Originally posted in Raleigh Music .com
An interview with Hank III.
By: Hunter Elliott
When I heard Hank III would be rocking The Lincoln Theatre I knew I had to be the guy covering the show. Raleigh Music contacted his promoter and along with passes to the show I was granted a short phone interview with the man himself. The promoter told me I would have about ten minuets so I prepared 6 question. Below is our exchange.
I started the conversation by telling Hank I was a huge fan of his music, who I was, and who I was working for.
1) Hunter- Country Music has really changed and many folks including myself think for the worse. What are your thoughts on the reasons why?
Hank- “It comes down to who knows who, lawyers getting more control than the musicians and DJ’s, and really it is more of a business but artist are beginning to get some of that control back. With that said I will not fault any artist for making a living with their music.”
2) Hunter- Will Country Music ever come full circle and what was will be again?
Hank- “That is way too hard to say but maybe.” 3) Hunter- Can you give me some examples of musicians that influence your style?
Hank- “There are a lot of musicians that have had influence but some that come to mind are Jimmy Martin, Dock Boggs, Hell Stomper, Black Flag, Black Sabbath, Waylon Jennings, Lynard Skynard, and old Charlie Daniels.”
4) Hunter- Not long ago you released four albums at once, why?
Hank- “Nobody has ever done that before and it has been many years since I could sell my own CDs at my shows and since being signed with Curb records, now I have more creative control. Curb was holding me back as a musician.”
5) Hunter-Tell me about your involvement with Happy Tails (a humane shelter in TN so the reader knows) and your dogs Trooper and Mama.
Hank – “I have always been an animal lover and have been with Happy Tails for four years, I grew up around animals and they are close to me. Not everyone is cut out for a wife or husband but animals offer great companionship.” Trooper was rescued in Mississippi and was coming up to cars looking for help. Mama was hit by a car and had a litter of puppies in her when she was rescued.
6) Hunter- Are you in this (music) for the long haul?
Hank- “I am going to play as long as I can perform but I would prefer to retire on a good note and not try to play when I can barely hold a pick and guitar. As long as my health holds out I will make music. I have been on the road with a bus and a crew since about 1994.”
At this time I looked at the clock and it had been close to 10 minutes so I told Hank I knew my time was about up, he then told me “if you have anything else on your mind speak up”. Not wanting to miss this opportunity we went more into conversation mode. I asked him about Operation Happy Note which is a volunteer effort to send musical instruments to deployed service men and women throughout the world. Hank told me he was a big supporter of the troops and while on tour in Minneapolis he took part in signing two guitars for Operation Happy Note. We talked about his upcoming tour and the venues he chooses to play, Hank said “I would rather play the smaller venues to the smaller crowds over the larger amphitheaters.
When I asked him why, Hank said “I like the more intimate setting where I can be closer to my fans. Hank told me the folks who come to see him know he plays long shows that cross several styles. I could tell what really drives Hank is the fans. He reinforced this by mentioning the fans several times and referenced “crowd energy”. We then talked about how today you don’t need a label to put out an album, his exact words were “you don’t have to have a $500,000 mixer to sound good”.
I looked at the clock and we had been talking almost a half hour. I told him I appreciated his time as I knew he was a busy man. Hank then said what every fan wants to hear, “if you are into me I am into you”. This tells me that even though he is an outlaw, the fans matter. I got a real great feeling from our conversation and felt like I have known Hank for years.
I am definitely looking forward to the Lincoln Theatre show.