Jun
3

Hank III in Billboard Top 10 For All The Wrong Reasons

June 3, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  75 Comments

This week the music world was agog that Lady Gaga topped the charts with her latest album Born This Way selling over 1 million copies, though some are crying foul because 440,000 of those album were bought on Amazon for only .99 cents, making NPR wonder if this is the end of the album as we know it. It makes me wonder again if there is too much free music.

But I was neither shocked nor appalled that Lady Gaga made #1. What blew my mind was to see the post-contract Hank III release from Curb Records called Hillbilly Joker crest #10 of the Billboard country charts last week, and it still sits in the Top 40.

The nearly 10-year-old album was rejected by Curb for release when Hank III turned it in originally because of concerns for the commercial viability of the content, which begs the question of why it’s OK to release it now that the music is 10-years-old, and not germane to Hank III’s current sound? Curb is in a legal battle with Tim McGraw right now over his album Emotional Traffic, with the label saying the songs are too old to use. But the release of Hellbilly Joker proves that Curb has no problem publishing old songs, and a Top 10 album by a much more underground artist than Tim McGraw proves that old songs can still be commercially viable and culturally relevant.

By waiting to release Hank III’s Joker until after his contract has expired, Curb was able to squeeze an extra album out of Hank III’s deal. Is there any question that is Curb’s aim with Tim McGraw?

But how did we get to this point? How could Hillbilly Joker crack the Top 10 when Hank III himself has not been promoting it, has been avoiding any media interaction, positive or negative, in fear of drawing attention to the album, and even 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.” And Joker has been circling around Hank III’s fan base and the underground for years as a free bootleg. So much of Hank III’s fan base already had it.

One of the reasons might be is that for the first time for a Hank III release, Curb actually promoted it, putting up displays in Hastings and other small chain and independent record stores touting it as Hank III’s “new album”. And for some inexplicable reason, the XXX movement, which claims to be for promoting and representing artists who haven’t gotten a fair shake from the mainstream, including Hank III, are touting the album on their website, against the wishes of Hank III, and in the face of a boycott of Curb Records.

In some respects it is heartening that a virtually unknown, underground artist can crack the Billboard Top 10, but he cracked the Top 10 for all the wrong reasons. If you’re reading these very words right now, you know the scoop about Hillbilly Joker, but thousands of people who simply saw the album advertised in their local record store, or for sale for $3.99 on Amazon, bought it and took the word of Curb that it was new material.

Maybe Hank III should have been more active in trying to get the word out, maybe Saving Country Music should have been, but in the current media world, the sick reality is that may have encouraged people to purchase it simply for the car crash factor. People now pay attention to music because it is bad instead of in spite of it (ie Rebecca Black & “Friday”), or just to see what all the hubub is about, or because it’s only $3.99, or .99 cents. This creates a situation where a Top 10 by Hank III, or a #1 by Lady Gaga doesn’t really help the music world judge the popularity, creative aptitude, or commercial viability of those artists.

Right now the music industry is in the equivalent of a drunken stupor, searching for the horizon in an attempt to figure which way is up and down. And if it cannot right itself, the next thing that will catch its eye is four horsemen descending from the clouds. Meanwhile Hank III must be wondering what Curb’s success with Hillbilly Joker will do to his career, and so must Tim McGraw.

Disgruntled/Confused Hank III Fans Sound Off On Amazon

Okay the only reason I cannot like this album is because the name on it. I bought this to hear Hank III not Assjack. I have an old bootleg of “This Aint Country” witch is a better version of this (with other songs). The tracks on here are more punk/metal than they were on the previous recording. It is good if it was Assjack but I didn’t buy Assjack.

Preordered and wish I didn’t. Not like Hank iii albums at all. Sounds like assjack which is not bad but not what I wanted. Oh well really don’t like the 3 mins of donkey sounds.

That’s right! I feel like the jokes on me. That’ll teach me to pre-order anything.
I love Hank 3′s Country stuff, can tolerate a little bit of Hellbilly & turn off Assjack.
Well this release sounds mostly like ASSjack. Only Hank’s Assjack fans will appreciate this material.

I’m 57 years old and mostly listen to 50′s and 60′s honkytonk. When I discovered Hank III’s country stuff, I thought I had a new favorite artist and I bought everthing he had out. Some songs sucked but most rocked. I pre-ordered this without waiting for samples to hear. Joke was on me! There is not a single track that is not awful from my perspective. There is nothing that resembles country here. Could be metal, could just be noise? All the same to me. I should know better than to buy without listening. This object lesson should keep me from doing it again.

Feeling a little ripped-off. Hillbilly Joker should have been released as an Assjack project (the III’s thrash noise band). I would never call Hank III “country” but this isn’t even close to other releases under the Hank III name. At least at his live shows, I can walk out when he switches into Assjack-mode. No such luck with this release. You got me, III. I should have listened to the sound bites before clicking the buy button. At least I got it at the Amazon $3.99 price. If you are out of ideas, why not cover Wayne Hancock and maybe even Unknown Hinson for your next Hank III release and leave this mess for Assjack fans?

 

75 Comments to “Hank III in Billboard Top 10 For All The Wrong Reasons”

  • Curb or no Curb it’s one of the best Hank III releases in years.

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    • You may not have the same feeling if you approached this album thinking you’re getting a new country album representing Hank III’s post-Curb direction.

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  • One minor note: yes, the album is on the grid at givememyxxx.com. If you click on it, it lead’s to Hank 3′s official site, which obviously isn’t advertising the album. Shooter and I both had some major misgivings about putting the album there and finally decided that, despite everything else, it simply had to be there. The reasoning is this: as Baron said, it is a tremendous album that should be heard. Yes, it should have been released 10 years ago. Yes, Curb is a total pile of shit record label. I’ve even signed the Tim McGraw petition. But does that make the music bad? I sincerely hope that anybody who sees that album on the grid and is curious about it will follow Shelton’s wishes and “get it some other way.”

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    • Then why not just put a picture up of Hank III himself, one of his logos, or one of his previous albums. There are some disputes about the artwork as well, which is the primary representation on the site. Does Hank III.com say that people should bootleg the album? So we’re just leaving it out there for people to discover that for themselves? Has Hank III ever endorsed XXX? Did you you ask him if you could use his likeness on your website?

      I’m not trying to be combative, I’m just asking. Think about it from a bystanders perspective rolling up to your website. They see an album XXX is is endorsing. What’s their next move? To buy it. That’s the purpose of the music grid.

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      • Would one of his previous albums be better? Arson Anthem, maybe. Everything else is Curb.

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        • I don’t know that Hank III is in Arson Anthem anymore, and I don’t know if Arson Anthem exists without Hank III.

          I’m not the person you should ask. You should ask Hank III.

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          • Hank III is still in Arson Anthem, they just came out with an album not too long ago

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          • Hank III was supposed to play with Arson Anthem at SXSW after they put that album out, and he didn’t show up. There were many fans that attended expecting to see Hank III that didn’t get the memo. Sound familiar?

            I’m not saying Hank III is out of Arson Anthem because I don’t know for sure, but I’ve heard from numerous people who assert that is the case.

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        • I think Adam makes a good point. Old or not, it’s the best thing to come out of the III camp in quite some time and while it may be old hat to some of us the reality is that it’s all brand new to 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999% of the music world.

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          • Notice I haven’t said a single thing about how good or bad I feel about this album, now or at anytime talking about it in the past. The quality of the album is kind of irrelevant to the discussion. I guess I should do a review. I was avoiding doing so to not give it any unneeded pub, but at this point I’m pretty much the only one that hasn’t.

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    • That’s a fair point Trigger, and I appreciate Adam and Shooter weighing in to justify their reasons for promoting it on XXX. These guys don’t need me to defend them, however I really think to give them a hard time is to proverbially ‘shoot the messenger’. Adam and Shooter are not the bad guys here – CURB are! The fans who choose to buy the album – whether they know about the history or not – are not the bad guys either. Just fans who are happy to part with their hard earned cash to get themselves a new Hank III fix. All the politics around this are getting boring.

      I’m not in any way defending CURB’s actions here, what they have done is deplorable and I would imagine, unlawful. However this is Hank III’s fight to fight, not mine. We all have issues and problems with our employers at different times and it’s our responsibility to sort it out directly with them. It’s not my friends or families problem to do this for me – they have their own sets of problems!

      I have up to this point been very supportive of III’s (and SCM’s) campaign against CURB to right the wrongs, however I’m now just sick of hearing about it. His contract is over with them, moving on. III has been publicly very silent about all of this so why are we still talking about it?

      I guess I am a bit upset that Adam and Shooter are having to defend their position. These two guys are our allies. Let’s please not start to draw up battle lines here.
      May I suggest we all just get back to focussing on the good stuff? The stuff that brings us all together as a community. That’s what I want to see.

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      • I respectfully disagree.

        If you or anyone else finds any of my articles uninteresting, then my all means, pass them up, but this is what Saving Country Music is all about. I disagree that Hank III’s troubles or anyone elses troubles is not my business or worry. This is a community. The reason Saving Country Music was started was to give a communal voice to Hank III because he was unable to speak for himself. by the restrictions of his contract.

        When I’m trying to convince someone on the merits of classic country, or an artist like Rachel Brooke or Wayne Hancock, “boring” may be one way they will describe them. I’ll take that as a term or endearment. In the quick, glittery world, I choose to be the in-depth music nerd that slows down to really listen to what musicians are trying to say through their songs, and to take to time to make in-depth analysis of the music and the business, because it seems like nobody else will.

        XXX was not a focus or even an emphasis of this article, just one point in many. Honestly my overall point was how the music charts are losing their relevance.The XXX promotion of Hillbilly Joker was more just an example of the dichotomy that the album presents.

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        • I apologise if I offended you Trig. Of course your article was not uninteresting or boring – it was as brilliantly written as everything you write. I guess what got my heckles up is alot of people are losing sleep over this issue … but where is the man in question? He’s staying mum on the whole thing. Apparently he has nothing to contribute to this conversation. Does nobody else find this strange?

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  • That’s insane. Just imagine what his level of fame would be had Curb got that heavy behind him from day one?

    What’s your theory on the reasoning? Do you think they wanted to rub it in his face that he left? Do you think they felt the material was subpar and were trying to bury him by getting it heard everywhere? Or do you think that they may have had a legitimate, although misguided moment of wanted to right what they did wrong? I’d go with it being one of the first two. What the fuck? Ha.

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    • Curb did it to make money. As much as we want to negatively humanize Curb with motivations like vengence, Curb has one motivation, and one motivation only: money.

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  • Besides, this is a good thing however you look at it. A top 10 position for this album is a direct message from the fans to the industry saying, “We want more music like this.”

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    • Until they listen to it with the misguided idea that it is a country album full of new material like Curb is marketing it. That’s why the original title for this album was “This Ain’t Country”.

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      • I think you’re selling the music fan buying the cd short here. You’re assuming that folks buying the cd off a display aren’t gonna like it cause it ain’t what they expect?

        I’d say, if they’ve been a fringe fan of III over the years they’ll like it much better than the latter III material cause it has the III spirit that his newer material is missing.

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        • Are you kidding me? I don’t even understand why this is a point of discussion. You can read comments on this very article about people getting misled. Go to Amazon and look it up. It has a 2-star rating with 14 ratings. Here are some:

          “Preordered and wish I didn’t. Not like Hank iii albums at all. Sounds like assjack which is not bad but not what I wanted. Oh well really don’t like the 3 mins of donkey sounds. ”

          That’s right! I feel like the jokes on me. That’ll teach me to pre-order anything.
          I love Hank 3′s Country stuff, can tolerate a little bit of Hellbilly & turn off Assjack.
          Well this release sounds mostly like ASSjack. Only Hank’s Assjack fans will appreciate this material.

          I’m 57 years old and mostly listen to 50′s and 60′s honkytonk. When I discovered Hank III’s country stuff, I thought I had a new favorite artist and I bought everthing he had out. Some songs sucked but most rocked. I pre-ordered this without waiting for samples to hear. Joke was on me! There is not a single track that is not awful from my perspective. There is nothing that resembles country here. Could be metal, could just be noise? All the same to me. I should know better than to buy without listening. This object lesson should keep me from doing it again.

          After listening to this album I was puzzled was this a joke as the album says. So I did some research and come to find out this is an album that was recorded some time ago. It was originally titled This Ain’t Country but Curb records decided not to release it which apparantly is what caused Hank to get his release from Curb records, which has become effective the first of this year. And now that he’s gone Curb has released this titled as Hillbilly Joker. As for the album it is not at all like the other Hellbilly records he has released but more like an AssJack recording with a slight country twist.

          Okay the only reason I cannot like this album is because the name on it. I bought this to hear Hank III not Assjack. I have an old bootleg of “This Aint Country” witch is a better version of this (with other songs). The tracks on here are more punk/metal than they were on the previous recording. It is good if it was Assjack but I didn’t buy Assjack.

          Feeling a little ripped-off. Hillbilly Joker should have been released as an Assjack project (the III’s thrash noise band). I would never call Hank III “country” but this isn’t even close to other releases under the Hank III name. At least at his live shows, I can walk out when he switches into Assjack-mode. No such luck with this release. You got me, III. I should have listened to the sound bites before clicking the buy button. At least I got it at the Amazon $3.99 price. If you are out of ideas, why not cover Wayne Hancock and maybe even Unknown Hinson for your next Hank III release and leave this mess for Assjack fans?

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          • And just to clarify, this album is being marketed as Hank III’s new country album. The original title of this album was THIS AIN’T COUNTRY. It doesn’t matter what you or others might feel about this music, if it is marketed as country, people are going to be disappointed. Read the comments, this was NOT labeled “Hellbilly” “Assjack” or even “rock”. I can’t tell you what percentage of the people that bought it were thrown for a loop, but I can say with confidence that it was a majority.

            Read the comments:

            http://www.amazon.com/Hillbilly-Joker-Explicit-Hank-Williams/product-reviews/B004IMDCHE/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_link_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

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          • Trigger- I coudnt agree more. Just started following your site so didn’t have the whole backstory. I’m a country fan and was looking forward to this album. Boy am I glad I listened before buying. To each his own. But for someone expecting country music, this was a big disappointment.

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          • Who really cares what genre the music is being promoted as? Do you really think that 14 ratings on Amazon is going to be truly indicative of the general reception this album gets?

            I’ll tell you one thing – the fact that this “album” has exploded into the mainstream has one definite result; the casual listener who picks this up and likes it is going to dig into III’s back catalog. And despite Curb’s shady practices , I can’t see how that is anything but a good thing for an artist.

            Another attribute that a casual listener or a new listener brings is that they tend not to be the kind who gives a shit what tag someone slaps on a band or musician. Country? Metal? Hellbilly?…chances are the novice isn’t going to take the same sort of offense at being “tricked” into buying an album from the wrong genre.

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  • The fact that the album still hit the Top 10 IMO is a big FU to Curb. Imagine the sales they would have got 10 years ago when it was fresh (possibly a #1 release). It just shows Curb what they’re missing when the next real Hank III material comes out whether it’s metal or country. Curb is just as stupid not releasing a Tim McGraw album. His album Southern Voice hit #2 on Billboard and the two before that were #1 albums (and not in the Country charts either). I just thought of a new slogan. Curb Records: Holding back potential #1 albums since 2001.

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    • “Damn Right Rebel Proud” hit #2 and “Rebel Within” hit #4. “Straight to Hell”, didn’t chart at all. DRRP and RW did because of the strength of Straight to Hell, so did Hillbilly Joker. But if Curb had released it when they should have, it would have not charted. And then they wouldn’t have had Hank III under contract to release Rebel Within.

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      • Chart positions in this era don’t mean too much. Rabid fans of “cult” artists are gonna come out in week one but the day of week one sales topping a million are long gone. I have to think that this album would have sold more back then, in the long run, just because people paid for music more often back then. Curb really shot themselves in the foot by not letting III put out music at his own pace cause they would have had more shit out there before the compact disc completely withered.

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        • Very good point ShadeGrown. ANY album in 2002 would sell better than its 2011 counterpart. Of course Curb and other didn’t have the foresight to understand this, and that is why the music industry is in the predicament they are.

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      • Gotta say this is at least partially correct. I’m still buying hankiii albums based on the strength of Straight to Hell. They’ve all been good, but no Straight to Hell. if Hank hadn’t asked us not to, I’d buy Hillbilly Joker just because it reminds me of that sound (and it’s way better quality than the live bootlegs I’ve had for years).

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  • I agree here. This album deserves to be heard by people who don’t frequent message boards or follow Shelton’s bootleg series. When I listened to this album it was bittersweet. Here was an album by a young, inspired dreamer of an artist, produced by the rock heavy hitter of the time (Dave Sardy) and it was killed before it came out. The inventive nature of this album, country and rockabilly that crosses with elements of punk and metal and bands like Ministry and even Marilyn Manson and the great industrial pioneers of the 90s, showed the beauty and creativity of a young man with nothing but the sky as his limit. But his path was stopped cold. I love his country albums and I love the path he took to where he is now but I can’t help but wonder where he would be now had he been encouraged to follow this direction and his career nurtured by his label like it should have. The decision to put it on XXX was the decision to show and remind people who are not familiar with his work how much of an amazing creative force he was and still is today.

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    • Very good point. I’ve always wondered what would’ve happened to him had this album hit in 2001. It’s a little dizzying to think about. It might’ve even started a new genre.

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    • I agree with every word of that very much, Shooter. I missed out on the bootlegs. I bought t-shirts instead… Plus I wanted the vinyl.

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    • wtf….i may have sold old shooter short. Shooter…..what all you know about the industrial pioneers of the 90′s?

      seriously. that ain’t a loaded question and, for me, it goes miles for explaining your last release…I grew up in the goth/industrial clubs of the 90′s….finding all of this much later.

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      • Dude are you kidding me!? Black Ribbons was kinda a tribute to all that. When I was a kid besides Danzig and a couple other bands I pretty much hated all the shit on the radio and when grunge came down the pike, although I liked Alice in Chains n Soundgarden, I really got WAY more into the industrial stuff and the Dead Kennedies. Ministry from the beginning, Mind is a Terrible Thing To Taste, songs like “Thieves” were huge to me! I bought every Skinny Puppy and Killing Joke record they had out. I worshipped Wax Trax! I love Nine Inch Nails tho. I thought when the Downward Spiral came out it was the most visceral aggressive awesome record I ever heard. I was more of a fan of Broken and Fixed than Pretty Hate Machine tho. The harder and more violent it got sonically, the more I was into it. I remember listening to ‘Smells Like Heaven Tastes Like Shit’ driving to go see fuckin Ministry play with Bodycount in Tennessee. Man that shit was what I was weened on! I didn’t go to goth clubs or anything tho, I was more like the Columbine kids than a goth, ha, with a trench coat, a Ministry CD and a drawing pad

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        • Pigface “Smells like Heaven” I loved Pigface , and 1000 homo DJ’s and All the Jello / Al and Paul shit too

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          • we talked about this on Outlaw 125! Very good taste in music. I wish they still made good industrial!

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          • Jahshie P., Dude, really. There are some great Industrial bands out now. Try the last 3 16Volt albums, The new Mortiis, there is some great stuff out there. You just need to look for it, kinda like you do with the Country genre.
            Shooter, I fuckin love your music. Can’t wait for the new album! To tell you the truth, I wasn’t into your stuff until Black Ribbons came out. I really loved that album, I had purchased a couple of your albums before that, but for some stupid reason, I hadn’t really given them a good listen. I don’t know why. After I heard Black Ribbons, I went back and revisited your catalog. I was blown away at how stupid I was for not giving you a chance. I truly believe you are what is needed today for the Country music genre. You should put out some more Black Ribbons type stuff too, that was a great album.

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  • I saw some reviews on this album over at Amazon. A good number of people seemed to be ignorant of the whole Curb situation, bought the album blind, and were disappointed that it wasn’t a “country” album. Renaming the album from “This Ain’t Country” to “Hillbilly Joker” worked like a charm on some folks, I’d say.

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    • Exactly. The fact that this album hit the top 10 proves the majority of consumers who purchased it did not know the back story. If they did, many wouldn’t have.

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  • I think the fact that Hillbilly Joker made it to 10 is more a testament to III’s loyal following than to Curb’s promoting of it. His last two albums made it to #2 and #5 for the same reason. If this one got so high on the charts imagine what his next country release will do when he, and sites like SCM, are promoting it.

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    • If it has to do with III’s loyalty, then why didn’t they listen to him when he told them not to buy it? I actually agree with you that it has to do with his loyalty, but this is a very strange situation where either people must have purchased it in an uninformed manner, or they bought it despite III’s pleadings.

      And will Hank III’s next album be big if many people buy this album, thinking it is a country album, thinking it is new music, and being disappointed?

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  • I will have to settle with my burnt cd version, although I would love it on vinyl, I can’t go against Shelton’s wishes and purchase it from Curb.

    The one thing I am afraid of is, the people who bought this because they thought this was III’s “new material” may only be familiar with his country albums. They may now not be interested in his new, upcoming country album because they were fooled by Curb’s promoting and may think this is his new direction. Assjack didn’t sell good at all, and that is only because it wasn’t a “Hank III” album. His name goes a long way.

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  • also, I just listened to a few tracks from “Hillbilly Joker” and “This aint Country” back to back, and the album has been remastered for sure. It sounds much fuller and heavy. Not that that is any reason to buy it, just thought I would point that out.

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  • I usually don’t write much here in the news blogs, but lately shit has been pissing me off. So I guess I should throw my two cents out there for whoever gives a fuck. This isn’t Hank III’s first album to be on the “charts” as far a popular music goes. Back in 08 Damn Right and Rebel Proud was #18 on the pop charts and #2 on the country charts. He does have a huge fan base that knows nothing about the fight to save country music. There is no way that even 1/10 of his fans heard that he did not want you to buy this album. I know this because of everything I read on fb and twitter the day it was released. People were going ape shit for it. For every person I saw advertising it, I would put the link to your story about Hank III wanting you to get it some other way. Yes, most of us (by “us” I mean the people who are going to read this) had this album years ago. I know I tried to burn this for anyone I know who didn’t have it. Also, my local record store had it right out front on Record store day, along with all the colored vinyl that III will never see a penny for. So Curb was trying hard to promote this album. Funny that the same record store had no advertising the day that Rebel Within came out.
    What does all this mean to us that fans of real country music? Well I believe that Hank III needs to get back in touch with his fans. I am not saying he needs to lead any movement, no movement is needed. But if he would take a little more time to talk to his fans, let them know what is going on with him,his music and his relationship with Curb/ the Hillbilly Joker. More people would have know not to buy it. Really all it would have taken was some facebook posts on his fan sites and a tweet from him. Maybe a total of two minutes of his time. Trigg you ask if you could have done more, well by making an article and posting it in your news feed. I believe you did more than III did. Yes he came out and said not to buy it. But he didn’t try to get that message out, I heard it from you on your site. Your site was the place I sent people to read what he had said about the album. He doesn’t even say anything on his own site about not buying it, not that I can find.

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    • He has been silent for months. No interviews, shows (2 in 9 months?), or even talked much to band mates. I suspect he is under a lot of pressure because he has no more excuses for his country albums. He knows he needs to release the album to follow Straight to Hell now, as he stated in many interviews he would do after his contract was up.

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      • I agree, I am sure he is feeling a squeeze from everything. This album probably isn’t helping much. His old label putting out a “new” album before he did. Especially after all he had to say about going to put an album out after he leaves Curb.
        I guess only time will tell us if a new country album is even going to come out at all. I know there is worry from alot of people he is going to go straight metal. Which is his choice. He is really a metal head / punk rocker. I am interested to see how this all tuns out. I was bummed to hear from Trigg that when he saw him a few weeks ago that he did not play any new material. That would have been a great time to throw out some new shit.

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        • We will get a new country album. He is working on it right now.

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    • “I believe that Hank III needs to get back in touch with his fans.”

      You said it Derek. I don’t think you can blame anyone for not knowing that this isn’t new Hank III material.

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    • Good thoughts Derek.

      I think one of the reasons Hank III has been so silent about it is because like the old saying goes, no publicity is bad publicity. In the screwed up world we live in, if he came out a bunch and put it out there for people not to buy it, it could have had a reverse effect. I think that was Hank III’s theory. I don’t know if he got the desired effect.

      I think I could have come out more against the release, but I have been trying to strike a balance between putting the right information out there for people to see, but not being all over the place with it to the point where to negative publicity could create bigger sales.

      Everything about Hillbilly Joker has been a hard tightrope to walk, for III, for me, for XXX.

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      • I see what you are saying. It is a double edge sword, saying anything at all about the album. While using google to get some info on III and billboard charts, your site was one of the first to come up because of this article. And yes the tightrope is being pulled tighter and tighter by the day. I just hope everything holds together, somehow.

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  • I am glad that you posted this one Trigger Man! I refuse to buy this album. I have a copy, who cares where I got it. I wish more people knew what was going on. Ever since I heard about this I have been Googling Hank III in realtime and telling every damn ignorant ass album promoter what they were REALLY promoting. I got through to a few people but not many responses. I went onto the Curb FB and posted your articles several times and they were deleted more times than not. I went on Amazon and posted Shelton’s quote for buyers. I want people to know. I want people to be proactive in saying FUCK CURB! They are doing Tim McGraw wrong as well. It is bittersweet for me when I see Hank III on the Billboard charts. I am proud for him but I know him too well to know that he doesn’t want to be there! Good post….spread the word!

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  • Ok so I stay away for awhile … Come back to find the same focused thread. Here is my take which isn’t worth a pot to piss in. The cd has been available for years. If you had never heard it or thought that it was new then it’s new. If you downloaded to cuz you lost it and remember how much it kicked ass then so be it. Nobody that is buying this album without knowing the deal. Hell, all we have heard for 10 years is fuck curb records. It was their last way to make money off the dude. He signed a deal cuz he needed cash and then he got fucked in the end. I get fucked everytime I go to mcdonalds and get my order screwed up and or cold fries. It was a mess from day 1 and there is nothing that can be done about it. Don’t you think that talking about the release is the same as advertising the release? In a way if we are talking about the movement we should be happy it’s in the top 10 of cock strong CDs. Knowing or not knowing the back story ( which to me is old and played out way past it’s interstingness) it’s selling. Which brings fans to the genre the same way 90% got here. Hear III then find put about another band and another. So it brings people into the circle which is what we want. Record labels suck and they fuck artist… Durr! We can cry about it all we want but it’s never going to change. Let’s focus on showing everyone what else is out there. Larry & his flask, little Lisa Dixie, Joey fuckin Allcorn, the calamity cubes
    , and on and on. It’s not about curb anymore. It’s old news and all we r doing is giving them press. III might be under pressure to make a follow up to straight to hell. So be it. We as fans have been hearing about fuck curb forever. They fucked him and it sucks. The best way to fuck curb records is to release an album that blows the shot out of the water. We have heard that they held him back. Praise the lord hollalua he is finally free… Now show them that they fucked up! I know at one time III was the man. Hell I represent with my tat everyday and I know III is talented as hell. I just wanna hear what what was suppose to come after the raine of curb was over. So to some up my rant… Fuck curb blah blah blah. We want new Hank and tired of hearing about it and records that sell for the right or wrong reasons will bring fans in and it’s our job to show them what else is out there not just beat the dead 10 year old horse

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    • “Nobody that is buying this album without knowing the deal.”

      I couldn’t disagree more, and you can take comments from this very article to verify that. I think all evidence points to the vast majority of people who are purchasing this album are doing it not knowing the deal.

      I understand what you are saying about the same tired thread, and that we should focus on supporting the music. First off, I do think that battling crooked record labels IS supporting the music, including unsigned bands. But as tired as this thread might be, the argument, once again, over and over, from people bitching about my myopic focus on one thing, is tired as well. Sometimes it is “All you do is bitch about pop country. How about talking about the good stuff.” When was the last time you saw me bitching about pop country? It’s been probably 6 weeks. It’s not because I listened to the criticisms, its because there’s been nothing specific to bitch about. As soon as there is, I will. And even though there 50 articles in between the last time I did, people will whine. So be it. Right now Curb is in a big battle with Tim McGraw and the same time they released this Hank III album, which charted at #10. It’s called the news cycle, and it is out of my control.

      Name me the artist or project I did not write about to write this article. I’ve written about Rachel Brooke more than anyone, and people bitch I oversell her music, so . . .

      The truth of the matter is, right now, there is no good music to talk about. All there is is parody after parody, and honestly, I’ve had to listen to so much bad music lately, I’m more cheesed off about that than I am of Curb.

      I respect if certain people don’t want to read certain topics I might cover here. If it’s not your speed, likely there is an article of a different flavor coming up. But if anything, I intend to focus more on this Curb issue, and the restructuring of the music business in general, because it is the topic of the day, and the most important thing to Saving Country Music.

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  • i miss Blake

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  • I ain’t hating on SCM or you trig. We all have views and u. Let us speakem. Long live real country

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    • Sorry if it seemed like I was jumping down your throat Blake. I respect your opinion, and I always think it is good when people voice that we should focus on the music, I just get jumpy when people say I focus on one thing too much. I focus on what I am passionate about at any given time.

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  • For the sheepole that bought it blind, I hope you like it. If not I’m glad you got fleeced for a few bucks. I got a copy well before it was released and you can tell why he hated Curb Records. It’s all Hellbilly and Assjack. Most of the stuff on there I’ve only seen live because Mr.Curb is a fuckin’ pussy and wouldn’t publish it. Fuck Curb, fuck the critics, fuck Nashville and fuck the Opry while we’re at it.

    “If you don’t like our Hellbilly style than hey man GO FUCK YOU!!!”

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    • Mr. Curb published Assjack. This has nothing to do with Mike Curb being a “pussy”, it has to do with $$$.

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      • My bad, I shoulda said “pu$$y”. I thought you could read between the lines.

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  • Regardless, it’s released and if you like it you like it, if you don’t you don’t. Mike Curb used his artists to make a gamble. That’s the way I see it. It’s wrong to mistreat your artists when you’re supposed to be backing them.

    Great blog Triggerman.

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  • I bought it. I wanted to have it on vinyl. I know the story, but bought it anyway, and don’t feel bad about it. I try to buy my music directly from artists or small record companies. I try to buy my food at markets and not chain stores. I try to buy clothes from fair trade stores and not big third world exploiters. But this one I just wanted to have, dammit. And let’s not forget: III was the one who carelessly signed such a fucked up contract. He should’ve signed with an indie in the first place
    I haven’t read the comments here for weeks and can’t believe how you’re still treating each other. Also, I generally find it hard to feel pity with folks who don’t take the slightest effort to check out what they’re buying – and then even start complaining! Hilarious.

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    • “I haven’t read the comments here for weeks and can’t believe how you’re still treating each other. “

      95% of the comment sections are free of drama. Because nobody reads the articles. The car crash draws a crowd and then people complain about how “things always are” around here.

      I respect your decision and your honesty. In the end, I can’t blame someone for wanting music and purchasing it.

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      • “95% of the comment sections are free of drama.”

        That’s good to hear! I was just tired of this whole pro/contra XXX/Shooter thing (which, to be honest, doesn’t affect me anyway) and was disappointed that it still seems to be going on. And to be absolutely clear: I read the articles! I just took a break from the comments.
        Cheers!

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  • I think the whole deal with the III really not speaking out about “Hellbilly Joker” is the fact that he thought Curb might come after him with more lawsuits or it could of been the fact of him knowing that his loyal fans knew the deal. As far as him being silent i think its been because he has been very busy trying to finish up 3 albums. Some will say bullshit cause his band members haven’t been around but we all know that Shelton can be playing all the instruments on the album like he did on the “Assjack” release.

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  • It’s frustrating to see that curb didn’t want to release that album 10 years ago….and now that Hank III has left them….they release it and it claims the hot spot…….things like that shouldn’t be allowed to happen…about Lady Gaga, i don’t like her songs and i don’t think she’s a great artist BUT I have to admit that the marketing work done with her is impressive to see in a time when music sales are dropping, her marketing manager always find a new successful way to sell her music and make her last both things that are hard to accomplish in 2011…

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  • To me, all of the long-time fans of Hank III and most readers of SCM know, knew, and understand the deal with this album. However, there are thousands of people out there that buy Hank III albums and are not active in the online world. These people get burned when Mike Curb promotes this as Hank III’s new album without any notice that it is not country music. The problem moving forward is that a significant percentage of the thousands of fans that sent this to #10 now feel alienated by Hank III thanks to Mike Curb.

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    • I strongly agree with that point Big A. It seems Shelton would step up and say something to the fans and the people who bought this blind. A lot of people did buy this record thinking it was a new country record. I don’t know what he should do or will do, but a lawsuit against Curb would be what I would do. I wish he would come out and publicly defend all the fans who got fooled. And let people who don’t know that his NEW music is in the works.

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    • Could that be by design? I understand Trigger’s point about Curb’s goal being to make money. Hard to disagree. But could this have also been a swipe at turning off casual fans (the majority) and hurting Hank III’s reputation among country music fans (again, the majority of which are not active on-line or following the backstory on this site)? How many folks who felt burned by this album will be ponying up to buy the next one?

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  • I’m suprised they marketed this, didn’t they have any other albums that needed pushing? Assjack isn’t really most people’s cup of tea, they must be running out of pop country people or something.

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  • I am a III fan. But people need to get over this Curb thing. Jesus. As if III is the only artist to get used and abused by a label. III is country, III is real, but III is a metal guy. That is where his passion is. He signed a country contract and that didn’t allow him to put out his passion, so it fucked up things a bit. It happens.

    And this album going to #10. Trigger, you stated- “In some respects it is heartening that a virtually unknown, underground artist can crack the Billboard Top 10,” I wouldn’t call III a virtually unknown, underground guy. He is very known in the country music world. I would argue it is heartening to see a non-pop country album get in the top 10, but this isn’t like Whitey Morgan or Biram cracking the top 10.

    Also, the quotes in the article seem to indicate that those folks are pretty knowledgable about III, given they know his AssJack side. To me that means they didn’t see all the Curb ads at record stores and thought, “Oh man, Hank Williams!!! Like ole’ Sr. and Jr.?” No, they knew III and they knew his sides. They wanted his country side. They didn’t get it. Now did Curb market it as a “country” album? I don’t think so. They marketed it as III. No one that likes Sugarland got swindled here.

    I really think you need to take a look at the Hank III army of fans that claim to be so hardcore and ready to take up his fight, but they couldn’t respect his wishes and keep their hands off this album. His fans were the ones buying a bunch up and taking it to #10. How many copies really sold? #10 isn’t exactly moving a ton of product. I think you’ll find that it was III’s own army of fans that put the money down and put the money in Curb’s pocket against thier leaders wishes.

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  • III just posted this to someone on facebook today ” Today is the last day on all the projects Ive created since January.Will be rdy for a break and make it live again”

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  • Lets not forget that it WAS released on colored vinyl. And people will buy any novelty item.

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  • Let’s see what III comes up with next, this is old news.

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  • Cant wait for the new country cd. Any idea when III gets it done

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  • Lets just all hope III has been holding out his best “country” stuff. Just blows my mind people on here hoping to “save country music” promoting this head banging bull shit.

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    • this site never once promoted buying hillbilly joker. in fact triggerman told people that hank3 didn’t want people to buy it

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