Shitkickin’ symphonies, subcultures and suicide – all
in a day’s work for Hank III.
By Blurt Staff
Just slipped over the BLURT
transom, this one’s fun enough to just reprint verbatim. Anybody that can put
the words “Hank Williams” and “GG Allin” in the same sentence gets OUR respect.
He’s no Kid Rock. But he rocks. Read on….
Don’t look for any apologies
on Damn Right Rebel Proud, the upcoming sixth album from Hank Williams Iii. Filled with a
self-described “Jekyll and Hyde” mix of disturbingly dark stuff and “good ol’
country,” the straight-talkin’ third-generation rebel’s new album is set for release October 21 via Sidewalk Records.
The first single is the
mutated truckers’ tune “Long Hauls & Close Calls,” for which a video has
been shot. III thinks of it as the album’s “crossover” track, explaining that
“It’s got a little bit of the scream for the kids in black and a little bit of
the banjo and dobro for the country folks.”
Damn Right Rebel Proud follows the fierce and edgy Straight to Hell (2006),
which broke all the rules of country music while still managing to honor its
traditions. “That was a big one for me, man,” III says of STH. “Rock
kids that don’t listen to country understood it. That record really had an
The new album honors
tradition here and there. “Wild & Free” has a rollicking, Buck Owens
flavor; ”Me & My Friends” is “a standard, good ol’ country song;” the
populist anthem “If You Can’t Help Your Own” addresses what’s goin’ on right
now with the government;” and the closing “Workin’ Man,” a duet with the tune’s
author, writer/artist/construction worker Bob Wayne, sounds like an Alan Lomax
field recording from the 1930s.
Recorded in HIII’s east
Tennessee home with friends over a two-week period, the album’s magnum opus is
the 10-minute, shitkickin’ symphony in three movements “P.F.F.” (you can guess
what it stands for), which he describes as “a high-energy, get-drunk
singalong.” He dedicates it to archetypal shock rocker G.G. Allin (certainly a
first on a Nashville
album), who III understandably views as a spiritual brother in chaos. “The hobo
kids, the train-hopping kids, they all love Hank Williams and G.G. Allin,” he
points out. “And they’ve bled into our audience.” III’s crowd is a roiling mix
of outsider subcultures, along with working folks and party-down college kids.
“Most of the time everybody’s gettin’ along,” he says. “Most of the trouble
we’ve had has been with the security, not the kids. I’m still tryin’ to keep
one half happy and the other half satisfied by flip-floppin’ the shows” between
stone country, punk and metal sets. “We’re just doin’ what we’re doin’, and
people see the realness in that.”
There’s some disturbingly
dark stuff on here, like “3 Shades of Black,” which climaxes with a bloodcurdling
horror-core scream, and “Stoned & Alone,” III’s corrosive take on a
cryin’-in-your-beer country ballad, aches like a hangover after a three-day
bender. “My dad’s version of that song would be ‘The Pressure Is On,’” he says.
“I still live for the road; I don’t live for a lady – I guess that’s part of
But if you want really dark,
check out “Candidate for Suicide.” “All the things I’m talkin’ about in that
song – the rape, the drug abuse and feelin’ on the outskirts of life, as G.G. would
say – that’s all true,” he acknowledges. “But just because you’re a candidate
doesn’t mean you’re gonna go through with it. I’ve got no respect for anyone
who tries to take the easy way out. Unless you can’t take care of yourself or
stuff like that, I’m always standin’ for you to hold onto life as much as you
can. There’s a huge amount of depression out there, and that’s really what the
song’s about. ‘Candidate for Suicide’ is dark, but it’s not sayin’ do it; it’s
just talkin’ about how it crosses your mind a good bit.”