JACKYL – “People That Don’t Get It, Are The People That Have A Hard Time Admitting They Masturbate”
August 5, 2017, a year ago
Congratulations are certainly in order as Jackyl commemorates the 25th anniversary of the release of their self-titled debut album on Geffen Records; and the band is still going strong – talk about a tremendous achievement! “You know, it is. We’re very proud! The rest of this year is going to be really good, out touring and celebrating,” says frontman Jesse James Dupree.
Aptly titled 25, Jackyl has issued a new career-spanning CD / digital download of 18 songs, featuring two previously unreleased tracks. “It’s a good collection. We’re excited about getting the word out that Jackyl has survived 25 years. There’s so many bands that have fallen by the wayside… we can’t get enough of each other.”
Delving into the two previously unreleased tracks on 25, the very last song is a cover of the Black Oak Arkansas tune “Hot And Nasty”, which originally appeared on their self-titled debut album in 1971. “Everybody compared us to ‘em, they said ‘AC/DC meets Black Oak’. So, we went and checked out Black Oak to see what they were talking about, and we fell in love with that song. We cut that track 20 years ago, and we never released it! It’s been sitting in the vault for that long.” It’s the original lineup with Thomas Bettini on bass? “It was, but to be honest with you, we re-cut it. Roman (Glick) laid his bass parts down on it; then we finished it out with the mix. It was just basic tracks, now it’s a collection of everything; it naturally just worked.” So, your vocals were done 20 years ago? “Yeah, some of them. When we got in and were mixing stuff, there’s a couple things I redid. But you can tell, I didn’t sit there and over-hash it; I just changed a couple of the words around. Going back and listening to it 20 years later, I just wanted to sing it a different way.”
Preceding “Hot And Nasty” is a never-before-heard live version of “Redneck Punk”. “That was recorded in Sturgis (South Dakota) at The Full Throttle Saloon on the 75th Anniversary (in 2015).” The first greatest hits album from Jackyl – Choice Cuts – released in 1998 by Geffen Records, also featured a previously unreleased live version of “Redneck Punk” (recorded in Portland, Oregon in 1993). “We’ve been ending the show with that song for so long, it’s just a perfect song as far as the energy; we get excited about hearing live versions of that song.”
While Jesse, “wouldn’t necessarily call it a greatest hits, as much as I’d call it a celebration of the 25 years,” there is one glaring omission on 25 - that being “Locked And Loaded” from Cut The Crap, which featured Brian Johnson from AC/DC on vocals. “Well, obviously there’s another record company involved, and with all the stuff going on with AC/DC, they locked down. They weren’t approving any usage of his performances; rightfully so. We also didn’t put the track with Darryl from Run DMC (the cover of ‘It’s Tricky’ from Best In Show) on there either. We thought about it, but we’ll save those for another day.” That being said, Darryl can be heard on the cover of “Just Like A Negro”, originally done by Mother’s Finest, and reworked by Jackyl for their 2010 album, When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide. “Yeah, but he only does 16 bars on that; he didn’t sing it all the way through. That was just a short little thing.”
The first Jackyl album is the most heavily represented on 25 with five songs, including the live version of “Redneck Punk”. Is that still the pinnacle of the Jackyl catalogue? “That album… everybody always talks about band’s first albums versus all the rest of them. We had several years to write that first album, and then every album after that, you’ve just got two or three. That first album was a collection of songs that I’d been writing for many years; almost eight years worth of writing. Having the ability to pick out of so many songs to put that thing together. It’s one of those albums… I’m going to say it but I don’t want to, because it sounds pompous as hell. That’s one of those albums that you can put on and from beginning to end – some albums you get and you just go to certain songs. But that first Jackyl album, you can seriously put it on and track to track to track, everything’s got its place. So much aligned on that record for us; we got very blessed with the right collection of songs that just happened to strike a niche with everybody. That album’s a kick in the crotch. There’s a lot of energy to it and it sounds great. So, to answer your question, yeah, first albums are special.”
Back in the ‘90s, it would have been commonplace for a band celebrating their 25th anniversary to release a multi-disc box set. Now, it seems that the only box sets coming out are retrospective cash-grabs from iconic bands such as The Who and The Beatles. Do you miss the old days in that aspect? “Everybody that ever experienced the record industry the way it used to be, misses it. We can sit around and cry about it, but it’s a different day and different time. You just adapt and move on… you can find us on iTunes and Amazon.”
Looking back over the last 25 years, knowing what you do now, would you have done anything differently? “I don’t know if I would have changed anything? We’ve been so blessed with a rich career and a lot of great stuff. To any of the naysayers and detractors of Jackyl’s celebration of the fundamentals of rock ‘n roll… the people that don’t get it, are generally the people that have a hard time admitting they masturbate.
Jackyl are a bunch of road dogs, and they’ve just signed a new deal with Nashville based tour promoters APA. “We were with the other agency for 25 years, it was just time for a change. Sometimes a fresh perspective on things is good. Dennis Arfa over at Artist Group was a first-class gentleman and I really enjoyed my time with him over the years, but it was just time to move on. Steve Lassiter at APA – he’s a brother of mine. He rides Harleys, we’ve spent a lot of time together; I just felt like he was more in tune with where we are right now as a band. So, he’s booking the band.”
Speaking of booking, Jackyl has concerts scheduled up until December 1st in Flint, MI at The Machine Shop. Will you then break for Christmas, and resume touring in 2018? “We do have a couple offers for New Year’s, but I don’t know yet? We’ll figure that out.” Jackyl tends to primarily play The United States, with the occasional sojourn into Canada. How about the UK, Europe, Japan, and Australia? “You know, we’ve been to Europe many times, but with all the things we have going on over here; we do all the festivals in the summer. Then I’ve got Sturgis; I’m standing on the grounds of the Full Throttle Saloon and the Pappy Hoel Campground right now. We’ve got thousands of people showing up as I’m speaking to you. They’re pulling in and checking in to party their ass off at the Full Throttle! We’ve got: hot air balloons, helicopter rides, a swimming pool, Johnny Cash impersonators, Elvis impersonators. We’ve got a firing range where you can shoot fifty-calibre machine guns, a dirt track with racing. The Full Throttle Saloon sits on 15 acres; it’s the largest stage in South Dakota. We’ve got vendors, 300 cabins, 1000 RV hookups; this place is off the chart!”
To come back after that devastating fire in 2015 which burned the place to the ground, that in itself is remarkable. “It was devastating, but we’re trying to turn a negative into a positive, and here we are.” Will you be filming or recording Jackyl’s performance at The Full Throttle in Sturgis on August 10th? “We generally record all the audio, I don’t know if we’ll do any video.”
The last Jackyl studio album, Rowyco, came out in 2016. Have you started writing for a follow-up? “I’m always writing. With Sturgis, and then I’m producing a five-day festival for Harley Davidson in Milwaukee on Labour Day, then all these Jackyl tour dates; it’ll be 2018 before we get back in the studio.” But you still believe in the album format? Some of your peers have said that singles are the way to go. “I’ve got people who follow us that are still mad cause we’re not putting out cassettes.”