He’s due to arrive on his own, without a posse, a lady friend, or an assistant. And though I’m aware that without comedian Ben Hoffman there would be no Wheeler Walker Jr. — the Nashville musician is Hoffman’s invented persona — I’m hoping the guy who shows up is 100 percent Walker, zero percent Hoffman.
Rolling Stone has called Wheeler Walker Jr.’s music “unfathomably obscene,” “undeniably offensive,” and “goddamn funny.” This foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed, pot-smoking hit-maker released his first record, Redneck Shit, in 2016. Following a buzz-building premiere via stream on Pornhub, the album debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard Top Country chart. You could even call Walker a crossover artist, considering that Redneck Shit also went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Comedy chart.
On this November day, Walker’s fresh off opening for Kid Rock on his 15-date Red Blooded Rock N Roll Redneck Extravaganza tour. He’s spent much of the last three years on the road, including during his own 20-city Eatin’ Pussy/Kickin’ Ass tour, and last summer’s Dragon Energy gigs.
Minutes after taking up my post outside Brent’s, Walker arrives. Granted, the man didn’t roar up in a lifted pickup with a joint in his mouth and a girl on his arm, but the bearded Kentuckian who climbs out of a rented SUV in boots and jeans, black shirt, shades, and a black Adidas cap is indeed Wheeler Walker Jr. No sign of Hoffman.
Walker’s made a career out of songs with titles like “Fuck You Bitch,” “Which One O’ You Queers Gonna Suck My Dick?,” and “Drunk Sluts.” Sex and getting high are central themes. His tune “Summers in Kentucky” lulls you with its beautiful melody and nostalgic, teen-love lyrics, then becomes X-rated. “Puss in Boots” is a rollicking good time, musically, while talking about blowjobs, fake breasts, and pubic hair.
WWIII picks up right where Walker’s last album, Ol’ Wheeler, left off. The record’s first two tracks are called “Save Some Titty Milk For Me” and “I Like Smoking Pot (A Lot).” Fourth on the album is ”Fuck You With the Lights On,” a tune Walker wrote for his wife Christine, a woman he loves so much he keeps the lights on when they do it.
When he’s not writing dirty, druggy songs, or delivering them onstage, Walker likes to lob Twitter bombs at big-name targets. A typical day might see him going after Kanye West or having fun with a Donald Trump tweet. But Walker reserves his greatest ire for what he calls “fake country.” Carrying a torch for George Jones-style roots music, Walker has engaged in one-sided online feuds with country duo Florida Georgia Line, Bebe Rexha (the platinum blonde singer who collaborated with FGL), and even Mason Ramsey, the kid who shot to fame when video of him yodeling a Hank Williams song in a Walmart went viral. The video propelled the then 11-year-old to a major-label record deal and an Ellen appearance.