GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Bobby Ingram was supposed to spend the day making music when the first of four hijacked airliners started crashing in the country’s worst terrorist attack. But like everyone …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Bobby Ingram was supposed to spend the day making music when the first of four hijacked airliners started crashing in the country’s worst terrorist attack. But like everyone else, he was distracted by the horror and destruction of created by 19 men who were hellbent of bringing the country to its knees.
One thing didn’t change, though. Ingram and Molly Hatchet were on stage as promised a couple days later.
“I was getting ready to go into the studio down there at TransContinental [Studios],” the longtime lead guitarist said. “That’s the place where NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys, Brittany Spears and all of them have been in. We were working on songs down there.
“I saw that on TV early in the morning. A plane had just hit the World Trade Center. I couldn’t believe it. I remember looking at it and thinking ‘This is strange. What’s the chance of that happening?’ I was in shock, and definitely, when the second plane hit, I knew we were under attack. We didn’t know what was going on then. I was in disbelief of what I was seeing; I was in belief of what I was seeing. You’re looking at live TV. My heart sank. I felt so hurt for all those thousands of people who were dying. You’re watching this building coming down. I remember thinking, ‘How many people am I looking at dying right now?’ It was surreal.
“It wasn’t like being there, but it still felt the same. I was torn up. My heart went out to all of those people who were dying and their families. They said we were under attack. I wasn’t too concerned with the emotional aspect of it. It changed my life, that’s for sure.”
But it didn’t change his band’s resolve. He left his home near Green Cove Springs for a gig less than two days after planes slammed into both World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing 2,977 people,
“We’ve always flirted with disaster,” Ingram said. “Terrorists weren’t going to stop Molly Hatchet.”
When Ingram arrived in Atlanta for his connecting flight to Dallas, he said, “There was maybe five people, 10 people, tops, in the whole airport.” The band played its show on Friday night in Texas and another show on Saturday. And, COVID-19 permitting, they’ve been playing since.
Ingram will be back on the road this Friday night with a concert in Savannah, followed by shows in Charleston, West Virginia, on Saturday and Hopewell, Virginia, on Sunday. Cowering to terrorists, even in light of possible threats created by the 20-year anniversary of the attacks and the recent withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, will never keep the band from its popular licks like “Gator County,” “Dreams I’ll Never See,” “Whiskey Man,” “Bounty Hunter” and “Flirtin’ with Disaster.”
“Hey, we’re not afraid of you terrorists,” Ingram said. “Come get us! That’s the way we thought. You think you’re all big and bad and stuff, but you don’t mess with Molly Hatchet. Bring it on. That was our mindset. We’re still going to be out here
The band also supports the troops. It played in the United Arab Emirates shortly after the attack. It also maintains a schedule that often includes playing at military bases around the world.
“Played the Air Force base in the United Arab Emirates. We played for our troops,” Ingram said. “It was 120 degrees in the shade. We went over there in June during Ramadan of all things. We flew into the Abu Dhabi airport and the military picked us up. We went on the base. We played a real concert for all the troops.
“We saw firsthand how dangerous it is over there. The drone strike that was sent last week [during the Afghanistan withdrawal], we were on that airfield when we were there. That’s how close we were to Afghanistan. We flew right over Baghdad on the way in. We had a little cookout for the troops. It was a heartfelt time with all of our military.”
The U.S. Army approached Ingram years ago for permission to use the image of the band’s 1978 album cover of a knight atop a black stallion as the image to represent its Marauder unit in the Middle East.
“We’re not afraid,” Ingram said. “We’re going to carry on with our shows. You’re not going to terrorize this band. In our own little way, we were standing up to all of them.
“You’re not going to take Molly Hatchet out.”