It looks like Hank Williams Jr. had quite the massive celebration yesterday on the Fourth of July with his family.
As opposed to setting off a simple old rocket or roman candle like the rest of America, Hank Jr. opted to light up an original Civil War cannon on his property out in western Tennessee.
I’m sure you have to have some kind of very specific permit from your state (or probably the federal government) to be shooting off a weapon like that in your backyard, but I have to say, I’ve never seen anyone celebrate Independence Day quite this way before.
He posted a video of the insane explosion on Instagram, adding that he “doesn’t use fireworks on the 4th of July,” and that his grandkids and family loved it, affectionately referring to the cannon as a “Bocephus Firecracker”:
Hank doesn’t use fireworks on 4th of July. Original Civil War cannon. Grandkids and friends loved it.”
This specific type of cannon called a 12# Napoleon by collectors , and is apparently one of the more highly-sought after cannons from the time period.
I just can’t believe it still works like it was made yesterday:
Hank Jr. also just released his full-blown blues passion project, Rich White Honky Blues, which peaked at number one on the Country, Americana/Folk and Blues Albums charts, while also peaking at number two on the Rock and Record Label Independent Albums charts.
And yes, he’s still got it… make sure you check out some of the good new stuff while you’re here.
“.44 Special Blues”
“Jesus, Won’t You Come By Here”
Hank Williams Jr. Details Pressures He Faced To Be Like His Father
I can’t imagine the pressure that comes with being a famous person’s child.
Especially when the famous person passed away at a young age, and the child is expected to fill the parent’s shoes and continue the legacy, just like Hank Williams Jr. had to do.
As most know, Hank Williams passed away when he was only 29-years-old due to a long battle with alcohol and drug abuse, when Hank Jr. was only three-years-old.
As soon as Hank Jr. turned five, he was pressured by his mother, Audrey Williams, and the rest of the country music world to become exactly like his father, and become the next Hank Williams.
In an ABC 20/20 segment with Barbara Walters back in 1987, Hank Jr. detailed the struggles he faced while always being compared to his father growing up.
“It was always ‘Your daddy went through this stuff, and you’ll have to go through it. We have to go through these things (booze and drugs)’ ya know… depression, that’s a big sport to a lot of these people I think. It was just drilled into me a lot.”
He discussed how he was already playing shows and covering his father’s songs at an incredibly young age:
“I was on the road when I was eight. When they came to see an eight to 10 year old it wasn’t for his wonderful voice, it was because he was the son of Hank Williams.
They were trying to give me a drink when I was 10 or 12, you know saying ‘Hey give ol’ Hank a little drink here,’ the old steel player and everything.”
He was then asked if anybody ever told him he wasn’t supposed to drink and take pills, and he responded:
“No, the road wasn’t ever like that. I grew up quick… I was in the hospital several times, all the way out. The pills, you know, the whiskey, and the whole thing. I was really rolling in it.
I thought I was gonna die a couple times and it scared the heck out of me.”
He also weighed in on the pressure he felt from fans to be like his father, and if it didn’t sound exactly like his father sounded, he would take heat for it:
“They’d be like ‘Sing Hey Good Lookin’,’ and I’d just be like, ‘well I just sang it, you were just so drunk you didn’t hear it or I’m just gonna do this other one.'”
“Oh you little sore, your daddy would have…”
“So that didn’t go over too good… I punched one of ’em, in Salt Lake City and boy that felt good. It was driving me crazy.
I had a psychiatrist tell me he said, ‘Hey you’ve been living, talk like, act like, be like, sing like your daddy, your lifestyles exactly like his, and you’re gonna be gone too.’
I said ‘To hell with this, I’m not putting up with this crap.'”
That’s when he decided at the age of 26 to go a completely different direction with his country music career, and become his own person, transforming into the Hank Jr. we all know and love, taking his influence from the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles.
He began to pursue a different sound that mixed together southern rock, the blues, and country music all into one.
Nevertheless, it truly is hard to fathom the amount of pressure he felt on the daily growing up to become a spitting image of his father… but despite that pressure, he emerged a legend in his own right.