The country icon will be performing for his rowdy friends Friday, July 19 at Caesars
Atlantic City Weekly had the opportunity to have an e-mail chat with Hank Williams, Jr., the honkytonk outlaw country legend whose numerous hit songs include “Family Tradition,” “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” “A Country Boy Can Survive,” “Honky Tonkin’,” and “Whiskey Bent and Hellbound.” His most recent album is 2012’s Old School New Rules.
As someone who grew up in the tradition of country music, how do you feel about the current direction of country music out of Nashville these days? Even though you were known for “outlaw country,” your sound is much more traditional than what’s on country radio these days.
I really don’t give a shit about it at all. I have been performing since I was 8 years old and have had the opportunity to perform with so many of the biggest music legends to all the new artists making music today. You have to remember I had several songs on the charts at one time, that doesn’t happen today. I had several albums in the charts at the same time, that doesn’t happen today. I think overall the music business has changed and we will never see those statistics again. I love some of the artists today like Brad Paisley, Zac Brown, and Eric Church. I think Eric is paving his way like I did. He is doing it his way, and not following what everyone wants him to do … and that is artistry at its best.
What made you decide to start your own record label, Bocephus Records?
I had been with Mike Curb and Curb Records for practically my whole career. It was just time for a change. They made and supported all my records and hits, so without them I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now. Towards the end, they had LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw, and others so they didn’t need me anymore. There was no love for my style of music, so when the promotion team decides they are not going to make radio hits for you any longer, its time to go. Now with my own label, I care about selling records and making the music I love and getting it out there for the fans. I don’t have to chase radio and beg them to play my music or do free shows for radio. I just do my own thing.
Talk about your show coming to Atlantic City. How rowdy will your friends be getting?
You must realize I only do 25-30 shows a year, period! I have the most loyal hardcore fans in the business. They show up no matter where I am playing. My fans can get kinda rowdy.
You’ve been making music and touring for a long time. Is it still fun and how long do you think you’ll keep going? Can you see yourself still touring at age 80 like Willie Nelson?
Everytime I walk on that stage it is fun. I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun. I don’t know what I will be doing when I am 80. That’s a long ways away, so I take every day one at a time and have fun. But, yes, I love to perform for the fans.
I know your father gave you the nickname Bocephus, but what does it mean?
My father gave me that name during a Grand Ole Opry show. There was a guy who had a dummy (ventriloquist) named Bocephus and daddy thought it was funny and cute, so that’s where I got the nickname from. You can kinda say I was nicknamed for a dummy!
Hank Williams, Jr.
Where: Friday, July 19, 9pm. Caesars Circus Maximus
How much: $73.50, $94.50, $130
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