Originally published in the September 20, 1994 issue of Country Weekly magazine.
Nothing like a little fishing between friends to take the edge off a potential controversy.
So with that in mind and with pole in hand, Alan Jackson recently answered Hank Williams Jr.’s request to appear in Bocephus’ forthcoming video, “I Ain’t Going Peacefully.”
It was a way for Hank to add a friendly wink to the video of his bold new song which suggests Hank doesn’t think Alan, Garth and Clint are as good as he and he’s ready to push them off the top of the charts.
“It was just as natural as fishing with my best friend ‑‑ because Alan Jackson’s one of them,” Hank told COUNTRY WEEKLY. The stars, looking like they stepped right out of a Mark Twain novel, fish together in the final seconds of “I Ain’t Going Peacefully.”
“Honest to God, they look just like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn,” exclaimed video director Martin Kahan after shooting was completed on a soundstage near downtown Nashville.
The video supports the debut single from Hank’s *Hog Wild* album. The clip will be released later this month, but the single won’t hit radio until early November, according to Curb Records.
Alan’s cameo begins with a waist‑down shot of his shorts and the fishing pole and tackle box he carries. He walks up to Hank, who is seated on the dock, fishing.
Only when Alan sits down does the viewer learn his identity.
“How’s fishing?” Alan asks Hank.
“It’s better than playin’ golf,” Hank replies.
“Them golfs is hard to clean,” observes Alan.
“Yeah, and they don’t fry good, either,” adds Hank.
He and Alan are pals in real life, beginning last November when Alan and his band visited Hank’s ranch in Montana.
Bocephus told COUNTRY WEEKLY he had a simple question of his famous guest: “Do you want to hunt or do you just want to party?” “Let’s party!” was Alan’s enthusiastic reply. So they did.
On “I Ain’t Going Peacefully,” Hank gives a painfully honest appraisal of his self‑described dry spell from hit making.
He acidly observes that while Alan, Garth Brooks and John Michael Montgomery have replaced him on the charts, they are not worthy successors to the throne Hank used to occupy.
“But we wanted to make sure the viewers didn’t take Hank literally,” explained Dennis Hannon of Curb Records. “He’s obviously very happy for Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks and John Michael’s success. We felt having one of them in the video could deflate any controversy, if you will.
“No. 2, we thought it would be a lot of fun.”
No. 1 is what Hank seeks for his new set of songs. The last time he stood on that lofty peak was 1987, with “Born to Boogie,” and he hasn’t cracked the *Billboard* Top 40 since 1991.
By Hank’s standards, that’s a lengthy dry spell. He’s put out 10 No. 1 singles, 20 gold and five platinum albums since he broke from his famous father’s shadow with his 1974 release, *Hank Williams Jr. and Friends*.
That album reflected Hank’s growing love for Southern rock bands such as The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd and the old blues of men such as John Lee Hooker.
Country music had never heard anything like it, and it charted not only Hank’s musical direction but the path of those who followed his rocky footsteps: Alabama, Travis Tritt, Wynonna, etc.
Williams’ second major comeback occurred in 1975 shortly after recording the album. That’s when he went mountain climbing with friends on the Montana/Idaho border. He took a 500‑foot fall that split his head open, shattering his face and exposing his brain.
His doctors said Hank’s excitement over *Hank Williams Jr. and Friends* helped pull him through the nine operations necessary to repair the damage. With a good deal of reconstructive surgery still to be done, he took his new musical vision on the road and built a following of younger country and rock fans who were as at home with ZZ Top as they were with George Jones.
By October 1982, he had nine albums on the *Billboard* charts at the same time, a feat unequaled by any other living artist.
Throughout the decade he produced classic hits like “A Country Boy Can Survive,” “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” “Born to Boogie” and “Young Country.”
In 1987 he won his first of five Entertainer of the Year Awards from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music, and followed two years later with his first‑ever Grammy.
He kicked off the ’90s with “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” “Good Friends, Good Whiskey, Good Lovin’ ” and “If It Will It Will.”
Bocephus bluntly warns in “I Ain’t Going Peacefully” that he’s still got plenty of gas left in his 45‑year‑old body and will get back into the race for country music supremacy ‑‑ so don’t count him out.
“I mean it. I ain’t going peacefully and I don’t think my fans are, either,” Hank told COUNTRY WEEKLY.
“It’s a humbling song,” Dennis acknowledged. “I think it’s a combination of some seriousness from Hank’s standpoint. But there’s obviously a lot of fun. It’s an honest song.”
The addition of Alan to the video lets Hank take the personal edge off his hard-hitting words. If actions speak louder than words, fishing speaks more loudly than lyrics.
“Hank realizes he’s been away for a while, but that he still has what it takes to compete with these newer, younger and obviously very successful artists. So I hear in the song that he’s challenging himself to continue to improve and strive to grow his fan base and compete with these guys,” Hannon said.
Bocephus, who sometimes speaks in riddles to keep fans and the media guessing, chose his attire carefully for this video. He is wearing a white T‑shirt with the design of a black cat with an arched back.
“The true meaning of the black cat shirt won’t come out until the next video,” he told us, adding that “I’d rather be thought of as a black tomcat rather than a sheep. Who the hell would want to be thought of as a sheep?”
photos by Chris Barr