Interview and Photos: Robert Cavuoto
Jackyl has just a released a brand new nitro infused CD called ROWYCO on August 5th. The CD is filled with big hooks, catchy melodies, and all sung with an angry sense of purpose as it taps into a lot of personal issues by lead singer Jesse James Dupree.
The CD’s release was perfectly timed with the grand opening of the Full Throttle Saloon, in Sturgis, South Dakota. The original location burned to the ground last year and they are bigger and better than ever. The Full Throttle Saloon enjoyed a 6 year run of a hit reality television show of the same name, which documented owner Michael Ballard and Jesse’s struggles to get the bar up, running and profitable during the world’s largest motorcycle rally.
I caught up with Jesse to discuss this new attitude filled CD, how Jackyl’s live show can make you pregnant, and how he would someday like to deliver one of these babies live on stage!
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me what the title of your new CD; ROWYCO what does it mean?
Jesse James Dupree: There have been a lot of people online questioning it and some have even figured it out. It’s a phrase that has been around forever; “Rock Out With Your Cock Out.” The artwork on the CD pulls it all together.
Robert: Tell me about the beautiful and touching love song that you wrote called “Limpdick”, it’s my favorite on the CD?
Jesse James Dupree: [laughing] Oh man, I was just calling out a situation that I was in and had to deal with. I think it’s self-explanatory. It’s a statement that I’m making to a dear friend [laughing]. Turns out he did me a favor. In fact the whole CD taps into a lot of personal stuff.
Robert: Do you think that you captured your signature sound after experiment with each CD perfecting it or was it more of a happy accident that that you grew into?
Jesse James Dupree: I think every CD is a happy accident in a sense. You put a bunch of microphones in front of a cabinet and let it rip. We recorded this CD using a Mead console that I bought from New York. It was used to record the Beastie Boys first CD, Run DMC’s “Walk this Way” and Beyonce’s last CD. Ted Nugent and Santana recorded with it as well. Those Mead consoles sound like butter. Because of that, this is probably our biggest sounding production. It an extraordinarily big sound and I’m proud of it. Of course with Jackyl CDs, nobody is going to sit around and analyze it.
Robert: Did keeping things simple – just two guitars, bass and drums – steer you down a certain creative path?
Jesse James Dupree: I think going down that path leaves room for attitude. When it fundamentally conservative like that with just guitars, bass and drums and don’t clutter with synthesizers or other bells and whistles it leaves room for attitude. This CD has tons of that. We road tested these songs before we ever recorded them. That makes a big difference as well.
Robert: Tell me about the vision you had going into the making of this CD?
Jesse James Dupree: Like I mentioned I just got that Mead console a year prior and put into our studio. It was a pretty healthy investment to get into. So I had to go to work to pay for it so it had been almost year before I had a chance to play with it. We had some bands record on it but I hadn’t had a chance to play on it. When the holidays came up last year I started making some noise with it; songs like “Disasterpiece.” Other songs started coming out of the woodwork and next thing we know we had an album. We would be sitting around drinking and we had a song like “All Night Rodeo.” They organically just flowed out. We never said we were officially starting an album; it was like “okay we got an album.”
Robert: Your voice is instantly recognizable and just as strong as it was back in the 90’s. What do you do to take care of it?
Jesse James Dupree: I don’t do anything. [laughing] I don’t warm up before I go on stage. I tend to think that singers can work themselves into a hole and that works against them more than it helps them. I think there is a great deal of mind fucking going on, to be blunt, but to each their own. I think it’s either there or not. I think these singers who pamper themselves day in and out are just working against themselves. It’s as simple as this and you really can’t argue with it; if you’re going run 5 miles right now and you’re not used to it, when you sit down afterwards your muscles are going to spasm. That’s just the reality and you can’t do anything about it. If you’re singing and not used to singing as soon as you relax; say half way through a set, the muscles in your throat and going to spasm up. This tender-ass-pampering of yourself is preventing you from stretching your muscles out. I don’t monitor how much I talk during a show day; I do drink lots of water to keep hydrated. Other than that when I hit the stage I blow it out. Some nights I have to push a little harder than others, that’s just the nature of the game. I feel like I get stronger on the second or third night.
Robert: Tell me about what inspired you musically when you started Jackyl and what inspires you now when writing?
Jesse James Dupree: Nothing has changed in the sense of what inspires me. It’s just a simple fact that I wake up each day and when I first open my eyes I’m in a panic because I think I have to go pour concrete [laughing]. Once I get past that, the rest of the day is all great because I don’t have to go pour concrete. That inspires you to kick ass when you hit the stage and reminds you not to take things for granted which you can easily do – if you’re an asshole. We don’t take it for granted and we know were blessed. To have fans who care about us, the music, and support it. They rally us home and I don’t take that lightly at all.
Robert: Jackyl was one of the few bands that came out in the 90s during the Grunge era, how did you deal with that and keep the band surviving?
Jesse James Dupree: Truthfully, we survived because we didn’t jump trends and stuck to our guns. We knew who we were. The next piece of the puzzle is that we went to where the people were. We would go to Kansas City, Chicago or Dallas where working people were and like minded people were found. We didn’t do anything in LA or NY. We weren’t looking to get a rave review in LA Weekly. Those people were so wound tight and self conscience.
Robert: After 30 years what makes you most proud of Jackyl?
Jesse James Dupree: The fact that we stayed true to ourselves and that we are still as viable today as we were then. Our shows are bigger now and the crowds are great. We have developed a relationship with the people that come out and support us. I was always scratching my head at the people who followed the Grateful Dead around but I’m so proud that we have fans that show up and keep count of how many Jackyl shows they have been to. People will tell us that they have seen us 106 times, 36 times, or 57 times. They enjoy the last show as much as their first.
Robert: Do these fans also tell you how your songs inspired them?
Jesse James Dupree: I don’t hear that, what I hear more is “Our kids were conceived at a Jackyl concert!” [laughing] or “We came to see you play and I got pregnant” or “We met at your show then got married at another show.” We get stuff like that all time. It just goes to show the message that our music has is based on the fundamentals like meeting someone, starting a relationship, or conceiving a baby at the show. If I can only get one of them to let me deliver a baby on stage that would be awesome!
Robert: How are things going with the Full Throttle Saloon, I heard you were moving?
Jesse James Dupree: We just moved the Full Throttle Saloon over to South Dakota at Sturgis. We went from 300 to 600 acres. We also have a camp ground, RV camp with 300 cabins, a convenience store and a liquor store. We call it Pappy Hoel Campgrounds named after the guy who founded it; he is going to be 77 years old this year. People can go to www.pappyhoelcampground.com to make reservation and join in on all the craziness. We have all this cool stuff going on the first week in August every year. You can see great bands like Sevendust, Black Label Society and Jackyl perform.