The singer/songwriter grew up in Stockton, which featured in gritty biker gang drama series Sons of Anarchy, and admits it's the kind of place where people get assaulted and robbed frequently.

He tells Australia's Herald Sun newspaper that constant bad news from back home prompted him to seek out the best fence money can buy for his mum.

Isaak says, "I'm proud of my hometown. I could show you parts of Stockton you’d love, but it’s a very rough town.

"For a gift for my mum, I put a fence around her house. In my home town, if you wear a gold chain around your neck, chances are you’ll get punched in the face and the chain ripped off your neck."

Isaak recalled a trip to a local store to buy sweatpants, where everyone in line had a face tattoo, except him, adding, "There is nothing wrong with that, but it shows you there's a certain mindset."

The crooner received a honorary award from the city, and feels sure his success story is a welcome change for local newspaper reporters who constantly follow bad news.

He adds, "The newspaper is usually filled with bad things. But when there’s news like Chris Isaak selling records, they’re ready for it, and they put it on the front page."