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TDC - Steve Holland of Molly Hatchet


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The last surviving member of the original 6-man lineup, guitarist Steve Holland, died yesterday.  One other person here and I both posted their debut album as seminal album for us in that other thread.

I LOVED the original Molly Hatchet, especially their first 4 albums.  I had literally just rebought their debut album this week for the umpteenth time (on the Rock Candy label, remastered with bonus live material).  I had the chance, but I never saw the original lineup live back in the day - big regret. The article doesn't mention it, but he lived at least part of his early years in Va Beach.  He had some major health issues the last few years and was living in an assisted living facility in Florida or Georgia. RIP to one of the greats.

I have some Molly Hatchet stories that I'm going to post separately in this thread.  You can just skip right over them but I just feel like writing them down.

 

 

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/steve-holland-molly-hatchet-dies/

Edited by tommy p
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Molly Hatchet Memories - Part 1

The summer/fall of 1979 I started collecting, piece-by-piece, my first component stereo system.  I got a receiver one day, a few weeks later the speakers, then a cassette deck, and a turntable.  I wasn't allowed to open them because they were to be my Christmas present.  I had to wait until Christmas day.

Christmas day FINALLY arrives and of course I set everything up and am ready to rock out.  The first album I put on was Molly Hatchet's debut.  Since I had never had a system like this before, I was scared to turn it up but my dad encouraged me to.  It was just 45 watts a channel but at the time that seemed earth-shaking!  We were cranking that thing and blasting side one of that album, with me just grinning ear-to-ear and my dad happy to see me so happy.

We get to the end of side one and hear a bunch of banging on the back door and the bell being rung repeatedly.  I went to see who it was and it was my uncle.  I'm terrified and ask what's going on.  He says "I've been out here for 20 minutes!  Y'all can't hear over that noise!"

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Flirtin' with Disaster was one of the albums that got me liking Southern Rock.  The guitars sounded cool and they were doing harmonies and stuff like Judas Priest were on Unleashed in the East, so that caught my attention.  My interest faded a little after Danny Joe Brown left, but man, that playing still holds up today.   

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Funny story! Molly Hatchett was scheduled to play at the Pomp Room in Sioux Falls. Mid eighty’s around there.  The band I was in played that same week before them. Whom ever put the billing and billboard together put my band first then Molly Hatchett as if we where the headline act! 
We got pictures and kept the billing for the event. 
Best pump sheet stuff we ever had!!! 
It was quickly reversed when the band manager saw it! Hung out w them and all where just tired road musicians playing and partying hard just like we where! They tore the Pomp Room up!!! Great show!!!

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Molly Hatchet Memories - Part 2

From '78-'82 it seemed like they were within driving distance of my town every other week and I just took it for granted that I would get to see them plenty.

Danny Joe Brown must have left the band in the early part of 1980.  I had heard they had a new singer and they were scheduled to play a "grad night" in May at King's Dominion, a theme park about 80 miles from my town.  I decided not to go because there was no way to know what the new guy would sound like and I didn't think I would like them without DJB anyway.  Beatin' the Odds had not been released yet.  When that came out in September I was blown away!  That song is probably my favorite of theirs and I consider that album every bit as good as the first two.  They fell off just a smidge on Take No Prisoners, but man am I sorry I didn't go to that show.  I never did get out to see the original lineup play, although I vaguely remember I may have seen one of the shitty later versions at an after work outdoor concert series here in Richmond at some point.  If I did, I don't know if there were any original members in the band and the show obviously didn't make any impression on me at all.

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Although my current band doesn't have a Hatchet song on our playlist, we all grew up listening to those albums.  On occasion, we warm up by playing their cover of "Dreams", as that song's gradual increase in dynamics helps up set the volume levels in the room.  After that long bass/guitar intro, one of us invariably steps up to the mic with a binder clip or clothespin on our nose and starts honking out a nasally, vocal-fried homage to Danny Joe Brown.

Edited by Biz Prof
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Molly Hatchet put out their first album with a lot of hype and got to ride the post Skynyrd plane crash wave that boosted the Southern Rock bands at the end of the 70s.  The story that Ronnie Van Zant was going to produce their debut album was something to get attention.  That was the tease.  The Frazetta album cover was nothing new.  I had seen the image before, but it was part of what made the album cool. 

Molly Hatchet was a hard rock band with a southern accent.  They sounded nothing like Lynyrd Skynyrd, but they fit in nicely with Blackfoot.  The music was heavy with lots of guitars. 

When that first album came out I immediately loved it and played it over and over.  The keyboard player on that album, Jai Winding, was the same guy that was on Cheap Trick's Heaven Tonight album.  Both albums had the same producer, Tom Werman.  The timing of those releases was at a time when I was learning fast about a lot of bands, but Molly Hatchet was one of those bands I could say I followed from the beginning.  

Steve Holland was credited with arranging Dreams I'll Never See, but it sounds more like a cover of Buddy Miles' version with better and longer guitar solos.  All three of the guys took a turn on that song.  

My friends saw Molly Hatchet when the first album was the only one out, and they met band members after the show.  The only one that did not want anything to do with them was Banner Thomas.  The next time they came around was within a couple weeks of the release of Flirtin' With Disaster, and I was there on front row.  Dave Hlubek gave me a guitar pick.  The second album was the perfect follow up to the first album. 

I saw Molly Hatchet through every iteration until they fell apart about eight years later.  For those first few years the band was important to me, then it became a good memory.  In the last couple of years there was an opportunity to see Molly Hatchet which is now down to one guitar player.  Even though two members were there at the end of the original run, the band is not the same.  Youtube videos make me cringe, not because of the playing, but because of the way the band has become a tribute to itself.  A good local band could have three guitars blazing away and smoke the current version of Molly Hatchet. 

 

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Used to cover a few of their songs, great rockers with Southern style.  Bad luck, hard living or both to loose them all.

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40 minutes ago, Steve Haynie said:

Molly Hatchet was a hard rock band with a southern accent.  They sounded nothing like Lynyrd Skynyrd, but they fit in nicely with Blackfoot.  The music was heavy with lots of guitars. 

That's an accurate summation. And alas, all three bands had become lukewarm tribute acts over the last two decades. 

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Lynyrd Skynyrd made too much money to shut down.  In 1987 they got back together and called themselves a tribute band.  When I got to see them in 1988 they were telling the audience, "This is not Lynyrd Skynyrd.  We are just a tribute band."  Five people at the time were in the pre-crash version of the band.  It sure did feel like Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Judy Van Zant was OK with them using the name as long as two original members were in the band.  Rick Medlocke was in the band prior to the first album, so that is how the band keeps going on. 

I liked Super-Skynyrd when Medlocke and Hughie Thomasson were brought in.  It was the Southern Rock supergroup.  I have no idea how much money they made, but Hughie left to reform The Outlaws, and that made me happy.  Skynyrd went through more line up changes as other members died.  Gary would not have anything to do with Ed King or Artemus Pyle.  A blunder, in my opinion, is having Johnny Colt with his crazy hat thing going on.  Is he supposed to be doing a parody or a mockery of Leon Wilkeson?  What was lovingly called a tribute act by the band 33 years ago is now something we deride as a tribute act. 

Rick Medlocke broke up Blackfoot, then restarted with an entirely new band within a year.  Sometime in the 2000s he let the other original members use the name, and as much as it would have been nice to see them it just would not be the same without Rick as the front man.  Now there are a bunch of young guys with no connection to the past doing shows as Blackfoot with occasional appearances by Rick Medlocke.  The new guys are playing original music with old Blackfoot songs mixed in.  For those of us who were blown away by the original band the idea of anyone else performing under the name Blackfoot seems wrong.  They are half tribute act and half a new band. 

There was one opportunity to see Gator Country in the early 2000s, the band with Duane Roland, Jimmy Farrar, Riff West, Bruce Crump, Steve Holland, and a new guy named Linni Disse.  That was the closest to a reunion of the 1981-82 era Molly Hatchet line-up aside from the one-off fundraiser show for Danny Joe Brown.  Something kept me from going to the show, or it might have happened before I found out about it.  I did order the live CD they put out.  They were more Molly Hatchet than the official Molly Hatchet. 

Bobby Ingram and John Galvin were in the Danny Joe Brown band, and I saw them opening for Blackfoot one year.  When Danny Joe Brown went back to Molly Hatchet, Ingram and Galvin went with him and continued until the band broke up.  Today they play as a four piece band with a singer in front of them.  One of the things that bothers me is that Bobby Ingram plays all the guitar parts.  There are no trade-offs of solos.  He plays the solos as they were recorded, not his own improvisation.  The character of the different styles and voices of the original three guitar players is melded into one guy.  Harmonies are played on a keyboard.  The name of Molly Hatchet lives on, but the presentation is all wrong. 

I can understand that bands take on a life of their own.  Members leave or die off.  There is a tour with The Drifters, The Platters, and The Coasters, and no one should expect them to have many or any original members.  The names of those groups are marketable entities.  Our favorite bands are becoming the same. 

Edited by Steve Haynie
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My wife was just bragging about downloading a "Pandora" playlist of Hatchet.  We live in Central Florida.  We used to go to the Wreck Bar in Daytona Beach before MH broke big.  The crowd would chant "Lynyrd Skynyrd" over and over.  Danny Joe would say, "We don't play no fucking Lynyrd Skynyrd".  They played Dreams and the house came down. 

They were so good, in the beginning.  Dave was one of the best guitarists I've ever seen play.  Danny Joe was every bit as impressive as any front man I've ever seen.  Duane and Steve were solid lead players and great complimentary rhythm players.  The Pat Travers Band and Molly Hatchet played many times each year for years around here.  I miss those days.  God bless the Holland family.  

 

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Oh man, that's a shame. Sad to see a fellow P-90 lover pass away. I wish more people appreciated that buzz saw in your face raunchy crunch.

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Molly Hatchet Memories - Part 3     The guitar players (wherein my appreciation for Steve Holland makes a complete 180)

Since I didn't really start playing until the late '80's, I never knew why southern rock bands seemed to go overboard by having three guitarists.  Later I figured out that it was about having 3-part harmonies, 2-part harmonies that retained rhythm guitar underneath, having an acoustic part here or there, or just having different sounds and styles for certain parts and solos.  Seeing pics of Hatchet's guitar players, I surmised that Dave and Duane were the "lead" guitarists because they looked the coolest and played Explorers and Vees while Steve looked a little nerdy and played a Strat and Firebird (both guitars that I disliked because I thought Strats sounded thin and Firebirds were ugly - hey, I was young!).

Many years ago now I was looking up some Hatchet live stuff on YouTube and ran across a video of Gator Country.  To my shock, Steve came running across the stage like a wildman playing the solo at the intro.  It wasn't the most amazing solo I've ever heard but prior to that in my mind he was their rhythm guitarist strumming along in the background so it really opened my eyes.  I also learned that Dave and Steve had met years before they got the recording contract and were truly the two original members.  Later I found out that Steve was the one who put the entire arrangement of Dreams I'll Never See together which raised him another notch on the ol' Respectometer.  Just last week, a few days before Steve died, I picked up the Rock Candy label remaster of the first album and in the liner notes Tom Weman said Steve didn't bring much to the table musically which I would have taken exception to just for Dreams, but then I looked and Steve wrote one song on the debut by himself and cowrote 4 others, plus 5 on Flirtin' With Disaster, and 2 each on the Farrar-era albums.  With that and realizing he DID play lead guitar, I'd say he was pulling his weight just fine!

I'm on a Molly Hatchet FB page Steve would visit from time to time, and other members would post pictures of him throughout his time with the band all the way up to present day.  He's known as a bit of a strange guy but he seemed to keep his sense of humor except when it came to talking about the versions of the band that have been using the name the last 10 or 15 years and who could blame him?  The "Molly Hatchet" that is out there now bears no resemblance whatsoever to the great band they started out as.

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I remember Steve Holland with a Strat more than any other guitar.  For Steve Holland to stand out in the mix that Strat was a good idea.  If you think about it, Lynyrd Skynyrd was two Gibsons and a Strat.  Ed King and Steve Gaines played Strats although there are photos of them with Les Pauls. 

I would love to know Steve Holland's opinion on the current version of Molly Hatchet. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Steve Haynie said:

I remember Steve Holland with a Strat more than any other guitar.  For Steve Holland to stand out in the mix that Strat was a good idea.  If you think about it, Lynyrd Skynyrd was two Gibsons and a Strat.  Ed King and Steve Gaines played Strats although there are photos of them with Les Pauls. 

I would love to know Steve Holland's opinion on the current version of Molly Hatchet. 

Holland hated Bobby Ingram and any version of the band Ingram was involved in.  Ingram calls himself an "original member" which is so far from true the claim is ridiculous.  He did play with DJB in a band called Rum Creek before Danny joined Hatchet, then in the DJB band, and finally joined Hatchet on their SEVENTH studio album, well after their formation and certainly past their creative peak and popular heyday.  About a year ago, Holland was trying to get the story of Ingram's shady dealings like legally but immorally "stealing" the name, cutting ex-band members out of their royalties, etc. out to papers or magazines.  At first he was worried about law suits but then he just said "Screw it!  I'm talking about this stuff." but he had a stroke before he could get it out there. 

Edited by tommy p
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I remember that Ingram got the paperwork in on renewing a trademark or something before a band manager could do that. 

In the beginning the original band got a bad deal.  Their manager got 50% of what they made.  That meant six guys split the other 50%.  When Danny Joe Brown left there were a couple of crew members we got to recognize, so we asked what happened.  It was DJB's cousin who said that the split was over band management. 

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On 8/3/2020 at 8:51 PM, Steve Haynie said:

There was one opportunity to see Gator Country in the early 2000s, the band with Duane Roland, Jimmy Farrar, Riff West, Bruce Crump, Steve Holland, and a new guy named Linni Disse.  That was the closest to a reunion of the 1982-83 era Molly Hatchet line-up aside from the one-off fundraiser show for Danny Joe Brown.  Something kept me from going to the show, or it might have happened before I found out about it.  I did order the live CD they put out.  They were more Molly Hatchet than the official Molly Hatchet.

And this brings me to Molly Hatchet Memories - Part 4

Gator Country was indeed a great band and more Hatchet than Hatchet when they were performing.  I currently play in a band with Linni Disse (who is now playing bass, oddly enough) and although I try to avoid the subject, every once in a while I'll ask a question about his time with those guys.  Linni is an amazing player, funny as hell, and has some good stories to tell.  Paul Chapman of UFO was living in Florida and also played with Gator Country for a while when Linni was in the band so he has some experience with him too.

I'm off to try to find a copy of the Gator Country CD.  A few years ago, Steve Holland participated in a charity fund raiser where he signed copies of the Gator Country CD.  I should have gotten one then.

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The first two MH albums (along with Budokan and One More From The Road) were instrumental in getting me from beginner to semi-competent guitarist. I wore all those records out

playing along to them. A lot of hard living in that band-hard to believe there are no survivors of the original lineup. RIP.

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I thought Banner Thomas was still alive. Read somewhere where he wasn't a pleasant soul to be around.  Not knowledgeable on the all original status. I did see vid a few years ago with Duane and a cool stadium logo black Prototype. 

Anywho, Saw them with Cheap Trick, AC/DC in 1979. Hearing is not the same since.

Steve 

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On 8/3/2020 at 9:57 PM, BTMN said:

79ham11.jpg

Looking at that photo and band photos from the first album, I doubt there was promoter that ever shorted them $$ or would have got their ass kicked. 

I'm okay with this.

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