Of all the artists we’ve played on This Is Hardcore, none have fascinated me quite as much as Hasil Adkins, the legendary (at least he should be) one man rockabilly band behind Out To Hunch. He was, to say the least, a man of many quirks. Quirks best laid out in bullet point form:
- He made his first guitar out of a bucket and barbed wire.
- Other than music his favourite pass-time was fishing whilst watching Wheel Of Fortune with the aid of a very long extension cord.
- He recorded enough songs about chickens to warrant an entire album full of them called, Poultry In Motion. He could’ve almost done the same thing with hot dogs.
- He sent a copy of every one of his releases to the then President of America. Richard Nixon sent him a thank you note.
- He attended four days of school. In total.
Although he’d been recording since the early fifties, Adkins toiled in obscurity before being discovered by The Cramps in the 1980s. Liking what they’d heard, they promptly signed him to their Norton imprint. Out To Hunch was released in 1986, collecting together roughly a decades worth of home recorded material, delighting rockabilly enthusiasts and going largely unheard by everyone else. The rough nature of the recordings was likely a turn-off for many – every song featured a beat stomped out on bass drum pedals and a one-take yowling vocal.
Not that Adkins was doing a great job of self-promoting – shows were notoriously raucous and shambolic due to his considerable coffee and alcohol habits. This meant that touring was only sporadically possible with promoters wary of another hyperactive, boozy breakdown. However, such tales did add to his legend for future listeners, gaining him a devoted cult following.
Hasil Adkins died aged 67 on April 15, 2005 leaving behind a truly unique catalogue of recordings, 7000 (if you his claims can be believed, and why not) of the rawest, most primitive and eccentric rock and roll songs ever made. CDs are available from insound and a fair number of albums are downloadable on itunes.
No More Hot Dogs
We Got A Date