Hank3 will play the Barrymore Theatre Dec. 1. It's the second leg of a tour that showcases four discs recorded from January through June of this year and recently released on his own Hank3 Records. He spoke on the phone from his apartment in East Nashville about his music; his father, Hank Williams Jr., whose comments comparing Obama to Hitler recently got him fired from Monday Night Football; and his grandfather, country legend Hank Williams Sr.
There are tracks on the new country album that have Cajun sounds. Where'd that come from?
Hank Williams [Sr.] had a very strong connection to Louisiana. My dad was born in Baton Rouge. For me personally the old Cajun music, when I'm not feeling good or I'm feeling uncomfortable, that style of music always calms me down.
Your father gets a lot of attention. What can you tell me about your mother?
She's just an average woman who works retail. She works at the mall nine to five selling clothes. All her life. I've done everything I can to get her to retire, but you know at her age and not having any insurance.... Everyone assumes that we're rich people, but we've never seen a dollar of Hank Williams' estate.
Where does she live?
Here in Nashville. She remarried when I was younger. Trying to give me a father figure in my life. When I was about 17 they split up, and it's been pretty much her and her dog ever since. She's very nice, very soft-spoken, kind of stubborn in her own way.
What motivated you to release four discs of music at once?
I'm now able to offer everything I do in the live show: an hour and a half of country, 20 minutes of hellbilly, 45 minutes of the doom rock, and I end the night with speed metal. People can get what they like in the lobby.
Do you have any haunted thoughts about your trajectory in life, Hank?
What I do is not normal. Our show is three hours and 20 minutes a night. That in itself is intense.
How do you write music?
I sing it out loud until it comes and then I get out the pen and paper. Reading and writing on paper were always a challenge to me with my disabilities.
What are your disabilities?
I have dyslexia and also ADHD.
What do you make of the mess your dad got into with ESPN?
I myself have not listened to the interview or watched it.
Do you own anything special that belonged to your grandfather?
The only thing I got of my grandfather's is a tie, a fishing lure, and uh, let's see, I'm looking right over here, a ring with a saddle on it. And that's it.
What's the tie look like?
It's pretty psychedelic looking. It's blue and gray and it's got these stars on it. For back in the 1950s it looks like something Jimi Hendrix would have worn.
Do you have any specific memories of shows you've played in Madison?
[Laughs.] Oh, of course. I have lots of friends there. Those Poor Bastards and Capital City Tattoo.
Do you have ink from Capital City?
Yes, they've been great to me. I have my main Jekyll and Hyde logo on the right side of my arm. And then my shield on my right ribcage I got it from there. Yeah. Madison.