Mar 22, 2022
In 2016, I was driving down the road listening to SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country channel and heard these lyrics playing on my radio:
“Eating tater tots and p*ssy
Sucking mountain dew and t*ts
Kicked my grandpa in his nut sack
Then I suck my bosses d*ck”
Well, that’s different, I thought to myself. And when I completed the song – and DJ Hillbilly Jim said it was someone named Wheeler Walker, Jr. and the song was called “Redneck Sh*t,” I was struck by the contrast between its lyrics and the production quality. Quite frankly, the music – the composition – was as good as any country song I’d heard in recent memory.
I wanted to know more and requested an interview with Wheeler. Then in late 2017, I conducted one other with him. Many criticized me at the time for interviewing him, wondering why I would supply oxygen to a misogynist who only knows how to articulate his feelings through four-letter expletives. But here’s what many miss or simply ignore: Wheeler Walker, Jr. is a character played by comedian Ben Hoffman. And yes – some do actually find him hilarious. But understandably, many find his profanity-laced, misogynistic music and video rants to be utterly repulsive. In the same vein as Lenny Bruce or Andy Kaufman, I just find what he’s doing to be fascinating.
The reason I am more than willing to speak with Hoffman as Wheeler – and he joins me for the most recent episode of The Load Out Music Podcast – is because he is a remarkable talent. And talent follows talent, which is why Dave Cobb – who has produced albums for the likes of Brandi Carlisle, Chris Stapleton, John Prine, Sturgill Simpson, The Highwomen and countless other stars – has now worked with Hoffman on two albums, including his most recent.
Sure, his forthcoming album Sex, Drugs & Country Music is exactly what you’d expect with songs like “God Told Me to F**k You” and “Sluts in Heaven.” But through Wheeler, Hoffman is trying to make a point about modern cultur, and the state of country music – which he truly despises.
So have a listen and try to read between the lines, if you can.