Hank Williams, Jr. needs no introduction. As the son of the late, great Hank Williams, he was surrounded by great music at an early age. First taking the stage at the age of 8 to perform his father’s songs, his early career was guided by his mother Audry Williams who is also said to been a driving force in the success of his father’s career. Since then, he has become a legend in country music, blending southern rock and blues elements in unmistakable fashion. Not only a gifted singer/songwriter, he can also play a host of instruments including guitar, bass, steel guitar, banjo, dobro, piano, harmonica, fiddle, and drums. It was a pleasure to have the chance to bring our readers a little glimpse of the man behind the music.
Maximum Ink: You were only 3 when your father passed. What is the fondest memory of him you have?
Hank Williams Jr.: Well, I didn’t know Daddy, so I really don’t have any memories. I know what people have told me about him taking me to the Grand Ole Opry and leaving me in his guitar case on the side of the stage. The best thing we ever did was record the duet for There’s A Tear In My Beer and we even won a Grammy for it.
MI: You were exposed to great music at an early age. What was it like having such amazing artists stopping by the family home? Which of them stick out most in your mind?
HWJ: Well, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Fats Domino were at the house a lot and that’s where I learned to boogie-woogie on that piano. Earl Scruggs would come over, as would Johnny and June Carter Cash. By the way, June Carter Cash was my godmother.
MI: What was it like to perform at the age of 8? What was running through your mind the first time you took the stage?
HWJ: Momma put me on the stage at 8 years old and the people were expecting me to be just like daddy. So I went out and performed daddy’s songs and the crowds loved it.
MI: Do you get time to go to Paris, TN often? Why do you think small towns are so appealing?
HWJ: I actually live in Paris, Tennessee. I love West Tennessee and Kentucky Lake. My family sometimes wants to live in a big city, but they also love the country life. I have places in Montana, Florida, and Alabama, so we are always on the move.
MI: What is the most important thing you have learned in all your years so far?
HWJ: Be true to who you are. Don’t change because you think it’s cool to change.
MI: Do you think, with the passing of so many iconic country legends, that the genre will suffer?
HWJ: I think country music evolves. We have lost so many great artists over the last few years and it is sad, but we have some great new acts that are out there making music. Country music will be around forever!
MI: Anything you’d like to say, in closing?
HWJ: I have not been to Maine in a long time, I think 20 years or so, so it will be good to be back; who knows, I might stick around and go bear hunting.
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