Behind the Band Name: Molly Hatchet

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Another Southern rock band representing the Sunshine State came onto the scene in the 1970s. Molly Hatchet mixed blues rock with boogie jams, blanketing it all in a down south swagger. The band produced a sound that was gritty, dirty, and Southern to the bone. Five decades, and albeit no original members later, they’re still delivering those rough-and-tumble tunes full of throaty vocals, in-your-face guitar solos, and hyperactive drums.

Molly Hatchet wasn’t the biggest band, but they were still major players in the rise of Southern rock. It’s easy to compare them to the better-known Florida boys, Lynyrd Skynyrd, but don’t, or else the real Molly Hatchet with come for your head. That’s right. Where else does a band get its name if not from an axe-wielding murderess?

Who Was Molly Hatchet?

The legend of the real Molly Hatchet is a difficult one to pin down. The band’s website explains they are “named after a famous 17th-century axe murderess “hatchet molly” who would behead her lovers with the hand tool Lizzy Borden made famous.”

A further look into a “Hatchet Molly” serial killer, results appear for a Civil War-era sex worker who had a penchant for beheading the unlucky johns she came in contact with.

Some tales recall a trail of decapitated bodies she left across the South over a 15-year period in the late 1800s. She would disappear every now and then only to strike again. Other legends say that during the Civil War, Molly was actually a ghost sent to punish Confederate soldiers for their role in the conflict.

The Name Game

Founder Dave Hlubek once shared how the band came upon the name Molly Hatchet, following several name changes.

“There were six of us in the band,” he told Dean Guitars. “We took a John Deere Tractor hat and everybody came up with three names apiece and put them in the hat. We did it like the lottery. We said that whatever name was pulled out of the hat, by God, was going to be the name of the band. Well, the 18th name, the only one left, was Molly Hatchet! We said, ‘What the fuck is that?’ It started out, ‘Molly Fucking Hatchet.’ Everyone was saying, ‘Whose the girl in the band?’ People of Jacksonville took it upon themselves to start making bumper stickers. We just kept the name. Who in the hell is Molly? It’s like, what’s in a name! Molly was an axe murderous. Her name was Abigail something. The history books called her Hatchet Molly. She was some passion killer.”

Revisit the Molly Hatchet classic “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” below. It’s so good, heads will roll. Hmm, maybe that’s why they chose the name.

Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images

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