Glenn “Houndog” Hansen loves anyone who tells a story with music. That’s why one of his favorite artists is Harry Chapin, known for “Cat’s in the Cradle” and “Taxi.” He prefers songs that teach a lesson or tell of a person’s life experiences as he grows older.
Houndog, as he prefers to be called, said, “Even though I am not a country bumpkin, you need a nickname in this business to be known.”
Originally from Torrington, Conn., his family moved to South Carolina when he was 10 years old. At the age of 13, he acquired his first guitar. His neighbor also bought one and together they practiced and formed the proverbial garage band.
The years went by and he eventually graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1976 with a business degree.
Something didn’t feel right as his job and living in Columbia weren’t satisfying, so he decided to make a major change in his life.
Look out Grizzly Adams ‘cause here comes Houndog Hansen.
With $1,000 in his pocket and living out of a beat-up station wagon, in 1979 he bought 20 acres of land in Little Mountain, which is just outside of Columbia. He cut down 86 pine trees to build a log cabin.
After nine months of hard physical labor shaving the bark, notching the ends and using a wench to move the lumber, he had fashioned a log cabin. For the first five years, with no electricity, he would bathe in a stream and cook on a Coleman stove. In the cold winter months, he would pour jugs of water over himself to shower.
Hanson says this was a good learning experience and something he needed to endure.
“I will always be able to say that I lived in a log cabin that I built,” Houndog said. “And I learned how to survive with a chainsaw.”
Myrtle Beach Music: Glenn "Houndog" HansenDuring this time, he still had a day job in Columbia but in the evenings he had few resources to entertain himself.
“That’s where I learned to play the guitar,” Hanson said.
He developed his own style and perfected his craft. Occasionally, he would play in bars and clubs in Columbia.
After 10 years of living in the woods, Hanson married and became the director of financial aid at Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, N.C.
Later the couple moved to Surfside Beach, but his musical calling never faded. In 2002, the old Houndog was back on stage performing and singing his songs at open mics all over the Grand Strand.
Musicians who have influenced and inspired him are Grand Funk Railroad, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and, of course, Harry Chapin. Music has a special place in his heart and Houndog speaks highly of what it has meant to him throughout his life.
“I have met so many true friends in the fellowship of musicians everywhere I go,” Houndog said.
Houndog owns four guitars, with his favorite being a Martin D-28 acoustic guitar. He also has a full karaoke system for wedding parties and special occasions. He has written more than 80 songs and has five CDs to his credit.
He gladly plays songs at clubs, functions or restaurant during the evenings and weekends for free. Call 450-7281 to book him.
Among his many duties, he is responsible for creating a venue for aspiring musicians to come together.
Every summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Houndog coordinates and performs in the Sunday Serenades in Fuller Park at Surfside Beach. Three acoustical acts will perform from 2-4:30 p.m. to crowds of 40-50 people every Sunday.
Sponsored by the Surfside Parks and Recreation Department, everyone is invited to sit in the shade of park trees and listen to some wonderful songs by these talented musicians.
Playing music has been a blessing for Houndog. It has brought a peace of mind and wholeness within his inner soul. He feels there is something surreal about attaining that special feeling that can take you to another dimension. Every song tells a story.
Neal Peterson is a local musician who writes also writes a tennis column for the Myrtle Beach Herald. He can be reached at 650-5505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.