Masters of Mayhem
June 1, 2017
The hardest working band in rock 'n roll is coming to Brandt's Harley Davidson in Marion for a free concert July 16.
Fans will know immediately who we're referring to - the heavy metal foursome from Georgia with the Southern rock influences known to include a chainsaw among their gear and famous for playing not one, not two, but 21 concerts in a 24-hour period. (Also 100 shows in 50 days. The dudes don't need much sleep, apparently.)
Of course we're talking about Jackyl, otherwise known as Jesse James Dupree and company. The event at Brandt's will be an all-ages, all-day throw-down beginning at noon with show openers Carter Street, 90 Proof Twang, Ratnip and The Nick Harless Band.
Jackyl - Dupree (vocals), Jeff Worley (guitar), Roman Glick (bass) and Chris Worley (percussion) - are a natural fit to play a Harley Davidson campus. Prior to the show's cancellation in 2103, Dupree was a regular on TruTV's Full Throttle Saloon which gave viewers an inside look at the madness and mayhem that is the annual Sturgis, South Dakota Motorcycle Rally. The show's title refers to a 30-acre property in Sturgis that housed not only indoor and outdoor bars but a several stages, a burn-out pit, zip lines, restaurants, stores, a wrestling ring and cabins for rent. Designated the world's largest biker bar, the Full Throttle Saloon burned to the ground last fall.
Which was sad, a tragedy for Sturgis-or-Bust die-hards, but working at Full Throttle and appearing in the show was only one of Dupree's many projects. According to the Full Throttle site, the Jackyl frontman isn't happy unless he's split into a million pieces. Hence his Mighty Loud trademark, under whose banner he promotes a number of products, including Crunk!!! energy drink and Jesse James' America Outlaw Beer and Bourbon.
"I always made a connection with the guy I saw on television who was spinning plates with a stick," he says. "There's something that would intrigue me about that. Although I can't spin a plate on a stick for nothing, I can damn sure do it in a proverbial sense."
Back in the late 80s, when Jackyl were just starting to make a name for themselves as tireless and ridiculously energizing live performers, Dupree's main spinning plate was obviously the band he formed along with original mates the Worley brothers, Thomas Bettini and Jimmy Stiff. Stiff, who left the band in 1999, claims in an interview with Legendary Rock that the seeds for Jackyl were sown thanks to a fateful move and a shared love of Black Sabbath. Oh, and destiny.
"When I was born I had a guitar already. My dad and my granddad were guitar pickers. It was a done deal," he said. "When my parents got divorced and I moved down here, I met the Worley boys. It was a snowy day when I saw three guys riding bikes across from my trailer park. They heard me playing Sabbath and came beating on my door. I thought it was the landlord at the time, mad about something. It was all destiny, man. I did it for a decade. We sold a lot of records."
That they did. Having signed with heavyweights Geffen Records in the early 90s, Jackyl hit the rock scene hard with their eponymous debut in 1992, following it up with certified Gold album Push Comes to Shove. Soon fans all over the U.S. were clamoring for a chance to see Jackyl pound out "Lumberjack," "Down on Me," "When Will It Rain," "I Stand Alone," and a few other hits whose titles we can't print here. "Lumberjack," of course, features Dupree's now iconic chainsaw solo.
Jackyl became beloved for their irreverent take on hard rock and their equally devil-may-care approach to live performing and life in general. When a K-Mart in their hometown refused to carry Jackyl because of its naughty nature, the band staged a protest right in the store's parking lot, treating amused fans to an impromptu concert and blowing up a van in the process. Naturally, taped footage from the event was used in the video for the hit "I Stand Alone."
The 90s were Jackyl's heyday. It was during that decade that they toured with the likes of Aerosmith, Kiss, ZZ Top, Ted Nugent and Damn Yankees. They also put out two more best-selling albums - 1997's Cut the Crap and 1998's Stayin' Alive.
Stiff told Legendary Rock that it was a bizarre and beautiful time, and that each member of the band had a particular role to play: "Jessie was the business head. Chris was the technical one. Jeff was the drill sergeant with the drive of 10 men. Tom [Bettini, bass] and me were the toxic twins, into women and chemicals, herbs and spices, powders..."
It was because of the heady combination of women and chemicals that Stiff bowed out. A single dad, he decided to devote himself to his son and to religion, which he credits with saving his life. Even without Stiff, Jackyl, like all shows, must go on and go on the dudes did. They proceeded to put out three albums with indie labels and on their own - Relentless, When Moonshine and Dynamite Collide and Best in Show - and their latest, Rowyco, is due to drop August 5.
The release of Rowyco will coincide with the grand reopening of Full Throttle Saloon. How fitting. A hard-working, hard-rocking band and a bad-to-the-bone venue get a chance at new life together. Comebacks come in twos, in other words.
Someone cue the violins. Pardon us. Chainsaws.
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