Hank Williams Jr. Keeps Up the Family Tradition

The Country Boy talks football and metal-detecting.

Hillbilly Highway

Space Jam was big with pretty much everyone under thesun.

It's not hard to believe the Coastal Conservation Association enlisted Hank Williams Jr. for its third annual Concert for Conservation, given all the hunting and fishing talk in "A Country Boy Can Survive" alone. What is hard to believe is that it's been some 13 years since Bocephus has performed in the Houston area. (What happened to all those "Texas Women," Hank?) Regardless, all will be forgiven if he plays his version of Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns & Money," because CCA has already invited his rowdy friends .38Special and Wade Bowen to join him Saturday.

At the career stage where occasional awards-show appearances are the extent of his dealings with Nashville, the ever-outspoken Hank Jr. is still making decent records of unfiltered Southern rock and honky-tonk — 2012's Old School, New Rules is a prime example — and not embarrassing himself over the so-called liberal agenda nearly as much as Ted Nugent lately. Rocks Off was lucky enough to have a chance to email Bocephus some questions earlier this week, and he was gracious enough to answer.

Hank Williams Jr. proves a country boy can survive.
Courtesy of Webster PR
Hank Williams Jr. proves a country boy can survive.
Batman has had great soundtracks.
Batman has had great soundtracks.

Rocks Off: What NFL team do you root for?

Hank Williams Jr.: The Pittsburgh Steelers are my team. I have been friends with the Rooney family for a long time. They have been very good to me over the years. I have sang the anthem, attended Super Bowls with them, and just have a friendship with their whole organization.

Why has it been so long since you played Houston?

I only do 25-30 shows a year, so I pick and choose where I perform carefully. You don't want to play the same places over and over and have the fans get tired of seeing you. So I spread out the shows and keep them wanting more. I performed in Houston several years ago and am glad to be coming back!

Were you especially close friends with any of the other so-called outlaws, like Willie and Waylon?

Yes, Willie is a longtime friend. Waylon was family to me. He took me on tour when I was just a kid and showed me what the touring life was all about. Jessi [Colter, Jennings's widow] still keeps in touch and we are very close friends.

That whole group of artists from George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash and more were all good friends. As a matter of fact, June Carter Cash was my godmother. Not many people can believe that, but June and Momma were very close friends.

Hunting or fishing?

Both!!! As I said, I don't do many shows, and that is because of hunting and fishing season. I tour around those seasons for sure. I would rather be in hunting elk or turkey, or taking a little boy or girl out to get their first deer, than [be] doing anything else. It just is a peaceful day to be in the woods enjoying nature.

You've done some great covers. Do you have a favorite?

Not really. I do songs that I want to do. I don't listen to the radio, so I am not sure what is hot or not. I just listen to songs and I know pretty quick on whether I like them or not. I love Gregg Allman, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top and Run you sometimes hear their songs in my stage show.

How about a favorite cover of one of your own tunes?

I think "Country Boy Can Survive" is a universal song that really connects with the fans. So I would have to say that is a favorite because I know what it has meant to so many fans. But let's not forget "Family Tradition" or "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight"!

You get name-checked fairly often by contemporary country artists like Jason Aldean, and Darius Rucker covers "Family Tradition." Do you listen to any of them that much?

I have spent some time with both of them. I like Eric Church; he is a good guy and we did some shows together. I even took him out metal-detecting to look for Civil War artifacts. I think he has a big career ahead of him.

Hollywood Shuffle

Soundtrack of Our Lives
The 8 best soundtrack-exclusive tracks.

Corey Deiterman

Soundtracks were a huge deal in the '90s. They provided a chance for us to get all our favorite bands together in one place, like high-class, far more expensive mixtapes. They were such an affair that bands would release their best songs and greatest hits on these records, often sending a soundtrack soaring up the charts far past any one musician's own album.

For that reason, it's hard to look back at them as the cheap marketing ploys that they could be. When real musicians applied themselves to soundtrack appearances and Hollywood execs allowed them free rein over the product, it often became a must-own, even if the movie sucked.

Here are some of those songs that you could get only on a soundtrack that you just had to buy back then.

5. R. Kelly — "I Believe I Can Fly"

Like Coolio before him, Kelly scooped this one up for his subsequent album when it became a huge hit. Unlike in Coolio's case, it didn't make it to a Kelly album for another two years, so there was a long time when you had to buy the Space Jam soundtrack to hear arguably Kelly's greatest song ever.

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