JACKYL - Double Time In The Fast Lane

May 29, 2010, 8 years ago

By Aaron Small

jackyl feature

Fresh off an 11-city titty bar tour, which doubled as a CD release party for the new JACKYL album, When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide, as well as a video shoot for ‘She’s Not A Drug’, frontman Jesse James Dupree is full of crazy stories. Here’s one of them: “I made a new friend, her name is Jewels. She’s a black lady in Louisville, Kentucky and one of her breasts is as big as my body! Her boobs collectively probably weighed as much as the entire band together. She had Bo Derek cornrows with a bottom grill of gold teeth – and a damn dirty little mind like you ain’t never seen before!”

While strippers swung around poles and danced tableside, Jackyl “went in and did the video for a couple of passes and when we got through with it, we would turn the amps on and actually play live. We got enough footage to do a full DVD. We didn’t just shoot in the bar; we shot everything – even us doing laundry.”

When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide is Jackyl’s fifth studio album – and the first since Relentless in 2002. However these redneck punks have been far from quiet. The Live From Full Throttle DVD/CD came out in 2004 and JJD issued a solo album, Rev It Up And Go-Go, in 2008. But that doesn’t change the fact it’s been eight years between Jackyl studio albums. “There’s no official reason,” admits Jesse. “It happened when the time was right. We haven’t stopped playing. We’ve been out doing shows and headlining festivals. I live in dog years. It’s kind of crazy. I don’t really look at the clock like that. I didn’t realize it had been that long until you said it.”

The new Jackyl album features a cover of the Janis Joplin classic from 1970, ‘Mercedes Benz’ - a tune Dupree has played live on occasion. “Every now and then I break into it. It’s just something we have fun with. It wasn’t some pre-thought out deal. I was in the studio late one night and my voice was raspy, it just had that sound to it. I had the microphone in front of me, so I just hit it and laid it down. Then I was playing it back and listening to it, and my son Nigel walked in. I saw him behind me and turned around when I’d finished listening to it; he had tears in his eyes. I thought something was wrong but he said, ‘Nothing. That just got to me.’ He had never heard the original before, but it moved him, hearing it raw like that. So it was a special enough moment for me, having that happen, I just put it on the record. I was going to hide it as a bonus track, the same with ‘Full Throttle’, but I decided to just put it on there. What the hell? It is what it is.”

‘Full Throttle’ is the new theme song for Full Throttle Saloon – a TruTV reality show about the world’s largest biker bar in Sturgis, South Dakota. Not only does Jesse appear in the show, he also created and produces it. Furthermore, Peter Fonda, star of the 1969 classic Easy Rider, is name-checked in the song. “That came from a true story,” recalls Dupree. “We were doing the Harley Davidson 100th Anniversary. He came out and everybody had a good bit to drink. We were partying. I was about to kick into ‘I Stand Alone’ in front of 20,000 people when I felt something on my shoulder. I looked over and Peter Fonda was right up in my ear saying, ‘Hey man, let’s sing ‘Today Is Your Birthday’. Of course it had gone dead quiet out in front of me. I thought, how can I handle this and not embarrass Captain America? I just said, ‘Peter wants to know who can hang with him tonight?’ Everybody went crazy and I just kind of nudged him. He staggered off the stage and we broke into ‘I Stand Alone’. But I’m born to be wild and Peter Fonda is my friend. This whole record’s kind of taken from different life experiences.”

In typically atypical Jackyl fashion, a good chunk of the material on When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide was written while Jesse was riding his motorcycle across the country. Obviously he didn’t have a guitar in his hands while doing so. “That’s when I get into a zone and a space. I just hear stuff and play it out in my head. Sometimes I’ll call myself on my cell phone and leave myself a message so I don’t forget. Roman (Glick, bassist) and I ride together. We do like 20,000 miles a year on our bikes.”

Upon first glance at the tracklisting of When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide, the majority of people react in an overtly negative manner to ‘Just Like A Negro’ when in actuality, it’s a positive song that pays tribute and respect to the black musicians who founded rock ‘n roll. “There’s been a lot of assholes out there already starting to draw an opinion on it. They’re runnin’ their mouth about the title and making all these comments and shit. Now that the record’s out and the lyrics are available, not a single one of them went back and retracted or corrected themselves – fuck ‘em!” In fact, Jesse co-wrote ‘Just Like A Negro’ with Dion Murdock of FISHBONE and Glenn Murdock from MOTHER’S FINEST – both of who are black musicians. “It was a Mother’s Finest song – they were a black funk rock band. I grew up loving those guys; they’re based out of Atlanta. I had a chance to work with them. About five or six years ago, I actually did a record with three of the black guys in that band: Deion (Derrick – drums), Wyzard (Seay – bass) and John Hayes (guitar). The name of the band was DENT. It was on Sony but it never came out. I was playing live dates with those guys and said I want to do ‘Just Like A Negro’. That’s a bad song! So they said, ‘Why don’t you rewrite the lyrics so it makes sense for you to sing it?’ We tore into rewriting the lyrics and I came up with what you’ve got there on this new record; and they loved it. Then the guys in Jackyl came out, heard us play it and they fell in love with it. They wanted to play it. People who came out to see us fell in love with it and were asking us to please put it out; so we put it on the record. In fact, I just talked to ALICE COOPER the other day, which was really cool. He was telling me that he liked ‘Just Like A Negro’ because it reminded him of his song ‘Dead Babies’. When that came out (in 1971), everybody wanted to be negative about it because of his image and stuff. Then they found out it was about child abuse.”

Another notable reference can found in the title track, ‘When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide’, which contains the line, “Let’s crank some AC/DC and thrown down ‘til we’re blind.” AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson sang on ‘Locked & Loaded’ from Jackyl’s 1997 Cut The Crap album. Still to this day, that’s the only guest appearance Johnson has ever made. “The week the record came out, Brian was here in Atlanta ‘cause has an old vintage Indy car that he races. So I was able to hand him a copy of the album and listen to that song with him. It was really cool. He opened up the album and saw the Puh-Pow!! on the inside, he thought that was funny. He’s very supportive and a good friend. The whole Puh-Pow!! thing came from a wine and ambient induced night where I was kind of in a whole other universe, getting into a little bit of the old dirty dirty and the next thing you know, Puh-Pow!! was born. People want to over analyze stuff. They’re sidetracked and tunnel vision on the chainsaw. These are the same people who look at KISS and say, ‘They’re stupid cause they wear makeup’ or ‘Why does Angus Young wear a schoolboy outfit?’ or ‘Why does IRON MAIDEN have Eddie?’ They’re missing the point completely."

"When rock ‘n roll first surfaced back in the ‘50s, I don’t remember seeing any of the archive footage when the news people were asking the young kids, ‘What is it about this new rock ‘n’ roll that you like?’ I don’t remember any of those kids responding with ‘It’s going to bring about world peace.’ If you’d told them there was going to be a guy named Bono who was going to come along and save the world with a song, they’d would have said they don’t give a shit. They were just getting hot and bothered. They’d leave the show and wouldn’t even make it home before they’d jump in the back seat and knock out the old dirty dirty. That’s the fundamentals of rock ‘n roll. It’s something that brings out that primal instinct in ya; that feeling that makes you feel like you could go and overturn a car. That feeling of life gets your adrenaline flowing, that’s good rock ‘n roll. I feel pity for the people who want to over analyze and miss out on something. Just chill out, get a cold beer and crank it up loud – let loose. Luckily for us, the people who bust their knuckles for 40 or more hours a week, scrapping out a damn living, they want it loud, proud, hard and honest. Whether it’s going to see the new Batman movie, the NASCAR race or cranking up a Jackyl album – they want to do something to get that adrenaline flowing and make all that hard work worthwhile.”

Although When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide is a brand new album, some of its songs have been around for quite a while. ‘My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine’s Ass’ was made available on MySpace in January 2008 while several others have been road tested extensively. “It hasn’t been by design in all honesty. It’s been great to road test these songs, but it’s not even about road testing,” admits Jesse. “A lot of bands go out and do a tour to promote an album; we kind of do it backwards. We do an album so we have an excuse to keep touring. The live show is always the most rewarding thing. The cool thing about this album, now that we’ve had a chance to get away from it and listen to it with fresh ears ourselves is that as much as the first album, it encompasses the band’s sound. Everybody’s talking about the vibe and the tones and the energy; this record seems to be well rounded. It’s something that came organically in the sense that we were going in the studio when it felt right and when we had stuff we wanted to record. It wasn’t forced in any manner.”

Moonshine is a prevalent theme throughout the album. From the title, When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide to the title track to ‘My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine’s Ass’. And according to Dupree, moonshine is still very prevalent Stateside. “The name of the promotion we just did was April Showers Bring May Jackyl Titty Bar Dates. Every single night, from Chicago to Milwaukee to Indianapolis, there was not just one, but two and three jars of moonshine show up. I have a feeling that throughout this entire summer, there’s going to be people showing up with moonshine. It’s pretty amazing. Everybody’s doing all kinds of crazy stuff with it, different flavours. Moonshine is a big deal. There was a special on television recently where they said moonshine has had a big resurgence, especially on college campuses.”

The other reoccurring topic on this album is cocaine. Again, there’s ‘My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine’s Ass’ and cocaine comes up in ‘She’s Not A Drug’. “Yeah, ‘My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine’s Ass’ was already written. I’ve had that for a while. ‘She’s Not A Drug’ was actually called ‘Don’t Run’. It had a whole other set of lyrics, but it didn’t have that beginning part: ‘Shake it shake it shiny go go boots and lots of hiney shaking.’ Once again, I was on my motorcycle, hauling ass down the Interstate and I just had this groove in my head. It was too perfect for that beat so I went back and rewrote the entire song, which is hard for singers to do! Once you get married to a lyric on a song, it’s hard to rewrite it. I love the lyrics to ‘Don’t Run’. I’ll use them somewhere, sometime; they were great. But there was something so perfect about this one. It flowed out easy: ‘She’s not a drug but if she was she’d be better than cocaine, Tall drink of crazy on the rocks with a little twist of insane.’ It was just something with the rhythm of the lyric. It wasn’t like I wanted to think of a song that’s got cocaine in it. It’s not a concept record but it all does tie together.”

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