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Molly Hatchet is flirtin' with Hagerstown tonight

July 27, 2007|By JESSICA ZENTMEYER

Whether they play for 500 or 50,000 people, Molly Hatchet plays "as hard as we can possibly play," said Bobby Ingram, 20-year member of the Southern rock band.

"Even after all these years, it's a challenge and a joy," he said. "But I know for a fact there is nothing like seeing faces ... light up when you hit the stage."

Ingram and the rest of Molly Hatchet will bring their music to fans at 7 p.m. today, at Cancun Cantina West in Hagerstown.

Molly Hatchet, named after a 17th-century axe-wielding murderess, found success when the group's first album, "Molly Hatchet," went multiplatinum in 1978. Its second album, "Flirtin' With Disaster," also earned multiplatinum status and gave the band a reputation as hard-working with a heavy touring schedule.

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During the '80s and early '90s, the band lost several members, including frontman Danny Joe Brown, who later returned with singer Ingram and keyboardist John Galvin from Brown's side project, the Danny Joe Brown Band.

Molly Hatchet released "No Guts No Glory" (1983), "The Deed Is Done" (1984), "Double Trouble Live" (1985) and "Lightning Strikes Twice" (1989), and maintained a busy tour schedule with an average of 200 shows per year, yet the band's popularity dropped. The group took a break from recording between 1990 and 1995 in which they released their "Greatest Hits" album in 1991. But they continued touring.

"I kept my blinders on and stayed really focused on what I love to do," Ingram said in a phone interview. "I didn't look at failure or the success of the band in the market place. I didn't think about being a rock star. It's about making people happy and giving them an hour or two a night to come and party with us, not substance partying, but emotional party."

In 1995, complications from his diabetes forced Brown to retire and ultimately led to his death in 2005. Before retiring, Brown appointed Ingram as the leader of the group and brought in Phil McCormack as the new lead singer. The current band lineup has Ingram on lead guitar, McCormack on lead vocals, Galvin on keyboard, Dave Hlubek on guitar, Tim Lindsey (from Lynyrd Skynyrd) on bass and Shawn Beamer on drums.

One of the band's priorities is peforming on military bases.

"The military is a very big inspiration to Molly Hatchet," Ingram said. "They've got guts and stick to their guns. They have to keep their blinders on with their mission and perservere. We do a lot of that formula with our music."

With 16 albums under its belt and another scheduled to be released next year accompanied by its third DVD, Molly Hatchet continues to tour the world and write new music. Ingram said Molly Hatchet's goal is to "stay fundamental, keep writing what we write and keep relating to people and grow with our fans as our fans grow with the band. It's what we are going to do for the rest of our lives."

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