Skinny Molly

 


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Biography

Skinny Molly was founded in 2004 by Mike Estes (formerly of Lynyrd Skynyrd) Dave Hlubek (formerly of Molly Hatchet) and drummer Kurt Pietro. What was meant to be a one off tour of Europe has turned into one of the hardest working and popular rock bands out of the southern United States. Skinny Molly now includes guitarist Jay Johnson, and bassist Luke Bradshaw. This line up has toured relentlessly, crossing the States and three continents on the strength of their "No Good Deed" debut CD, which has established the band as popular touring outfit across Europe. They are now poised for success on their home turf with their forthcoming CD "Haywire Riot" slated for a late June 2010 release. The first single from the CD is entitled "Mr. President" and is available here at skinnymollyrocks.com first, for the band's biggest fans!

Mike Estes (Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals)

Mike’s band, Helen Highwater (named by Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Allen Collins) had played just about every club and had opened for almost every national Southern rock and Outlaw country band throughout the Southeast and Midwest for ten years. While in high school, Mike became friends with the guys in the Rossington Collins Band (founded by Skynyrd plane crash survivors) who had decided to do the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Tour in 1987, bringing Helen Highwater on to open some shows for them. In 1992 Mike began going on the road with Skynyrd to write songs for an upcoming album, and signed a publishing deal with Skynyrd guitarist Ed King’s company I Can’t Read Music. He had been writing for six months when he was asked to join the band as guitarist. Mike spent the next three years touring, writing and recording with his favorite band, appearing on the ’94 Capricorn release “Endangered Species” 1995’s live recording, “Southern Knights” and the “100 Minutes with Lynyrd Skynyrd” video. After moving to Tennessee in 1995, Mike co wrote a song with Johnny VanZant and Gary Rossington for Sony Music’s “Hotter Than Asphalt” CD called “White Knuckle Ride” that broke the Billboard charts. In 2006 the song was used in a CMT original movie called “True Grit: The Junior Johnson Story” as well as in the video game released in conjunction with the Disney/Pixar movie “Cars” also released in 2006. Since leaving Skynyrd, Mike has released two CD’s; Drivin’ Sideways and Brave New South, logged over 200 European dates, and has appeared on many major European TV and radio music shows. Mike has written for and produced songs for artists in the States as well as Europe. In the States, Mike has appeared on HBO, CMT, CNN, MTV, VH-1 and others. He has been profiled in “Guitar Player”, “Guitar”, “Acoustic Musician”, and other major music magazines, and was inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame in 1995. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

Kurt Pietro (Drums)

Kurt started playing sixteen years ago at his parent’s house, playing along with records that featured his favorite drummers, including Jakson Spires of Blackfoot, Tommy Aldridge, and Tommy Lee of Motley Crue. Kurt had spent six years in the proverbial woodshed when a friend of his neighbors overheard him practicing and asked him if he would like to join a band. Kurt accepted, and spent a few years playing clubs and casinos with the band Crystal, as well as doing studio work around the Marquette, Michigan area. Kurt attended Northern Michigan University where he majored in broadcasting and music. This led Kurt to a gig working in Omni Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, where he met Mike Estes. Mike was in need of someone to overdub a drum part. Kurt mentioned that he played drums. He knocked out the part and is now smashing the skins for Skinny Molly.

Jay Johnson (Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals)

Jay Johnson began his professional music career at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio as a session guitarist for Malaco Records artist Mary Burns. Since that time Johnson has evolved into a broad spectrum musician, songwriter, producer and audio engineer. Johnson co-founded the popular regional act RADIO TOKYO in 1986, leading to performing as a member of THE ROSSINGTON BAND from 1986-89. That band performed for over a million music fans in that time, most notably during the LYNYRD SKYNYRD TRIBUTE TOUR in those years, releasing two major label LPs and appearing on the Lynyrd Skynyrd video movie from the same tours. 1994 saw a merging of forces as Johnson teamed with BLACKFOOT drummer Jakson Spires and MOLLY HATCHET guitarist Dave Hlubek to form the SOUTHERN ROCK ALLSTARS, which toured extensively in the US, Mexico and Europe and still continues to perform today. The SRA band released three CD's on the Tazer label and a live DVD showcasing its many influential band members. Johnson also served as lead vocalist and guitarist for classic rock powerhouse BLACKFOOT and appears on the latest DVD release from that band, “Train Train: Southern Rock’s Best Live”. Johnson performed many shows alongside Mike Estes and the two showed off their lighter and funnier sides with several acoustic duo tours in the UK and USA.

Luke Bradshaw (Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals)

Bassist Luke Bradshaw was born in Peoria, Illinois and raised in northern Arkansas. He had a love for music at an early age, but it wasn’t until he turned 15 that he found his love for the bass. Luke was primarily influenced by Leon Wilkeson of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allen Woody of Gov’t Mule and the Allman Brothers, but has spent a lot of career playing with country and bluegrass legends. He has now found a home for his aggressive, floor stomping style with Skinny Molly. Luke has played with a variety of Artists including American Idol’s Bo Bice, Grand Ole Opry Star George Hamilton IV and Al Perkins (from Emmylou Harris‘s band). He has played upright and electric bass with bluegrass artists Bobby Hicks (Bill Monroe), Paul Brewster (Ricky Skaggs) and was a member of the legendary Jesse McReynolds and the Virginia Boys, with whom he performed on the Grand Ole Opry dozens of times. Bradshaw has played all over the United States including the Ryman Auditorium, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, USO shows in Alaska, and world famous Nashville venues The Ernest Tubb Record Shop, and B.B. King’s. “Not very often are you fortunate enough to play with your heroes“, Bradshaw says, “but to play in Skinny Molly with Mike Estes is a great honor for me. I have been a big fan of his work and it’s truly exciting to share the stage with him and do something I enjoy so much.”

 

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