The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 22, 2013

Legendary group’s appeal spans generations

Eric Knopsnyder
eknopsnyder@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — Some of the fans at the train station on Saturday night were old enough to remember Molly Hatchet in its heyday. Some weren’t even born the last time the Southern rockers had a hit song.

But thousands of them turned out for the free concert that headlined Thunder in the Valley.

“It’s great. We need more of these bands coming in from the old days,” said 57-year-old Bob Gironda of Westmont. “That would be awesome.”

It was an awesome night for many of the fans in attendance on Saturday night, and Molly Hatchet guitarist Bobby Ingram said moments before the show that he was expecting a great night as well.

“I’ve been here for over 25 years now and I keep having fun at it,” he said. “It’s the fans. It’s like being here tonight. It’s a Saturday night, Thunder in the Valley. How much better does it get? For Molly Hatchet to be here, we really appreciate ya’ll getting us here.”

The band has seen many changes since releasing its debut album in 1978, but fans still turn up all over the world for its aggressive Southern rock sound. In 2013 Molly Hatchet has played in clubs and at festivals all across the U.S. and has made stops in Haiti and Brazil. The band has rocked big cities (Toronto and Las Vegas) as well as small towns (Lincolnton, N.C., and Riverside, Iowa).

Many of the stops are just like this one: Filled with bikers who love Molly Hatchet’s sound. The band played the Broken Spoke Saloon during Bike Week in Daytona, Fla., and is scheduled to appear in Sturgis, S.D., in August.

“It’s not only this, it’s Americana,” Ingram said. “There’s Southern rockers everywhere. It’s the veterans that have been with us for 35 years. It’s the veterans that are bringing young people to see us. You look around here and see a whole bunch of people that we haven’t seen here before.”

One of those people was Angel McCarthy, a 28-year-old from Catawissa, Columbia County. McCarthy was painted to look like a purple and pink tiger and was waiting right in front of the stage to see Molly Hatchet for the first time.

“I grew up listening to them,” she said.

McCarthy was there with her boyfriend, Tom Lisiewicz, who said that he had seen the band from Jacksonville, Fla., perform in Harrisburg in the 1970s or ’80s.

“They were great – what I remember of it,” the 55-year-old said with a laugh. “No, they were great.”

Lisiewicz also was impressed with Thunder in the Valley, which he was attending for the second time.

“This is great,” he said. “We went to Sturgis last year and I had a bundle of money wrapped up in that. To come down here and bring the bikes, it’s great.”

Ingram was excited to be in Johnstown as well.

“I love it,” he said. “We haven’t been here in a while, but to come back to see people that we haven’t seen in forever, it makes us feel like … it’s a good, hometown welcome for Molly Hatchet. We want to thank everyone here. Keep rockin’. Keep on Southern rockin’, that’s for sure.”

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