INTERVIEWS

Cosmic Rock

 

Carrying his guitar many miles on the long highway true life country singer Hickry Hawkins is one of a kind. In the world today where genuine country music is hard to find Mr.Hawkins has been cranking out classic country for decades with sincerity and southern purity. Today we find Hickry residing in New York holding down a barstool with a few stories to tell. Double H gives us the lowdown on his history, news and thoughts on music and life. Always cool to have a good talk with Hickry and hear his news and views.

 

1.Hey Hickry, good to talk to you man, how have you been?

Welp, a lotta struggles and health problems, my beautiful wife had a heart attack but thank Mama Universe that she's recovering. But it's been a fight keepin the wolves away from the door! But music, art and two cats have kept us goin!!

 

2.Tell us a little about your early years. How did you get into music and find your way to playing guitar or singing in a band?

 

Mama always played Loretta Lynn and Everly Brothers and played music herself so it was in me before I even knew it! I remember on first grade, the teacher made us al stand up in turn to say what we wanted to be when we grew up. Everyone else of course said doctor or fireman or teacher, I said "I wanna be Johnny Cash!"  Teacher told me "you can't be Johnny Cash!" So then I said "Then I'll be Peter Frampton". The teachers reply was, "You can't be Frampton!!"  So I sat down and said "well, then I don't wanna be nothing!!"

 

3.Were there any classic albums, artists or concerts you saw in those days that really inspired you and how so?

 

As a little boy, being raised on country, I loved Buck Owens and Roy Clark, but I had to Rebel against it and fell into the Stones, which circled me back to Buck and Roy!  But over my lifetime, the first Violent Femmes record still makes me shiver, Cheap Trick, Live at Budokan and also Buck Owens live at Budokan, which he did his ten years before Cheap Trick!!

 

My first rock concert was Van Halen in 1984, which I am so proud of, but just the same is seeing Loretta Lynn at her ranch in 2016! Yet the thing that really changed my life was seeing God live, who at the time went under the name of Screaming Jay Hawkins!! On Cannes, France! Nobody can ever top that!!

 

4.Have you always played country or were you in rock bands as well?

 

I started a band in Norfolk, Va called WonderTwins in which the reason was simply to thumb our noses at all the local rock stars. We were Punkabilly and before we knew it we had a big following, and suddenly the rest of the band decided they wanted to go grunge. I hated grunge then and I hate it now. So I left my own band and went back to country, but like now, there's still a lotta punk in there!

 

5.When did you first start writing songs and what inspires you to write today?

 

I wrote songs even as a kid, but didn't learn to put music to it until I was 18. What inspires me to write these days is gratitude for being alive, but still ranting at all the things I can't stand, and probly most importantly, I still have to give the finger to rock stars!!

 

6.You have lived in different cities I know you moved to NYC a few years ago from North Carolina. What are your memories about the places you have lived and how do you feel about NY?

 

Heavy Rebel Weekend in Winston Salem NC!! That's burning man for folks who actually like music!!  As far as NYC, when I first moved here there were so many venues to play. We had a standing gig at A classic place called Rodeo Bar. But rents went up and they had to shut down. I love NYC in so many ways but as far as a music scene which was vibrant in 2010, they've priced us all out!!

 

7.What are some of your favorite shows you have played and memories in music?

 

I'll always say that the most recent show I've played is my favorite. As far as memories, the three times I got to see my heroes over a space of twenty years, a band called Miracle Legion. And again, Screaming Jay Hawkins!! The greatest would have to be hanging out and drinking Wild Turkey for two hours with Lemmy!!

 

8.After all your years in music, what continues to inspire you to write and play shows?

 

Loving life, sometimes hating life, and just that I can have my own voice, but also when an audience actually digs it, that's a high we always chase!! But even more importantly, my wife's legs!!

 

9.Tell us about the documentary in the works. Is there any news and how did this come about? Look forward to seeing it bro.

 

It's already out there on Amazon, it's not an epic cos there was a budget, but I'm proud of it!

https://www.amazon.com/Hickry-Hawkins-Documentry/dp/B074BQ5VFZ

 

10.Awesome bro, congrats. What songs do you feel remind you of life or as a person?

 

My own song "The Hell I Am" Violent Femmes "Add iitt Up" and Iron Maiden "Fear of the Dark" how much sense does that make??

 

11.How do you feel about today's country music in the mainstream and underground?

 

As far as mainstream I have to as terrible as a lot of it is, it's not any worse than rock or rap. Country is still the red headed step child! As much as I don't like Brad Paisley, I'll take him any day over JZ! I think Paisly knows more about Little Richard and James Brown!! With Underground, in a lotta places there's a hipster dynamic. Almost snootier than mainstream. Which really just pushed good music even deeper! I'm so underground Im ten feet under!

 

12.What are some of your favorite films?

 

Barbarella (Jane Fonda in pantyhose!!!)

Todd Brownings "Freaks"

Outlaw Jose Wales

 

13.Favorite books?

 

Everything ever written by Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison!

 

14.I know youre a big comic book fan. You have a captain america tattoo is that right? What are some of your favorite comics and tell us about your love for comics and superheroes.

 

It's been years since I could afford comics!  But I my faves have always been  along with Cap and Flash are Black Canary and Wonder Woman,  and no it ain't cos of the movie, you can ask my Mama!! Love from comics came from just bein a kid with no friends and reading his Spider-Man had the same struggles as me! But also Wonder Woman, cos even thought she's essentially a Goddess, she cared about us.

 

15. Looking back on all your years, what advice would you give a young artist starting out today?

 

Go to law school!!

 

 

16. Have you been playing guitar or writing music? Any new music projects in the works?

 

Writing all the time, working on learning a fifth chord!! Playing live I do if the subway gets me there!!

 

17.What is one life skill you think everyone should have?

 

Heart

 

18. The music industry and scenes change, things have been very weird for years now with social media, the industry, the underground to the mainstream. What are some of your thoughts on the music world today?

 

It's opened up opportunities but at the same time it's made the cornfield bigger! There's not much hard and raw anymore on any genre! It all sounds like Michael Jackson now!! I ain't sayin we need another GG Allin, but can we at least get some Sex Pistols or Ramones style sweat back??  At the very least that's what I'm always tryin to do!!

 

Hick'ry will be playing at Heavy Rebel Weekend this year and you can find his albums and the new documentary on amazon.com