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Hank Williams, Jr. Interview: Icon Talks Football, Owning a Record Label and Country Radio

Hank Williams Jr.
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Hank Williams, Jr.’s tour schedule may include just 25 to 30 dates a year, but it’s not because of a lack of energy or fire in his belly. That’s clear on many of the songs from his latest album, ‘Old School New Rules.’ Plus, his most loyal fans — including those at the Koka Booth Amiptheatre in Cary, N.C. on Aug. 30 — will testify that on stage Bocephus hasn’t lost a step.

Politics and football (specifically the Pittsburgh Steelers) are two of Williams, Jr.’s other passions, and while he’s hesitant to get into the former (although he does hint at something in his future), he was happy to talk about the latter in an interview with Taste of Country. The legend took time to answer questions via email this week (Questions and answers were edited slightly for consistency.)

ToC: Football season begins soon. What teams do you like to get to the Super Bowl and why? 

Hank Williams, Jr.: I am and always have been a football guy. My relationship with ‘Monday Night Football’ lasted 21 years, which is unprecedented for any theme song to be on the air that long. I am excited about this year, not sure on the teams just yet. Preseason has started and some rookies look good, while some veterans don’t looks so hot. It will be interesting to see.

Now, I will tell you, I think we all need to watch the SEC. Those colleges have some pretty good teams now!

Now that you’ve started your own record label, have you found any challenges that you never realized or appreciated while you were on Curb?

My time with Curb ended and I had options. But my whole career, I have done things my way and the way that I wanted. So when it came time to record new music, my manager suggested that I start my own label, because so many other artists had been doing so. We did and formed a partnership with Blaster Records for promotion, and they had a deal with Warner Brothers for distribution. Remember, all my records were distributed through Warner Brothers anyway, so I still had some of the same people working the record as when I was on Curb. I have learned that I have freedom to do what I want, and that the fans are still buying my records. We have sold almost 100,000 albums with very little radio support. I have some loyal fans.

Have you begun to write or record your second Bocephus Records album?

The next album of new material has not been written just yet. I am not sure what we are going to do. We just did a deal with NAPA and Blaster on the first album, so we still have some life in the current album.

Fans often think there is age discrimination within the country music industry. Do you think this is true, and if so, where does it come from?

I am not sure. I love what Eric Church is doing. He and I are friends, and he opened some shows for us a few years ago and I would fly him home on the jet. He is a good one. I don’t listen to today’s country radio, so I am not sure who gets played and who doesn’t … I really don’t give a s—!

Do you display your many awards and honors in your house?

Most all of my awards are at the Country Music Hall of Fame. You know we had the longest running exhibit in the Hall of Fame history with Family Tradition. More people went to see Daddy’s stuff and all the things I have collected over the years than any other exhibit. That makes you feel pretty special. I told them that they can keep them there and display them anytime.

If you could change one law in America, what would it be?

You know, there are lots of things I would change. But I am not going to get into politics right now. I will save that for a few years from now. Get it!

In addition to the Aug. 30 show in Cary, look for Williams, Jr. in Portsmouth, Va. on Aug. 31 and Cherokee, N.C. on Sept. 1.

Next: See Hank Williams Jr.'s Remaining Tour Dates

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