Six Pack of Pop: Hank Williams Jr.
October 30, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
Country singer discusses his fans, country music and theme songs
Hank Williams Jr. likes NASCAR and many NASCAR fans like Hank Williams Jr. Well known for his "Are You Ready for Some Football" theme song to Monday Night Football, Williams performed a pre-race concert at Bristol Motor Speedway this summer and has performed at many NASCAR events.
The country singer discusses his career, country music and the possibility of writing an introductory song for NASCAR in this week's Six Pack of Pop.
Q: If you were to write an introductory song for NASCAR, what might it be like?
A: If I did that for you, then I would be doing that for free. I get paid to write songs; ABC and ESPN paid me well for "Are You Ready for Some Football!" The BIG thing is that I own that song, so now that I own it and ESPN is not using it, I could easily turn it into "Are You Ready for Some NASCAR, It's a Sunday afternoon party!" ... maybe there is something there.
Q: Was the Bristol race your first NASCAR experience? Are your fans NASCAR fans?
A: My fans are the NASCAR fans. Hardcore, country lifestyle folks that earn what they make, and spend only what they can afford to spend. I have done many NASCAR events, including the final farewell party in Charlotte for Winston when they were no longer the key sponsor for the races.
Q: Like more than one NASCAR driver, you faced comparisons and expectations because of your famous father. How did those affect the paths you chose and decisions you made in your career?
A: Just like Dale Jr. gets connected to his father, I was connected to my father. One BIG difference is that my father died when I was 3, so I didn't get to know my father. Hard to compare to someone you never knew. But I do get that comment from fans wanting me to be more like daddy, but I am who I am and have made my own way in the music business.
Q: Who's the best new country talent performing today?
A: I really enjoy Eric Church. He opened some shows a few years back and I got to know him and his wife really well. They are just simple people, and Eric is just like me. He likes to do things on his terms and the way he wants to do them. I admire a young talent who is able to do that.
Q: If you could play on stage with one performer who would it be and why?
A: I would love to perform with Hank Williams. He was the original rock 'n' roller, the original country crooner, the original rockabilly artist. Everyone looked up to him and his musical styles. I would like to see him perform and I would like to have him see my performance.
Q: How do you feel knowing some folks might recognize you from your Monday Night Football intro and not your own music?
A: Absolutely. I get that a lot. Kids will come up and say 'you are the Monday Night guy' or 'hey is that the football guy?' I am OK with that. Twenty-plus years of Monday Night Football was a good run for me. I won 3 Emmy awards and got to be a household name for not just football fans, but all of America.