Thursday, May 22, 2008


Hasil Adkins (pronounced "Hassle," not "Haysil"): April 29, 1936 - April 25, 2005.

Anybody out there fond of the Cramps? Remember Lux Interior's crazed psychobilly b-side to 1981's "Goo Goo Muck" on I.R.S., "She Said" ? Well, the original One-Man-Band version by Hasil Adkins was just as manic and a whole lot more interesting.

Born and raised in Boone County, West Virginia - where he lived out his entire life - the young Adkins fashioned his first guitar from barbed wire and tin pails, beating out accompanying rhythms on milk cans and lard churns. Glued to his parents' radio beaming in an evening diet of Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams Sr, the star-struck boy could only conceive that these ghostly visitors must play all their intstruments themselves.

From Wiki:

'He was the youngest of 10 children, and was both severely depressive and hyperactive. Growing up in a tarpaper shack on property rented from the local coal company, Hasil attended 6 days of school total and never really worked at anything other than being a musician.'

Apparently, he didn't receive his first pair of shoes until he was five years old. Later on, he would often cite in interviews that his principal hero was Col. Harlan Sanders, the inventor of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Sounds familiar ? Fuck the Waltons, this was unadulterated rawk 'n' roll from the very start.

'Nicknamed "The Haze", Adkins claimed a repertoire of over 9,000 songs including over 7,000 original compositions, recorded scores of small, micro-label 45s, and is responsible for the birth of Norton Records, Psychobilly, and a dance called "The Hunch".'

Hasil Adkins was intentionally run down in his own back yard by a teenager on an ATV on April 16, 2005. He recovered sufficiently to identify the youth from a police mugshot, bud died from his injuries just ten days later. The photograph above of the teenage Adkins in Boone County bears an uncanny resemblance to an old snapshot of my father taken at much the same age. My dad died in 1982 of a massive cardiac arrest. I would like to think he would have appreciated the comparison.

download: HASIL ADKINS: SHE SAID from "She Said/Is This The End ?" 45 (Jody Records) 1966 (US)

download: HASIL ADKINS: CHICKEN WALK from "She's Mine/Chicken Walk" 45 (Air Records) 1962 (US)

download: HASIL ADKINS: WE GOT A DATE from "Out To Hunch (West Virginia Recordings)" CD (Norton Records) 1986 (US)

download: HASIL ADKINS: NO MORE HOT DOGS from "Out To Hunch (West Virginia Recordings)" CD (Norton Records) 1986 (US)

posted by ib


Emmett said...

Oh boy, Mike's going to love this! This is exactly the kind of stuff he used to listen to growing up in Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

Hotlanta, eh ? I didn't know that. Cool!

Anonymous said...

top notch post, ib. i've been dancing around this dude's music for too long now. i think it's time to dive in.

did you catch the hasil adkins rejection letters at wfmu?

thanks for the pronunciation btw.

Anonymous said...

wfmu link

Anonymous said...

Hey, brendan! Thanks a bunch for that link! I'd missed the post at wmfu completely, and it's a particularly good one... At least Johnny Cash appeared to be as habitually genuine as always.

Interesting footnote in light of my Video nasty post: when i was researching Hasil i learned that Dario Argento's daughter, Asia, was a big fan. Adkins made several cameo appearances in zombie flicks.

Thanks for the props.

Anonymous said...

links are down?! :(