Your Take: I’m With the Brand
In the article “Hank Williams Jr. flashes his own brand of charisma,” writer David Malitz thought Hank Jr.’s show seemed less about the music than celebrating the Hank brand:
Hank Williams Jr. kept up a torrid hat-per-song pace early in his Saturday night performance at Patriot Center. He donned new headgear for each successive tune, if for no other reason, it seemed, than to show brand support. “Monday Night Football” (for which he provides the theme song), the University of Alabama, John Deere and something called Dunn’s Sporting Goods are all Hank-approved. But the one brand that trumps all others is Bocephus himself.
He started the show with the personal anthem “My Name Is Bocephus.” He sported a New Orleans Saints “BOCEPHUS 58″ jersey all night. You can guess what it said on his guitar strap. Even his piano was emblazoned with “Bocephendorfer.”
Commenter Saving Country Music thought it was a shame Hank Jr. “has refused to settle into country music legend status and is still trying to be cutting edge and hip and push a brand that is tired,” while M.C. responded this type of showmanship isn’t all that unusual in country music:
SCM – I don’t think Hank Jr. putting his name on everything is anything new for him. He’s been doing that for more than 25 years, and the song “My Name Is Bocephus” is hardly new.
Country stars for decades have put their names on their straps, their guitars, their shirts, their buses, and most everything else. Waylon even sang about it in “Waymore’s Blues.”
“Branding” was how the reporter interpreted it, but I’m guessing he had never seen a Bocephus concert before and isn’t all that well-versed in common country star practices.
Are there country music performers past or present that you feel have become more of a brand and less of an artist? Do you agree with M.C. that this type of marketing is an age-old practice in the genre? Can across-the-board commercial branding peacefully co-exist with artistic integrity, or do the two practices fight with each other?
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