Molly Hatchet lost its most important founding member over the weekend.
Dave Hlubek, who started the group during 1971 in his native Jacksonville, Fla., and served two tenures on its roster, died Sunday (September 3) at the age of 66 after suffering a heart attack. The lead guitarist was the group’s original lead vocalist before Danny Joe Brown joined three years later.
Hlubek wrote the majority of the group’s songs during his tenure with the band, including “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” “Gator Country” and “Whiskey Man.” He was booted from the group in 1987 after becoming, by his own admission, “unbearable” due to substance abuse and worked in a number of bands such as
Hlubek & Friends, Southern Jam Band, Dixie Allstars, Southern Rock Legends and Skinny Molly. Hlubeck rejoined Molly Hatchet during 2005 but had slowed his touring schedule recently due to health reasons.
In a statement on its web site, Molly Hatchet wrote, “It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of our beloved friend and band member Dave Hlubek. Amongst his many contributions to southern rock is ‘Flirtin’ With Disaster.’ Our condolences and our prayers go out to his family during this time of loss. He will be missed but never forgotten, as the music lives on through his legacy in Molly Hatchet.”
Hlubek is the fifth member of the group’s classic 70s lineup to pass away: bassist Banner Thomas died earlier this year; drummer Bruce Crump died in 2015; guitarist Duane Roland passed in 2006; and singer Brown died during 2005. Only guitarist Steve Holland survives from the lineup that recorded Molly Hatchet’s first few albums.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.