Greensboro will come to know Hinson
My first exposure to Unknown Hinson was through his low-budget cable access show ‘“Wild, Wild South,’” viewed on grainy videotape recordings my friend Big Tiny kept in a box near his Telly Savalas memorabilia. Hinson issued lengthy diatribes about any and all between disturbing country and western songs like ‘“’”I Ain’t Afraid of Your Husband, Baby (I’ll be Over Tonight),’” ‘“Love on Command,’” ‘“In the Trunk (of my Cadillac Car)’” and ‘“Rock and Roll is Straight from Hell’” delivered with a sneer through blacked-out teeth
Big Tiny brought me to my first Unknown Hinson show at a funky Warehouse District romp room in between Jazz Fest weekends. What I saw changed my life. For not only is Unknown Hinson the most subversive and malcontented country-western troubadour I’ve ever encountered, he is also one of the best gun-toting guitar players I’ve ever seen.
Unknown took the stage that night done up like vampiric matador, shooting angry Southernisms and a few rounds from his pistol in the manner of Yosemite Sam while his band stood behind him like zombies. His persona is frightening and prickly; before the night was over he had picked a fight with Big Tiny ‘— ‘“I’m talking to you, big’un,’” he said, pointing from the stage ‘— and also dazzled the room full of music snobs with his six-string prowess.
Since then he’s become Slightly Better-Known Hinson, lending his voice and persona to Cartoon Network’s late-night animated series ‘“Squidbillies’” as Earlie Cuyler, who acts very much like Unknown, except he’s a squid.
The man is impossible to describe ‘— A romantic misogynist? A surly minstrel? A redneck ghoul? A demonic Kentucky Colonel? ‘—so here’s a quick Q&A with the chart-topping country-western troubadour so you can try to make sense of it for yourself.
Unknown Hinson: [Answers phone] Yeah.
Brian Clarey: Hi, this is Brian Clarey from YES! Weekly magazine in Greensboro. We have an interview scheduled for two o’clock.
UH: I know you?
BC: Not really. Have you ever played Greensboro before?
UH: Play music there? I ain’t never played there. I spent the night there one time, in a holdin’ cell underneath the county courthouse en route to the Illinois state pen. ‘Ey ‘us real nice to me, food was real good, but I only spent one night there. What’s that noise in the background?
BC: I’m typing. Do you currently live in North Carolina?
UH: I do have a friend here where I stay from time to time, a womern friend that I hang out with. I guess you could say I do spend more time parked there than anywhere else. I ain’t married, though. ‘At’s just out of convenience.
BC: Have you played the lottery yet?
UH: No, there ain’t no point in my playin’ no damn lottery. If you win they pay off with a check. I can’t cash no check. Ever tried to cash a check made out to ‘“Unknown’”?
BC: What are some things you love about the South?
UH: Aw hell’… I love the fine, purty, sexy, loose, slutty, trashy womerns. And the mountains’… the moonshine’… the beaches. ‘At’s the first few things that come to mind.
BC: Describe the perfect woman.
UH: That’s easy: Big boobs, I mean big as hell. Big butt’… um, a purty face with a silent temperament.
BC: A lot of people have been moving to North Carolina from the North. Do you have an opinion about that?
UH: Yankees? Yankees, they move down here to take over. They came to take everything, just like them carpetbaggers. They won’t leave. Hell no. Once they here they ain’t goin’ nowhere. The Yankee is somewhat like the hemorrhoid to me: they like to come down, but they don’t go back up. They done raped and ravaged their own land and now they come down here.
BC: Are you a drinking man?
UH: Hell yeah. Party liquor is the staff of life in my line of work. I don’t drink no party liquor I can’t see through. As a preference I like vodka, Everclear, sometime gin but I, you know, it’s got a bad aftertaste.
BC: How do you write your songs?
UH: Real life experience, son. That’s all I write about ‘— everything is from real life, mess that I fought through myself or at least witnessed with my chart-topping eyes.
BC: Have you ever worked with midgets before?
UH: Not in music, hell no, but when I worked in a carnival they’us all over the place.
Unknown Hinson will be headlining YES! Weekly’s Ultimate Fiasco with the Tremors, the Half-Pint Brawlers and more surprise guests at Green Street on April 22. Tickets are $10 at the club or at greenestreeetclub.com and the doors open at 8 p.m. You’ve never seen anything like it.