Exclusive Interview: Jesse James Dupree from Jackyl

By on June 15, 2010

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Jesse, there was definitely a lot of buzz for the new CD “When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide” weeks before it even came out. Let’s start off by telling me what you guys did the first week or so when the album was released.

We dedicated the first two weeks of the release to giving the band to radio stations. The radio stations went out and found strip clubs to host the CD release parties for us. We also filmed a video for “She’s Not A Drug” at the strip clubs. They were all really intimate nights. We got up and ran through “She’s Not A Drug” two or three times with the back track for the video and then we turned the amps on and played a few songs. Then we got to hang out with everybody and sign CDs and take pictures. It was very casual, laid back and very cool!

Doing cool things like goes right along with something else you guys did: You actually called everybody that pre-ordered the album! That easily had to be over 1,000 phone calls.

We were just sitting around talking about what we could do for the people that pre-order it so they know we appreciate ‘em. We thought about sticking picks and bumper stickers in with the CDs, but that’s not really letting them know we appreciate it. Why don’t we just call ‘em and tell ‘em? It grew from that. It turned into a whole different experience than what we anticipated. Once we started talking to people we heard their stories about how they found the band, their first time seeing us, or even how they met their future wife at a Jackyl show. There were also some heavy stories in there – like someone in the family who passed away was a big fan and now when a family member hears a Jackyl song it reminds them of the fun they had with each other. It’s been a hell of an experience and we got caught up in it. We had a blast making the calls.

It really had an impact. I’ve heard stories and I’ve read a ton of stories online about people being blown away that you guys took time out to call them. What you did was definitely appreciated.

Well, we don’t take them for granted. We just look at ‘em all like an extended family. We want everybody to know that rock ‘n roll is still alive as long as we’re still breathing. We made a record that you won’t put on and skip around. It’s one you’ll listen to from beginning to end.

Working in your own studio probably makes sure you’re able to work at your own pace and do things exactly how you want.

We went in and recorded when it felt right and when it was fun. So many of these songs came from us being out on tour and we had a chance to road test a lot of these tunes. It was really cool to road test ‘em first and let that experience bleed onto the tape.

Looking back on Jackyl’s career, it’s almost like you guys have established yourself like a “brand” and not just a band. When people hear “Jackyl” they instantly know what they’re gonna get.

We know people are out there busting their assess off working 40 and 50 hours a week. When it’s time to jam they want to do it loud, proud, hard and honest. When rock ‘n roll was first introduced onto the scene back in the 1950s you had journalists asking girls in poodle skirts what they were digging about rock music. Not one single kid said anything about world peace. They were gettin’ hot and bothered and worked up and not even making it home before they jumped into that big old backseat of a car and knock out the ‘ole dirty-dirty. That’s the fundamentals that rock ‘n roll was based on. Stimulating the glands and feeling that kick drum.

And speaking of the birth of rock ‘n roll, it kinda fits in to my next question. Some people are taking issue with the fact that you have a song called “Just Like A Negro” on the album. You’re just acknowledging the fathers of rock ‘n roll like Chuck Berry and Little Richard.

They’ll give Patti Smith a Grammy and a lifetime achievement award for singing her sound but because I sound like cornbread when I open my mouth people automatically want to assume the negative. They can kiss my ass! I wrote that song with three black friends of mine who play in a band called Mother’s Finest. They had the song “Just Like A Negro” and I actually did a record with them. It was done with Sony but the record never came out. I thought that song was so badass and they told me to rewrite the lyrics so it would make sense for me to sing it. I rewrote the lyrics for a white guy to sing it and it basically says rock ‘n roll came from the black man and music makes all the colors run together. It’s all positive. I love the song. Alice Cooper just told me the other night that he really likes “Just Like A Negro” because it reminds him of when he put out “Dead Babies.” People heard Alice Cooper singing “Dead Babies” and they instantly thought of the negative but it’s really about child abuse. He totally gets it and he played it on his show! I didn’t ever want to have to explain it but if these people need some help understanding it, what are you going to do?

Jesse, thanks for taking time out today. What would you like to say to wrap it up?

The only thing I can say is there is a new Jackyl record on the streets. Go get it, learn the words, come out and help me sing at the shows!


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