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Danny Joe Brown, 53, Fronted Molly Hatchet

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Danny Joe Brown, of the Southern rock band Molly Hatchet, died Thursday at his home in Davie, Florida. Brown, diagnosed with diabetes when he was 19 and in poor health since suffering a stroke in 1998, succumbed to renal failure and pneumonia. He was 53.
Molly Hatchet: Molly Hatchet (1978)
Molly Hatchet was formed in 1974 by Brown, and lead guitarists David Hlubek and Steve Holland. Their name was taken from a 17th century prostitute known for chopping off her clients’ heads. Guitarist Duane Roland, bassist Banner Thomas and drummer Bruce Camp joined the following year to complete the six-member lineup, based in Jacksonville FL.

After a few years of extensive work on the road, playing in clubs and small venues, the band released its debut album Molly Hatchet in 1978. The debut was a success, going platinum, and the followup, Flirtin’ With Disaster sold two million copies, the title song becoming the groups biggest hit, reaching #42 on the Billboard charts.
Danny Joe Brown: Danny Joe Brown (1981)
Brown was known for his very distintive raspy voice, so when he left the band in 1980, claiming exhaustion from touring and struggling with his diabetes, the group’s fortunes declined. Brown released a self-titled solo album, while the band cut two albums without him, with Jimmy Farrar on vocals, Beatin’ the Odds and Take No Prisoners. Neither had the impact of the first two, and Brown rejoined the group in 1982, recording No Guts…No Glory in 1983 and Deed Is Done in 1984. A live set, Double Trouble Live followed in 1985, but by then the band was barely scraping the charts, and were dropped from its label.
Molly Hatchet: Flirtin' WIth Disaster (1979)
While the band kept a fairly consistent Southern-fried metal sound throughout their career, reminiscent somewhat of the Allman Brothers or Lynyrd Skynyrd crossed with Mountain, they never came close to approaching the work of their influences. A small but faithful cult of fans has sustained the band to this day, despite numerous lineup changes in later years (following Brown’s stroke, he ceased performing), but none of their sporadic 90’s releases have left much impression. The band’s latest release (without Brown) was Kingdom of XII in 2001.

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  • Craig

    I always thought Fall of the Peacemakers was their best song.

  • stevie ray man

    He’ll be missed. From the opening riffs of ‘Flirtin with disaster’ and the opening chord of ‘Dreams’ I know his distinctive vocals will follow and it’s gonna rock ! The song ‘Dreams’ has a real theraputic affect. The song cranked along a cool stretch of highway is very theraputic.

  • SFC Ski

    I last saw Molly Hatchet in ’92, damn good show, DJB had an unmistakeable voice.

  • Jack Lucas

    Must have been 76 or 77, December 26th. Bob Seger played Freedom Hall in Louisville, KY two or three years a row on the same date 12-26.

    I was 13 or 14, hanging with my cousin who was 18. We sat outside a liquor store on Dixie Highway until she could flash her smile and shake her boobs a bit for an older guy who bought us a 12 pack of beer.

    We weren’t in a hurry cause although we both loved Seger, and had looked forward to this show for months, we saw the name Molly Hatchet and figured it was some chick singer. Drank our beer. Took our time.

    The doors opened to the venue (my FIRST big concert) and this tsunami of pot smoke, the smell of beer and sweat, screamin, and a LOT of guitar volume) hit us. Man, I remember standing there for a minute, almost physically knocked over.

    I was kinda wasted and we staggered our way to some pretty good seats. Gator Country. All that screaming guitar. Cheatin Woman! Oh my GOD. I was floored. Danny Joe standing center stage belting out “WHEN THE CREEPER COME ALONG, YEEEAH!”

    So pissed we’d missed most of the set. I almost got clocked when I asked this old dude next to me for the 38th time. WHO THE HELL WAS THAT FIRST BAND??? He said ” this is the last time before I lay you out you little juvenile delinquent–MOLLY HATCHET. They’re from Florida. Record coming out soon. Now hit this joint and shut the hell up”

    Seger rocked of course. GREAT SET.

    After that show, I went back to school, started to find some guys who were into Southern Rock and we formed The Rebel Jam Band in Scottsburg Indiana. We played NOTHING but some Nugent, Skynyrd, and MOST of Hatchet’s first record. We ruled the local National Guard Armory concerts and a gazebo at the Scottsburg Public Park for damn near a summer! We were Southern Rock GODS man!

    MAN WE HAD SOME FUN!

    Thanks Danny Joe. Thanks Molly Hatchet. Thanks cousin Karen. And SEGER—GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO ANOTHER RECORD AND TOUR BEFORE I AM READING YOUR OBIT AND BABBLING ABOUT HOW GREAT YOU WERE AND HOW SAD IT IS THAT YOU NEVER GOT OFF YOUR LAZY MICHIGAN ASS AGAIN!!!

    Peace all. My respects to Danny Joe’s family.

  • John Davison

    I am floored. 7 months after the fact, I find this terrible news. Danny Joe Brown is one of the reasons I sing. His distinctive voice and attitude made quite an impression on me.

    I remember the old 49th Street Mining Company in St. Petrsburg, Florida… must have been about 1982. I was there, watching a band called Arson, who were friends of mine from Ocala. In walks DJB… he asked to get up there and sing some tunes with the guys… that was cool. He was just a regular guy, out having a few drinks and oh, by the way, mind if I sing with ya?

    And then there were the 3 or 4 years running where my best friend and I went to the old Lakeland Civic Center to see Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet rock in the new year!! Yeah, the Outlaws were headlining the show each time, but we couldn’t have cared less… we always left after Hatchet played.

    Danny will be sorely missed. He influenced and inspired many people in many ways. Godspeed, Danny Joe Brown. And best wishes for your family and friends.

  • Paul

    DJB, Man I thought I saw a picture of Jimmy Farrara or whatever, in a live video of flirtin’w/Disater. whew! I had it all backwards. That growl was Danny Joe Brown and now I’m real sad cause Ive loved Hatchet along time but never checked out there bios. Real sorry about Jackson Spires to, man I loved Blackfoot and would have never walked out on them. They were both the same age as my Dad and he passed two years now. He lived a hard life as well. I hope They all have found peace in Jesus Christ, Man That’s a shame to hear about this a year after the fact.Molly Hatchet is one of the best bands ever and fall of the peacemakers is a great song.

  • http://gratefuldread.net NR Davis

    Just saw this – how awful! I will spin my old Flirtin’ with Disaster LP picture disc in his honor. Loved his voice…

    Diabetes is a killer, folks.

    RIP, DJB.

  • Scott

    Mardi Gras in the Superdome, New Orleans Louisiana early 80’s. Saw Hatchet among others (Kansas, Delbert McClinton, Hank Jr., ) great concert.

  • eddie

    Nothing but skynyrd rip-off band! Had skynyrd never had that plane crash, we would all be saying…”Molly Who ?”

  • lynn

    TOTALLY DIFFERENT SOUND EDDIE. MAKES ME WONDER HOW OLD YOU ARE? FOND MEMORIES OF BONFIRES AND JUST HANGING OUT LISTENING TO MOLLY HATCHET

  • missmoondog

    eddie obviously has NO taste or diversity!!

  • mike

    you were truly a rock and roll stud..rest in my peace my brother.

  • Dean Collins

    32 years ago today, the LP Flirting with Disaster was released. RIP DJB

  • Widow

    Danny did not have pneumonia and he did not die at home, he died at his mothers with his wife and children by his side.

  • Widow

    He was in his 30’swhen he was diagnosed with diabetes, It was at the end of the Flirtin with Disaster tour,,