Hank Williams III Has Something for Everyone
Hank Williams III, as his name suggests, is third-generation country-music royalty. But the grandson of Hank Williams, and son of Hank Williams Jr., unabashedly blends the family tradition of "good ol' country," with some startlingly darker fare, and as such draws audiences that are likely far more diverse than his legendary grandfather could have ever imagined.
'Damn Right Rebel Proud,' due October 21 on Sidewalk Records, is Hank III's sixth album, and it's aimed at his usual, unusual crowd -- a hodgepodge of working-class country-lovin' folks, ready-to-party-hearty college students, and the edgier punk-metal "kids in black," as he calls them.
"Most of the time everybody's gettin' along," says the 35-year-old, who's commonly referred to as Hank III, or sometimes simply "III." "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' [between shows that cater to the country, punk and metal crowds]. We're just doin' what we're doin', and people see the realness in that."
Blurring the musical lines further are tracks like the 10-minute "P.F.F.," which III describes as "a high-energy, get-drunk singalong." Dedicating the symphony in three movements to the late shock rocker G.G. Allin, who died at 36 of a drug overdose in 1993, he says, "The hobo kids, the train-hopping kids, they all love Hank Williams and G.G. Allin."
Things get much, much darker on the controversially-titled "Candidate for Suicide." But, as Williams explains, "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."
Hank III recently completed the first video from the album, for the trucker anthem "Long Hauls and Close Calls."