Jackyl – Jackyl (1992): On Second Thought

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When Jackyl’s self-titled debut came out, I absolutely hated it. I was in the waning days of my “more notes = better music” listening phase. The simple three-chord tunes here and singer Jesse James Dupree’s definite vocal resemblance to Brian Johnson of AC/DC – a band I also didn’t like at the time – were an instant turn-off.

Then, something happened. I’m not really sure what it was. I was finally coming back around to the idea that good music could be made without shred and maybe it was right song, right time. Whatever the case, I started hearing the single “Down on Me” on the short-lived local rock radio station, and something about it stuck with me. I finally relented and gave the record an honest listen, and instantly became a fan. I remain one to this day, though the band has had a very inconsistent output over the years.

Yes, there was plenty of AC/DC on Jackyl’s debut – and Johnson himself even popped up for a duet with Dupree a few albums later – but there was just as much Southern rock and Ted Nugent influence. “Dirty Little Mind,” for example, certainly could have been a raunchy 1970s Nuge hit. And raunchy has always been a big part of Jackyl’s schtick. You don’t have to look any farther than the song titles on the record to see that – “Dirty Little Mind,” “Down on Me” and, of course, “She Loves My Cock.” It was that element of the band’s music that caused a K-Mart in the band’s home state of Georgia to refuse to sell the album, prompting an impromptu performance by the band in the store’s parking lot.

Putting the often-juvenile humor aside, Jackyl wrote some great blue-collar hard rock tunes. Listen to the nasty groove of “Just Like a Devil” and its chorus melody that hangs around in your head, or the bouncy energy of one of my favorites, “Redneck Punk.” It was a song I could relate to on more than one level, and I still enjoy regular listens to this day. With few exceptions, most every song on this record – even the ones I didn’t like at first – still make me reach for the volume knob when they come on today. They’re great, catchy, simple hard-rock tunes.

Add to that the fact that Dupree is quite the character. If nothing else, you won’t be bored by anything he’s involved with. He, of course, made his mark on the rock world by using a chainsaw as a musical instrument on the band’s Top 40 hit “The Lumberjack,” another memorable, dirty ditty from this record, and then carving up barstools on stage after the song was over. He famously posed for Playgirl and, more recently, shot himself out of a cannon during a 2010 performance at Sturgis – a stunt that may have been on his mind for a while. He mentioned it when I interviewed him back in 2002.

“If you don’t give the fans a show, they might as well sit at home and listen to the record,” Dupree told me about his on-stage antics. “I’ve got to have the whole ball of wax. I want to see a man shot out of a cannon.”

These days, when he’s not making solo records, Jackyl albums or playing live, Dupree is a business partner in the Full Throttle Saloon, which opens 10 days a year for the Sturgis Bike Rally. He arranges the entertainment and stars in the TruTV reality show about the operation. He’s also currently lining up a new Jackyl release for late July and helping out his son Nigel, who also has a record coming out in July.

Though Jackyl’s output has often been uneven over the years since the band’s debut, one thing has always been constant – it’s never dull.

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse reviews.com.
Fred Phillips

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