of a stray that's been turned away from Battersea Dogs' Home during a blizzard. Ingram did not play on any of the Southern rock veterans' albums until replacing guitarist Dave Hlubek, for 1989's eighth release, 'Lightning Strikes
But in recent years, despite the fact that they feature no original members, he has very much become the band's leading light. Classic Rock isn't the first publication to suggest that the current Molly Hatchet are little more than a glorified tribute band, and the accusation saddens Ingram as much as it riles him.
"I do sometimes hear that and I do take offence. What you've got to understand is that I hired the original vocalist, Danny Joe Brown, for his first ever singing job for my band Rum Creek, even before Molly Hatchet was around," Bobby insists. "I'm not some newcomer that doesn't know the history. Danny asked me to join the Danny Joe Brown in the 80s, before joining this band in the mid-80s. I've been here for about 15 years, which is longer than any of the original members. Molly Hatchet is a generational entity, and it's gonna continue."
Named after a 17th Century character that devoured her lovers after sex, Molly Hatchet date way back to 1971, although they didn't really take off till Danny Joe Brown joined in 1976. The band's Jacksonville, Florida, neighbour Ronnie Van Zant offered to produce their debut album. Lynyrd's Skynyrd's tragic plane crash prevented that, but 'Molly Hatchet' sold over a million copies, and US tours with Aerosmith and Bob Seger established the sextet as headliners in their own right. Diabetes sufferer Brown was replaced by Jimmy Farrar, before returning in 1983 for 'No Guts No Glory', which included the classic 'Fall Of The Peacemaker'.
The band's profile dipped for six years before they re-surfaced in 1996 with new singer Phil McCormack. All these years later it's easy to forget Hatchet's string of multi-platinum albums.
"Those days were a long time ago, but there's still a loyal fan-base out there," insists Ingram now. "I'm the key to upholding the traditions of the band. I was in the room when 'Whisky Man', 'Gator Country' and 'Bounty Hunter' were being written, and a lot of people don't even know that. It was Danny and I that took a hold of the band when we came off the road in 1990. We knew that Duane [Roland, guitarist] and Bruce [Crump, drums] were gonna leave, but we carried until on Danny got too sick to continue. We never split up, and we have more fans now than ever."
This last claim is made despite Hatchet's enforced return to clubs and small theatres.
"Well, we tour 200 days a year," Bobby reasons. "Millions of fans out there still want to see this band. Do they still buy the records? No, not like they used to. But they don't buy Skynyrd's the same way either. We're a bluecollar rock band with songs about truth, honesty and friendship. If people prefer Britney fucking Spears that's up to them, but we ain't gonna change."
Ingram does admit that the original band lost the plot during the late 80s. He blames it all on one man, the band's manager at the time, Pat Armstrong. "He told us what to play, when to play and how long to play it," sighs Bobby.
"We were playing songs by people we'd never even met, the heart was torn out of the band. Now we're focussed again. [Dave] Hlubek likes to go around calling us names, but where's his record deal? Bruce [Crump] was in and out of the band for many years, and Duane [Roland] quit in 1990 to become a locksmith. Danny [Joe Brown] couldn't continue due to his health. Banner [Thomas, bassist] quit and was replaced by Riff West. And Steve Holland was fired, so everybody either threw in the towel or was dismissed, some of them for drug abuse.
"I'd make a lot more money if I re-hired those guys, but I defy anyone to tell me this line-up ain't as good. This is still Molly Hatchet; I own the name, the trademark and the goodwill."
In November, Hatchet played a triumphant show at London's LA2, their first UK performance since the Reading Festival back in 1979. Despite strangely omitting their best song, 'Boogie No More', the size and enthusiasm of the turnout suggested they might not leave it as long again.
"We wanna do a real tour real soon, not just a date in London," Ingram insists. "People are beginning to rediscover Molly Hatchet again. They can't believe that we still exist after 20 years, which is a beautiful thing. It'll cost a lot of money to break this market open again, but there's Southern rock fans all over the world."
MOLLY HATCHET A USER'S GUIDE