Gary James' Interview With Danny Joe Brown Of
Epic Recording Artists Molly Hatchet have just kicked off a major U.S. concert tour in support of their latest release, "No Guts, No Glory".
Molly Hatchet recently returned from a three-week headlining European concert tour that was highlighted by numerous sell-outs in major venues throughout Germany, Switzerland and France.
What makes this tour so special is that original lead singer Danny Joe Brown is back in the group. He hasn't been on the road with Hatchet since '79.
Danny Joe Brown was kind enough to take time off from his busy schedule and talk with us.
Q - A lot of people are wondering what happened between you and Molly Hatchet, that caused you to leave the group?
A - It's good to be back again. All of us are back. It's like they came back to me. It's not like I... (laughs). No, it's more or less a situation where we're all really glad to be back together. I left the band back after the Disaster tour, and did a solo album. Molly Hatchet did a couple of albums without me which didn't do as well as they expected. My album didn't do as well as I wanted it to do either. We all sat down and discussed the situation over and figured we had a pretty good taste there in Southern Sauce. If you take one ingredient out of it, it doesn't taste the same, you know? We've been back together 18 months right now. A lot of people don't know that we've been back together that long because we've been working on the "No Guts, No Glory" album. Everything's been going great.
Q - According to your bio a case of diabetes forced you off the road.
A - A case of diabetes? Yes, I discovered that I had diabetes. It's not a case of it. It's gonna be the rest of my life apparently. The reason I left the band is because I lost 40 pounds in 30 days. My disease really got to me. We had some problems internally with members and things weren't really going the way I wanted them to go for my career. I had an opportunity to do a solo album on the same label as Molly Hatchet, Epic, and I chose to do that. You know, there's no big deal.
Q - Former drummer Bruce Crump made the statement about ex lead singer Jimmy Farrar, "Jimmy is a singer. Danny Joe was a shouter." Isn't that a put down?
A - Well, I don't feel like it was, you know, because I've never considered myself a throaty vocalist. I'm not the kid from Journey. I don't have a vocal pattern that stretches from the lower C to the higher C. I can't run up and down the keyboard of a piano like a lot of people can. I got my voice from hollering at football games, football practices. I'm pretty proud of that. I don't give a damn if anybody don't get off on it. If they don't get off on it, then they don't buy the record, and that's about it. Everybody knows where I come from. Everybody knows the school of hard knocks I come from. And I'm not going to try and shy away from that or make it out to be anything it ain't. But I am a kid that came from a broken family. I lived in a project when I was in the sixth grade. I got my ass whipped by three guys the first time. It really doesn't matter to me if anybody's buying our records. Somebody's buying them. We've sold eight million copies so far. Apparently we're doing something right. Apparently we're putting something out that's home base some place. Some other kid tasted what I tasted when I grew up. And that's who buys my records. And I don't give a damn about the guy with the silver spoon in his mouth.
Q - Would you say that Molly Hatchet is the last of the great Rock bands from the South?
A - I don't think we're the last of anything, man. I mean when God comes in the rest of it will all be shut down. We're not the last of anything. You know Johnny VanZandt is still out there kickin' it. You got 38 Special that's still rompin' a little bit. We're still makin' our noise from the South. There's a big thing on what everybody I've been doing interviews with so far since I got back with the band, has brought up this thing about new music. Well, our album came out last month, man, and that's new music in my opinion. It's not necessarily what everybody wants to categorize it as, but I think the music on that record's got a groove to it. Everybody wants to say "new" or modern music. My album came out last month that is "new" from us. That's our translation of what we got to say. It doesn't matter to me what somebody looks like or how they dress or really how they act. If they've got a song out that takes me to another place or that will change my mood or make me feel a little bit better about the situation that I'm in, then that's where it's at. That's what music is, man.
Q - You must really enjoy your work and the audience that comes to see and hear Molly Hatchet.
A - I wanted to be a Rock 'n' Roll singer in a band that had Gold and Platinum records. I prayed for it. I'm a firm believer in prayer. Believe me; this band has been on their knees more than one time together, as a band. I'm not trying to start a religious cult with Molly Hatchet. I'm just saying we all know who is in charge of the situation. I appreciate some kid who's hardly got money and one sneaker's got a hole in it, but he still goes out and buys the damn album. When I was a kid, I didn't have much at all, and that's a fact. I'm glad to be where I am. And I appreciate the fact that folks appreciate what I do.
Q - I heard rumors that Molly Hatchet ran into some financial trouble with your first manager, and now all the members in the group are broke. Any truth to that?
A - Dave Hlubeck has a $300,000 mansion in Jacksonville, Florida, a Rolls Royce, a Trans Am, and a Corvette. He lives on a 14-acre lake. I've got eight acres of prime farm land up in Thomasville, Georgia myself. This band is not broke. Everybody is doing quite well.
(Danny Joe Brown died on March 10, 2005 at the age of 53)