Apr. 26, 2019: Molly Hatchet Lead Singer Phil McCormack Dies

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Phil McCormack via Molly Hatchet’s Facebook page

Phil McCormack, the lead singer for Molly Hatchet for over two decades, died April 26, 2019. The band announced his death in a brief statement on their Facebook page. McCormack was 58; no details regarding the cause of death or location were revealed.

On the night of his death, the band performed a concert in Stafford, Tex. with singer Jimmy Elkins. According to a report, McCormack had been having health problems, with Elkins filling in for him for a while. That same report noted that the group was not aware that McCormack had died until after their performance.

Elkins continued with the band as their next lead vocalist.

On April 28, 2019, the McCormack family shared a tribute with the Molly Hatchet Facebook book:

Phil has been a member of Molly Hatchet for more than 20 years, having performed in exotic locations such as Dubai, Munich, Sturgis, Okinawa, as well as smaller stages. Wherever he performed he gave his all.

Phil loved his audiences and they loved him. Molly Hatchet fans know how much time Phil spent with them before and after each show. He loved meeting people and sharing time with them.

Being on stage was where Phil felt at home. He connected with his audiences, fully tuned into the moment he was sharing with them. He was living his dream, a dream he never took for granted.

Phil was amazed at how many loyal fans he saw year after year. That meant a lot to him. You meant a lot to him.

Beyond the stage he was a multi-layered person—free spirit, high octane social presence, nonstop jokester, kind person who made time for others, self-destructive tendencies but a generous spirit…he was an open book. What you see is what you get.

He left us too soon, but his legacy lives on in his music, his friends, his fans and the friends he didn’t get the chance to meet.

As Phil’s siblings, we have loved the journey we’ve shared as a family. Seeing Phil live his dream has been a blessing for us. We already feel the loss and will miss him every day.

We also thank the Molly Hatchet family—the band members, the crew and especially the fans—for being such a big part of his life. You brought so much joy to Phil. Words cannot express our appreciation.

Life goes on. Phil’s legacy goes on as well through his music, his loved ones, the moments he shared and thee friends that he made.

Best wishes,
Dan McCormack
Kathi McCormack
Pat McCormack
Barry McCormack

Here’s the band’s complete statement from April 27, 2019: “It is with great sorrow to announce the passing of our friend and band member, Phil McCormack. Our condolences and prayers go out to his family during this time of loss. Phil’s contributions to Molly Hatchet were heard around the world. He will be missed but never forgotten.”

McCormack first joined the Southern rock legends in the early ’90s. He became their full-time lead vocalist in 1995 replacing the group’s long time singer Danny Joe Brown.

Watch McCormack sing lead on the band’s signature song

The Molly Hatchet family suffered heavy losses in three successive years. In 2017, Dave Hlubek, their founder, lead guitarist and co-writer of many songs including “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” died of a heart attack on September 3, 2017.

On April 10, 2017, bassist Banner Thomas, an early member of the Southern rock band, died at age 60.

And on October 29, 2018, Jimmy Farrar died at 67 due to congestive heart failure. Farrar served as the band’s vocalist from 1980-82, singing on the group’s Beatin’ the Odds and Take No Prisoners albums.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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  1. fred
    #1 fred 2 May, 2019, 12:14

    wow! kind of hard to do that hatchet swing back and forth by yourself, huh, bobby? maybe somebody should teach john to play guitar so at least the 1 original member is out front more.

    R.I.P. phil. you weren’t DJB, but you were a darn good replacement.

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