I first interviewed Hank 3 back in 2007 (see Hank Williams 3 interview 9/07) and he opened up, talking about his music career, dealing with others who want to be part of his “Family Tradition” and his life growing up in a bloodline that is legendary in music. Since then, he has continued putting out a diverse array of music including 4 new releases in 2011; “Attention Deficit Domination,” “3 Bar Ranch: Cattle Callin,” and “Ghost To A Ghost/Guttertown.” TEN recently phoned Hank 3 to catch up and he once again shared stories from the past, present and his future.
The Entertainment Nexus– Hi Shelton, how are ya?
Hank 3– Doin good man!
TEN– Do you have time for an interview?
Hank 3– Yea, you know it!
TEN– You’ve been really busy lately and I just want to bring people up to speed since our last interview. You’ve released four CDs last year.
Hank 3– Yea, were still touring those and tryin to break even and all that stuff, man.
TEN– The CDs seem to span country music all the way to speed and thrash music.
Hank 3– A little bit of everything. A lot of people have written about my diversity but it’s not really been heard all at once. I’m just trying a different approach. I’m trying to change things up in the music business and do something that is not as average.
TEN– Do you prefer to play one type of music over another?
Hank 3– No, that’s what makes me different. If I was just a “rock guy” I wouldn’t have the unique fan base that I have. If I was just a “country guy” it still wouldn’t be the same. I think doing a little bit of everything has gained the respect of my fans and the respect of some of my heroes. Whether it’s Henry Rollins, Philip Anselmo, Jello Biafra or The Melvins… all these different folks. I think that’s what makes me different.
TEN– I was talking to Kimberly Coe (wife of David Allan Coe) yesterday and they told me to tell you hi.
Hank 3– Alright man!
TEN– The last time we did an interview it was during the time when your were recording “Damn Right And Rebel Proud” and we talked about your work with David on the “Rebel Meets Rebel” project. The way I understand it, David stopped by your place recently and recorded some new music with you.
Hank 3– Yea, we’re getting ready to have that come out here soon. It’s just making sure that everything is correct like it always has been… on a good relationship with him. The song will be coming out soon and it’s an honor to be able to work with David again. He’s like a grandfather to me as far as advice and saying hey and all that good stuff. We’ve got a song called ‘The Outlaw Way” that’ll be coming into play before we know it and I’m looking forward to that.
TEN– Your double CD “Ghost To A Ghost/Guttertown” it seems like it might be more of a concept album.
Hank 3– All in all out of those 40 songs on it, in reality there are only five or six country songs in my eyes. I’m the first one to say that. I’m just breaking people in and let them know that “Ok, he’s doing what he’s doin. He’s been a little strange, a little outside of the box.” Since I had Tom Waits, Les Claypool, Dave Sherman, T-roy from Sourvein and Alan King from Hellstomper, I wanted to make a record that’s not just a country record that have all those kinds of different influences on it. Tom Waits is not just one kind of guy. Les Claypool was not just one kind of guy. Some people grasp it is a concept CD but then the concept of that record is we all could be living in “Guttertown” before we know it. The Louisiana theme I thought would be different. No one would be expecting it. That culture has always been close to all the Williams. With Hank Sr. and my dad being born there and with my work that I’ve done there… it was a natural fit. I paid respect that culture. It’s “Cajun Honky Tonk” and a lot of people have forgotten about that. You don’t hear that much Cajun and country on the same station like ya used to. That’s what I was trying to do, bring back a little bit.
TEN– How did you come up with the idea for your “Cattle Callin” project?
Hank 3– I’ve always been fascinated with auctioneers. They’re basically singin, just a different kind of singin. I was thought would be a different kind of “like” than heavy metal, a different kind of sound. The music structure is kinda the same. It comes from a lot of my heroes in the heavier music but just the idea of working with the fast, high pace auctioneers sounded fun and different. I’ve branded cows, I’ve milked cows, I’ve had to drag the dead ones off to the ”Dyin Hole.” I was raised around that. So, it was just another kind of natural fit for me. It took me a lot to convince these guys that I wasn’t making fun of their industry, I’m being dead serious on their art form and it’s not like I’m going to be making a bunch of money off this. I’m just hoping to give some young auctioneers some inspiration in a different kinda way. It’s just different man, I lost more than 60% of the auctioneers that I wanted to use. Some of the fastest guys that I wanted to use that I already built songs around just refused to be part of the project. I hope to gain their respect, I know I got a lot of their respect out there and I hope to use a bit more for the second “Cattle Callin” CD. Hats off to all the auctioneers.
TEN– I see where “Ghost To A Ghost/Guttertown,” “3 Bar Ranch: Cattle Callin,” and “ Hank 3’s Attention Deficit Domination” have been released under the Hank 3 Records label and not under Curb Records.
Hank 3– Not since January 2011, man.
TEN– And, it seems that you’re using the number “3” rather than the “III” after your name.
Hank 3– It’s about new beginnings. Plus, it sounds better and easier to say than ‘Hank the Third.”
TEN– Is there any chance of another Superjoint Ritual project?
Hank 3– I seriously doubt it. That’s up to the boss man and he’s got some other things happening that just might make you forget all about that band. That’s all I can say, I can’t comment on his stuff like that till he wants to talk about that. I can say that Down have been out there doing their thing. Jimmy Bower is getting ready to get married and Philip’s got a lot of stuff to look forward to. Me, I’m getting ready play with Arson Anthem– playing drums in the daytime and then doing my headlining thing at night on the same day. That’ll be a pretty intense thing for me.
TEN– When we did our interview back in 2007, we talked about Kid Rock and Shooter Jennings and your feelings towards them. Have your feelings changed over the years or do you pretty much still the same way?
Hank 3– I mean it is what it is. Shooter at least came out and said hello. I kept it close where it needed to be kept close and he understood why had to say what I had to say back then. The other stuff, you know, the only thing I’ve seen that somebody posted the other day;” Not only did Kid Rock try to be Hank Jr’s son, but now he’s ripping off Hank 3’s video!” I have no idea what that’s about. I knew Shooter back when he didn’t have a beard and was all into Stargunn and all that stuff. I’m paying respects for the family. If I had to take a side with one of them…we all know who that would be.
TEN– You also do a lot of work with animal shelters and finding good homes for animals.
Hank 3– It’s just a hobby of mine, man. It just gives me something to do besides music. My dogs have been better to me than a lot of family. I just think it’s good therapy for some people out there. They’re loyal companions. Not everybody is cut out to be around someone else but a lot of people are cut out to be around dogs. For me I’m glad to be able to help that world. Sometimes in the farming world it can be pretty harsh. When you see a dog run over, sometimes people will just throw him in the corner and if he makes it he does and if he doesn’t he doesn’t. That just doesn’t sit right with me as a kid growing up. I’m thankful to be working with Happy Tails and I’m doing another event for them coming up. I always liked working with whatever kind of breed that lets me get close to em. Right now I’m working with a mastiff/pit mix and he’s come a long way in the last two months. They’re just like music; they can help you through some hard times. That’s the way look at it. It’s just a certain kind of therapy I think.
TEN– Do you think there’ll ever reinstate your grandfather into the Grant Ole Opry?
Hank 3– I can say the sad thing is they didn’t do it while the Hank Williams exhibit was open. It would have been nice while the country music Hall of Fame was paying respects to Hank Williams and while all these thousands and thousands and thousands of people were coming there to see that. It’s not like we’re asking for a $70,000 statue or asking for one hour to sing Hank Williams songs and have someone like Little Jimmy Dickens say: “We’re honored to have Hank Williams back in the circle of the Grand Ole Opry and we’re going to be embracing his history for life.” It’ll never die with us. We can just talk about it, that’s all we can really do is talk about it. We can just keep mentioning it and the industry will come around and that’s the main thing.
TEN– Have you gotten any response from the Grand Ole Opry at all?
Hank 3– Tom Waits did the best as far as calling them out. The 200th edition of Mojo Magazine is the best article that called out the corporate people and all the little loopholes and put it into perspective. I want to tell readers to read that. It all depends on once “so and so” passes on than the other guy does president might just change everything. Their comment on it is just a bunch of law talk. “Well, we can’t reinstate a dead person.” Well okay, so you’re just not gonna preserve history. That kinda defeats everything that country music is about… which is history and the working man and all these little things. To me it’s just disrespectful to someone like Little Jimmy Dickens who has spent his whole life playin’ for them that they’re going to say; “Once he passes on, he’s no longer a member?” I don’t understand that it just doesn’t seem right.
TEN– How do you feel about the popularity of the documentary “The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia?”
Hank 3– I always liked the original the best. That’s what really tells the story and I just hope people get to see that and do a bunch more research into D Ray White and look at his original footage. It’s the kind of story where he would walk-in and the kind of show that he would put on for folks. He was a very wise, smart man. He was just very intense. I’m glad that Mamie and Jesco got to enjoy some things. I know that things have been getting tough for them. She just had a heart attack a little while ago. They’ve just had a tough round. They knew I was there for all the right reasons. I called them up and I made sure that I met Miracle Woman (Bertie Mae White) first and then Mamie came out. They gave me and my dog and invite and we went to Jesco’s place and stayed with them and recorded music. We had fun and did what we did, man. And that was enjoy each other’s company. And that went way beyond then just none that “Hey, I’m just here to make you big in Hollywood or whatever.” They knew that I was there because I felt the connection to em. They likewise felt the connection to what my grandfather did for their family and all those people in West Virginia. It was just respect.
TEN– When we did our interview back in 2007, one of the questions I asked you was for you to “Tell me something disturbing about yourself that you never revealed before an interview.” You told me how you are messed with as a kid and you were molested. That interview was right before you released ”Damn Right And Rebel Proud.” On that CD you had a song called; “Candidate For Suicide” and you sang about being molested that eight years old. Did my question have any bearing on you being able to talk about stuff like that?
Hank 3– Well, for people that it’s happened to, it gives a lot of hope for other folks to keep pullin through and not take the easy way out. The ”Candidate For Suicide” song was supposed to be more like “This thought crosses everybody’s mind at least once in their life, but hopefully you’ll hang in there and let the music pull you on through.” It just goes to show that some of my songs are a little fantasy but some of them hit hard to home and I’ve eaten it…lived it…breathed it. That’s one of the songs where everybody at the time was on antidepressants and I understand how that can be. I’ve had a lot of people come up to me with that song and said: “Man, I’ve had suicidal thoughts for long time and that one really helped me get that out of my system.” So, there is a bunch of positive from that song. Ya know, you’re never supposed to sing about that topic and yet that’s just one of those that I like the sound of the song, I like the structure of it and yeah, some people would say “I’d NEVER tell anybody that happened to me.” You have to look on the flip side of it because it’s happened to a lot more people than you think it has happened to. You’re not alone out there.
Just like with AA or NA or all that stuff. I guess what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and all that. I’m just hanging in there man.
TEN– I thought it was cool that you and I talked about that and then on your very next CD you touch base on that subject.
Hank 3– That goes to show man, that I try to keep it real as I can whether it’s in a song or it’s just doing my show and sayin hello. I do my best to make the true hard-core fans out there proud.
TEN– Is there anything else you add or say?
Hank 3– Well, I will be basically touring a good bit this year and if anybody is interested, Hank3.com is where you can buy the music straight from me and my mom. You can check for tour dates. We are going to be hittin Europe in June. We haven’t done that that much. We have to see you a good bit more out there on the road.
TEN– Well man, I’ll letcha go for now and we’ll hang out for a few when you play Soul Kitchen in Mobile, Alabama.
Hank 3– That sounds good man. We haven’t gotten to get around that area much so I’m lookin forward to it.
I want to thank Hank 3 for taking the time to catch up and to Maria Ferrero at Adrenaline PR for making the interview happen.