Jesse James Dupree, the front man for the band Jackyl, lives life to the extreme and on the edge. He pioneered a new sound in rock music by introducing a chainsaw as a playable instrument. He kept Jackyl in demand all through the 90s and 2000s while other rock bands from the 80s faded away. He has crossed over into many genres in music including Rap and Country music and released his own line of quality bourbon whiskey. He not only has several bands going at once, but he also executive produces one of Trutv’s highest rated shows…”Full Throttle Saloon” which is viewed by millions every week. Season after season, Jesse keeps the wheels of the FTS turning and he always comes up with a stunt to do during the Thursday night performance of Jackyl at the saloon, each year topping the last. He has been shot out of a cannon, jumped from a bridge and even blown up with dynamite while lying in a wooden box. Yea, Jesse wears a trucker’s cap with the patch stating “Cock of the Walk” and with all that he’s accomplished…has a right to do so. Jesse recently phoned in to give T.E.N. an update on what’s been going on with his career, his business side of life and why’s he’s the man with all the stroke.
Jesse James Dupree– Hi Troy, This is Jesse, How ya doin?
TEN– I’m doin great. How about you?
JJD– I’m doin great man. We just hopped off the tour bus and grabbed some dinner for the night.
TEN– If you’re going to eat, we can reschedule.
JJD– No man, let’s do it. I’m good to go.
TEN– What was it like working on the new Jackyl CD “Best In Show?”
JJD– The main thing with that album is that we had a chance to play that stuff “live” before we recorded it. It made a big difference. It’s really nice when stuff validates itself within the show before you put it on record. Again, not overanalyzing stuff we just grab a hold of the moment and pressed “record.”
TEN– Your version of Dr. Hooks’ “Cover OF The Rolling Stone” is awesome. How did you come up with the idea to loop the drum and stomp from Queens’ “We Will Rock You” and also do Brian Mays’ guitar solo with a chainsaw?
JJD– It just organically came about. It was just from a series of conversations and one thing led to another. I was actually sleeping on the couch at my house and woke up in the middle of the night, kinda hearing that in my head. I jumped up and ran up to the studio and started messing around with it. It came out of the subconscious. I think I was taken Ambien and drinking wine or somethin.
TEN– Tell me about your cover of RUN DMCs’ “It’s Tricky” and working with Darrell “DMC” McDaniels.
JJD– Well you know, Darrell is just a great guy. He’s a buddy of ours and we worked with him before on “Just Like A Negro.” He just came about that we asked him if you wanted to do something else too. It was his idea to do “Tricky.” So we did it and people can say what they want but it’s a lot of fun and if there overanalyzing it, they’re just missing out.
TEN– What kind of influence do you think MTV had on your career?
JJD– It didn’t suck…because they played us. People can fuss about the industry you know. When it works for ya, everybody loves it and when it works against ya, everybody thinks it sucks. As far as what MTV did with us it was a blessing to have their support. I don’t know how much things would have changed as far as at the end of the day we have always been a band that emanates from the live shows. That’s 90% of what has sustained us over the years. It was nice to have MTV and it was a little extra ”bling” that we were glad to have. We were never an “MTV darling band.” I don’t think we’ve ever been any kind of a darling band. People either get us or they don’t. People that don’t get us are generally the people that have a hard time admitting that they masturbate.
TEN– Throughout your career when you play out, you played to packed houses. Even when Grunge came along you still remained.
JJD– I’ll be honest with you, if where in a town where people actually work for a living, and there’s a good rock station and that kind of thing, we do enjoy great shows. We can’t get arrested. Boston, New York and LA… we play there and we have a good time. But as far as number of people and the big crowds in all honesty, is predominantly the working man belt of the Midwest. Places like Hershey, Pennsylvania and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania… we do great there. We’ve never been a trendy band, were not some “LA polished band” and that’s okay. I’d rather take the other 90% of the country and stop ass as opposed to being something people in LA say is cool.
TEN– In your opinion, how has the music industry changed since when you started out?
JJD– I can give you simple answer; people are spread out over so many different mediums. When I was growing up, you took a vinyl record into your bedroom and shut the door and that was what you had. Now you have the Internet, you got TiVo, you got iPods, they got cell phones, you got texting, and you got people working more hours so people are just spread out. It’s not like in the old days when you could reach the masses through one or two mediums. You could either go to the country station, rock station or whatever to reach all the people but now people just aren’t stuck to two or three ways. They get their music all different kinds of media. I love it. I think the people who are rock ‘n rollers are more diehard and sincere than ever. Again we don’t look at things like the “glass is half empty.”
TEN- Let’s talk about the “Full Throttle Saloon”. It’s a huge success on Trutv. How did you and Mike Ballard become friends?
JJD– I was booked in there the year he opened up the place. I went there and played and it was a great show, we had a great time and he and I became friends and ultimately business partners. One thing led to another.
TEN– What is your role at the Full Throttle Saloon?
JJD– I executive produced the show and I just want to make sure that the people who come there have a great time.
TEN– What’s one of the craziest things you’ve ever seen there but we can’t see on TV?
JJD– I walked into one of the cabins and a midget was fucking a full-sized woman!
TEN– Did you get any pictures?
JJD– I didn’t, but it’s forever in my brain! (Laughs)
TEN– On the show, you and Angie are always bickering back and forth. You guys really get along off-camera?
JJD– We get along. She’s a sweet girl. She comes with a big opinion.
TEN– Tell me about your contest “America’s Ultimate Biker.”
JJD– Well, it’s a Jesse James Bourbon motorcycle that we’re giving away. It’s just a tribute to the people who work for a living. I wanted to have a contest which showed the rest of America some really cool bikers.
TEN– What kind of ”over-the-top” stunt are you going to do this season?
JJD– Well I can’t tell you that, I think you’ve seen a scene where I’m working towards blowing myself up in a box. But, you’ll have to tune in to see if you know what I mean.
TEN– Mike Ballard has his own version of moonshine called; “Sloonshine.” You also have your own brand of Bourbon whiskey and Outlaw beer. How did you become involved with making spirits?
JJD– Well, over the years we’ve just grown to love our whiskey and it’s something that we just do and have a lot of fun with it.
TEN– Tell me a little bit about your involvement with the company “Mighty Loud Entertainment.”
JJD– First, it’s my company, and I executive produce the TV show and I have a record company that’s called; “Mighty Loud.” Everything I do is called is called ”Mighty Loud.”
TEN– You also do some work with Kiefer Sutherland. Tell a little about that.
JJD– I just talked to him yesterday. He’s just a rock ‘n roller. I’m the general manager of his record company.
TEN– Tell me little about Jesse James Dupree and Dixie Inc. What makes it so different from the Jackyl material?
JJD– Well, have you heard it? You need to check it out. The guys are from the “Kentucky Headhunters” which are just shit kicking country. You listen to it then you tell me.
Editor’s Note* (The Dixie Inc. cd is really cool, especially if you’re a JJD fan. Highly recommend it!)
TEN– Okay, now I got some questions from your fans. A girl named Peaches wants to know where you learned such an amazing stage appearance and presence.
JJD– James Brown, Elvis Presley, Sly and the Family Stone… all the old acts. Ted Nugent…. just people who have never been shy. Brian Johnson from AC/DC told me once, he said “Don’t be shy… your mother wasn’t!”
TEN- Justin wants to know if you still prefer Stihl chain saws or do you prefer a different brand?
JJD– I still use a Stihl on stage.
TEN- What made you come up with the whole “chainsaw thing” in the first place?
JJD– It’s just the perfect rock ‘n roll instrument. It’s loud, it’s aggressive, it’s abrasive and it’s everything rock should be.
TEN– I read somewhere that you have a “hemi powered chainsaw.”
JJD– You can look it up online. It’s big like a car is something we had some fun with.
TEN– A fan named Troy wants to know, “With all of this talk about gun control, what is your stand on it?”
JJD– I think it’s a distraction. I think whether you’re for guns or against guns, and regardless of what side you’re on, that’s not the issue. I think the issue is that parents should raise their kids. I think if we lived in a society where the emphasis was going back and raising your kids right, then you could leave loaded guns laying around everywhere because you would raise responsible kids. If you raise a kid who is mentally challenged, you have to be responsible. Again, it all comes back to the parents. If you raise a kid that goes into a “dark side” because they’re hanging out with the wrong crowd, you need to be a responsible parent and you raise your kids. Raise responsible citizens! I wish that they would put all the emphasis on going after making the emphasis on parents being more responsible and make that the issue. It’s not guns, it’s not cars, it’s not food that makes you fat, it’s not a fork that makes you fat, ya know. You can’t sue somebody because they made a spoon that you ate with and that’s why you’re fat. It’s about parents being responsible. It’s about parents making the children responsible citizens. And, that’s just not about guns… it’s about anything and everything. It’s about being a gentleman and a lady and all the things that you learn from watching “Leave it to Beaver.” (Laughs) Those are the things that are important.
TEN– It’s like we need more “Andy Griffith” and less “Jersey Shore.”
JJD– That’s all I’m saying! I don’t want talk about guns; I will talk about parents raising their fucking kids.
TEN– Look, Nigel turned out all right. He’s very successful.
JJD– Case and point! People go “You need a parental advisory sticker on your record.” No I don’t! I got a kid and he never heard this junk. I’m a parent, I monitor what he hears. If I can make the music and still keep my son from listening to it… you can kiss my ass! Raise your kids! It’s not up to the government to raise your kids!
TEN– A fan named Doug wanted me to ask you…” When will it rain?”
JJD– Ummmm…. probably about the time we get booked at an outdoor gig.
TEN– I’m gonna switch gears on you. Tell me something disturbing about yourself that you never revealed before in an interview.
JJD– Well ya know, I’ve always been pretty open that I got a healthy masturbation habit. That may be disturbing to you but I’m okay with it.
TEN– Is there anything else that you want to add or say?
JJD– I appreciate your time appreciate your interview and I’m gonna sit down and eat my steak!
I want to thank Jesse for taking the time to share, Melanie Higgins at Mighty Loud Entertainment for setting up the interview and Kerry Fendley for hanging out and being cool.
I also would like to thank Justin Scott, Peri “Peaches” Arcaro, Troy Garrett and Doug Bennett for the fan questions.
For more information on Jesse, please visit www.jessejamesdupree.com/