Smith The Cutting Edge http://www.thecutting-edge.net
of the Rainbow Bridge
an interview with Bobby Ingram
Hatchets has always been the toughest of the southern rock bands.
I have been kicked, beat up, dragged over the coals what
more could you do to me? Bring it on.
~ Bobby Ingram
a career spanning nearly thirty years and 14-records, four of which
going platinum plus, Molly Hatchet deserve to be called warriors.
Organized in Jacksonville, Florida around 1976 by a neighborhood
gang of guitar players, the band struck gold with their self titled
debut two years later. Though the six-piece were categorized as
a southern rock band they prided themselves on being more metal
than rock. Prior to the fateful plane crash that nearly destroyed
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ronnie Van Zant was quoted as saying, Molly
Hatchet is the band I wish Skynyrd could be.
Today Molly Hatchet is run by Bobby Ingram (guitar) who has
been in the band since 1979. Originally a member of the Danny
Joe Brown Band, Ingram took over the helm when none of the originals
cared to keep the moniker alive. Im the only one thats
never quit the group, says Ingram over the
phone with TCE. I have a strong conviction for this group.
There is a fan-base world wide that appreciates this band to this
day. I love these songs. I couldnt just let that all fade
Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge is the groups latest release.
It represents not only the bands dedication to the road but the
tragic memory of Ingram wife, Stephanie, who unexpectedly passed
way in April 2004. When I started writing this album (February
2004), I locked myself in the house and focused on what fans had
been saying for years, says Ingram. Songs like
Son of the South with the chorus Hell,
Yeah Son of the South was something we had been using for
years, wed just never written a song with it. I wrote for
a month solid with Stephanie by my side. In preproduction she really
liked the song Rainbow Bridge. Who knew it would become
a dedication to her.
Ingram briefly pauses. Both my parents died a few years back,
I never had children so when Stephanie passed away midway through
the recording of this record I learned what being alone, really
alone was all about. After I buried her, I buried myself into the
music. It was all I had left. What she did for the group behind
the scenes that nobody new - the countless hours she spent on the
phone promoting the band - sorting out the publishing, coordinating
His voice trails off. It hasnt
made me bitter because God has a time for everybody. But it made
me acutely aware of how important family is. Phil (McCormack, vocalist)
did a great job translating my feelings. So Rainbow Bridge took
on a different life after that.
Though the song closes the record it also opens hearts and minds
to the spirit of Molly Hatchet in 2005 - a relentless bar band with
three guitars in tow ready to rewrite history. Says Ingram, Yeah,
some compare us to The Outlaws or Skynyrd but we have built our
own sound and are proud of what we do. We are a hard rock band from
That makes us different. Youve got to see how they go nuts
for us in Europe. During the lean years Europe gave us a home and
weve never forgotten that. Prior to SPV we were signed with
CBS and Capitol which only exported overseas. I was able to take
the band and market it so it became a global attraction. It wasnt
strictly an American entity anymore.
The Europeans are really devoted to us. Their not trendy
so to speak. We recorded Locked and Loaded (SPV, 2003) over
there just to show how important the European audience is to us.
They know the songs - the words and they singing right along side
us. Some dont even know English. We feel so blessed to be
welcomed and embraced into their hard rock community.
On the writing of the album Ingram prides himself on keeping it
simple but with punch and visceral impact. I sat in my house
for three days playing guitar with a little mico recorder set up.
I didnt answer the phone only stopped to eat
and sleep. I played for 12-16 hours a day. I woke up the fourth
day, went into preproduction for five days then went directly from
preproduction to start recording the album. It was that spontaneous.
I live life, listen to people, hear their struggles and triumphs.
I try to capture that feeling the only way I know how - keeping
it fresh and spontaneous. I dont want it sterile, over produced
or without soul.
The songs that are featured on Rainbow Bridge are what Ingram
considers the best of the best. I told the engineer after
we were done recording that I had given everything I could possibly
give to an album. Now it was his turn. The exhilaration can
be heard in the raw blues of Roadhouse Boogie or the
southern swag in Moonlight Dancin On The Bayou.
There is also the catchy hook in Get In The Game and
Flames Are Burning. Claims Ingram, Each one of
the songs have a lot of meaning to them. I wanted them to say something.
Even the song Rainbow Bridge has this kind of Layla
feel to it, lots of guitars and emotion.
Take a look at any of Molly Hatchets album cover and you will
see a band keen to promote a warrior image. Its sticking
by your guns, says Ingram. We promote what we believe
in and we believe in ourselves. In Europe, especially in Scandinavia
they do look at that warrior image as a positive, a role model.
This record we recorded in Germany on the top of a mountain with
the wind and snow blowing. It created this great vibe when I was
recording my leads. There were times I felt like that warrior on
A long line of esteemed illustrators have made their mark under
the Molly Hatchet logo including Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo and
Ezra Tucker. The last five albums have been illustrated by Paul
Raymond Gregory from London, England. Having done art for The Lord
of the Rings, Ingram felt a personal connection with Rainbow Bridge.
Paul and I collaborate a lot, says Ingram. All
our covers tell a story but with Paul we have
real communication. He will ask me a couple question, and what the
concept of the record will be. We exchange ideas and then hes
off and running. Every time he delivers a cover I consider them
2005 has been a hard year for southern rock in general. Danny Joe
Brown original singer for Molly Hatchet died in March of diabetes
complicated by phonmopniea. Jackson Spires, drummer for legendary
band Blackfoot died suddenly from an anyrism. Says Ingram, I
remember giving Danny his first singing job - I handed him the mic
for the first time. Years later I played on his solo record. I remember
the rainy Sunday night he came knocking on my door when he quite
Molly Hatchet and wanted me to help him form the Danny Joe Brown
Band. I miss him like a brother.
Fans sense Ingrams dedication to the preservation of the band.
They remember when he was part of the original line up with Danny
Joe Brown, Duane, Bruce, Dave Hlubeks who incidentally is
back in the band. I hired Dave back six months ago,
says Ingram. I had a massive heart attack three years ago
almost died on the road. I had a 14-hour heart attack. I
dropped 100lbs and now I feel 21-years old again. I wanted Dave
to be a part of our rejuvenation. Things have turned around for
the group so much since we did Devils Canyon (SPV, 1996).
It really helped when I signed a global deal with SPV ten years
This record feels fresh to me. Its tight on the low
end, its got guitars everywhere. Get In The Game,
Son of the South and Hell Hath No Fury go
over extremely well live. People are singing the chorus by the second
verse and the occasional tear will show up when we close the show
with Rainbow Bridge. We did the first leg of this tour
in Europe and filmed a good part of it for a DVD we hope to have
out by Christmas. Its going to be part of a retrospective
on the band with narration by Charlie Daniels. We really feel strongly
about this album maybe even more than any record since Devils
Canyon. It has the energy and presence of a young innocent group
- like we have something to prove.
by Todd Smith The Cutting Edge http://www.thecutting-edge.net