ST. AUGUSTINE, FL (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Duane Roland, one of the original guitarists in Jacksonville-based Southern rock band Molly Hatchet, died last week at his home in St. Augustine, Florida, of natural causes. He was 53.
Mr. Roland, a native of Evansville, Ind., played with the band from its formation in 1976 until 1990. He also played with the Southern Rock Allstars and was in a band called Gator Country, which included many of the early members of Molly Hatchet.
"He had a heart as big as Texas and a talent twice that big," said singer Jimmy Farrar, who performed with Mr. Roland in all three bands. "Not only was he a colleague but he was one of the best friends I ever had and he will be sorely missed."
Drummer Bruce Crump said Mr. Roland was the anchor of Molly Hatchet during the 1980s, a time when the band's lineup was constantly changing. "During all that time, Duane was the constant," said Crump. "I can't imagine playing Molly Hatchet music without Duane Roland. It just wouldn't be the same."
Roland was one of three guitarists in the original lineup of Molly Hatchet and is credited with co-writing some of the band's biggest hits, including Bloody Reunion and Boogie No More. He left the band in 1990.
He is survived by a daughter. A private funeral was scheduled.