And it came to pass in those days that Hasil Adkins needed to get from Boone County, West Virginia, to Oxford, Mississippi, to record what would become the album What The Hell Was I Thinking for Fat Possum Records.
I got the call. So: I drove him. Long story, ask me about it sometime.
Hasil wasn’t too interested in getting his picture taken, but I snapped some pics of the Adkins compound when I picked him up, which was in what can only be described as a “holler.” The shack on the cover of the Achy Breaky Ha Ha Ha album was still there, but it was in the process of falling down. Hasil now lived in a couple of trailers in back of it, with about a dozen cars and trucks in different stages of disrepair scattered around.
I got some good shots of his home recording setup. And of his dog, Igor, who Hasil left to fend for himself while he was going to be gone for a couple of weeks to record. Hasil didn’t seem concerned about leaving him. There were bones and tufts of hair scattered all over the yard. Huge bones. I got the impression that Igor could take care of himself.
A vivid memory was that Hasil had stuffed some clothes and stuff for the trip in a cardboard box, and when he set it down in the trunk of the car, a giant cockroach scurried out. The cockroach’s comedic timing was impeccable. It was like a cartoon.
I’d heard stories about how Hasil could be a handful, but he was a total sweetheart for our several hours in the car. He just wanted to chain-smoke his carton of GPC 100s, drink his case of Milwaukee’s Best, and make occassional stops for fast food hamburgers (just the meat).
And talk. One of my major regrets in life is that I didn’t have a recorder to tape Hasil’s non-stop stream-of-consiousness rambling throughout the car ride. I can’t even remember a fraction of it, but one thing that stood out to me was when we drove through Kentucky, he started talking about how he had once fronted an all-black r&b band in Louisville. Skeptical, I asked if there were any recordings. “Oh yeah, I got tapes! You don’t even know what kinda tapes I got!” he answered.
I did get a pic of us together when I dropped him off in Mississippi. The fact that I got to meet and hang out with the greatest rock n’ roll one man band in history definitely makes me one lucky bastard.
Hasil sent me a postcard, and later, a Christmas card. Ironically, he asked me to send him copies of the pictures he didn’t want to be in. Anyway, it’s all here, Internet K-Hole style, like last time: