June 4, 2004 - Steel Music Hall - Rochester, NY

Those that know me understand my love of Punk, Metal, and "Old School" Country. I grew up listening to Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, KISS, The Sex Pistols, Social Distortion, Black Sabbath, The Ramones, Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys, Earnest Tubbs, and many more. Many of these bands had members that have gone on to do different styles of music. But, of all the people and bands I listen to, only one man gets mad respect all the way across the boards. With his hands in so many genres of music, it is easy to understand why I chose Hank Williams III as part of the HeroQuest Campaign. I met up with him at Steel Music Hall in Rochester, NY.

Shelton Hank Williams III was born December 12, 1972, in Nashville, TN. As the grandson of Hank Williams and the son of Hank Jr., he was automatically country music royalty. But, don't let that fool you. While his name, face, and haunting vocal resemblance to his famous grandfather almost guaranteed him a thriving country audience, he had no patience for "Plastic Nashville" and what bean-counting record executives were trying to pass off as Country music.
Inspired more by bands like Black Flag, The Misfits, and Motorhead, Hank III, or just "III" as he is known to fans, spent the next few years playing drums in various Punk and Hardcore bands. During that time he was smoking weed and drinking in a manner that seemed to have been inspired by the two Hanks that had come before him. Both his father and his grandfather went through well publicized battles with drugs and alcohol.
In 1996, Hank III was served with court papers demanding child support for a child that was the result of a one-night stand in 1993. It was at that time he signed a contract with Curb Records. Curb released an album titled Three Hanks: Men With Broken Hearts.
Through the miracle of technology, the record featured all three generations of Hanks singing together in much the same way as the Natalie Cole record that features her singing with her late father Nat King Cole. Hank III hated it and it signaled the beginning of his stormy relationship with Curb.
In September of 1999, Curb released Hank III's debut album: Risin' Outlaw. As soon as it was released, Hank III downplayed the entire record as a label-controlled fiasco. The album featured 13 country tracks that including songs written by Wayne "The Train" Hancock. Although Hank III and his Damn Band could hold their own against any country band with their spirited honky tonk, it was not exactly what Hank III had in mind. III could just as easily shift gears into his hard-rocking combo AssJack.
Williams also appeared at the 2001 Van's Warped Tour alongside punks like Rancid. The next few years were spent touring and trying like mad to be released from his Curb contract. In early 2002, Hank and his Damn Band released Lovesick, Broke & Driftin'. While Risin' Outlaw had featured songs from outside writers, the new album was all Hank III originals with the exception of a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Atlantic City." He produced, recorded, and mixed it all by his lonesome in just two weeks.

Hank's relationship with Curb became even more strained after that time. In 2003, the label refused to release his third honky tonk album Thrown Out of the Bar and the appropriately named This Ain't Country LP, which featured songs like "Life of Sin" and "Hellbilly". Curb also refused to grant Hank III the rights to issue them on his own. Hank III and Curb Records went head-to-head over the issues and wound up at a legal standstill. III fueled the hatred of Curb by selling "Fuck Curb" T-shirts through his thriving website. (Hank3.com) To satisfy fan demand, III has also issued extremely limited-edition "official bootleg" releases through his website often in quantities of 100 or less. As if playing honky tonk with the Damn Band and the harcore AssJack were not enough to keep him busy, III also handles bass playing duties in one of the Heaviest Metal bands on Earth: Superjoint Ritual, which is the brutal side project of former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo.
Before the show I sat down with III and we had a great interview. We talked about his heritage, his work and more. We puffed a fat one (see photos...lol) and had a GREAT time. During the show, III dedicated the song "If The Shoe Fits" to me, which happens to be my favorite song off of Risin' Outlaw. As he started the song, he shouted out, "This goes out to you... motherfucker: Tom Around The God Damned World!" Then he pointed me out, shook my hand in front of everyone, and launched into the song! It rocked!!!
By the way, five years after its release, he was still wearing the same beaten and battered boots that are on the cover of Risin' Outlaw wrapped in duct tape. The heels are nearly gone and his toes poke out though the holes in the tape, but III doesn't seem to care. He'll probably still be wearing them five years from now. After the country set, most of the older fans left, and let me tell you, there were a LOT of Blue-Haired old ladies there. The band took a break and then III & company returned for the set by AssJack. The night was incredible. If you ever get a chance to meet one of your heroes, I recommend it. It was an awesome experience.
He was a blast to talk with and was incredibly personable. He is the Real Deal...Genuine and without equal. It is with great pleasure that I give you this interview with Hank Williams III.The interview is thirty-two minutes long in mp3 format and sounds wonderful. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it.

Hank III Site

Click to Download

Superjoint Ritual Site

Steel Music Hall Site

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