JACKYL - "Never Accused Of Being Inconsistent"
August 3, 2016, a year ago
“I’m proud of it! It’s the thickest sounding record we’ve ever made,” proclaims Jackyl frontman Jesse James Dupree. Of course he’s talking about his band’s brand new album Rowyco, available August 5th via Mighty Loud Entertainment.
“It’s the first one that’s been totally recorded and mixed on an old vintage Neve console; if there’s one game-changer, I’d say that’s it,” explains Jesse. “I bought the old Neve console that was in John King’s studio in New York City (and relocated it to Cock Of The Walk, in Kennesaw, Georgia). Everybody from Santana to Beyonce, Beastie Boys to Run DMC, has recorded on that; it’s just a great board.”
Lead-off track “Disasterpiece” is an awesome way to start Rowyco with its obvious play on words. “That was actually one of the anchor songs I came up with to start the – I had some other songs in the hopper but when ‘Disasterpiece’ came about, it kind of prompted the rest of the record to fall in place. We do what we do. We’ve never been accused of being inconsistent; and we’re very honest about what we do. I’ll leave it up to Bono (from U2) and Bruce Springsteen to write a song that will actually cure cancer; because they seem to think that they can, and God bless ‘em for it. I do many, many charity motorcycle rides. We all do our part to support a lot of charities, whether it’s Wounded Warriors, or Bikers For Babies. But when it comes to writing a song, Jackyl is a celebration of the fundamentals of rock ‘n’ roll – two guitars, bass and drums. We make no bones about it. These artists that get holier than thou, I listen to interviews with them and it just makes me want to puke; because at the end of the day it’s so not rock ‘n roll. Anybody that wants to criticize what we do; they’re stepping over the damn foundation that rock ‘n roll was built on.”
Adding a surprise element to Rowyco, Jackyl cover “Everyone’s A Winner”, originally done by Hot Chocolate in 1978. “Well, I grew up loving all that old ‘70s soul funk stuff; I loved the bass lines,” says Jesse. “If you go back and listen to the last record, Best In Show, you can hear ‘Screwdriver’ and ‘Encore’, that kind of stuff. When we were recording Best In Show, we listened to a bunch of songs like that, including the Hot Chocolate song, to get inspired for the groove. We were channeling that ‘70s groove. I’d got so hung up on that song, and oddly enough, several people randomly across the country – one DJ out of Panama City Beach, Florida, used to wear us out about ‘You’ve got to record that Hot Chocolate song.’ It’s just so funny that people were telling us that, and we just cut it.”
Delving deeper into the original material that comprises Rowyco, “Just Because I’m Drunk” is something every man can identify with, especially the line “I’m ready to fuck and you wanting to fight.” Pretty much every guy has been down that road more times than he cares to count. “Well, there was a gentleman… we were at a birthday party for a buddy of mine. We were sitting around talking and it actually came up… one of those situations where you’re down at your bar, in your man-cave or whatever at your house. You find yourself in a little bit of a dispute with your loved one; she’s crawling up your ass and it comes down to, just because you’ve been drinking, you’re not entitled to be right about stuff. So we’re calling BS on it. Just because I’m drunk don’t mean you’re right.”
“Limpdick” is another killer, and truthful tune with the lyric, “You can’t walk a mile in my shoes.” “That’s just one of those deals where… it’s a personal thing. You listen to it and tell me, why did the chicken cross the road? It kind of answers that question. Another thing I’ll say, it answers the question that Kenny Rogers asked about Ruby taking her love to town.”
The cover art adorning Rowyco (pictured below) is a markedly different image for Jackyl. “That actually came from a guy named Johnny Dare, he’s got the number one morning show in Kansas City. He posted that online as a joke saying, ‘I found a picture of Jesse when he was a kid.’ I didn’t think nothing else about it. Then it was literally a year and a half later, he brought it back up and said, ‘You really should use this somewhere.’ I checked with the attorneys and we were able to get the rights to it.”
Next year, 2017, will mark the 25th anniversary of the self-titled debut Jackyl album. Any plans to celebrate with a re-release, or a tour playing the album live in its entirety? “We’ve got a couple of things… we’ve got a DVD from Sturgis from last year from the 75th anniversary of The Full Throttle, before it burnt down. We’re looking at putting that out. I’m also looking at putting out a current, what I’d call the best of, if you will. We did that Choice Cuts record (in 1998) after the first three albums, I think it’s time to put together a collection of songs from each album. We’re toying around with some stuff, we’ll definitely acknowledge our 25th, it’s going to be a big deal for us. There are so few bands that are able to maintain as consistently as we have.”
Jackyl guitarist Jeff Worley has a new book out now called No Filter… Stories Better Left Untold Part 1. “Yeah, I’ve lived it. It’s stories and incidences of stuff through his eyes, that he’s encountered from being on the road. He talks about everything from me demolishing rental cars – because I’ve got a reputation for messing up rental cars – all the way to stuff like going to the gym. You go into these gyms across the country and you see some really funky-looking stuff. He’s definitely got some funny stories; it’s a great read and people are really enjoying it.”
Was there ever any consideration to make it the official Jackyl biography? “It’s not that. There’s a whole other book there; I’m sure we’d all have a different story to tell on that one.” Have you ever considered writing your own autobiography? “Yeah, at some point. I’m not through living it yet. There’s a story to be told, for sure. Because of the time period when Jackyl came out, in a lot of ways we’ve been able to navigate through the cracks. The table never was set properly because when we came out it was all alternative and grunge; anti-show. People just wanted to stand around and gaze at their shoes with the Seattle sound and all. 25 years later, we’re still pulling really great crowds. What’s really cool, and it’s really blown me away in the last five years especially – the fraternity of people that are showing up to see us. They travel and meet each other, make friends out there and join up at all these different shows. At every single show, there’s groups of people that have come together because of the band. It’s a blue collar, Grateful Dead kind of thing; and that’s humbling. We’ve been very fortunate, and the crowds are just getting bigger and bigger. We just set a record at Roar On The Shore in Erie, Pennsylvania for an annual show we do up there. We set another record crowd in Fort Wayne, Indiana; it’s not about coming to see the show, it’s about coming to be part of it.”
It’s no secret that Jesse is good friends with AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson, who guested on two Jackyl albums: 1997’s Cut The Crap, and 2002’s Relentless. Johnson has been in the media quite a bit lately due to his hearing loss, which resulted in Axl Rose from Guns N’ Roses replacing him for the remaining Rock Or Bust tour dates. “Brian’s doing great. I haven’t talked to him in a few weeks cause he went to London. I was with him the last show they played together with him singing (February 28, 2016 in Kansas City). It was inevitable that he was going to have to deal with the issues he was having. I felt really bothered by it and I told the people I was with, ‘I’m really concerned about Brian.’ I could tell he was pretty disoriented, just cause of his hearing and equilibrium. Brian’s not a quitter. So for Brian to throw his hands up and say ‘I’ve got to deal with this,’ it’s pretty serious. But as far as commenting on how they handled it, or why they handled it the way they did… what my opinion of it is; I’ve kept my mouth shut. I didn’t really appreciate Jim Breuer, the comedian, talking out of the circle either. If Brian had asked him to, then that’s a different thing. A band is like a marriage; you don’t stick your head in the middle of that. I will go as far as to say that Brian cannot be replaced. As long as he’s living and breathing, he should be the singer (of AC/DC); make no mistake about it. He’s still as bad-ass as ever and totally capable of delivering it. The outpouring of people’s support for him was very humbling for him; he’s a very humble guy. And it sincerely touched him. He doesn’t have anything to prove to anybody. I love him; he’s such an inspiration. I could go on and on and on. If you were to tell me when I was 15 years old that I’d be getting phone calls from Brian, or him coming to stay at my house, any of that kind of stuff – I would have dove off the top tier of the arena into the concrete floor, jumped up and run off because I would have been that bullet proof. Years later to be that close to him…”
“It’s the same thing with Ted Nugent. I just played with Ted, and then he’s playing for me out in Sturgis at The Full Throttle Saloon (on August 9th). I texted Ted coming across Texas the other day, cause he’s living down there now. I said, ‘Just thinking about you, hope all is Ted in Ted’s world’ – cause he speaks about himself in third person. He replied back, ‘Yowza soul brother #1. I’m sitting in a North Michigan deer stand about to arrow my dinner.’ Stuff like that, for me that’s one of the biggest payoffs I’ve ever had in my career. Being able to get that close to some of the guys I grew up really respecting. They carved the road we’re able to roll down.”