The first time Hank Williams kicked someone out of the club, the club happened to be his house.
A decade ago, Williams hosted punk and metal shows at The Thrashitorium, a squat little ranch house he rented on Wake Forest Road. Before one concert, while the opening band was away eating dinner, a kid got behind the drums and started causing chaos. He refused to stop until the band member who had stuck around started pounding him from above. Williams rushed into the room, put them both in headlocks, and ejected them both before kicking the band off the bill.
"That was the first vivid time I could remember handling something," says Williams, obscured partially by shadows cast by the late-afternoon sun that creeps through the blinds of his ground-floor apartment near downtown Raleigh. "That hit home with me."
In the years since, Williams has handled a lot more. Behind the scenes, he still books some of the best heavy shows in the Triangle. But in his more public role, Williams, a thirty-three-year-old born in Rex Hospital in 1982, has served as the doorman and bouncer for a long list of Raleigh restaurants, bars, and clubs. These days, he sits in the alcoves of the new dive bar Ruby Deluxe and near the elevated threshold of Capital Club 16, checking IDs and sometimes checking attitudes.
If you've been to a bar in downtown Raleigh, you've probably seen Williams, tattoos peeking from beneath a black T-shirt and a heavy-metal patch jacket. As he scowls from behind glasses and a mess of bushy brown hair and a beard that aims downward like an arrow, maybe you've been intimidated by him.
But Williams isn't so scary. A lover of professional wrestling with a laugh that practically cackles, he prides himself on being a mild-mannered, patient professional who's quicker to slap someone on the back and call them "bud" than kick them out.