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Dave Hlubek - guitarist / founder, Molly Hatchet
1999 - On the phone with Philip Anderson

Southern rock has come and gone but still its head resurfaces here and there over the years. Once the staple of many a rock radio station, it is not so common these days. Granted that some classic rock stations do add some Southern rock hits to their list, it is not as mainstream as it was during the mid to late 1970s.

At the forefront of the Southern rock movement was the infamous Lynyrd Skynyrd. Here was a band that could have made Southern rock the next "alternative" mainstream had it not been for tragedy striking the band in the form of a plane crash that claimed several band member's lives. After that sprung up quite a few bands of the same ilk. Amongst them was Florida's Molly Hatchet.

Formed by guitarist Dave Hlubek [pronounced "LOO'-bek"] and featuring (for the most part) the inimitable growling vocals of Danny Joe Brown, Molly Hatchet took the country by storm from their very first album. Less the twangy country influence of much Southern rock of the day, Molly Hatchet rather infused a heavy metal feel to their styling. Dave Hlubek himself was a rocker at heart. Another thing to take note was a fact that no one, until now, has ever mentioned in print, and that is that Dave Hlubek himself was not necessarily Southern. He was born in Hawaii and eventually became a citizen of what is now popularly known as Silicon Valley in California. Who could've thought that a California boy could do the Southern thing along with the best of them. But rock they did and the band certainly made its mark. Today the mention of Molly Hatchet's name raises eyebrows. It is not a band that is not likely to ever be forgotten. They are both revered and at the butt of many jokes. Even the angle of being joke fodder is still respectful in the manner that at least their name became definitive with an entire musical movement. That itself is quite the accomplishment.

As it is, Phoenix Media has released a CD ["Live At The Agora Ballroom"] of a live concert featuring Molly Hatchet from their early heyday in 1978, just when things were getting rolling. The album is rip-roaring and Southern to the bone. No matter what race you may be, this album is almost guaranteed to make you feel White and Southern, if not at least for the just over 45 minutes of playing time. Yee Haw! On the release of this album, Dave Hlubek was nice enough to take some time out to do some press on the matter. He had a lot to say that had been sitting in him for quite a many years and it was a gracious moment to get the chance to meet the original bad boy of the South. As we spoke, we touched upon many subjects concerning his music, the band's origins, the marketing, who is Molly Hatchet today, as well as personal issues about Dave's need to play, eventual retreat from the band due to personal issues, feelings on Napster, and his current band, the Southern Rock All Stars.

As we began the interview, we had started babbling on before the tape got rolling. We started off with the marketing aspect of the band as put forth by their management. The topic was good press vs. bad press.

DH: As with any organization, if there was nothing... I don't care if it's good or bad, just spell the fucking name right. Our manager, Pat Armstrong, was an opportunist. He knew marketing. He said if we wanted to get on the cover of the National Enquirer or any national magazines, we'd go there and pick a fight in a bar. Whatever it took to go ahead and keep our name in the press. It's like, you could have the greatest record going or the greatest product going, I could have the greatest record next to [Pink Floyd's] "Dark Side Of The Moon" and I would have the biggest collection of my own records. It would be the greatest record that nobody heard. So what we would do is going in, sometimes, and start controversies.


K2K: That is such a Bay Area mentality. I've said that before. All press is good press so long as you spell the name right.
DH: Just spell the name right! It's H-L-U-B-E-K and Dave in the front. You know when you sign the dotted line. I was 25 years old. They flew me from Jacksonville on the CBS corporate Lear jet. They flew all of us and our manager to New York City. We signed a booklet as thick as the manifesto. It had twenty-five pages, we signed at the bottom of every page. I couldn't have signed it any faster. I could have been signing something that said "On the 24th page, all those fancy words in there said 'You're mother will be executed tomorrow at noon.' Well, OK mom. See ya!" You know? I couldn't have signed them any faster if I had a rubber stamp. All I knew is that they said, "You sign this and your life is going to change." Well, it did.

K2K: That could be good or bad.
DH: Yeah. You have to know yourself, in this business, we're in the people business. If there was no us, there would be no you. No reason to do interviews. I'll tell you what, I'll be 49 next Aug [2000]. I have to tell you, I have people come up to me in my new band, Southern Rock All Stars. We are kicking ass and taking names. What is going on is that this band is fucking great. I have people come up to me who say, "Mr. Hlubek, you're a living legend." which is a real unpolite way to say, "You're an old guy." "Mr. Hlubek, you know you're a living legend?" As old as I am getting now, any day above ground is a good day. It's very flattering when people come up to me and say these nice things but, I have to tell you what, I never thought I would be here so long. I've used my body as a fucking garbage can for 30 years now. With all the success and the money come all the vices. You know? I went through all the drug shit.

K2K: What? You? No! (sarcastically)
DH: I'm having a Jim Beam and Coke while I'm talking to you.

K2K: Aah, so that's where all the honesty comes from. (laughs)
DH: No, I'm honest all the time. I've been told that I give great phone.

K2K: Yeah, but do you get paid for that on a 900 number?
DH: I'm going to start my own Love Line. (laughs)

K2K: The Hlubek Love Line.
DH: The Hlubek Love Line gives great phone. But what's going on is that I've seen, just as you have, the world change. I've seen some of it not for the better, some of it I am powerless to do anything about. Every day, new technology comes out. Comes out Monday, by Tuesday it's obsolete. We're moving so quickly, but also, I know that, if the Good Lord sees fit to let me be around here long enough, I am going to see the whole record industry collapse. The major record labels will be no longer needed. They have this thing called Liquid Audio and other shit. You have a lot of major name artists leaving their labels, saying "See ya!" They're not picking up the options. They'll sell it on the internet. With this Liquid Audio stuff coming up. I think it should be because I am a recording artist. This Napster stuff that's going on, I'm not keen on somebody downloading my songs and then not paying me for it.

K2K: What is wrong with downloading bootlegs that don't make labels or artists money anyway?
DH: Not first runs? In my rebuttal, what good is copyrighting then? Anything that I play on, anything, whether it's a bootleg or not - if my guitar or my voice is on it, gosh darn it, I want to get paid for it.

K2K: As a musician, I see both ends of it. But, if you played a concert that somebody recorded and you never would have had a tape of before...
DH: Yeah but, did I or did I not still perform my material at those live concerts? Then that's still my damn material. It's a double-edged sword. I understand I guess the 2nd Amendment deal. If somebody is downloading my material, whether it is recorded so long as I performed on it, I want to be paid for it. This thing about bootlegs and all that happy shit, if you have in your possession something that you downloaded "Hey, I got Dave Hlubek when he jammed with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band." I want to be paid for it because I performed on it. I don't know how vast your own network is...

K2K: I have had stuff pilfered on occasion and went after it.
DH: Say, for instance, I had gone into the departure of Danny Joe Brown and gave you an exclusive when I've given nobody an exclusive after all of these years, say you release it... If I gave you this exclusive bio and then everybody goes ahead and you get shoved by the wayside and the story becomes bigger than you are. You damn well should get credit for it.

(We then got onto another subject which brought us to music awards...)

DH: I have some real opinions about... I don't want to piss off the NAACP, but I didn't think, in my wildest imagination, I never thought that there would be awards for Best Rap Artist. I have to tell you, I will applaud anything that is performed well. I don't care if a kid took his amp right out of the crate and doesn't know but E, G, and A, and he can play "Gloria." If he can play it well, I will applaud it. With the shit that's out there, I'm enjoying a - I don't want to say "resurgence" - in my career. This "Live At The Agora" came out of nowhere.

K2K: How did that come about?
DH: Because, just like you know, when Hendrix died, he had four albums released right after his death. You've got the Doors, you've got all this other stuff. They keep releasing stuff that was never meant to be released. What happens is, I got a call from my ex-manager, Pat Armstrong. He's in Orlando, Florida. What happens is every time I call him, four times per year, "Give me my damn royalties." I play phone tag with him every time. What happened is that he called me a couple of months ago. I thought, "What's wrong with this picture?" I mean, he was a great guy and a great manager and my buddy. He says, "Dave, you're going to have a new release called 'Live At The Agora Ballroom - April 20th, 1979. I took it out of my tape vault."

K2K: He just decided this?
DH: Oh yeah! When we signed with him, he was the record company as far as we were concerned. This is the very man who told us, "Don't worry about your publishing, guys. It doesn't really mean anything."

K2K: Oh, come on! He didn't really say that, did he?
DH: (loud laugh) Oh yeah! Come on, Phil! We walked into his office with an imaginary eight-slice apple pie. When we walked out of the office, we only had three slices. He took the lions' share. He said, "Over the years you'll be able to get these five slices back." I went ahead and started talking to people and said that we didn't know about what publishing was and that it was our fucking money. He said, "Don't worry about your publishing." Then we found out later, that when you have a band, Molly Hatchet, a six-piece band, one man, our manager, was getting six checks himself - all six guys, he was getting an identical check to all six of ours. What's the saying from "Animal House," "fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life."

We weren't even that. We were 25 years old, they said, "Hey kid, sign this paper and you're life is going to change. You're going to get to play all over the world, with the Rolling Stones, The Who, you're going to make records, you're going to hear yourself on the radio. You're going to make a buck or two. You're going to ride around in tour buses. You're going to stay in the finest places that money can buy...

K2K: That YOU'RE money can buy.
DH: That you're money can buy. You're going to have limousines at all of the coliseums - that we're buying...

K2K: And they didn't tell you that.
DH: NO! And all those backstage, when we have backstage carpeted, ice carvings and chefs. We paid for that. They never told us that. We found out later on, too late. It's not an unfamiliar story. A lot of young performers went through that. I can't sit here on the phone and tell you that I have many regrets because I don't. I've had a good ride. Statistically, you know, how many people - they had something on Dateline about rock 'n' roll - they said that actually a half of 2% ever sign the dotted line. Right now, as we're talking on the phone, there's some 5, 6, 7 piece band practicing in a garage. They want to go ahead and get a record deal. By God, I got a record deal. When I signed, in 1977, with Epic/CBS, they gave us a bonus for signing which was six figures. We hadn't done dick. They flew us, wined us and dined us in New York City. They put a booklet in front of each one of us and our life was going to forever change. Well, that was true. It did. I've been around the world twelve times now, all the foreign countries. I never had to join the service like my dad did.

I want to go on record with the old saying, be careful what you wish for because you might get it. I really wanted to get everything that I got. I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to... But you know what? The older I get, the smarter my mother is. My mother told me, "Honey, do not believe your own press. Don't get caught up in all that damn glitz and the propaganda and all the marketing." I did. I got caught up in all of it. I believed when somebody told me that I was the greatest thing next to sliced bread. I really believed that I was a star. If you go into Webster's, it's a heavenly body up past the atmosphere. I thought I was better than people. I have to tell you. I had a lot to learn. Then you start forgetting who made whom. They advertised for months, "Molly Hatchet live at the Forum in L.A." They wanted to fill 30,000 seats. For a solid month as we were working our way from the East Coast to the West Coast. We show up, they sold the damn thing out, just to treat the people like shit. They herd the people in like cattle. The security... Why do I need to be protected? They [audience] never did anything to me. The moment the show is done, "If you're not fucking someone in the band, get the fuck out!" They treat them like shit. Back in those days, we were on the bill for $7.95 and the most I've seen tickets for is $12.00. These tickets today, $35., $45.

K2K: You wish it was that cheap? You know how much KISS was yesterday? $77.00 I guess to make you "feel the year" that they were big.
DH: Really? At Ticketron? $77. a piece? Do you have any kids, Phil? The best work that I have ever done - I was married for over 20 years with my wife Karen. I have to tell you that she bore me two beautiful, beautiful sons. They're now 20 and 24. Kyle David Hlubek and Aaron Armstrong Hlubek. I have to tell you that they shine better than any gold or platinum record I have. They're the best work that I have ever done. I've seen the world change and a lot of it is necessary and a lot of it I can't believe.

I don't want to ramble on but, next time you get in a crowd, notice how many people watch their shoes. They won't look at somebody. They will go ahead, "As long as I can look at my feet in front of me, I will get to my destination."

(We then got onto talking about how we got to doing the interview which brought us to some more early personal stories.)

DH: Well, between you and I, I was the only one in Molly Hatchet who became a millionaire. I wrote all the songs. I made a shitload of money. More money than I was ever supposed to make. I became a multi-millionaire. I wish that, sometimes, Molly Hatchet had not become as successful. I don't want to blow smoke up you, I am enjoying the fact. It's the reason that I am able to make a living now at almost 49, is because I'm living off my past laurels. I'm living off the fact of, just like the name of one group is bigger than any one individual - there's two names that anyone remembers from Molly Hatchet and that's Danny Joe Brown and mine. As far as they were concerned, that was Molly Hatchet.

K2K: Well, gee. You can't forget Jaime Farrar.
DH: (laughs) What happened is that there are moments when I am sitting by myself in the hotel room, when I'm touring these days, I miss those other five, original guys.

K2K: What happened to that?
DH: (somberly) I left the band in 1986, 1987. I had a horrendous, horrendous cocaine problem. Maybe it was the Lord's way of telling me that I was making too much damn money. When you get to that point, all I did in a 24 hour day, there was only 2 hours that I was working and that was in a coliseum. The rest of the time I was coked up. I was in my hotel rooms, no matter what city I went to, I knew where to get it and it was available. I have to tell you that I'd like to think that I'm a strong person but even a tanker truck runs out of gas. All of us as human beings, we lie to ourselves. We get there in front of a full length mirror. When all of the warning signs are there, when all of your friends and your family is telling you "You've got a problem," you get there and think, "They're full of shit. If I had a problem, I'd know about it." We lie to ourselves. My problem was that I had all those enablers who wanted to get close to me. They went, "Well, I'll just put another gram up Dave's nose and he'll be my buddy."

K2K: All your fake friends?
DH: Yeah. Like my mom said, "Honey, don't believe this. When it's all over and done with, all that you're going to have left is your family." Phil, I fucked that up too. It's not like that now. It's only been the last four or five years. When mamma told me that all I would have left is my family, when I turned to my family, they weren't there for me either. I had ostracized them and called and cried wolf too many times. I was alone. Then I graduated from that to crack.

K2K: Oh no!
DH: Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah! I figured that it would make the pain go away.

K2K: Are we talking 1980s or 1990s here?
DH: We're talking latter 1980s to early 1990s.

K2K: So basically you became too unbearable for the band to deal with.
DH: More than unbearable, I was a dead man.

(With that we got to talking about some far more personal issues that don't need to be aired publicly as the picture is more than clear. From there we got to talking about his growing up days in Hawaii and San Jose, California.)

K2K: So tell me about your San Jose experience.
DH: Originally, my dad was in the Navy. What happened is that, being a Navy brat, we traveled all over the world. We lived in Hawaii and Oahu for five to six years. I went to kindergarten, first and second grade there. My dad was stationed in Hickam Field. My dad got transferred, he was a Naval aviator. What happened is he went ahead and got transferred to Sunnyvale, California. We lived in a place, which I have been back to during the first and second album touring there. I went there and Dean Markley Strings are out there. My picture is on the pack, my likeness, cameo, has been on the string packs for years. Pick up a pack of Dean Markley Magnum strings and you're looking at me. There's a guitarist in the center of it which is me. There was a guy named Tom Wright, when Dean Markley was a young company. Dean and I and Tom Wright and his wife Kerri became good friends. They took a whole bunch of pictures of me and used me - which is a hell of an honor.

Getting back to my story, my dad was stationed at Moffett Field. He used to go ahead... back when they were still flying blimps, they had blimp hangers out there. I had never seen, I guess in the early 1960s, they didn't have dehumidifiers, it rained inside the building because they're so damn big. Then we went to Mountain View. My mother used to work in Palo Alto, my dad was on the ship, the U.S.S. Ranger in Alameda. Then after that we, viola, went to San Jose.

K2K: What year are we talking about?
DH: Of course in the mid-1960s. I want to say about Castro Jr. High. I went to the same Jr. High School that Wayne Newton went to. He went to school there in San Jose. It was a big deal. I have to tell you that it is so neat that, after all of these years, somebody is finally bringing up something worth talking about. After all these years, that's where I got my roots. Years and years ago, we used to be able to go down to Sears Department store and buy the Sears Silvertone amplifiers.

K2K: Which Sears? Downtown or Meridian?
DH: I was a kid. How the hell do I know? I bought those piggyback amplifiers where the head was tucked inside the cabinet. I bought my first electric guitar from ReXall drug store. My sister, to this day, still has it. It's called a Goldentone. For a guitar strap, it had a rope. It came with a pack of Black Diamond strings. I think it cost all of about $39.95. It had four pickups on it and a vibrato bar that was almost as long as the guitar. The first time that I ever played any kind of performance was in San Jose, as a kid, with a band called Something Else. Remember back in the years of Dino, Desi and Billy. We thought we were the shit. We saved up our money and stole money out of my sister's purse and had band cards made up that said "Jessie, Dave and Ed."

Jessie and Ed were the drummer and bass player and me on guitar. It said "Hard rock and popular." We were "popular." What we did was play the first show at the sock hop in the auditorium at Castro Jr. High School. The first time that I ever played was there. So, when you brought this up, I was thinking about your area code and thought "damn, this is pretty neat."

K2K: I had been wanting to meet you and talk with you about this stuff for years now.
DH: I tell you that's the true story about the first time that I ever performed in front of anybody. I was scared to death.

K2K: How old were you then?
DH: We're talking Jr. High School, early 1960s, I'm 49 now. I was 11, 12, 13 years old. We were playing "hard rock and popular." Oh, it's coming back to me now. It said, "Hard rock, popular and English."

K2K: English? Why that?
DH: Well, that was because of the British Invasion.

K2K: That's wild.
DH: My sister saves everything. I hope one day that one of those old band cards surfaces. That would be priceless.

K2K: Yeah, I save everything from my playing too.
DH: What do you play?

K2K: Guitar. You guys used to be an influence on my being in a band.
DH: You do? I have to tell you, even though we were tagged "Southern rock," it was only because of the location, the geographics. Us and Blackfoot, we were actually metal from the South. We certainly weren't anything like an Allman Brothers. We certainly weren't blues influenced at all.

K2K: This is so funny to hear.
DH: It was so damn hard to talk about... when opportunity knocks, you open walk through or you don't... when Skynyrd's plane went down, that wrote our ticket. It did. Also, more importantly than that, what people don't know... Skynyrd had a hell of a following, if that accident hadn't have happened, they would have been the Zeppelin of the South. "Street Survivors" was a great record. When you had Steve Gaines on it, he went in and replaced Ed King. They needed that "Street Survivors" record because their career had taken a lull like a lot of ours. A lot of people don't understand, it's called the Entertainment Rollercoaster. Nobody's at the top forever. You're not the King of the Mountain forever. Somebody knocks you down.

When our first album came out... what people don't know is that it is not by chance that Molly Hatchet's first album sounds a lot like Skynyrd because we used their equipment in the studio. What you also haven't heard is that Ronnie Van Zant was our original producer. He had arranged and gone ahead and rehearsed us. We cut our original tapes for that first album in Skynyrd's studio, in their 8-track studio in Jacksonville. We were going to be Ronnie's first project other than Lynyrd Skynyrd. I grew up with Ronnie. The only thing that he made us promise him is that we would give him gold and platinum, like his band. What happened was, he said, "I'll see you when I come back from this tour. We'll finish the record and put it out there and see how it goes." That was 1977. What happened was that Ronnie never came back.

The reason that Ronnie agreed to be our producer in the first place is that our manager, Pat Armstrong... Ronnie owed... Pat Armstrong used to manage Lynyrd Skynyrd with Armstrong/Rhoades. It was Terry Rhoades and Pat Armstrong. What happened was that Pat Armstrong bailed out and Terry Rhoades bought Pat out. He [Pat] didn't believe that Skynyrd would ever go anywhere. He said, "I'm going to bail because I don't see it happening." But he said, "Just in case they do..." he always kept two or three percent on paper that he owned of Lynyrd Skynyrd. What he did was go ahead and call his mark due. In all the bars in Jacksonville, Molly Hatchet was honing our skills. Back in those days, you could make a comfortable living playing in Jacksonville. There were twelve nightclubs to play. When we finished the twelfth one, we'd go back to the first one. It was a cycle.

When I formed the band in 1971, the first two original members were myself and Steve Holland. There were a lot of musicians in and out of Molly Hatchet. Bruce Crump, who was our drummer, he was 16. That was the first band he was ever in. He wasn't ever even in a garage band. He was a surfer. There's a place called Crump, Tennessee. Boss Crump, he's the heir to Crump, Tennessee. I hired him on. He couldn't play drums worth shit but he had an arrogance I loved.

K2K: I've heard about the arrogance in Hatchet.
DH: Let me tell you about the Hatchet organization. I liked to hire people in the band that weren't set in their ways. How old are you? You've been tying your shoes all your life one way. What happens is, you get set in that one way. What happens is when someone says, "I have a way to speed tie that." They're not receptive. I took musicians from Jacksonville like Banner Thomas, a great bass player. Nobody wanted him to play bass in Jacksonville because they thought he had a big nose. But he was a great bass player. Then you've got Duane Rolland, our third guitar player. Him and I couldn't stand the sight of each other. He had a band called the Ball Brothers Band. He never played live anywhere in Jacksonville. All he did was rehearse in his dad's garage. He was so frickin' good. The way I hired him on is when he came one Saturday afternoon to see who "this Hlubek fucker was." He heard about my reputation. I was the hot dog player in Jacksonville and he wanted to see what the big to-do was. We were doing Charlie Daniels when he walked in and I said, "And Duane Rolland on that untuned guitar." He was impressed by that. He went on to be the guitar player.

Originally I was the singer for Molly Hatchet. We used to play BYOB from 2 am to 7 am in nightclubs. One time it was me and Banner and another drummer. Before I had Hatchet, I had a band called the Mynd Garden.

K2K: Oh, just to finish one subject... When did you move from San Jose to Florida?
DH: I want to say the latter 1960s. I want to say 1965. What happened was that I graduated from high school in 1971 in Jacksonville. Anyway, what happened was... How we got Danny Joe Brown, he came up to me during a break in an all-night club - we were playing as a three-piece. He said, "Can I tell you something? You're the greatest guitarist I have ever heard, but you can't sing to save your ass." I said, "Well, thank you very much." He said, "You need me." I said, "Who are you?" He said, "Nobody you've ever heard, but I'm a singer and I'm going to be your singer." I said, "Is that right? Well listen there, hot dog. We're going to be playing Jacksonville beach next week. Why don't you come on out there and get on stage. You can audition in front of the audience." He walked into that club, and he was a good looking man, there wasn't a dry pair of panties in the place. He walked up like he was Elvis Presley. He sang "Gimme Three Steps" and a bunch of stuff. The audience went nuts. I said, "You're hired."

K2K: How long did he last?
DH: Danny Joe did the first two albums. The third and fourth were done by Jamie Farrar. The fifth, sixth and seventh, Danny came back.

K2K: Why did Danny leave?
DH: There was a definite reason but I won't get into that. I've been asked for years and not gotten into it. (The subject changes to Molly Hatchet's growth) We were a major force. We were headlining by the end of our first album. Nobody wanted us as an opener. When "Flirting With Disaster" came out, when I wrote that, there were nine songs on the first album and ten on the second. Of those nineteen I probably wrote fifteen of them. I believed in the song "Flirting With Disaster." The song is about me almost being killed in a car wreck. "When the pedal's to the floor and you're lives are running faster..." That is about a girl driving me to Atlanta to a mid-day talk show. We were headlining the Omni. This guy almost broadsided us. She was in her little Vega with four cylinders, probably firing on three. This guy in an El Dorado almost ran into my passenger door. She was taking a short cut through this neighborhood. I said, "Step on it." Her name was Lynn Hyland. She went ahead and put her foot to the floor. She was trying to get me to this television studio. They had wanted me there at 11:45 and my time slot was at 12:30. At 12:05, we're in the suburb of Atlanta and this guy broadsided us. She wound up hitting the porch of somebody's house. Her name is mentioned in the credits on the album. She was good looking! I wanted to fuck her so bad.

K2K: And did you?
DH: Of course! She was the one who gave me the title "Flirting With Disaster." What she did was get us out of harm's way. Both of us were kind of numb. She looked at me and said, "That son of a bitch is flirting with disaster. I'll kick his ass." I had never heard that term before. I said, "I'm going to title a song after that." She said, "Son of a bitch?" I said, "No. Flirting with disaster." She said, "Yeah, anything to get in my pants." Well, it worked. That's a true story.

K2K: Adam Corolla from Love Line said, "When you're a teenager, everything you do should be for poontang. No dungeons and dragons and Star Trek." So, you should even write a song for them.
DH: That's right. These are all true stories.

K2K: How come I've never heard these before?
DH: I'll tell you what. We made a pact with each other, inter-band, about Danny Joe Brown. It will come out some day about why Danny Joe Brown left the band. I'll put it like this, there were definite reasons. Out of respect, I don't want to go ahead. I love the man to death. Him and I have always, always been friends, but all I will tell you is that it was between Danny and I. I'll leave it at that.

K2K: How did you end up working together again? Did you iron out your problems?
DH: We did do that. We hired on Jimmie Farrar. What we did was make no public announcement. We cut the third album hot on the heels of "Flirting With Disaster" which went multi-multi-platinum. We released a third album, "Beatin' The Odds" with a new voice on there. People went "What the fuck?" It was the first time that Molly Hatchet had experienced any returns. Jimmy went ahead and sang good. One thing about Danny was, Danny was the singer for Molly Hatchet and will always be the voice for Molly Hatchet. Jimmy could sing a fine song, but he was butt-ugly.

K2K: Granted we have all gained some weight...
DH: Figure it like this, I'm 49 years old. I'm not 25 years old anymore. I'm 285. Back in those days, I was 172. My pistols are loaded and I feel rough. All of us were lean, mean, kick-your-ass machines. One thing about Molly Hatchet was that we had a very, very slick marketing campaign.

K2K: So how did you get Jimmie Farrar?
DH: We chose his name out of a Rolodex. My manager, Pat Armstrong, had an organization called the Armstrong Agency. What we did was, when I flew over to Macon, to Pat's house in Macon, GA... we went there and were civil. What we did was we went through ads for singers and you'd get guitar players... We went through a Rolodex and called a couple and they didn't answer the phone or the numbers were changed. So we got this guy, Jimmie Farrar. He answered the phone - he was in LaGrange, GA, about 50 miles away - and he was a big fan of the band. "Yup, I can sing every one of them damn songs," he said. Then he goes, "I love the band Molly Hatchet." For one thing, he thought we were full of shit, right off the bat. It's like somebody calling and saying that you just won $100,000,000. He said, "Well, I can sing the songs, but I want to tell you I'm butt-ugly. I'm not very pretty." I said, "Well, OK." Then he came into rehearsal. He came into Macon, GA. We were going to have two or three days, we rented us a nightclub - because we were on tour - we were going to work him in and we'll take him out there. The first place we go, Phil, is Cobo Hall in Detroit. It's sold out. He walked onstage and they threw chairs and bottles, cups, and anything else at him.

K2K: You couldn't help but notice him. He was a big man.
DH: Big boy. He looked like he'd been in one too many knife-fights that slashed his face up. As soon as he walked into rehearsal - this is a true story - [guitarist] Steve Holland looked at me and says, "He's fuckin' ugly." (laughs) And that's how that went.

K2K: Well, it's not like you were trying to be a "pretty boy" band.
DH: Well, none of us were going to be on the cover of GQ. That's how it went.

K2K: How did you like his singing though?
DH: He sang just fine.

K2K: Do you remember playing Day On The Green in Oakland, CA?
DH: Oh, yeah! Yeah.

K2K: Everyone I talk with says that. Day On The Green's during the 1970s and 1980s were such a blast.
DH: With Journey.

K2K: And Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio.
DH: Yeah, it was that Bill Graham Productions. Yeah! I remember that well. Big show. Fun show.

K2K: I remember the big boy fronting your band. I remember him coming out and us thinking, "Holy Christ! What is that?"
DH: Exactly. But we had a good time.

K2K: We did enjoy the band, it was just such a shock. However, the funniest thing that I ever saw in the name of deceptive marketing was your album cover with him. The Boris Vallejo cover ["Take No Prisoners"], with this trimmed-down, muscular singer.
DH: Oh, on the fourth album when we're in front of the dinosaur. Oh, right. Isn't that something.

K2K: That was the funniest thing. I thought, "If these guys are just full of shit and full of themselves now..."
DH: (laughs) Yeah, but if you look at me, I'm wearing Porsche Carrerras [sunglasses] on this dinosaur. I paid the guy extra to make me look like a had a big dick. (laughs) My loincloth was full. But, you're right. That's exactly what happened.

K2K: I thought that you had better do something to make sure that Jamie had that image in real life before you come on tour again.
DH: Well, he was out by then.

K2K: That was a nice Boris Vallejo cover though. Did he work with a photograph or with you?
DH: He came down to Jacksonville and spent a week with us. He took hundreds of individual photos of everybody. He went ahead and the next time we saw him was with the cover.

K2K: How much did that cost you?
DH: Uh... lots of money. $15 - $20,000. Big dollars.

K2K: How were album sales on that?
DH: We did OK with it. We recorded that one there in the Bahamas at Compass Point, at the same studio that they did AC/DC's "Back In Black." Malcolm and Angus are dear friends of mine and they suggested that we go to Compass Point, so we went there. Plus, they have three casinos on the island and Dwayne likes to gamble. It wound up making us thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars. He took, like, $1,200. and made it into $80,000. playing blackjack. Then the security at the Playboy casinos in the Bahamas said, "Enjoy the money and try to get out of the damn casino." We went ahead and then they went and shot up our cars with spear guns. I'm telling ya.

K2K: Did they think he was cheating?
DH: No. Luck's supposed to be with the house. They didn't want that money leaving. So we got out of there. It was wonderful. We turned the cars back into the rental car - Hertz, Avis, whatever - with all these spear gun holes. It's never been a dull run for us.

K2K: Also, from your band art, you seemed to have a preference for [Frank] Frazetta or Vallejo art.
DH: To tell you the truth, I liked Frazetta. I'm going with the populace. I've never heard an album cover played on the radio, but we had a very, very lucrative and slick marketing campaign. People were painting their houses like album covers, and their cars, and dragsters, and everything. To this day, we have people come up with their funny cars and I'd go to drag strips with "Flirting With Disaster" funny cars. I tell you what, I just like the whole... Frazetta's really cool.

K2K: Are you an art collector?
DH: No, not really. I've got a few pornos. (laughs) If that's art. I don't know. You can do anything with airbrush. I don't know.

K2K: What do you think about the new Molly Hatchet?
DH: I tell you what, I wish them well.

K2K: What about the name? It doesn't sit well that another band is using it.
DH: I don't begrudge anybody making a living and I'm going to hold my comments on it. I'm going to say something witty - I think their last album went plywood in Japan. As long as they're out there, Phil, I'm selling catalog.

K2K: It's almost like being a sports team though. Like I always say, it's not about the individual players, it's about the coolness of the jersey. You get to keep the name "Molly Hatchet" out there, sure, but it's not Molly Hatchet.
DH: Well, it's definitely not Molly Hatchet. There's not one original member in there. I hope they do OK. What we do is... we license the name to them and they pay us big money - $50,000. + to use the name.

K2K: So you are a businessman, aren't you.
DH: Believe me, if they're using that damn Molly Hatchet banner - which we own - they're paying for it. I hope they do well.

K2K: OK, here's a scenario: You guys all get back together and decide, "We want to do Molly Hatchet again." What happens next? Who goes on tour?
DH: It's not going to happen. I don't have an answer because it's not going to happen.

K2K: I just ask because last year or so ago, there were three Bay City Rollers touring.
DH: Well, the original Molly Hatchet is not going to happen again. The only time that we may get together again, other than doing the Danny Joe Brown Benefit of last year, is if all six members, and if Danny is still alive at that time - and I hope that he is - if we get nominated for the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame. If that should happen, and I think we're deserving of it, we will be together for that. If it does happen, we will come together for that. If it doesn't, we won't.

K2K: I got a funny feeling about the latest release, the live album. Are you not entirely thrilled about it being released?
DH: I think the mixing could be better.

K2K: Aside from the fact of getting the phone call that said, "We're releasing this. Just letting you know." and you being forced to just say, "Uh... OK."
DH: I'm cautiously suspicious. I've been fucked before and I hope I'm not now. I have rolled up my sleeves, like Pat Armstrong has asked me to do, and I'm doing all these interviews and working the record. I hope that I'm not grabbing my ankles and waiting for this big dick up my ass. No one's going to be able to come... My word is my bond. If somebody asks me to do something and I agree to it, I am the only one in the band who was always the mouthpiece and the liaison, so to speak, between the band and the record company and the powers that be. So it doesn't surprise me that Pat's called me to go ahead and continue. My manager, Pat Armstrong, hopes that this goes into a windfall of profit. I hope it does well.

I hope with the agreements that my management and I have made, pertaining to this record - that I won't go into - that I hope that it does well because it will be lucrative for me. Then again, I hope I'm not going to get it up there again. We'll see. I think, personally, that - Bobby Ingram of the fake Molly Hatchet - this is his worst nightmare. We call it Bobby Hatchet. I think it's his worst friggin' nightmare. They have actually, I have heard, asked Bobby if he would sell them at his show. I think that if he agreed to something like that... I know I wouldn't agree to that. I don't know. Phil, I hope it does well. I tell you what, I don't think there's a bad cut on there.

K2K: Oh, but there is.
DH: OK, what cut?

K2K: I gave it a good review, for one. But, upon first listening, my first thought was "Yaa Hoo, it's good to be White and Southern." It's got that whole Southern ass-kicking thing going on. OK, on "Dreams I'll Never See" has a really nasty guitar flub on there during a lead break.
DH: Well, it IS live. There's gonna be a fuck-up here and there.

K2K: Geez, you didn't even overdub. (laughs)
DH: We didn't go and overdub anything. This is as you hear it in mid-1978. You wouldn't bitch in the truck that night.

K2K: I had to give the review that one little comment though, "... brilliant guitar work, aside from that one little flub."
DH: (laughs) Ha! You're a funny man.

K2K: The first time I heard that, I thought, "They wouldn't do that."
DH: I love your honesty. You're a sick pup. I have to tell you what... I've done about a dozen interviews now, but I have to tell you that this is one of the most enjoyable. Hey, it could be your voice or demeanor. I don't know. Who knows, I might call you at 3 or 4 in the morning and breathe heavy. (laughs)

K2K: Are you going to charge me though?
DH: I'm talking about $3.95, buddy. First three minutes are free. (laughs)

K2K: Oh, I just remembered, what is your nationality? Hlubek?
DH: It's Czechoslovakian. It's Czech and German. In some circles they say it's Polish. I don't know.

K2K: How many people do not know how to pronounce it.
DH: Oh, the world. I mean, they all want to pronounce the "H" of course. It throws everybody off. They want to pronounce the "lub" and then "beck" and "lu"... There are all kinds of variations of that name out there. What's in a name, you know?

K2K: Any last words for your fans?
DH: Last words? Am I leaving this world? Buy the fucking record. Give it a shot. What I would like to honestly say is, whether or not you buy this new live album, thanks for your support.

For more information about Molly Hatchet - http://www.mollyhatchet.com

Written and photo © by Philip Anderson

Philip Anderson is a musician, in addition to being a writer/photographer. He has performed as a guitarist/vocalist, as well as songwriter, in several bands over the past 20 years. As a writer and photographer, he has been published by several magazines and in several books, and had his works appear on television.

All rights reserved © KAOS2000™. No portion contained herein, either text or graphics, may be reproduced anywhere or reposted on any other website for any purpose without the expressed permission of the publisher. All violations shall be punished as the law allows.

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