LIKE ROY ROGERS AND GENE AUTRY BEFORE HIM, WHEELER WALKER JR. IS A SINGING COWBOY. BUT UNLIKE YOUR GRANDDADDY’S HEROES, THIS HAT-WEARING HILLBILLY IS MORE LIKELY TO CROON TUNES LIKE “FUCK YOU BITCH” THAN “HAPPY TRAILS.” HIS DEBUT ALBUM, REDNECK SHIT, IS EXACTLY AS ADVERTISED: HILARIOUS, EXPLICIT COUNTRY SONGS ABOUT EVERYTHING FROM FUCKING, “CAN’T FUCK YOU OFF MY MIND,” TO MASTURBATION, “BETTER OFF BEATIN’ OFF,” TO THE ULTIMATE TITTY-FLASHING ANTHEM “DROP ’EM OUT.” PART OUTLAW COUNTRY SINGER, PART XXX COMIC, WHEELER WALKER JR. IS THE BASTARD SON OF JOHNNY CASH AND ANDREW DICE CLAY. BUT IS HE THE REAL DEAL OR JUST A SOUTHERN-FRIED HOAX? THAT’S WHAT I AIMED TO FIND OUT WHEN I SAT DOWN WITH THE MAN AT AN OLD COWBOY HOTEL IN CALIFORNIA CALLED THE SPORTSMEN’S LODGE.
HUSTLER: Are you for real?
WHEELER WALKER JR.: Yeah, man. I’m for fuckin’ real.
Lots of people say you’re just a comedian pretending to be a filthy country singer.
Yeah. People say I’m Zach Galifianakis. Some dude called me this comedian Ben Hoffman. I hear all the shit. I’m as real as real is in show business. It is showbiz! His real name ain’t Bono. It ain’t Elton John. It ain’t Elvis Costello. You know, I don’t dress like this when I’m in my living room, but neither does fuckin’ Garth [Brooks], I’m sure.
Where you from?
I was born and raised in Kentucky, but my family roots are in Nashville. You live in Nashville now. Do you prefer it over Kentucky? Now I like Kentucky better because Nashville’s changed. When I was a kid, Nashville was a ghost town. You would run into fucking Crystal Gayle at the swap meet. Now it’s Hollywood. People move there every day, and it’s just kind of ruining the town. The diners I went to with my grandpa are now hip restaurants. I don’t care about that shit. If my album sold 5 million copies, I still wouldn’t eat at fancy restaurants. At the end of the day I never leave my fucking house anyways. Same TV everywhere. Nashville? Kentucky? It don’t fucking matter.
How do you fit into Nashville’s pop-country scene?
The honest truth is, I was never part of that scene. I never was that into it. Then I made the record, and that’s when I started doing research into what was going on musically. People think that I made this in reaction to Nashville’s sound. But I did this record as a reaction to all the bullshit I was going through personally. After I made the record, I thought, Some good country people are gonna dig this. And someone said, “Have you heard country music lately?” I didn’t listen to that shit. When I turned it on, I couldn’t fucking believe what I heard. It was just so fucking bad. It wasn’t country. It was pop crap rap kinda country. Like some cracker rap or some shit. Look, I like hip hop. I like N.W.A., Public Enemy. I was listening to Too Short on the way to this interview. If I’m gonna listen to hip hop, I’m going to listen to hip hop. But not on country radio! It’s just cultural appropriation or whatever they call it. White guys with their baseball caps on backward rapping? How is that country?
After I made the record, that was when I flipped out. Because as you can tell by the title of the record, I don’t give a fuck. You can’t even put it in a store. I just started ripping on artists. Some artists I like of course, but there are a lot of people I rip on when I go on social media. It’s kind of a thing in music and entertainment that you’re not supposed to talk shit about other artists. I don’t know if you’ve seen my Twitter, but I obviously don’t abide by that.