Hasil Adkins  

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"The Cramps's sound was heavily influenced by Sun Records rockabilly and proto-rock'n'roll like Link Wray and Hasil Adkins, 1960s surf music acts such as The Ventures and Dick Dale, 1960s garage rock artists like The Standells, The Gants, The Trashmen, Green Fuz and The Sonics, as well as the post-glam/early punk scene from which they emerged. Production-wise they were influenced by Alex Chilton. Their influences and/or the songs they covered were compiled in the Born Bad series."--Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Hasil Adkins (pronounced "Hassil," not "Haysil") (April 29, 1937 - April 26, 2005), was an Appalachian country, rock and roll and blues musician, though he was frequently considered rockabilly and sometimes primitive jazz. He generally performed as a one-man band, playing guitar and drums at the same time and singing. Hasil was equally skilled on the harmonica and on keyboard. His music is generally acknowledged as the beginnings of what has come to be called Psychobilly music.



Hasil was born in desolate Boone County, West Virginia, where he lived his entire life. Although many sources list 1937 as his year of birth, Hasil's official Web site states that the year of his birth is actually unknown, citing "a missing family Bible" that lists his birth as "April 29, 193?". He was the youngest of 10 children, and was both severely depressive and hyperactive. Growing up in a tarpaper shack on property rented from the local Coal company, Hasil attended Van High School until his junior year, at which time he dropped out. By the age of 18, he was working over the border in Ohio at various factories and paint production facilities. It was at this time that Hasil cultivated his Elvis persona and sound. This alter identity was crystallized in a newspaper article, from the Coal Valley News, which reported on a "car accident involving Hasil 'Elvis' Adkins." Years later, Hasil's neighbor was Jesco White, a.k.a. the Dancin' Outlaw from Boone County -- an Elvis disciple who now openly acknowledges Hasil's influence.

Musical career

Nicknamed "The Haze", Adkins claimed a repertoire of over 9000 songs including over 7000 original compositions, recorded scores of small, micro-label 45s and is responsible for the birth of Norton Records, Psychobilly and a dance called "The Hunch".

His music can be sad, humorous and/or frantic. He was well known for shrieking certain catchphrases, such as "commodity meat", "I want your head", and "AaaaaaaaaaaaaHeeeeeeeeeeee-Wooo!!!!"

Recurring themes in Adkins' work include love, heartbreak, "hunchin'", police, death, decapitation, commodity meat, aliens, and chickens. Adkins often noted in interviews that his primary heros and influences were Hank Williams Sr., Jimmie Rodgers, Little Richard and Col. Harlan Sanders the inventor of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Some of his best known songs are "She Said," "No More Hot Dogs," "My Blue Star," "The Hunch," "Beautiful Hills," "We Got A Date," and "Chicken Walk".

Adkins recorded an entire album devoted to chickens entitled Poultry in Motion also including such songs as "Chicken Run," "Chicken Hop," "Chicken Flop," "Chicken Wobble," and "Chicken On The Bone".

Later years and death

After the mid-1990s, he began performing less often, though he retained his popularity with music critics and celebrants of all things outsiderish, such as Joe Coleman, and John Zorn. Hasil Adkins had a very strong influence on the band The Cramps, who he played a number of shows with. Adkins's cult status is kept alive to the present day by the growing appreciation of, and demand for, the work of mavericks and misfits. He retains a fan base, particularly amongst followers of outsider music.

On April 16, 2005, Adkins was deliberately run over in his front yard by a teenager on an ATV. [1] The perpetrator was apprehended by police (after running over another person a short distance down the road from Adkins' house), and Adkins identified him in a picture the police showed him. 10 days later, on April 26, he was found dead in his home.

Partial discography

  • Out to Hunch, Norton Records.
  • The Wild Man, Norton Records.
  • Peanut Butter Rock and Roll, Norton Records.
  • Moon Over Madison, Norton Records.
  • Chicken Walk, Dee Jay Records (Germany).
  • Look at that Caveman Go!, Norton Records.
  • Live in Chicago, Pravda Records.
  • Achy Breaky Ha Ha Ha, Norton Records.
  • Drinkin My Life Away, Shake It Records
  • What the Hell was I thinking, Fat Possum Records.
  • Poultry in Motion, Norton Records.
  • Night Life, Creeps Records.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hasil Adkins" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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