NIGEL DUPREE BAND - The Undeniable Attraction

June 19, 2009, 10 years ago

Aaron Small

nigel dupree band feature

When your Dad is the frontman for JACKYL, you’re born with rock 'n' roll in your blood. But rather than fire up his own chainsaw, Nigel Dupree embraced his love of ‘80s metal, put together a powerhouse trio and released his debut disc, Attraction. spoke with both father and son for this exclusive feature.

At only 19 years old, Nigel isn’t old enough to have a drink at the bars he’s playing in, but that doesn’t stop the rock from flowing. “I’m usually in the back corner. It’s funny. When some places send the contract over with the rider, it’ll say beer or vodka or whatever – for band members over 21. We get to these places and they want to put a big black x on my forehead and arms, or I’ve got to go and sit in the dressing room. It sucks, but then again it’s kind of funny ‘cause people don’t expect it.”

Drinking laws be damned, Nigel is front and centre, playing guitar, singing his heart out. Flanked by drummer Adam Townsend (age 21) and bassist Josh Hilton (age 22), these boys excel in delivering energized party rock. In fact, they’re out to remind everyone that rock and roll is about having fun. “Today, so many bands over-think what rock 'n' roll is and what it should be. Rock 'n' roll is simple. It should be easy on the ears with a little groove in it. Shake a tail feather.”

Musically, lyrically and visually, the Nigel Dupree Band is a real throwback to the ’80s. According to Nigel, “My true moment of devoting my life to ’80s metal came when Jackyl was on the Rock Never Stops tour (in 2002). Jackyl is not a ‘80s band. Their first record came out in 1992. But on this tour they had TESLA, Vince Neil from MÖTLEY CRÜE, DOKKEN and SKID ROW. Even though I had been around the music scene my whole life, I was at a very awesome age. I was 13 years old listening to Skid Row sing ‘Youth Gone Wild’ and Vince Neil scream ‘Kickstart My Heart’ – that was bad ass! So I started digging in and they didn’t look like they look now, back then they looked killer! I just got more and more into it. I’m really big into KISS too; they’re a huge influence. When I got the band together with Josh and Adam, I gave them my stack of CDs and said; I want you to listen to this before we go any further. The next thing I knew, they were growing their hair out. They loved it. It was such a passionate thing for me and it was cool for them to become so passionate about it.”

Initially only available digitally, Attraction has just been released as “a limited edition run of 1,000 copies. It’s a single sleeve CD that we’re selling at shows and online. We’ve changed up the artwork a little bit, just to give it value. We’re looking to do a physical release in the Best Buy stores around fall or winter.” As far as the title Attraction, “We always feel like people have an attraction towards us. There’s an attraction between the fans and us. Attraction is just a sexy word. It kind of popped and stuck.”

Annies - Cincinnati, OH

Being the son of Jesse James Dupree from Jackyl comes with certain advantages - and disadvantages - when it comes to starting your own band and marketing your own music, as Nigel attests to. “The advantages are that there already are some set connections which I’m very fortunate and honored to have. The downside is, as Jackyl made their path through their career, not everybody is always happy with the band they deal with. It has ended some roads short for us, but it’s also opened up so many doors due to the fact that my Dad’s become more involved on the industry side of things in the last few years, landing his own imprint through Universal and helping manage other labels. It’s cool and it’s a great experience.”

Another experience Nigel is looking forward to his filming his band’s first video for the song ‘Rock And Roll’. “We’re actually trying to put it together. The only thing we’re disagreeing on is: I want full pyro on the KISS level, with moving drum risers and airplanes flying over; that’s not exactly in the budget. The cool problem is finding the time. When we released this, things took off so quick – from shows to press – but it’ll definitely happen.”

Before turning things over to Jesse, Nigel recalls life in the recording studio during the Attraction sessions. “It was the most surreal experience! And everything’s been surreal from that point forward. I’ve been very fortunate to have every opportunity that’s been presented because of the lifestyle I grew up in. It was cool. We got to work with some great people on it. My Dad produced it, with almost the Rick Rubin style, which was cool. He wouldn’t have too much involvement. He really wanted us to do our natural thing. He had a guy, Don Tart, who’s worked with Jackyl and BLACKBERRY SMOKE for years; he was the one behind the board most of the time. Jeff Tomei who worked with SMASHING PUMPKINS, JERRY CANTRELL and KORN worked on it. Then we had George Marino at Sterling Sound in New York master it. It was probably the coolest experience of my life – just getting in there to document what I’ve created.”

Now it’s Dad’s turn, and Jesse James Dupree is one proud papa. “There never really was a question as to whether Nigel was going to be in a band or not. He came out of the womb screaming bloody hell. He was always energetic and ready to attack. He was definitely on go mode, but he wasn’t a hyper kid. He can sit still. He’s got great manners. In school, he was just like me; he’d do his work and get through the day. But the teachers would say, ‘we can’t get him to focus. Maybe we should put him on Adderall.’ The problem was, they couldn’t keep his attention. He’s been all around the world. He’s seen it all. He grew up on a tour bus. There’s nothing in any classroom that’s going to compare to the knowledge he already has. If you took any one of the kids in his class and just dropped ‘em off in New York City, every single one of them would be crying. They wouldn’t know what to do. They would be lost! If you dropped Nigel off in New York City, come back in a week and he’ll be running the damn place. That’s exactly what he does. He’s never lacked the worldly sense. He wasn’t one to be playing in the sandbox with toy trucks. He dragged my 1962 reissue Stratocaster around. His toys were quarter-inch jacks going into Marshalls. He practiced his motor skills by changing strings and that wasn’t because I forced it on him. That’s all he was ever interested in.”

As Jesse looks back, he admits, “It all came about so fast. Nigel started playing drums. Then he moved up to playing guitar and singing. He never approached me about doing a record when he had his first batch of songs or first band together. Out of the blue he came to me and said, ‘Ok Dad, we’re ready to record our album.’ I went and watched their show and it dawned on me. So we went in the studio and I’ll be damned – this is what we got. His guitar tone is to die for. It’s a good, fat, vintage rock ‘n roll sound. I would have given him a ‘get out of jail free card’ for not necessarily wanting to go in the studio with your Dad. I thought he might want someone who could put a contemporary twist on it; he said, ‘Hell no!’ He was insistent; he wanted crunch. That made it easy. I won’t say we didn’t have our moments. I’m saying you’ve got to do it again. You’re just not hitting it. He’d yell, ‘Dad, get out!’ It’s a little different when it’s that father/son thing ‘cause I’d find myself yelling, you get back in here and sing it right now! We’ve been doing this for 19 years now, so it’s just natural to us.”

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