Shelton Hank Williams (born December 12, 1972), known as Hank Williams III and Hank 3, is an American musician, singer and multi-instrumentalist. Williams' style alternates between outlaw country, punk rock and metal. He is the principal member of the punk metal band Assjack, the drummer for the Southern hardcore punk band Arson Anthem, and was the bassist for Pantera singer Phil Anselmo's band Superjoint Ritual. He has released seven studio albums, including five for Curb Records. Williams is the grandson of Hank Williams, the son of Hank Williams, Jr., and the half-brother of Holly Williams.
Williams spent much of his early career playing drums in punk rock bands during the late 1980s and early to mid-1990s. He signed a contract with Nashville, Tennessee, 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.
Williams' first solo album, Risin' Outlaw, was released in September 1999 to respectable sales and strong reviews. While his name (and his uncanny vocal and physical resemblances to his grandfather) could have guaranteed Williams a thriving country audience, he had little patience for the often predictable Nashville sound, nor for even the minimal constraints on behavior his promoters required. His opinions on this subject are well summed up in his songs "Trashville" and "Dick in Dixie".
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 the country and the psychobilly with his "The Damn Band". Assjack produces a very different sound than either, mixing heavy doses of 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 has had significant contractual conflicts with Curb Records. He expressed dissatisfaction with his debut, and reportedly the label was unwilling to release his appropriately named This Ain't Country LP, nor to allow him to issue it on another record label. In response, Williams began making T-shirts stating "Fuck Curb." Also during this era, Williams played bass guitar in heavy metal band Superjoint Ritual, now renamed as Superjoint for legal reasons, led by former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo.
In late 2004 Thrown Out of the Bar was slated for release, but Curb opted not to issue it. Williams and label executive Mike Curb would be in and out of court for the next year before a judge ruled in favor of Williams in the spring of 2005, demanding that Curb release the album. Shortly thereafter Williams and Curb came to terms, and Williams dropped his "Fuck Curb" campaign. Bar was reworked into Straight to Hell, released on Curb’s rock imprint, Bruc. Battles with Wal-Mart 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. 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.
Williams released his long-awaited punk-metal album Assjack on August 4, 2009.
His next album, Rebel Within, was released in May 2010. It charted at number 20 in Billboard magazine.
Williams' former label 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."
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), 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.
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. 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, 2014 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.
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".
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