Editor’s Note: I wanted to close out the year with something special and that was an interview with a legendary guitarist out of one of the greatest Southern Rock groups of all time in Molly Hatchet. The man’s name is Bobby Ingram, and he sat down with Madness To Creation to discuss his musicianship, playing in Europe, mental health awareness, the new album “Battleground” and all that good stuff about Molly Hatchet. 2019 has not been an easy year for the Molly Hatchet camp as they lost their legendary vocalist Phil McCormack. RIP to Phil, heart goes out to his family, friends, and fans and to the Molly Hatchet camp. Fans can find Molly Hatchet at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: How are you doing Bobby?
Bobby: I’m good, how are you doing?
Madness To Creation: Thank you for rescheduling the interview with me, got big plans for the holidays?
Bobby: Looking forward to a nice dinner in Northeast Florida which is “Gator Country”, got a new album out, the band is going strong, and we couldn’t be more excited about this new release, which is a triple LP called “Battleground”, we’ll be playing some shows over in Germany before heading back to the States, sounds like a pretty good celebration right?
Madness To Creation: What was the biggest difference that you have seen over the course of your career playing in European audiences versus playing in front of American audiences?
Bobby: There’s really no core difference, and what I mean by that is that there is a common unity between Southern rockers no matter where you go, it’s about true honest friendship, it’s about our military, and everybody experiences that, you know, they listen to the music, they feel it, they feel what we write about, they feel what we play, they hear what we write about, and they sing what we write about, and we haven’t seen that much of a difference between the different continents, however in Europe, we do see a different media base than in the United States. There’s a lot of magazines, you can play a different set in one city, and we get emails over there saying, “hey, we want you to play this song in the set”. I think there is a really tight network over there, there’s also great networking here in the United States also, other than that not much difference.
Madness To Creation: Would you say that the Southern Rock genre, is the great unifier of genres considering the different styles of music it incorporates?
Bobby: I think it’s within all of us, I think it’s about being true to yourself, it’s about playing music and having a great time, and just forgetting about your troubles for awhile, let the music do the talking, let the music carry you, I think that’s what we’re talking about there.
Madness To Creation: I think we can see that especially with the seemingly divisive ways our country, which I argue is perpetuated by the media.
Bobby: I don’t see any divisions in the Southern Rock community, which is a good thing, that’s what I’m saying, just the different continents and the way that the media is, it’s like a brotherhood in Southern Rock.
Madness To Creation: Let’s switch gears and talk about “Battleground”. What was some of the most challenging and rewarding aspects in creating this album?
Bobby: The album was five years in the making, we started it in Switzerland and in Germany during the 40th anniversary tour, and we kept going and we kept going with the album, and we had to compile all of these wonderful feelings in the music and in the songs, we had to get all of that in the album, and along the way founder Dave Hlubek passed away, and so did Phil McCormack, so that’s definitely the most challenging part of the production of the album.
Madness To Creation: My heart goes out to you on that. What would you say in terms of your work on the guitar?
Bobby: I would say as a guitarist, you gotta keep working at it, when I first started that, of course I couldn’t play anything, you just gotta keep working at it and you gotta keep believing in yourself, I think that’s what helped me a lot as a person, and a lot of players out there, it teaches you determination and dedication to something, if you really want to battle and work for it, and willing to sacrifice for it, that’s what I really got out of it, the whole experience of playing guitar from not knowing anything about it, and I started playing when I was 11, so it’s been a few decades now, I’ve been playing for a long time now, you know it was a challenging instrument in the beginning, and it’s a rewarding instrument now, I don’t know how to say it, every day of my life I play it, and there’s rewards every time that I pick it up.
Madness To Creation: I’m not the guitar aficionado so forgive my ignorance, but is there a certain model or brand that you prefer playing over others?
Bobby: That’s a good question, I’ve been playing this brand of guitar for about 30 years, but I switched over to Les Paul Gibson guitars, so I kind of go between both of them, and I get my sound from my heart which is what I’m feeling at the time, I don’t use a whole bunch of petals, I just play.
Madness To Creation: When you recorded “Battleground” in Switzerland and Germany, what was your most favorite memory that comes to mind, whether it be the studio or being in Europe?
Bobby: We’ve been there many, many times, the place we’ve been right outside of Zurich, we’ve been there a numerous amount of times, they’re just friends. It was a real family type of environment, everybody knew each other, the place was packed out, everybody was singing the songs, it was a great time, and we chose to start it there because of that.
Madness To Creation: What is one memory that sticks out when you play live? I know that there are a lot of memories.
Bobby: Well, I’ve got one story, I don’t know if you’ve heard this one or not, this was when I was with Danny Joe Brown of the Danny Joe Brown Band, and John Galvin, who is the keyboard player now for Molly Hatchet since dirt, John and I first met each other over 40 years ago, and there was a concert we were playing up in Fayetteville, North Carolina at the coliseum up there and we were opening up for Blackfoot at the time, I think the record they were supporting was “Marauder” at the time, and they had a platform that you can run out on and play your leads, and I ran out there and the thing gave way and I fell eight feet straight down in the middle of the song, there was something crazy about this. After I fell straight down, the guitar was still on and after I got up real quick, Danny was pulling me back up on stage, I finished my lead right then and there, I’m not kidding ya, as I started to go down, I came back up and I finished it.
Well a magazine got a hold of this, I think it was Circus Magazine, they got a hold of this and they put it out there, and 40 years later in ’80 or ’81, but 20 years later I think in Germany, a journalist came up and mentioned it, and I said, “what”, I’ve never done that before in my life, I’d kill myself if I did that, and they said, “no, in Fayetteville, North Carolina”, and I said, “I didn’t jump off the stage, the stage gave way”, and he started laughing so hard, and I guess this whole time he was thinking that I started stagediving and well maybe somebody that saw that thought that’s what I did, I guess it kind of did look like that and I disappeared, that’s something I’ll never forget, and for a journalist to bring it up 20 years later, I was hysterically laughing.
Madness To Creation: So does that feeling ever get old where you have people still coming to your shows, still rocking out and singing along to your songs?
Bobby: It’s timeless, like nothing else matters, it’s timeless, it feels like the very first time we got on stage, it feels like the very last time we got on stage two days ago, it’s timeless and what I mean by that is that it still feels the same, it still feels great to us.
Madness To Creation: Does that help with your mental health and what advice do you have for your readers in regards to mental health?
Bobby: Absolutely and you gotta take care of yourself, that’s for sure, there were times that it was tough but here we are 40 years later, 40 years older and 40 years wiser, and we take care of ourselves when we are out on the road, and I would recommend to all of your readers to do the same thing, just make sure you take care of yourself.
Madness To Creation: Do you have an exercise or a diet regiment that you follow?
Bobby: I do a lot of walking and I do a lot of playing on stage, and that’s pretty aerobic as it is if you’ve never seen Molly Hatchet, we come off stage pretty wet, man! We’re soaking wet.
Madness To Creation: Form your all-time Southern Rock supergroup.
Bobby: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Madness To Creation: Anything else you would like to add in regards to “Battleground” or anything that we didn’t cover that you’d like to talk about?
Bobby: SPV has been our label for the last 25 years, it’s like a family and it’s been a long time since we put out a release since 2010 with “Justice” and it was great to have everybody back together again and working on it, so there’s a lot of promotion and a lot of things happening, go to www.mollyhatchet.com and check out the new stuff there, and it’s going up online all of the time, we want to invite everybody out to our shows and encourage everybody to pick up a copy of the “Battleground” record, it’s going to change your life man! *laughs*
Madness To Creation: Thank you so much for your time Bobby and for being gracious and everything.
Bobby: I want to thank you too for rescheduling, I’m glad I did, you’re a very nice guy to talk to and you have great questions, and I want to give a shoutout to a U.K. artist named Paul Raymond Gregory, he’s the artist, he’s got his website up, and you might want to look it up, I want to give him a shoutout. www.studio54.co.uk because he’s like one of the family. I want to give a shoutout to the media, you guys are the conduit between the artist and the fanbase. People ask me, “what keeps you guys out on the road all of these years”, I say everything, “the media, the fans, the music, the bands and the camaraderie on how we approach our careers”, and it’s been the media that’s been the conduit when they’re not looking at us on stage or listening to us on the radio, it’s a very important factor, it takes all of us working together, and I just wanted to throw that at you because that’s a for-sure thing that I feel.
And there you have it! Tell you what, to get a little personal with our readers here, I really want to encourage you to get to know Molly Hatchet. Their music is great and we couldn’t have asked for a more humble, friendly, and gracious person to talk to than Bobby Ingram. So thank you to the Molly Hatchet camp for this.
On that note, Molly Hatchet has some gigs coming up! Check out the gig dates below!
Thu. 1/16- Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte, North Carolina
Fri. 1/17- Elevation 27 in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Sat. 1/18- The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie, New York
Sun. 1/19- Levoy Theatre in Millville, New Jersey
Fri. 2/21- Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey
Sat. 3/21- Crystal Grand Music Theatre in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (w/Saving Abel, Big Whiskey and Michael Alexander)
Sun. 3/22- Club Arcada Speakeasy & Restaurant in St. Charles, Illinois
Check out the live music video for “Devil’s Canyon” below: