Bobby Ingram - Molly Hatchett & Jacki Stone - Vains of Jenna
Bobby Ingram - Molly Hatchett
If you are a fan of heavy music born before 1990, you can vouch for the impact that Molly Hatchet has had on heavy music. While not really a heavy metal band, the heaviest of the Southern rock acts has always been openly embraced by the heavy metal community. For four decades, Molly hatchet has been on the cutting edge of rock music, blending many different styles of rock’n’roll with a good dose of Southern fried attitude. With the new album, “Justice”, being one of the heaviest offerings to date from the legends, it only seemed fitting that Metal Exiles speak to guitar god Bobby Ingram to talk about the band that fits into any genre where “Rock” is at the heart.
Interview with Bobby Ingram of Molly Hatchet
By Rob ”Bubbs” Harris
Metal Exiles: Good Afternoon, Bobby. How are things going on tour?
Ingram: Things are going good, as far as the shows are concerned. Scheduling the upcoming tours is getting to be a bit crazy. We just had to reroute a bunch of German dates this morning, while trying to work on scheduling the U.K. and Canada. The stress of working all this stuff out is starting to get a little much.
Metal Exiles: I imagine so. But the current U.S. dates have been alright?
Ingram: Absolutely. We’re taking fewer shows, but they’re better ones. With this economy, there’s not much you can do but just ride the storm and take what you can get without going broke. We’re all having a good time out on the road though.
Metal Exiles: “Justice” is a magnificent record. How proud of the album are you, and how excited are you to share it with your fans?
Ingram: I’ll tell ya, I can’t do any better right now. That’s as good as I can do so far. We put everything into this record and it is the first of it’s kind in the Molly Hatchet catalogue. This is the first concept album, and it really means something. Justice and injustice has been done throughout the history of humanity, and every song has something to do with that theme.
Metal Exiles: Right. When I read the presser for the new album, you said that there are several different meanings of justice and, in some way, justice plays into all things.
Ingram: It’s like I said before, since the beginning of human history, there has been injustice done to others. But in the same respect, a lot of justice has been served as well. This record is like a summation of that idea from our point of view.
Metal Exiles: There is one particular incident that was a big inspiration for this record. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Ingram: Sure. I actually had the whole album ready to go to preproduction. Then, I met Diena Thompson, who’s daughter, Somer, was murdered. We wrote a song about it called “On the Wings of an Angel: Somer’s Song”. But after meeting this family, who had gone through such a terrible tragedy, it inspired us so much that we started writing this whole new record about justice and injustice. I swear, we were really cookin’. We wrote pretty much the whole album in five days. We even ended up going a bit over time because we had so much material, so we cut one of the tracks, which will probably surface as a bonus track or something like that.
Metal Exiles: I had meant to ask about “Somer’s Song”. What was it about her particular story that touched you so much? I mean, I don’t want to come off sounding like a jerk, but that kind of thing happens every day in America, not to mention the rest of the world. It’s become so common, in fact, that the general public sort of just turns a blind eye to it. Why did this case seem to stick with you so much?
Ingram: Sherriff Rick Beseler (Clay County, FL) called me up right before they went public with the arrest to thank me for all the efforts that I have given toward the family. He himself couldn’t understand how this case has gone international in the headlines and was receiving so much attention and support from the media, because you’re right. This kind of thing does happen like every forty seconds, so the general public does become desensitized. But this case just struck me hard. It was a horrible thing that happened to that little girl, and I just felt as if I needed to offer any help I could to her family. When I got the call to help with the fundraiser, I jumped all over it. I was already in Florida at the time, so I drove home after a show in Orlando, went up into my attic and pulled out forty items of Molly hatchet memorabilia, stuff you wouldn’t find anywhere else that has been packed away for years and years, and donated it to the family to auction off to help bury Somer. When I finally met Diena, she gave me a big hug with tears streaming down her face and said she didn’t know how to thank me. So I said, “You just did.”, and told her that she didn’t have to thank me again because I was going to stay by her side and help her and her family in any way I can. Nobody asked me to do all that I have done to help this family, but I was able to do it and it was my pleasure. We started up a foundation, not only to help Somer’s family, but to also help other families who have gone through such terrible tragedy, and in hopes that it helps prevent these kinds of things from happening again.
Metal Exiles: As a father myself, I couldn’t imagine going through that. That is definitely fear number one for me, and probably any other parent.
Ingram: I know. Imagine getting a call at work saying that your child is gone without a trace. I could not imagine how that feels.
Metal Exiles: Let me change the subject a little bit. This is getting a little heavy. One song that I really identified with was “I’m Gonna Live ‘Til I Die”. That song reminds me, personally, of my own struggles with addiction and how I’ve had to battle with myself until I finally decided that I could live without certain things that aren’t necessarily good for me. I’m sure different people can relate to it in different ways, but that’s the way that it spoke to me.
Ingram: The song is about that. It’s also about being used by a woman, or being held down in one way or another, and the importance of standing up for yourself in those situations. It’s about being justified in saying “I don’t need you anymore” to whatever it is that is a negative influence in your life.
Metal Exiles: Which brings it all back to the title and concept of the record.
Ingram.: Exactly. I mean, what is this world coming to? What have we become? When all this stuff came down and we started writing this record, we decided that it was time to speak our minds and deliver a little Molly Hatchet justice. It’s time for us as a nation to come together and stand up to all the injustice and quit with all the crap. People need to stop suing other people who try to help them, or for silly reasons, just because they think they are entitled to something. Nine times out of ten, it’s their own fault anyway. We also need to start paying more attention to the world around us. I’ve seen pictures online of people laying dead in the street with people just walking by like it’s no big deal. What have we become, where we don’t even notice a dead person in the street? It’s absolutely ridiculous! I don’t remember that being the world that I grew up in.
Metal Exiles: I love the guitar work on “Justice”. There are a lot of nice heavy riffs on this one. That isn’t really all to uncommon for Molly hatchet though. You guys have always been embraced by the metal crowd.
Ingram: We’re the heaviest of all the Southern Rock bands, for sure. You know, we have always been blessed by the heavy metal and hard rock community, who have put us into the mix with some of the better bands from that genre. I don’t know what it is, but they just like the band and the music we make. We are all so thankful to those fans that normally wouldn’t bother with a Southern Rock record, but will seek out our material because they identify with something about it. It’s great!
Metal Exiles: You guys are actually on a label now that is known for boasting some of the best heavy metal, rock and progressive bands around.
Ingram: Yeah, we’re on there with Alice Cooper and Whitesnake. How cool is that? We feel very at home with SPV. They know how to take care of their artists and put them out there. I feel as if Molly Hatchet is a good fit for the label, as we can hang with any band, heavy or not. I feel as if Molly Hatchet’s music has gotten a lot tougher, while still maintaining that grassroots Southern rock style that is our signature sound. We might be getting a little gray, but we sure as hell aren’t getting shy.
Metal Exiles: Is there a specific track on “Justice”, other than “Somer’s Song”, that you are particularly fond of?
Ingram: I’m damn proud of the entire record, but there is one highlight for me, at the tail end of “In The Darkness of the Night”. The lead there at the end was one take. I hardly remember even cutting a quarter of it because I was so deep into it. I was in a whole different world right then, just me and the guitar as one. It’s hard to explain that feeling. You can record solos as much as you want, but sometimes if you just close your eyes and play, it all works out best. It doesn’t always wind up that way, but this time it did. So that was the highlight of the album. Actually, it is one of the highlights of the entire catalogue. I’ve played a lot of solos, but that one is mine, all mine.
Metal Exiles: I spoke to Jimmy hall a while back, and he told me how he measured success. He said “At the end of the day, I got to make music and make friends for a living. If that ain’t success, then I don’t know what is.” Do you feel as if you have accomplished all that needed to be done with Molly hatchet, as far as building the name, and now it’s time to just have fun and kick some ass, or has it always been that way?
Ingram: For me, I’ve always had a desire to keep stretching. With every album, or every riff, I keep telling myself that it’s not enough. Like I said before, with this record, it’s as good as I can do right now. However, I’m going to keep trying to do better. I’m not done by any means. The masterpiece has yet to be created, as far as I’m concerned.
Metal Exiles: Finally, what are your thoughts on the younger generations of rock and/or country fans and artists that seem to refuse to acknowledge the original architects of the genres? I mean, Molly Hatchet has been rockin’ since their parents were shittin’ their britches.
Ingram: Like I said, I would put us up against any band. I’d like to challenge some of these newer bands to play a song, then we’re going to play a song and see who did it better. Molly Hatchet has always been a tough band, and we just keep getting tougher. I have noticed that a lot of younger bands don’t seem to care for what came before them, but I can’t do anything about that. All I can do is keep doing my thing and making the music I want to play and that my fans want to hear. With rock music these days, there really isn’t anything that hasn’t been done before. If you want to come out and sound exactly like a hundred other bands just to make some quick cash, go for it, bit don’t expect Molly Hatchet to sound like anybody but Molly Hatchet.
Jacki Stone - Vains of Jenna
Officially formed in Falkenberg, Sweden in 2005, Vains of Jenna has become a force in the music scene with their September 2009 release of “The Art of Telling Lies” continually picking up steam and recognition. I had the opportunity to catch up with one of the greatest guys in music today, VOJ drummer Jacki Stone. As the band was preparing to leave the US for the start of their European tour, Jacki and I spent some time talking about the record, the band, new lead singer Jesse Forte and the band’s plans for the rest of 2010 and beyond.
A Metal Exiles Interview with Jacki Stone
By William Alexander
METAL EXILES: Congratulations on the award for Album of the Year at the Swedish Metal Awards. I also posted “The Art Of Telling Lies” as my number one pick for Album of the Year for 2009 on our website. Needless to say, I am VOJ fan and love the record. Tell me about the evolution of record and the impact of producer Brent Woods had on the record.
Jacki Stone: First of all thank you very much for being such a fan William and having the record #1 on your website is awesome! Having fans like yourself makes you appreciate all that you do and it makes you go forward and carry on. “The Art Of Telling Lies” has been out since September 2009, and has great songs on it. We had it in the works for over a year, and in working with Brent Woods, his touch on the songs made it even better with his efforts on this album. I’m very proud of it, all of us are. It feels cool to have an actual album out there instead of an EP like “Lit Up/Let Down” which was more of a recording we did in Sweden for like a week. We were stuck in the cabin by ourselves and it became a record.
METAL EXILES: “Lit Up/Let Down” turned out pretty good. “The Art Of Telling Lies” is totally next level like you said, but “Lit Up/Let Down” was a good little record.
Jacki Stone: It’s got charm to it because it’s so funky and so raw. But, it feels good to have something out there that is well produced and has the quality songs that we worked on for a longer period of time instead of the first songs we did. Brent Woods as the producer made it great, we were happy to work with him.
METAL EXILES: There are absolutely NO filler tracks on the new record...it’s outstanding from start to finish. My personal favorite track is the “The Art of Telling Lies”. What was the inspiration for the song and how did this track come to be the title of the album?
Jacki Stone: I know that we initially came to that as a slow song, with kind of like a little weird vibe to it. It was me, Lizzy and J.P. and we were in rehearsal and started jamming it out a little bit harder. It came down pretty much to how it is right now and after an hour of rehearsal, Nicki came out with the solo part and all and the ending of the song pretty much. It was a pretty fast song that we wrote, maybe the fastest one on the record. Why “The Art Of Telling Lies” became what we called the record…….I think it was, at least, we wanted pretty much everything on the album called “The Art Of Telling Lies”, but that was the song that became “The Art Of Telling Lies.” The whole scene with the art of telling lies is that this industry is pretty much like an art, yet with so much bullshit. People say yeah we will help you with this and we’ll do this and that and then nothing happens.
METAL EXILES: All talk, no walk huh?
Jacki Stone: Exactly!! Much talk, little action.
METAL EXILES: OK, so you had to see this one coming at you, VAINS OF JENNA has to be one of the coolest band names in rock, talk to me about the identity and inspiration behind the name of the band.
Jacki Stone: It was J.P. that came up with it. I remember he came to the rehearsal studio and we had 10 different band names when we started the band and pretty much the other 9 sucked really bad, they were horrible. He wrote them down when he was drunk the night before….
METAL EXILES: (LOL), Well, at least you are being honest about it!
Jacki Stone: Yeah! So it was one of the names that came out of the ten that was really cool. Everyone really liked it, so it was like okay let’s go for it. He wrote them down when he was drunk and it was misspelled as well but who cares.
METAL EXILES: You know what though, that’s what gives it a little flavor and character; I think it’s a killer name. Nice job by J.P. even if he was drunk….(laughing). Speaking of J.P., he’s your brother. How has that been being together in a band with your brother and obviously a lot of synergy going on there. You guys seem to get along very well.
Jacki Stone: Well it’s really cool when I think about it. Sometimes I really stop and think “hey I’m here with my big brother doing this for 5 years for the band and we’re still like doing it 110% and having a great time.” When you grow up you look up to your big brother and you want to be like him. It was just natural when we started playing together. We have become such good friends over the years. To have him as a brother on bass and me on drums, it’s very important to communicate in a good way without having any fights or anything like that. Being the back bone of the band, makes the guitar shine and the vocals shine and we’ve got to be very tight. It feels really good to have him as a brother and to be the bass player. It’s just a lot of fun, we share so much on the road. We’re pretty much the same person sometimes, we have a great time and I love it.
METAL EXILES: Before we get into the newest edition to the band with new lead singer Jesse Forte, can you comment on the departure of former lead singer Lizzy Devine and why he suddenly left the band?
Jacki Stone: He pretty much didn’t want to do it anymore, he didn’t have the fire we had. There were no hard feelings at all either with him leaving the band. There is no point in doing something if you don’t want to do it at 110%. He didn’t want to do this thing with music anymore and we did. So if we were to continue together as it was, we would probably end up the same with the same result as where we are right now but, maybe 6 months from now. He just wanted to stay here in LA and settle down a little more and not do this and we wanted to tour the world and keep on rocking.
METAL EXILES: So glad you guys are moving on and that is a cool thing that you all remain friends.
METAL EXILES: Enter Jesse Forte, KILLER vocalist now fronting VOJ. How did you find such an incredible vocalist and performer so quickly? This guy seems to be the perfect for VAINS OF JENNA.
Jacki Stone: His former band that he played with opened us for us over a year ago at the Cat Club and we were upstairs in a little room and heard him warming up for the show and we thought “WOW this guy can really sing”. Then we really didn’t think about it anymore. When this came to happen with Lizzy, we pretty much said “okay, anybody thinking about anyone”? The first one that everybody thought about was Jesse, so, we agreed we would contact him and see what’s going on. Two or three days after that he came into rehearsal and we went through “Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead”, “Mind Pollution” and “Enemy”. It just felt right from the beginning, great energy. He sang the songs really well even though he only had time for like a day. He was really good from the beginning. He was like the first choice for everyone in the band as well as our producer and manager. The last two weeks was like getting up early in the morning, going to bed late at night, working everything out with promoters, stuff in Europe and with Jesse and how we’re going to do this. It was very hard work until we got the official press release that he was the singer. It’s a great fit.
METAL EXILES: It’s one of those things that you just know, right? It’s either going to happen or it’s not and you pick up that vibe pretty much from that starting point.
Jacki Stone: Exactly, that’s it William.
METAL EXILES: With all due respect to Lizzy, Jesse seems to bring a higher level of energy and vocally seems to slide right into the VAINS OF JENNA way of doing things and in my opinion is a better vocalist. How has he evolved with the band and how has he been accepted thus far with the VAINS OF JENNS fan base?
Jacki Stone: There are a lot of positive comments, pretty much like 90% from the beginning. When he came in the band everybody was like “oh wow, very cool” and blown away kind of with the song “Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead” and his voice. There’s been negative stuff as well, of course, it’s a hard thing when you change the lead singer. Some people will like it some people will not. We might lose some fans because of this, but I think we’ll gain much more. His talent is amazing and we can reach out to more of a bigger crowd with Jesse in the band actually. The fans that have been very positive I want to thank them so much for backing us up and being there, without them we wouldn’t be able to do this from the beginning. I think all the guys and girls that were kind of negative about this from the beginning will soon be blown away by how good Jesse actually is and how this band is going to be.
METAL EXILES: I think you are spot on!
METAL EXILES: Honestly, I think in the short time Jesse has been there and then hearing the stuff you guys put out on your web site, I think he brings a higher level of energy and is a better vocalist. There’s always going to be the negative vibe from some, you can’t control that but you know what, you guys are going to gain a lot more of a fan base and get to the next level with him. Congratulations in getting him so quickly and such a talented singer.
Jacki Stone: Thanks man, we are excited to have him.
METAL EXILES: Jacki, you are a very talented drummer at a young age. When did you start playing the drums? I think you started in the 4th grade back in Falkenberg when you hooked up with Nicki, right?
Jacki Stone: Thanks William. Yeah, I remember actually, when we were like 11 years old and my brother and I actually rented a drum kit from our Uncle to have in my room over the summer. That’s the first time I started playing drums, that summer, and we invited all our friends. Everyday there were like 10-15 kids in my room, and we just started jamming on the drum set and a little amp guitar that was out of tune. Everybody had a great time. After that I didn’t play at all until Nicki and I started our first band at 13.
METAL EXILES: What was the name of your first band, do you remember?
Jacki Stone: Yeah, the first band that Nicki and I started that was really a band was called Revenge which later became Whiplash. We were playing around in our hometown, and got pretty well known as a local band over there at a young age, which was really cool. We played with that band until the start of VAINS OF JENNA. We’ve been playing together ever since we were 13, which is really cool.
METAL EXILES: From a drumming perspective, who are your greatest influences?
Jacki Stone: I’ve got to say the one that I would mention is Dave Grohl. From my perspective and right now for my age, he’s still around and he’s hard hitting, pretty simple drumming, and he’s one of the best drummers ever. I got a lot of influence from him and of course you’ve got Keith Moon and John Bonham, the ones that everybody loves pretty much. So, I would say Dave Grohl is my biggest influence. I listen to all kinds of music and all kinds of drumming; I try to not stick to anything special like a drummer above all. I’m just trying to do everything for the band, not too much flashy stuff for me or we would probably destroy the song.
METAL EXILES: Interesting take on Dave Grohl, I see that. If you look at the latest record there is a lot of diversity on that from song-to-song and your drumming drives a lot of that. Like you said you don’t want to get stuck in one genre and you’re definitely not. You’re an incredibly talented drummer, that’s an interesting take.
Jacki Stone: Wow, thank you very much man.
METAL EXILES: As you guys gear up for the European Tour , when do you plan to return back to the states and take Jesse out on the road here? Any formal plans as of yet?
Jacki Stone: We had a plan for the Europe thing, we had 6 weeks booked for shows in Europe where we are going to be in April throughout May and then come back here. Then when this happened with Lizzy, we realized, let’s go to Europe for a little longer time and try to be there over the summer. You know, we haven’t been in Europe over the summer since we’ve been here and there are a lot of good festivals going on in Europe. So the plan right now is to be in Europe for at least 3 months. After that we’ll see, it might be 6 months, 9 months, 12 months you know.
METAL EXILES: Don’t stay over there that long! You got to get back over back here. There are a lot of US fans that want to see you guys with Jesse, including me.
Jacki Stone: (Laughing)….Thanks William. I think it will be between 3 and 6 months until we come back again. We definitely want to go on tour and play for people and that’s why we’re in a band. We love touring and playing music. We don’t really know either when we are going into the studio again. We might be going to the studio in Sweden and record some songs with Jesse and put out an EP later this year.
METAL EXILES: I was going to ask you about that. Obviously, you want to ride and enjoy the success of “The Art Of Telling Lies”, but now you have an opportunity with Jesse as your new lead singer to do some studio work. Great idea on going the EP route initially with him to get the message out! Have you guys started writing any new material yet?
Jacki Stone: Nikki is the main song writer in the band, he’s been writing for us for a long time and me and J.P. are writing stuff as well before this happened. We have some material that we are working on and we’d like Jesse to come into the writing process as well because we’re that kind of band. We’re not a band that says “no you can’t do that”, we want Jesse to be involved in the song writing, he’s a member of VAINS OF JENNA. As far as the song writing goes we haven’t been trying to do something new in the last weeks. We’ve been working on the songs we already have to kick off the European tour. It’s getting a bit stressful and there has been a lot of hard work over the last few weeks. When everything calms down a little bit in between shows in Europe we’ll start to work on new material and try to demo stuff and eventually go into the studio whether it’s going to be an EP or full length album, I don’t know but something like that.
METAL EXILES: Jacki, I want to thank you sincerely for your time and the opportunity to spend some time with you today. You know I am a VAINS OF JENNA fan myself and wish you guys the absolute best and much success. Congrats on all your achievements and on your new lead singer Jesse Forte, keep doing what you guys do best man!
Jacki Stone: Thank you so very much man. It’s awesome to have someone like yourself who supports us so much. It’s been great and a lot of fun William.
BUY THE ART OF TELLING LIES!