Someday I hope Hank cuts a record that captures the sound of his thrash set.
Hank Williams III
Don't take me alive
Writer: ROBBIE WHELAN
Most of the honky-tonk greats that Hank Williams III idolizes,
including Johnny Cash and his own grandfather, had something to prove.
They were heartbroken, depressed, poor, and sang about it. But then
they proved how real the sentiments were by actually developing
serious pill, alcohol or blow addictions. The problem with the
youngest Williams' latest record, Straight to Hell, is that the only
thing the "hellbilly" country punk wants to prove is that he drinks
and parties just as hard as his forebears. "I'm here gettin' wasted,
just like my country heroes," he sings.
If Hank III focuses too much on the symptoms of the honky-tonk
disease, however, at least he does it with style. On the record, Hank
and the core of his studio band, bassist Joe Buck and guitar utility
man Andy Gibson, tear clean through each tune, providing the perfect
twang to match Hank's voice (a much deeper baritone than his
But when Hank III appears onstage with punk patches sewn onto his
western shirts, it's a different story. His touring outfits, the Damn
Band and Assjack, play "Southern metal," an extremely loud,
fuck-Nashville music that's as hard on the eardrums as it is on the
sensibilities of a Grand Ole Opry traditionalist.
And it's when he's onstage — gettin' loud, singing about his demons
with a cigarette or a joint in his mouth (and a demonic grin on his
face) — that Hank's approach makes a bit more sense: Getting the drunk
right is equally as important as getting the heartbreak right. As one
of Hank III's songs goes: "If that ain't country, boy, you can kiss my
Hank Williams III with Assjack. 7:45 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.).
Mon., Oct. 2. Rex Theatre, 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $20.
412-381-6811 or www.rextheatre.com