Phil McCormack, lead singer of Southern rock mainstays Molly Hatchet, has died at age 58.
The group confirmed the news on Monday (April 29) via their official Facebook page, writing, “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.”
A cause of death and details about when McCormack passed were not availble at press time.
McCormack’s family shared a remembrance of the singer on Sunday. “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,” they wrote. “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.”
McCormack — who previously performed in The Roadducks and Savoy Brown — joined the Southern rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1971 in 1995, taking over for longtime singer Danny Joe Brown, who passed away in 2005. With his gritty, soulful voice, McCormack became the band’s official full-time lead singer in 1995 and fronted the group until his death, appearing on seven albums, including 1996’s Devil’s Canyon, 2000’s Kingdom of XII and 2012’s covers album Regrinding the Axes.
Often associated with such similar-minded acts as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Marshall Tucker Band and .38 Special, Molly Hatchet is best known for such hits as “Flirtin’ With Disaster” and “Whiskey Man,” as well the sword and sorcery-style comic art from such beloved artists as Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo.
The Roadducks also released a statement honoring McCormack, writing, “Phil was a fabulous, singer, band mate, brother, and human being. Collectively we spent thousands of hours that turned into thousands of days together, creating an unbreakable bond few people are fortunate enough to ever experience… I will close with lyrics from one of our all time favorite songs. A song I will always hear Phil singing ‘Won’t you bury me with my chaps on, and my six-gun by my side …hidin in the Desert Skies.” [“Desert Skies” Marshall Tucker Band.]
Listen to “Rainbow Bridge” from 2005’s Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge below.