Hasil Adkins: The originator of lo-fi rock’n’roll?
It was one of the most bizarre gigs I’d ever witnessed ”â and that’s saying something when you’re in Las Vegas! One guy playing guitar and drums and singing, he’d start off with one of his own songs, like the unparalleled “Chicken Walk”Â, and half way through seem to forget where he was as the song morphed into “Great Balls of Fire”Â. At the end of a mercifully short set, during which copious amounts of bourbon were imbibed, he kicked over the drums and wandered off.
Starting out in the mid-’50s in the wild woods of West Virginia, playing all the instruments himself, overdubbing by use of an even more primitive recorder than the first, lived in a world of “hot rods, hot pants and hot living”Â (ÃÂ© Billy Miller, Kicks magazine) and wrote songs that reflected his interest in schlock horror b-movies and outer space and something called “Commodity meat”Â. Why a one-man-band? ‘Cos he couldn’t find anyone that could follow his chord changes, according to the man himself!
Space here is too short to fully explain the unintentional genius of Hasil Adkins (who died in 2005), so see if you can grab a copy of issue five of Kicks magazine (via Norton Records) to read the full story.