Florida has produced many southern rock legends, Duane and Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, The Outlaws, Blackfoot, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the group some, after the plane crash, considered to be their successor, Molly Hatchet.
In the fall of 1978, Molly Hatchet’s debut album on Epic was released, produced by Tom Werner, also the producer for the Epic acts Ted Nugent and Cheap Trick. Ultimately this album would reach platinum sales status. It included their first charting single, which reached No. 109, “Dreams I’ll Never See,” a cover of The Allman Brothers Band’s “Dreams,” written by Gregg Allman.
Southern rock guitarist Tommy Talton accompanied Gregg on his 1970s tour, performing “Dreams,” which was also included on the 1974 double live album called The Gregg Allman Tour. In his 2017 Goldmine interview Tommy said, “I knew Gregg since 1966 when we both were in Florida bands. At that time, he and Duane were in The Allman Joys. I was very pleased to be on his 1970s tour.” Tommy spoke of the passing of Gregg in that interview article and now has added, “I am sorry to hear the news about another Florida musician, Steve Holland. My condolences go out to his family.”
Florida DJ Dave Schulz also sends his condolences to Steve’s family and shared with Goldmine, “I was a DJ at Orlando’s radio station ZETA7, WORJ 107.7 FM when the debut album from Molly Hatchet was released. Their music filled the Jacksonville southern rock void left after the Lynyrd Skynyrd disaster. Fans were starved for this style of music, and Molly Hatchet’s songs went to the next level, with a pounding edge and great energy. David Sousa, program director at ZETA7, organized a concert held at The Bob Carr Auditorium in Orlando that would be Molly Hatchet’s first concert outside of a bar or a nightclub. They opened for Joe Cocker and were greeted with as much enthusiasm. By the end of the show, many in attendance reflected that Molly Hatchet stole the spotlight. Since this was a concert promoted by ZETA7, the radio station had all of the tickets, promoted the event for weeks, and played every song from the debut album on the air. “Gator Country” became a requested favorite along with “Dreams I’ll Never See,” “Bounty Hunter,” and “Cheatin’ Woman,” written solely by Steve. The band frequently visited the ZETA7 studios. They were friendly with the air staff and also the office staff, quickly becoming a favorite sight all around the radio station when they walked in. We are losing too many musical icons these days and I am glad that I got to spend time with Steve and the guys.”
Molly Hatchet’s second album was their best seller, Flirtin’ with Disaster, which went double platinum. The title tune was their biggest single, written by half of the band. The flip side, also from the album, was “Gunsmoke.” Both sides of the 45 were influenced by Lynyrd Skynyrd, with both Jacksonville bands sporting a three guitar lineup.
Flip side: Gunsmoke
A side: Flirtin’ With Disaster
Top Pop 100 debut: January 5, 1980
Peak position: No. 42
After their first two albums, Danny Joe Brown left the group and Jimmy Farrar became the new lead vocalist. Molly Hatchet’s sound also transitioned from southern rock to a rock style similar to what was heard by their fellow Jacksonville musical neighbors .38 Special. This mainstream sound was captured on Steve Holland’s composition, “Power Play,” their fifth charting single. Danny returned to the group for their fifth album, No Guts…No Glory, the final record which included Steve.
After departing Molly Hatchet, Steve played in a variety of bands, Gator Country, Southern Rock Allstars and The Steve Holland Band.
Steve passed away on August 2 at the age of 66.
Molly Hatchet continues to perform with two members who joined the group in the mid-1980s, Bobby Ingram and John Galvin.