Early life and education
Dave Hlubek was born in Jacksonville, Florida. At the age of 5 or 6, Hlubek and his family moved to the naval base in Oahu, Hawaii, where he attended Waikiki Elementary School. From there, Hlubek’s father was transferred and the family moved to Sunnyvale, California, then to Mountain View, and finally settling in San Jose. There he attended the same Junior High School as Wayne Newton. It was the South Bay that Dave called home during the next few years, before moving back to Jacksonville, Florida around 1965. There he attended and graduated from Forrest High School.
Hlubek, founded the band Molly Hatchet in 1971. Vocalist Danny Joe Brown joined in 1974, along with Steve Holland guitarist in 1974 Duane Roland, Banner Thomas, and Bruce Crump in 1976. Hlubek was the original vocalist when they started, as well as becoming the band’s most prolific songwriter—writing or co-writing the majority of the group’s songs, including their most famous, “Flirtin’ with Disaster“. When at last they got their recording contract with Epic Records they got some help and advice from Lynyrd Skynyrd vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, who was originally supposed to produce their first album, but was unable to, because of his death in a plane crash in 1977. While most people tagged Molly Hatchet as “Southern Rock,” Hlubek admits it was only because of the location. He considered Molly Hatchet, along with Blackfoot, to actually be metal bands from the South. In fact, he has also said that, although hard to talk about, it was the demise of Lynyrd Skynyrd—who were on top of the world at that time—that opened the door for Molly Hatchet.
In 1986, Hlubek left the band, to be replaced by lead guitarist Bobby Ingram. Hlubek—by his own admission being “unbearable” due to rock star excess and substance abuse—left the band. “I had a horrendous, horrendous cocaine problem”. Hlubek then found himself at rock bottom and unemployed. His close friend Mazz moved Hlubek out of Jacksonville to Port St. Lucie, Florida and offered him moral support and many years of employment. Acting as Hlubek’s personal manager, Mazz negotiated recording sessions and gigs as well as created bands featuring Hlubek. These included: Hlubek & Friends, Southern Jam Band, and the Southern Rock Legends (with the latter including former members of both Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackfoot). After getting his life back together, Hlubek also worked with other bands including the Dixie Allstars, renamed Southern Rock Allstars which he co-founded with Blackfoot drummer Jakson Spires. In 2003 he joined forces with former Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Mike Estes, his drummer Kurt Pietro and Finnish musician Pontus J. Back when Estes and Back founded the band Skinny Molly. In January 2005, Ingram invited Hlubek to rejoin Molly Hatchet so as to give legitimacy to Ingrams tribute band version. Due to health issues, David Hlubek had slowed down with touring and flying. He was still an active member recording and playing when he was able, until his death on September 3, 2017
In addition to writing the such hits as “Flirtin’ with Disaster”, “Gator Country”, Whiskey Man” and “Fall of the Peacemakers” that Molly Hatchet is known for, Hlubek is also credited with writing several soundtracks. These include feature films such as Monster starring Charlize Theron, The Dukes of Hazzard, Suspect Zero and Delta Farce. Dave Hlubek has seven gold and platinum selling albums with sales totaling approximately 24 million in album sales.
He died of a heart attack on September 3, 2017, at the age of 66.
- Brown, Pete & Newquist, H.P. (1997) Legends of Rock Guitar, Hal Leonard Corporation, ISBN 978-0-7935-4042-6, p. 136
- Larkin, Colin (1999) The Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0257-7, p. 299
- “KAOS2000 Magazine interview with Dave Hlubek of Molly Hatchet”. Kaos2000.net. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
- “Molly Hatchet Founder, Dave Hlubek, Dies at 66 – Best Classic Bands”. Bestclasscibands.com. 3 September 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2017.