Shooter Jennings VS. Shelton Hank Williams III
Well after scouring the internet looking for light on the subject and talking to a few people who knew more about this than I do, I can confidently say that Hank III’s next album will likely not have a duet with Shooter, and no, a III/Shooter version of the popular Waylon/Hank Jr. song The Conversation is not in the works.
In a nutshell, the tension between Hank III and Shooter boils down to Hank III being mad that Shooter ostensibly stole Hank III’s persona, or at least part of it. After Shooter’s rock band Stargunn broke up in 2003, Shooter decided to ditch the eyeliner, feather boa, and “go country,” making himself into a sort of Hank III 2.0.
(Shooter Jennings in Starrgun)
The easiest example of this is the title track to Shooter’s first album, Put the O Back in Country, which was adapted from Neil Young’s “Are you Ready for the Country” and covered by Waylon in ’76. Young also incidentally owns and plays Hank Williams Sr.’s original guitar. This was a little to close to comfort to the title and lyrics of Hank III’s song “Dick in Dixie.”
Some have tried to defend Shooter by saying that ‘Put the O” came out in 2005, and Hank III’s Straight to Hell didn’t come out until 2006. Well we have Curb Records to thank for delaying that release, but Hank III has been performing ‘Dick in Dixie’ live regularly since 2001, and some recall hearing that song as early as 1999.
Hank III on Shooter, from an interview from KNAC.com:
“KNAC.COM: I have no idea how you are going to respond to this, but Waylon Jennings son, Shooter, is making a go at country, but he appears to be using a lot of your themes and calling in a lot of big names trying to get recognition–something you don’t do. Have you paid any attention to that? Do you see any similarities with him having a famous father in the industry?
HANK III: No, no–hell no. Shooter is a kid who was born into money and always had money around him. He lived with his dad and mom and moved to L.A., and his rock band didn’t happen, and then Waylon died. It seems like he was like, “oh well, Starlight didn’t go over too well–I’ll try the country thing because I’ve got the connections and people to do it.” Me, I had a kid and a judge.
KNAC.COM: No money.
HANK III: No, I was raised by my mom, man. It was a totally different angle. Yeah, as for Shooter, he’s here to “put the ‘O’ in country.”
KNAC.COM: I was sort of curious about that because you kinda had that before.
Oh yeah, I’ve already called him on that. “If you wanna go down that road and rip us off, mutherfucker, I’ll see you in ten years and five thousand shows down the road. We’ll see where the fuck you’re at. You know, I called him out and just flat out said, “fuck you if you’re gonna rip us off like that on your first release.”
Here is what Shooter has to say about the matter, from CMT:
CMT: “I would love to know what is going on with you and Hank III.
Shooter: You know what, I don’t even comment on these things, really. I don’t even know him. I met him once, I think, for a second. And somehow all this stuff started about how he hates me. I don’t know. It’s, like, stupid. Me, I just play music, and I like his music, and I don’t understand what that’s all about. But if they decide they don’t like me, I guess that’s their problem.”
In my opinion, Shooters comments spell out what the real problem is. If Shooter had known Hank III, approached him with the “Put the O” idea before he released it, maybe there would be no problem. Musicians ‘steal’ or ‘borrow’ ideas for songs or little bits of songs or riffs or whatever from each other all the time, that is just the way it works. But with something so clear cut, at the least I think Shooter should have approached Hank III with the idea.
I know that there are a lot of Shooter fans out there that are also Hank III fans, and a lot of Shooter fans that read this blog on a regular basis. I personally don’t consider myself a Shooter ‘fan,’ but I don’t find anything objectionable about the music or the man. I don’t own any of his CD’s, but I’ve heard a lot of his music. His first two were certainly better than his last offering, The Wolf. His music is just not my particular style, and I hear a lot of standard and sometimes reused formulas in his songs. For example:
Good song, but very very similar to:
A lot of the phrasing is darn near spot on, which I might overlook if Hank III wasn’t accusing the same man of ripping him off. It is also hard to overlook that Shooter is buds with Toby Keith.
But having said all of that, I think there are some Hank III fans that unfairly rip Shooter’s music simply because they are Hank III loyalists. I would certainly rather hear Shooter than most of the shit they play on pop country radio, and I’m not going to try to hold back anybody who wants to call out the country music establishment, which in the end was the whole point of the “Put the O Back in Country” thing. And as for ripping Shooter because he comes from money? Hey, Waylon had a ton of kids, and without question he doted over Shooter way more than any of his others, but nobody can control the circumstances they are born into, and in my opinion, this should never be held against anybody.
I’ve heard some people use the feud between Hank III & Shooter, Hank III & Kid Rock, Hank III & Curb Records, to say that III must be some kind of asshole, willing to burn bridges and take names over any small problem. Who knows, maybe he is. But put yourself in his shoes. Knowing the whole story, I can’t blame Hank III for being mad at Shooter.
And as for Shooter, I say let him do his thing, and history will judge him good or bad.
© 2023 Saving Country Music
» Random News Roundup Vol. 7 (Bob Wayne, Reinstate Hank)
January 3, 2009 @ 12:12 pm
[…] always check out the tour section of hank3.com for all tour dates. Also a quick correction. In my Shooter VS. Shelton blog, I accidentally wrote that Shooter’s “Put the ‘O’ Back in […]
» Shooter Jennings VS. Shelton Hank III Part 2
January 4, 2009 @ 3:40 pm
[…] off, this blog is a follow up to the Shooter Jennings VS. Shelton Hank Williams III blog, so if you didn’t catch that one you might want to read it first. I always try to be as […]
January 6, 2009 @ 9:10 pm
I like both of ’em. Seen Shooter a couple of times and he puts on a helluva show. Haven’t seen Hank III cause he’s not much of a New England type of guy evidently. I do think it’s lame and bit jealous sounding to mention the fact that Shooter was born into money. Hank is using just as much of his heritage as Shooter…you don’t see Shelton Williams releasing a CD do ya? Add to the fact that Hank III’s image is sorta Hank Sr. for the new millenium. Also, my guess is that Shooter had become interested in doing some country stuff before his dad passed, since they had worked on the recent Wayon and the .357’s release prior to his death if I’m not mistaken.
December 9, 2012 @ 11:01 am
No you don’t ever see Shelton Williams putting out a cd. But I have never seen any music put out by Hiram Williams or Randall Williams either.
February 5, 2013 @ 6:33 am
III’s daddy got him a deal with Curb Records. And he acts like a goddamn fancypants these days. It’s all about money for him.. Trust me, I know.
Saving Country Music » Blog Archive » Shooter Jennings Quitting Country Music?
April 26, 2009 @ 1:21 pm
[…] a side note, I think this also brings to conclusion the Shooter vs. Shelton Hank III battle. Hank III previously said: “If you wanna go down that road and rip us off, mutherfucker, […]
March 31, 2010 @ 12:49 pm
i love shooter he is my favorite. period. i liked hank III until now, im sorry shooter is more popular and is better liked by hank jr. than his own son. oh wait its because he’s cooler and not a lost cause, trying to show how bad ass he can act to get attention. fuck III
July 19, 2011 @ 10:15 am
and Chuck looks like you’re ridin’ the douche caboose too, you cawch bag.
December 31, 2017 @ 1:01 am
You are so full
Of it Hank 3 is way better than shooter, Hank 3 music is real country music, not that crap pop country they play now days, sorry but shooters music is not real country
June 4, 2010 @ 9:11 am
I prefer Hank III’s music to anything out there today. But taste in music is matter of personal preference. Let’s look at the facts. Hank III is a rebel who fights music row and never compromises. The last time I saw III it cost me under $20 and the man played for over 3 hours. Hank is a hard worker who does his own thing. As for shooter… I would refer you to the picture of him at the top of this page. A faggot in a feather boa. If you prefer Shooter to Hank III you are probably some faggot banker or a yankee, not a working man so you have no right to speak about country music. Stupid cunts
Michele from HELL
September 14, 2010 @ 9:26 pm
Right on I totally agree…………. Shooter is quite the PUSSY……Honestly I have a 2yr. old son his name is Shooter…….What can I say I love Waylon and like his son’s name but boy his son is a HOLLYWOOD type “country boy” barf
October 18, 2011 @ 2:39 am
I did my research, Shooter was singin and playing country music as far back as 1996.. Shooters the man. Hank3 is cool too.. Shooters music simply appeals to more people.. Therefore he is more popular than Hank.. Thats the cold hard facts.. If Shooter hadnt had stolen that Idea or Phrasing.. Im not sure it wouldve made much difference.. Hed still be where he is today, and thats making badass country music for us and his Daddy and Momma.. and seriously, Shelton is hanks real name… WAYLON is Shooters real name.. So I say thhose two cancel eachother out.. Theres a million arguments you could come up with but ultimately, Shooter is where he is, and Hank is where he is.. Like em both, personally enjoy Shooters music way more.. To me its got more honesty, more guts. Anybody can cuss their ass off on a track, shit I just saw some of my old buds today, every other word was the F word.. Theyre both using their daddys name.
March 30, 2011 @ 4:06 pm
If you think that the “working man” only lives below the Mason-Dixon line, then you’re a dumb ass.
June 4, 2010 @ 10:08 pm
Hey Triggerman, thanks for reposting this link! I don’t know how I missed it cause I thought I caught all your stuff. Although me and my tin ear don’t catch the simularities in the two music videos you posted I don’t blame Shelton a goddamn bit for the rip off of “Dick In Dixie” cause even my tin can hear that. I like some of Shooters new album,but I despise plagiarism!!!…by the way…I think that “chuckies in love”!
June 24, 2010 @ 12:17 pm
haha… what a joke shooter jennings is! Who the hell does he think he is for even comparing himself to the likes of III? I wasn’t aware of this so called “feud” until now but just look at those pics, hahahaha what a fake ass douche. It’s not even worth comparing the 2… III is the REAL deal, plain and simple. Like pscychoscot said when you see a Hank show you get yer moneys worth! 3+ hours of pure brutality!! 2 different sets, sometimes 3!! Shooter probly has a whole press team cooking up schemes to make a name for himself beef style. Hank records his albums at his house. So whos trying to get the attention??? He don’t need it… he’s GOT IT!! KEEP SUPPORTIN REAL MUSIC!! DEATH TO FALSE CUNTRY!! RE-INSTATE HANK SR. .COM!!
July 15, 2010 @ 5:54 pm
Scumdog has said more than a mouthful, fuck misfire jennings
July 25, 2010 @ 10:13 am
Y’know, Hank III and Shooter are both great in their own rights, I’m a fan of both and can say that III and Shooter are just from two different worlds. I mean, sure a III/Shooter song would be great but it seems that Shooter has too much of the “Glam” thing going on (especially after Stargunn) and III is what he is, a Country-Metal rocker. Even if they were friends, it just wouldn’t work.
October 5, 2010 @ 8:43 pm
yea yea hank iii i never had any money, yea only if the gang vanilla ice ran with robed him. Im sure he was more than comfortable,
January 1, 2011 @ 1:31 am
What the hell is a shooter? I know it to be something drank out of a shot glass, or in shooters case, a short glass. Hank III, nothing to sweat…..like your pa and grandpa………nobody can hold a candle to those voices. After all look what the pettiness of the Hank wannabe’s did to your Grandpa. The Williams are country, the rest are just wannabe’s and ride on the shirt tails…..but a Hank is a Hank is a Hank…..no imitation is going to get in the realm. Your born a Williams, you don’t turn yourself into one…….YeeeeHaaaaaaaaaa Williams = Pure Country and the wannabe’s well they can just kiss our Ars’.
July 9, 2011 @ 7:37 am
It comes down to respect. If an artist has to rip someone else’s work off it’s going to cause strong reactions and that artist will face the music in the end. If an artist is honoring or giving respect to someone else’s work, then that’s different.
July 8, 2011 @ 10:59 pm
July 18, 2011 @ 5:46 pm
Shooter is a douche caboose. H3 FOREVER!
July 19, 2011 @ 10:13 am
and yeah I heard with my own ears & saw with my own eyes Shelton perform Dick in Dixie in 1999…sooooo there.
March 4, 2012 @ 9:45 pm
First of all, I am not a hank III fan…. It doesn’t mean I dont respect and love Hank Jr and Sr and their legacy…. Just think III has his own style that doesnt appeal to me. I am a Shooter fan and have seen him several times and he was great. Sorry but his style is unique and his voice is just like his daddy’s. This feud is BS and all the comments are rediculous about it. Its like saying i’m a metallica fan ‘F’ pantera. Who cares who is more of a badass…. Let them do their oen thing and if u dont like it then thats your business. I happen to love shooter’s voice and style but it doesnt mean i’m gonna disrespect hank III by sayin he sucks cause he’s not my style. Give it a rest
November 24, 2017 @ 11:05 pm
Shooter sounds nothing like his daddy. I sound more like Waylon than he ever will. Waylon had one of the greatest voices of all time. Shooter is a lounge act. I’ve seen Waylon and shooter. Shooter couldn’t wipe his daddy’s ass!!!! Take that to the bank
July 3, 2012 @ 12:19 am
I find the notion that Shooter wrote “Put the ‘o’ Back in Country” in any sort of response or influence from Hank III’s “Dick in Dixie” ridiculous.
Hell, even in Family Guy Quagmire had a RV with ‘Cross Cuntry’ something painted on the side. Is Hank III gonna try to get credit for that too? I love both of them and am a huge Waylon fan but fuck, isn’t it possible two songwriters came up with a similar play on the word country both in opposite ways without either being influenced from each other? Hank III is the asshole in this situation and Shooter is being calm and collected.
October 23, 2012 @ 7:13 pm
Let them fight it out and we will see who the real outlaw is h3!
September 11, 2013 @ 10:52 am
This “argument” makes me fart.
You’re all duped. Shooter & Shelton are both entertainers and do what they do because it makes them money. The quarrels / feuds are good for calling attention to both parties, bringing them both more press and, ultimately, more money.
June 23, 2014 @ 4:14 am
June 16, 2015 @ 10:59 pm
Like Larry said PUBLICITY STUNT. Advertising and promotion of any performer cost big bucks. Get arrested or do something controversial like “you stole my act it’s war now motherfucker “. Doesn’t cost a dime and the media eats that shit up ! Pretty lame IMHO.
September 30, 2016 @ 4:56 pm
I hardly understand why Hank III hates Shooter so much. He seems to dislike everybody but himself. Yeah, maybe Shooter was born into a rich family, but Hank Jr did help Hank III make a career for himself. He was there to help him get rid of his drug habit and it’s not like he didn’t help him to get a record deal. He also had a failing career in punk rock and started his country career after he realized it was the only way to go to get money. The guy used to hate country music and didn’t even use his middle name. Then he decided to become Hank Williams III.. Neither of them are saints. No Hank, no Shooter..
November 17, 2016 @ 5:02 pm
It’s show business. Maybe 10% real (if that- lol)and 90% BS and that is ALL show business. Cant help but think of “dis tracks” in rap and how MMA fighters hype a fight for months with how they really hate each other when in reality they could easily be close friends. Anything to sell more tickets and the media loves to feed off it and attempt to escalate it. Rarely is it real. Obviously , this one is one sided, regardless. Shooter chose the high road and I respect that much more. On the other hand, Hank 111 is known to be “outspoken” and he could very well have a legit beef. I like both guys, both are very talented musicians, but things like these are best handled behind the scenes (with dignity). I watched a video on youtube of a Joe Rogan podcast and Shooter was his guest. Shooter Jennings is one highly intelligent guy. Easily in the superior IQ range and pretty much opposite lifestyle from how I thought he lived. Seems like a pretty cool guy and he appeared to be HIMSELF.the real Shooter (not to mention his taste in women, the hot chick who played Christophers girlfriend in the Sopranos was his gf for years and they have 2 kids)
Hank 111 DID get hi$ the hard way. Contrary to popular belief, he did indeed grow up poor and was abused horribly in his childhood. I was really disappointed in Hank Jr. when I learned that. From what I have read ,Hank 111 is also known as a really decent and cool guy by those who know him OFF the stage. It’s show business. Most celebrities are 2 different people. The image their managers and PR people create and then the person they REALLY ARE away from the stage and spotlight. Many celebrities are almost opposite from what they appear to be. I learned that (sadly) years ago. Shooter and Hank 111 are no exception.
February 12, 2020 @ 7:10 am
I used to have big respect for Hank III till I read this. The balls of this guy to rip on Shooter became he came from money..lol. really? The guy who came from Hank Jr. ? Did he really use the I was raised by my mom line? Fucking hilarious, I’m sure his daddy didn’t give his momma a million dollars a year in child support. What a fucking hypocrite.
October 22, 2021 @ 3:14 pm