Hank Williams III

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Hank Williams III
Williams performing at Roskilde Festival 2012
Williams performing at Roskilde Festival 2012
Background information
Birth nameShelton Hank Williams
Also known asHank Williams III
Born (1972-12-12) December 12, 1972 (age 48)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S
  • Musician
  • singer
Years active
  • 1991–2014
  • 2021–present
Associated acts

Shelton Hank Williams (born December 12, 1972), known as Hank Williams III,[1] is an American musician, singer and multi-instrumentalist, known for his unique combination of country music, punk rock, and heavy metal. He is the principal member of the punk metal band Assjack, the drummer of hardcore punk band Arson Anthem, and former bassist of Phil Anselmo's band Superjoint Ritual. He has released eleven studio albums, including five for Curb Records. Williams is the grandson of Hank Williams, the son of Hank Williams Jr., the nephew of Jett Williams, and the half-brother of Holly Williams.

Music career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Williams spent much of his early career playing drums in punk rock bands during the late 1980s and early-to-mid-1990s. During this time frame, Williams was informed that he had fathered a son, Coleman Finchum, who was five years old by that time; a family court judge ordered Williams to find more stable employment so that Finchum could receive child support.[2] Capitalizing on his family name and resemblance to his grandfather, he signed a contract with Nashville music industry giant Curb Records. Three Hanks: Men with Broken Hearts was issued shortly thereafter, which spliced together recordings to make it seem that three generations of Williams men were singing alongside one another. In the late 1980s, upon first meeting Hank Williams III, Minnie Pearl, a friend of the late Hank Williams Sr., reportedly said "Lord, honey, you're a ghost", as she was astonished by his striking resemblance to his grandfather.[3]

Risin' Outlaw and contract issues (1999–2004)[edit]

Williams' first solo album, Risin' Outlaw, was released in September 1999 to respectable sales and strong reviews, despite Williams's own hatred of the record.[4]

Williams' live shows typically follow a Jekyll and Hyde format: a country music set featuring fiddle player David McElfresh and steel guitar player Dan Johnson, followed by a hellbilly set, and then an Assjack set. He plays both country and psychobilly with his "The Damn Band". Assjack produces a very different sound than either, mixing metalcore, psychobilly, and hardcore punk.

The lineup for Assjack includes the addition of supplemental vocalist Gary Lindsey and the departure of his fiddle and steel guitar players. McElfresh's predecessor was fellow-fiddle-player Michael "Fiddleboy" McCanless, who would play all three sets, adding traditional violin for the country set of the concert before turning on different effect pedals for later sets. Fiddleboy died on February 1, 2003. Another former band member was guitarist Duane Denison, previously with The Jesus Lizard, who left The Damn Band and Assjack in January 2001 and later that year formed Tomahawk.

Williams played bass guitar in heavy metal band Superjoint Ritual, now renamed as Superjoint for legal reasons, led by former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo.

Thrown out of the Bar and Straight to Hell (2004–2006)[edit]

In late 2004 Thrown Out of the Bar was slated for release, but Curb Records opted not to issue it. Bar was reworked into Straight to Hell, released on Curb's rock imprint, Bruc. Battles with Walmart delayed the appearance of this album, which was released on February 28, 2006 as a two-disc set in two formats: a censored version (for Wal-Mart), and an uncensored version that was the first major-label country album ever to bear a parental advisory warning. Straight to Hell was also the first release through Curb's Bruc Records imprint. However, the uncensored version was released through Bruc, and the clean version was released through Curb. One of the songs, "Pills I Took", was written by a little-known Wisconsin group called Those Poor Bastards, who originally released the song on their 2004 CD Country Bullshit.

Independent releases (2007–2014)[edit]

Williams played drums for Arson Anthem, formed with Phil Anselmo and Mike Williams of the sludge metal band Eyehategod.[5]

Williams released his long-awaited punk-metal album Assjack on August 4, 2009.

His next album, Rebel Within, was released in May 2010, and was his last album with Curb Records.[6] It charted at number 20 in Billboard magazine.

Curb Records released This Ain't Country under the title Hillbilly Joker on May 17, 2011 without the consent or input from Williams after his contract with the label had been terminated. Williams told his fans, "Don't buy it, but get it some other way and burn the hell out of it and give it to everyone."[7]

Williams in 2010

On June 23, 2011, it was revealed through Williams' personal Facebook that he would be releasing four new CDs on September 6, 2011. It said to expect country, doom-rock, and speed metal with cattle callin' on the releases. Entitled Ghost to a Ghost/Gutter Town (a 2-disc country record with some ambient and folk influences), 3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin' (a metal record in the newly anointed cattle core genre) and Attention Deficit Domination (a doom-rock record), these new albums were released on Williams's own record label Hank3 Records through Megaforce Records, and feature guest appearances by Tom Waits, Les Claypool (Primus), Alan King (Hellstomper), Ray Lawrence Jr., Troy Medlin (Sourvein), Dave Sherman (Earthride) and Williams' dog, Trooper.[8]

On April 17, 2012, Curb released a Williams album titled Long Gone Daddy, marking the second album the company has released under his name since his departure. On March 4, 2013, on Williams's web site, it was announced that he is working on two new albums. It has been confirmed that there are at least 25 new songs.[9] On May 3, 2013, Williams released the names of two new albums: a country album Brothers of the 4×4 and punk album A Fiendish Threat, under the band name "3".

On January 1, 2013 it was announced that Williams was working on a new side project as well as the release of two new videos; one for Brothers of the 4x4, the other for A Fiendish Threat. The albums were released in the fall of 2013.[10]

In April 2014, Curb Records released a new album under Hank Williams III's name titled Ramblin' Man. The album contains previously unreleased material that Williams recorded while on their label.

Curb released another Williams album of previously unreleased songs titled Take As Needed for Pain in April 2015. The album is mostly a rock album but the single released was a country song titled "Ruby Get Back to the Hills".

On August 18, 2017, Curb released a Greatest Hits album featuring select tracks from Williams' first four albums, mostly from Straight to Hell.

Since 2014[edit]

Saving Country Music reported in 2016 that Williams was forced to move out of his longtime home and headquarters, known as "The Haunted Ranch", and that his dog Trooper, who had been featured or referenced on a number of his songs, had died. His public appearances from that point onward became increasingly rare, and speculation emerged that an attempt at replacing the headquarters had been unsuccessful. Williams's last known public statement said that almost everything he owned had been taken from him, which prevented him from recording or touring, as the result of unnamed forces attempting a "systemic elimination of Hank3."[11]

On July 6, 2018 Hank3 featured in a Devildriver cover of his song "country heroes" which was on their country metal album Outlaws 'Til the End, vol 1.

On March 7, 2021, it was confirmed that Williams' son, Coleman Finchum, would pursue a career in music under the name "IV" (to disambiguate from a different performer who uses the Hank Williams IV name, reputed to be Finchum's second cousin). His debut single, "Son of Sin", is set to be released on April 20th with an LP to follow. Finchum plans on legally adopting the Williams surname as part of his entry into show business.[2]


Studio albums


  1. ^ "The official website". Hank3. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Trigger. "The Hank Williams Lineage Continues with Hank3's Son "IV"". Saving Country Music.
  3. ^ Harris, Will. "A chat with Hank Williams III, Hank Williams III interview, Damn Right Rebel Proud, Tyler Torreance was his manager". Bullz-eye.com. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  4. ^ Netherland, Tom (September 7, 1999). "Hank Williams III: Like grandfather, like grandson". Rockabilly.net. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
  5. ^ "Metal News – Superjoint Ritual Is No More". Metalunderground.com. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  6. ^ http://www.hank3.com/media.htm Archived December 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Hank III in Billboard Top 10 For All The Wrong Reasons". Savingcountrymusic.com. June 3, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  8. ^ "Hank 3". Facebook. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  9. ^ "The Official Website". Hank3. Archived from the original on October 9, 2013. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 9, 2013. Retrieved August 10, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Trigger. "Hank Williams III: "The Systematic Elimination of Hank3 Will Be Over Soon."". Saving Country Music.

External links[edit]