Shelton Hank Williams III, aka Hank 3, has a famous name and voice. He uses both to great effect to bring attention to issues and causes he supports. Whether it is the country music industry or animal rescue, he stands by his friends... he also happens to be a country boy with a thing for big trucks and bigger vans.
Before he started his summer tour, he took a few minutes to talk to us about his 4x4 van, recently upgraded by U-Joint Offroad... and a little about his love of dogs and music...
How long have you had your van? Does it have a name?
I have had my van since 2004. A lot of folks that see it, in the 1st conversation, call it a Beast. But I call my redneck ride The Heathen.
How did you find UJOR and what made you choose them to do the work on the Heathen?
I have had a death wobble issue for many years. Some guys would try their take on it and in 6 months it would always come back. So far it is gone and it is a night and day difference in the ride with the leaf spring up front now. In 6 or 7 months I will know if its all fixed for good, but I'm 100% sure Chris knocked the Death Wobble out.
Chris also mentioned he installed, "a complete 8" UJOR lift, dual shock mounts, Bilstein 5160 series shocks, and 315/75/16 Toyo MT's on Mickey Thompson Classic Lock wheels." What else does it have going on?
I have a Diablo Sport Performance chip on the 6.0 that has made all the difference in the world for power.
Steering Kit 8" Lift
Misc Steering Arm Block
Brake Line Kit
suspension, prep axle for conversion
Install UJOR conversion kit, rear springs
Misc Modify F driveshaft (lengthen & rebuild)
Front U-Bolts 8
Front U-bolt plates, lower shock mounts
Remove factory coil buckets,
WARN Premium Hubs
BrakeMan Brake upgrade
Outer Axle Seals
Upper & Lower ball joint
Inner Axle Seals
Install Inner axle seals.
is some of the upgrades that have been done..
I have had the roof Line-X'd
I have National air ride seats in the van
A line'X'd Safari Roof rack
general Lee cb
The rear brakes have been powder coated dark red
I've had an extension on the sliding door to clear the wheels
The Van has a power inverter and a air compressor to run the air ride seats and push the train horn
Dark tint on the windows
And rain deflection visors on each window
Tow hooks up front
A arrow on my Antenna
a mbrp exhaust
And tow bags in the back
How did you get into 4x4s? What do you like to do or where do you like to go off-road?
I have been driving 4x4 since I was a young kid on the farm. I've always drove big trucks my whole life. But once I lifted my van, way back when, I swore I'd never lift another truck. I've never had a vehicle that has brought so many smiles to people and that have started so many conversations when I drive it.
What's the coolest place you've been off-road?
I like off-roadin' on a friend of mine's farms in TN that have a bunch of trails on them. One day I might get to take it to Montana.
I know you are headed out on tour again soon. What do you do for fun or to unwind when you're on the road?
I take my Van camping sometimes but the inside of it is more laid out for a work and play vehicle.
I've read that you are a big supporter of animal rescue. Do your dogs like to ride in the van?
Yes, I have been very active in being part of rescued animals and tryin' to tell people the best dog you can get is a rescue. They're a lot more loyal and you save a life also. I have a big event working with Happy Tails Humane Society on August 3rd. And yes my dogs ride with me a lot on some of my long rides.
Check out the country set from the benefit, called "One Big Wag," where over $18,000 was raised!...
Last year you started your own album and then released four albums last September, over 50 songs, on the same day. How long did it take? There were a lot of collaborations with other artists... who were you most excited to work with?
Releasing 4 records, on the same day, across 4 different music styles was a way for me to make musical history and doing something that no other musician had done before. It took from January to June of 20ll to write, record, mix, and master these records all myself and all in-house. It was amazing to work with Tom Waits, Les Claypool, Alan King, and Dave Sherman...
Your interests and taste/style in music covers a lot of ground and I know you break up your sets by 'type' of song...
I always play the country set 1st, then I do the hellbilly sound, then the Doom rock then the speed metal... its a 3 and 1/2 hour show.
What's next for Hank 3?
I will be on the road until I break even. My next tour is Hank3, HellBilly, Attention Deficit Domination and 3Bar Ranch. People can go to hank3.com to see the dates... and buy the new albums!
Hank3 just finished up a weekend in Texas and is headed to play dates out west through the end of August. He's working on collaborations with David Allen Coe, Junior Brown and even a children's record.