No one can accuse Jesse James Dupree of being a lazy man. If you know him only as the frontman for Jackyl or that guy from the Full Throttle Saloon TV show, you don’t even know the half of it. What doesn’t he do?
He has his own bourbon and his own beer. His aptly named Mighty Loud Entertainment company does managing and consulting for several record labels, including Ironworks, which was established by Kiefer Sutherland and Jude Cole. His band Jackyl holds two Guinness World Records for the most shows played in one day (21) and the most shows in 50 days (100). The list goes on and on.
On a bus before a show in Davenport, Iowa over a bag of M&M’s, Jesse sat down to speak with Screamer. As there was a bottle of The Original Jesse James America’s Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey on the table, it naturally became the first topic of conversation.
“The bourbon’s going great,” said Dupree. “We’re in 43 states now in about a year and three months, so that’s pretty amazing. I don’t think that anyone expected that it would have exploded like it did. We’ve got a honey bourbon and a spiced bourbon and all the different sizes the half-gallons down to the airplane minis and the whole bit so it’s pretty exciting.”
Jesse Woodson James–gun-toting, horse-riding rebellious American outlaw. Jesse James Dupree–chainsaw-wielding, motorcycle riding rebellious rock n’ roll frontman. Though he shares a name with the famous outlaw, Dupree says, “ Nothing I’ve done compares to the legend of the real Jesse James. Everyone knows about the cowboy robbing banks and shooting guns and stuff. This whiskey belongs to people–the outlaws that like to ride those motorcycles, rock n’ roll, beautiful women, the whole nine yards. Have a drink, that kind of thing. There’s not really been a whiskey that’s come out, which is dedicated to blue-collar America. Jack Daniels used to be that. At the end of the day Jack’s got that wince on the backside and the price of Jack has just gotten so expensive. So we came out with something that was affordable, but it’s a great 10-year-old bourbon blended with a three, so really you can’t beat it you know? You can’t afford not to drink it.” Dupree also produces a beer that is currently available in about five states, “ because when we brew we can only do about 500 cases at a pop.”
Dupree has a couple of new shows in development that we can look forward to, but TruTV’s Full Throttle Saloon has become a massively popular reality show celebrating the Sturgis Rally and the world’s largest biker bar. Dupree executive produces the show in addition to all the work he does at the saloon itself. Every year, Jackyl performs on Thursday night of the rally, and fans look forward to seeing what stunt Jesse will perform during the show. He has jumped off a bridge, been shot out of a cannon, and has been blown up in a box of dynamite. According to Dupree, the most nerve-wracking stunt was: “ The cannon. The cannon was a fucking trip. It had my butt puckered like a bunny rabbit’s nose.”
Of course Dupree wouldn’t reveal what his stunt will be this year but he did share what he is looking forward to at the rally. “ Big and Rich is gonna be performing back in the amphitheatre and that’ll be an interesting day,” says Dupree. “I’m excited because we’ve always done rock acts back there.” Other acts will include Black Label Society, Bret Michaels, Gretchen Wilson, Scott Weiland, Vince Neil and, of course, Jackyl.
For those that can’t make it to Sturgis, the Full Throttle Saloon staff brings the party on the road throughout the year, putting on Throttle Fest events in such places as Myrtle Beach, Chicago, Kansas City, Atlanta, and Texas. Throttle Fest features everything that you might find at the bar in Sturgis, including the entire cast of the show, concerts, burnout pits, Wall of Death, Rockstar Bartenders, Flaunt and much more.
It seems amazing that a touring musician has time for everything that Dupree is involved in but he is quite humble about it. “It all sounds like a big something,” he says, “ but at the end of the day, it’s all synergistic. If it was rocket science, I wouldn’t be doing it right? I wake up everyday and take as big a bite out of life’s ass that I can and have a good time.”
Arguably, the band may be best known for their tune, The Lumberjack, off their self-titled album, featuring Dupree on the chainsaw. How does one learn that they can play the chainsaw?
“It kinda happened out of the blue one night at a nightclub. We were just using the chainsaw to cut some stuff up. And luckily it was right around the time that we were doing the first album so the rest is history.” The chainsaw makes an appearance on the Best In Show album as well and Dupree even owns a guitar with a chainsaw attached to it. Thankfully, unlike other instruments, a chainsaw doesn’t need any tuning. He says, “The chainsaw is so badass it can be in whatever key it wants to be in.”
In 1992, a Kmart in Georgia refused to sell the album that featured The Lumberjack, due to several “adult-themed” songs. In response, the band rolled up in front of the store on a flatbed and gave an impromptu concert in the parking lot, while filming their video for I Stand Alone. Over 20 years later, Dupree holds no hard feelings towards Kmart. He jokingly says, “ Sears bought Kmart, right? They need to give me a Craftsman endorsement. I’ll figure out how to play a damn screwdriver or something.” And when asked about the upcoming 20-year anniversary of his appearance in Playgirl, Dupree says with a laugh, “ We’ll do an anniversary edition. Point and giggle part two.”
Dupree still has his finger on the pulse of the future of rock n’ roll. In addition to continuing to put out Jackyl’s records, Mighty Loud Entertainment manages up-and-comers Wayland and Dupree’s son’s band the Nigel Dupree Band. In July of 2012, Jackyl’s Best In Show and Nigel Dupree Band’s Up To No Good were both released on the same date and the first singles Screwdriver and Tumbleweed were released on Father’s Day. The bands can often be found performing shows together. When speaking about his son, Dupree states, “ He’s the future of rock and roll so I’m a proud father.”
Jackyl has continued rocking for over 20 years, despite the fact that the majority of their songs have not received much radio support. They are a do-it-yourself band that continues to bring in new fans of all ages, perhaps due in part to the success of the reality show and Jackyl’s appearances on it, but mostly due to the fact that they are hard-working guys that love their fans and putting on an entertaining show.
Along with Jesse, the rest of the boys of Jackyl, Roman Glick, Chris Worley and Jeff Worley, have stayed true to what works for them; songs about partying, drinking, and women. For the most part, the Best In Show album doesn’t get too deep, though there is a sweet ballad yitled Don’t Lay Down on Me and a more serious tune, Walk My Mile, amidst the more rockin’ party tunes such as Screwdriver (“ I wanna screw….driver”) and (“I like poontang”) Better than Chicken. For some extra fun, throw in a cover of Dr. Hook’s Cover of the Rolling Stone set to the beat of Queen’s We Will Rock You, and Run DMC’s Tricky, performed with DMC himself, Darryl McDaniel.
The credits of the album say, in true Jackyl fashion: “Thank all y’all sons o’bitches who like to get into a little of the ole dirty dirty.”
Best In Show has been out for less than a year, but the band is always working on new material, and Dupree says that they will hopefully be unveiling a couple of new tunes at Sturgis this year.
Does Jackyl plan on setting any more Guinness World Records? Dupree says, “We don’t really plan too many things ever, but a lot of shit has happened. Why start planning now? There’s too much going on when we don’t plan, right? We can’t keep up with all the stuff we’ve got happening without any plans.”
So if you are looking for Dupree, you might find him promoting the album. Or at the Full Throttle Saloon. Or at a bottle signing for his bourbon. Or doing managerial duties for the Nigel Dupree Band or Wayland. Or at a Throttle Fest. Don’t worry, you’ll find him. He’s everywhere.
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