rehearsal and I was scared to death but Danny showed and they played the show without me. I was hanging out back stage by the trucks and the guys came back and Danny was with them. He looked at me. When our eyes met, I knew he knew who I was and what I was doing there and that was his last show with them.

When was this first show and how long before you went in to record Beatin' the Odds? That first show was May the 9th, I think, and we went in the studio in July in Orlando.

When you took this job did you think you were in it forever or did you have in your mind that at any time Danny Joe could come back? Well, nothing in music is certain. So, yeah, I knew he could come back but I decided to do the best I could and put my mark on the music and do it my way. I did not try to be Danny. I sang the song with my heart and soul and I hope the fans felt it.

So what was your first gig with them? Well, we practiced for four or five days and then played in front of 20,000 high school seniors.

How did that show go? And what were you feeling, going from playing in bars to being in front of 20,000? Well, after I got my breath it was fine, but I was nervous for a minute or two. We got done and I was the last one down the stairs and Dave was standing there and he grabbed me and kissed me dead on the mouth and said, "Boy, you did it, you pulled it off."

What about the fans that night - how did they react? Did they know you weren't Danny Joe? They went crazy. They knew who I was, and they accepted me right off and it was a great show - one of our best. There were very few places where folks were not happy, but not many, and it was a wonderful time for me.

That's the one thing I have to say as a fan - you sang the old songs your way and never tried to be Danny Joe and for that I respected you. So what was the first song you wrote with the band? Well, the first song I wrote with the guys was "The Rambler". That's what was so good about Molly Hatchet - the whole band wrote and like on "Beatin The Odds," every member had a hand in some of the writing and it was a total band effort. On "The Rambler," they came up with the music and it took me about 20 minutes to come up with the words. I have to be inspired to write a song and it has to mean something or you are just stringing a bunch of words together that have no mean- ing. That is, to me, what set Southern Rock apart from all other music. The songs are not just words written on a piece of paper; they each represent something that the person who wrote it has lived and I think the fans can relate to that. Music, to mean something, must be 'familiar to the heart' of the listener. They have to have lived it to love it or at least it has to be presented in a way for you to feel like you have lived it for it to mean anything.

How did you try to relate with the peo-

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