Former Molly Hatchet bassist Banner Thomas dead at 63

Banner Thomas
Banner Thomas (Image credit: C.W. Hooper)

Former Molly Hatchet bassist Banner Thomas has died at the age of 63, it’s been announced.

The news was confirmed on the band’s Facebook page, although no official cause of death has been given.

Molly Hatchet say in a statement: “Molly Hatchet bassist, Banner Thomas passed away this morning. Banner played on the first four Molly Hatchet albums, including the hit Flirtin’ With Disaster.

“He left the band and was replaced by Riff West, also deceased, who played on the next five albums. Tim Lindsey has been the bassist for nearly 15 years and continues to carry the torch forward.

“Our prayers and condolences extend to Banner’s family and friends. RIP.”

Thomas joined founding member Dave Hlubek in 1974 and went on to appear on 1978’s Molly Hatchet, 1979’s Flirtin’ With Disaster, 1980’s Beatin’ The Odds and 1981’s Take No Prisoners.

He left the band in 1981 and explained the reasons behind his decision in a 2002 interview.

He told RTJ Webzine: “We all started thinking we were stars, and that drove wedges into the cracks that started forming.

“I was as guilty as anybody else. I got into an argument with Dave Hlubek, got mad, and quit. Do I regret it today? Yes and no. I’m sorry I quit the way I did, when I did, but it looks like I picked a good time to get out.

“Not long after, under pressure from management and the record company to produce more hit singles, the band started to lose its identity, and started to look like Loverboy. I’m glad I wasn’t there for that.”

Last month, Thomas shared news on Facebook that he was recovering from pneumonia in both lungs and had a sinus infection, bronchospasms and tachycardia.

Original Molly Hatchet drummer Bruce Crump died in March 2015 at the age of 57.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.