I’m travelin’ down the road and I’m flirtin’ With Disaster

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Song: Flirtin’ With Disaster (1979)

Artist: Molly Hatchet

Writers: Dave Lawrence Hludeck, Danny Joe Brown, Banner Harvey Thomas

Album: Flirtin’ With Disaster (Epic)

Flirtin’ With Disaster by Molly Hatchet is often listed as one of the best country rock or Southern rock songs of all time, along with such classics as Can’t You See by Marshall Tucker Band and Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd. This is no mean feat being that Molly Hatchet is also lists made by heavy metal fans. The band members themselves certainly looked like they belonged in a heavy metal band, perhaps a British one. And three of them were lead guitarists. Their first album, Molly Hatchet, was a platinum seller.

You can’t help but hear the influence of many other Southern rock bands, like fellow Floridians Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, etc. but Molly Hatchet’s loud hard-driving energy-filled approach, great guitar work, and extra distortion, not to mention Danny Joe Brown’s singing, made them dominate the radio and, although being late to the Southern rock scene, the hearts of fans. They picked up plenty a heavy metal fan as well, but they were not able to cross over into heavy metal completely. Still, to this day, you will still metal fans wearing Molly Hatchet tour shirts from the early 1980’s.

Flirtin’ With Disaster, off their second album of the same name, and written by Dave Lawrence Hludeck, Danny Joe Brown, and Banner Harvey Thomas is the most well-remember Molly Hatchet song. The album sold over two-million copies. After this, the band was headlining rock festivals everywhere and touring aggressively.

However, singer Danny Joe Brown left the band in 1980. Depending on what story you hear, he either left because he was having health problems and had been diagnosed with diabetes, meaning he couldn’t keep up with the exhausting touring schedule, or, he began hogging the spotlight, causing the band to fire him.

Since Brown formed his own band with his own name, The Danny Joe Brown Band, releasing an album, it would seem he did believe he was the cause of Molly Hatchet’s success. Needing a follow-up, the band recruited singer Jimmy Farrar. Molly Hatchet without Brown’s voice didn’t work, at least in terms of sales, and the album barely reached gold status. Danny Joe Brown without Molly Hatchet faired even worse. Molly Hatchet made another album with Farrar singing, Take No Prisoners of 1981, but managed to bury the hatchet with Brown (it had to be done) who returned to the band for the album No Guts, No Glory.

Drummer Bruce Crump left to be replaced by Barry “B.B.” Borden and bass player Banner Thomas left to be replaced by Riff West (formerly of White Witch). Although, after this, Molly Hatchet never achieved the sales success of Flirtin’ with Disaster, their music continued to evolve and the band incorporated new elements, including more acoustic guitar and even keyboards and piano. Amazingly, before this, they had never written the required Southern Rock ballad. No Guts No Glory featured their first attempt, Fall of the Peacemakers complete with 12-string guitar, organ, and a bit of piano.

The band underwent many changes through the years, including a lineup featuring no original members. Danny Joe Brown died from a stroke on March 10, 2005, but not before being able to take the stage one last time at the Jammin’ for DJB benefit concert in July 1999 in Orlando, Florida, along with his original bandmates Bruce Crump, Banner Thomas, Steve Holland, and Dave Hlubeck. The show ended with Flirtin’ with Disaster.

Guitarist Duane Roland died the following year after Brown, in 2006.

The current lineup of Molly Hatchet features Dave Hlubeck as the only original member, along with Bobby Ingram, John Galvin, Tim Lindsey, Phil McCormack, and Shown Beamer. This is actually the longest-lived lineup in the band’s history.

Listen to Flirtin’ with Disaster

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