On Stage | Molly Hatchet: Southern Comfort

molly-hatchet

If Bobby Ingram, lead guitarist of Molly Hatchet, is flirting with disaster, he is well armed.

Surrounded by his legion of loyal fans he calls “veterans,” along with their kids – who were easily indoctrinated into their soulful, playful, painful, hard-rocking music that was born in the honky-tonks and bars of Jacksonville, Fla., and carried all over the world – Ingram and the band stand rock solid.

“Fundamentally, Molly Hatchet’s sound is high energy, kick ass,” Ingram said. “Molly Hatchet has always been a southern rock band. It’s pretty aggressive – aggressive with feeling. We have a lot of feeling that comes off the stage, and we transfer it to everyone.”

The band members have developed a symbiotic relationship with their fans. Along with Ingram, who plays guitar, slide and acoustic, current band members include Phil McCormack, lead vocals and harmonica; Dave Hlubek, lead guitar and background vocals; John Galvin, keyboard, Hammond B-3 and background vocals; Tim Lindsey, bass and background vocals; and Shawn Beamer, drums and percussion.

This spring, they rocked SunFest to a rowdy crowd. Among fan favorites such as “Whiskey Man” and “Flirtin’ with Disaster,” the band launched into “Gator Country,” a song that gives southern rock rivals Lynyrd Skynyrd, Charlie Daniels and “Old Richard Betts” (Dickey Betts a la the Allman Brothers Band) a little ribbing about who rules the roost in Florida – and nobody’s having more fun doing it.

The sheer joy of performing for their fans, mixed with the camaraderie they share on stage, has helped Molly Hatchet to crank out their southern-rock sound (in one form or another) since the 1970s. The iconic band serves as a sound reminder us that some things only get better with age. At SunFest, fans concurred with a resounding callback: “Hell yeah!”

But good times aren’t always the stuff of good southern songs.

Like many, Ingram lugs his wounds around with him. He’s not shy about admitting to the pain of loss, noting that the best moment of his life is when he met his wife, Stephanie, and the worst, the day she died.

“I think I just remember the good times, remember the quiet times, happy times, the trips together, the conversations, and always keep that in a special place in your heart,” Ingram said. “I think that’s how I’ve been able to move ahead – and I’ve surrounded myself with people that have been supportive to me. I have no family, no children, no living parents – my family is Molly Hatchet.”

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