Hank III…Risin’ Outlaw

Hank III

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Hank III was born Shelton Hank Williams on December 12, 1972.  He plays the guitar, bass, drums, banjo and keyboard.  He also sings and can actually yodel.  His style alternates between country, punk and metal.  He has a solo career, a band named Assjack, drummer for Arson Anthem and was bassist for Pantera singer Phil Anselmo‘s band, Superjoint Ritual.

For the most part, Hank III keeps his personal life personal and he doesn’t get involved in politics.  His appearance bears an uncanny resemblance to his grandfather, Hank Williams Sr.  He is tall, lanky, has a  thin face and the exact facial characteristics as his granddaddy.

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Hank III had to grow up with an absent father, Hank Williams Jr.  Hank Jr. took to drinkin’, drugs, and womanizing.  This left III dealing with parental divorce, moving a lot, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and drug and alcohol abuse.  Living with his name hasn’t been easy either.  Battling alcohol, drugs and his name is a constant in his life.  Onstage, when he is brought a shot of whiskey, he takes it.  He says, “I’ll always pick it up and shoot it right down.  That will always get the biggest crowd response of the night.  Then I’ll hold up the empty glass and say, ‘Thank you for applauding my addiction!'”  Lots of people challenge his name and all he says is, “It’s right there on my birth certificate, I’m not a fake.”

Growing up, he found comfort in music.  He began listening to KISS and Ted Nugent but later developed a taste for bands like the Dead Kennedys and the Misfits.  As a teenager he was a drummer in the grunge bands Buzzkill, Bedwetter and Rift.  He hardly ever talked about his family.  “I cared about drumming and playing punk music.  I hated country music with a passion.  I hated any kind of music that was commercial.  That was the enemy.”

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Hank III has always been seen in thrift-shop clothes consisting of t-shirts and blue jeans.  He’s never cared too much for outward appearances or money.  Instead, he chooses to let his music speak for him.  He’s NEVER seen a dime of the family fortune either.  “I ain’t never seen no money from anyone, but I ain’t asked for it either.”, he said.  His mom, Gwen Williams, was Hank Jr.’s second wife.  They split up when III was very young.  By age 11, he and his mom moved to Atlanta, Georgia.  After the move, he barely saw his father.  In an interview in 2000 he said, “I never saw him much.  I can see why.  He was drinkin’ and druggin’ and being with women-being Bocephus.  I got to go out on the road with him a couple of times, but after a while you could tell he didn’t want me around, that I was gettin’ in his way.”  Soon after Atlanta, they moved to North Carolina and by age 15 he was back in Nashville.  He graduated high school at age 19 and moved in with a family friend after his mom moved to California.

At age 20 he was sued by a girl who claimed he got her pregnant when he was 17.  He took a blood test and got a $24,000 judgement in court.  He wasn’t making much money, $25 per show, but he did the right thing by his child.  He knew he had to make more money though.  He teamed up with Jack McFadden to set off a career.  He paid the money the court ordered him to.  This was the moment, after changing his hair, clothes and playing country music, that he changed his opinion about country music.  Risin’ Outlaw, his debut album, sounds eerily identical to his grandfather.  Reviews were good and both rock and country music lovers liked it.

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In 1999 his family and friends, including Hank Jr. and Waylon Jennings, came together for an intervention.  They persuaded him to enter a drug and alcohol rehab program.  Rehab wasn’t very successful.  He has said, “I finally just told Waylon and my dad, ‘Look, you have to give me time to max out.  I’m just doing the same thing you fuckers did.  I’m going to keep a limit on it a little bit.'”

Playing both rock and country truly makes him happy.  He is glad to do both and says, “The good thing is the rock crowds like hearing me play rock and country.  But the country crowds only want to hear country and that’s all.  I can’t help it that the rock crowds are more open-minded–and the girls are prettier.”  I found that funny as hell!

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If you haven’t heard his music or much of it…you should!

Albums

Three Hanks: Men With Broken Hearts- the 3 generations of Williams men singing alongside one another

Risin’ Outlaw

Thrown out of the Bar and Straight to Hell- Curb Records wouldn’t release Thrown out of the Bar and ended up in court.  A judge ruled in III’s favor.  They came to terms and it was reworked into Straight to Hell.

Damn Right Rebel Proud

Lovesick Broke & Driftin’

Assjack- a punk-metal album

Rebel Within- charted at #20 in Billboard Magazine

Curb Records released This Ain’t Country under the title Hillbilly Joker without the consent or imput from Hank III after his contract was terminated.  III told his fans, “Don’t buy it, but get it some other way and burn the hell out of it and give it to everyone.”

Ghost to a Ghost/Gutter Town- a 2 disc country record

3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’

Attention Deficit Domination

Curb also released Long Gone Daddy after he was gone.

Brothers of the 4×4

A Fiendish Threat

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I recently had the chance to go see Hank III.  And let me tell ya, he sticks to what he says!  He does his own thing and rocks out.  He seems like such a down-to-Earth kinda guy who doesn’t take shit from anyone.  He doesn’t follow trends or bow down to the music industry.  Personally, I think this is the way we should all be…making our own path and holding our heads high.
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Music…the power it holds

Music…so many different kinds of sounds, beats, lyrics.  There are several genres out there that suit every individual specifically.  Music has the ability to reach deep down inside a person.  It can lift you up when you’re down.  It can make you feel strength when you’re at the end of your rope.  Feelings have a way of surfacing when music is involved.  Memories can come flooding back by a few simple lyrics.

Music can make you feel…

alive, free, confident, relaxed, fortunate, calm, frisky, love, enraged, sympathy, unique, perplexed, determination, bold, uncertain, daring… just to name a few!  Music can make you look at things in a different light.  You may be involved in a situation that leaves you feeling lost and alone and one song could show you another path or give you the strength to see it through to the end.  Some songs make you laugh, some make you cry and some songs make you scream out loud!

I’ve got a list of songs to share.  I just scrolled through my music so that’s why they are in alphabetical order and not in order of “favorites”.

American Trilogy (Elvis)-  This song makes me smile on those long rough days.  I remember my Daddy singing this song.

Bad Touch (Bloodhound Gang)-  This is definitely a giggle song!  I laugh out loud when listening to this.  It reminds me of my brother.  He sings this song with some purpose!  Haha  And he somehow knows all the words yet I get tongue-tied trying.

Bitch (Meredith Brooks)-  I know I know…this song is old and worn out!  But on those days when I’m having woman issues I turn this song up really loud and scream it rather than sing it!

Bohemian Rhapsody and Fat Bottom Girls (Queen)-  Funny songs that bring on a good laugh!

Born to Boogie (Hank Williams Jr.)-  This song brings back memories!  When I was little my Mom had this song on a record.  I would play it every Sunday night.  The best part about it was that I would drag my little brother upstairs and dress him up like a girl and then send him marching downstairs to put on a show for my parents!

Boys of Fall (Kenny Chesney)-  This one reminds me of highschool.  I come from a small town where highschool football was the highlight of Friday nights.  Several of my friends were on the football team and, as an athlete myself, we lived for game days and wearing our jerseys down the halls at school.

Cedartown, Georgia (Waylon Jennings)-  At first, this song was a funny one…well it still is but it never had a memory connected to it until I got married.  Right after my husband and I got married we said our goodbyes to family members and left in his truck.  This song is the one that was playing as we were pulling out of the parking lot!  I’m not sure if the Ipod was on shuffle or not (hahaha) but it made for one hell of a funny memory!

Elvira (Oak Ridge Boys)-  Another funny one shared between siblings!  My brother and I used to sing this one to the top of our lungs.  There is one part of the song we loved and would try to sing as low and we could…too hilarious!

Eye of the Tiger (Foreigner)-  Two things make this song one of my favorites.  My daughter loves this song.  She does her little rocker face whenever she hears it!  It is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.  The other reason I love this song is the feeling I get from it.  I always picture the Rocky movies, of course, and I get this “kick butt feeling”!  I feel like I can take on the world!

Fall (Clay Walker)-  This song makes me sit back and think.  It’s a song from a man to a woman.  He is letting her know that she can “fall” into him when she needs him.  He understands that women cry, sometimes for nothing at all, and feel strong emotions when things aren’t that serious…but sometimes all we need is a shoulder to lean on.  It’s one of those songs that makes us women feel better.

Four Rusted Horses (Marilyn Manson)- I’m not sure why but this song is awesome!  I like a lot of his songs, but this one makes me relax…unless I’m driving and then it makes me speed a little!

Georgia Peaches (Lynyrd Skynyrd)-  Well, I’m a Georgia Peach myself…so this song hits home with me!  There’s one line in the song that makes me and my husband laugh everytime…inside joke that I don’t wanna share!  Sorry!

Mama Tried (Merle Haggard)-  Oldie but goodie here!  I also think of the movie “The Strangers” every time I hear it.  Love love love that movie!

More I Drink (Blake Shelton)-  Definitely a song that reminds me of my husband!  He is such a hoot, especially after a few drinks and he gets on a roll!  Love it!

Nothing Else Matters (Metallica)-  I hear this song and I think of my husband.  I think about our marriage and the fact that he is the best friend I have ever had.  When the world doesn’t seem fair and stress seems to take over, nothing else matters but us and our love for each other.  I feel calm and secure when I hear this song.

Psycho Killer (Talking Heads)-  Ok, I am laughing while trying to type this!  This song makes me laugh out loud and I have no idea why.  It turns my mood around in a second!

Smoky Mountain Rain (Ronnie Milsap)-  This song brings back a memory about my Mom.  I remember being little and dancing around the living room with her.  She would put this on after my nap or while cleaning the house and we would dance and laugh together.

Stand By Your Man (Tammy Wynette)-  This is just one of those songs that my husband and I share.  Take a listen and see what ya think.

Summertime (Kenny Chesney)-  I love this song!  I immediately think of summer, 1999, beach trip to Florida, acting like a fool teenager and having the time of my life!

Well, I think that list is long enough!  I love music and I wish more people would focus on the lyrics and the feelings they bring.  Instead of blaming music or musicians for bad things, I think everyone should lean on music sometimes and see what it really has to offer.