“Scattered, smothered and slammed.”
Jesse James Dupree is not placing an order at Waffle House. He’s describing a typical day in his life, chasing various opportunities.
Dupree is a TV man. He recently sold a show about Korean pop (titled “K-Pop”) to Amazon. He previously was a producer and star of the TruTV series “Full Throttle Saloon.”
Speaking of saloons, Dupree has his own brand of bourbon, named, of course, Jesse James.
But he might be best known for the chainsaw-riffing rock music he creates with his band Jackyl. The chainsaw reference is literal; it’s one of Jackyl’s lead instruments. James is known for occasionally setting down the microphone, picking up a gas saw and revving the engine.
Dupree discussed his busy life before the band headed to town for what’s becoming a holiday tradition over the last few years: Jackyl’s Thanksgiving-week show at Bogart’s.
Question: Jackly has been routinely playing Cincinnati throughout its career. What makes it a particularly good market for you?
Answer: Cincinnati has laid claim to Jackyl, because we cut our teeth there before we ever got our first recording contract. We used to play Annie’s out there on the east side all the time. That was always a home for us. We look back on those days fondly. That was just a great experience with great rock-'n'-roll crowds. It’s more like a family reunion than a show these days.
Q: Were those Annie’s shows pretty wild?
A: They get just as wild today as they did yesterday. They never stopped being wild. It’s game on. You don’t come out to see a show. You come out to be a part of it.
Q: WEBN’s support must help, too.
A: ‘EBN is a great staple station. Corporate radio’s gone so many different directions these days. We’re very blessed that within that corporate mix we’ve got relationships with people that have stuck have there with us. Axel (Lowe) is over there at 96 Rock (WFTK-FM) now. Axel came from Atlanta. He and I were neighbors here in Atlanta forever, so it’s always good to hang with him again. That guy’s rock 'n' roll to the core. And of course, Fin (Michael Walter, Bogart’s general manager and former on-air personality), he’s a radio legend as well. He’s got a passion for music and does a great job at Bogart’s.
Q: Will Bogart’s have Jesse James bourbon for sale at the bar when you’re playing?
A: Absolutely, they will.
Q: Is the goal to be like George Clooney and sell your liquor brand for a billion dollars?
A: I don’t know. To be honest with you, this is a passion. I’ve been blessed with all of my other dreams coming true with a band and TV shows and everything else. This is just something I’m loving and having a blast with, putting out a great-tasting brown liquor.
Q: The bourbon market is as saturated as the rock market. How do you stand out in either?
A: It’s this simple: You got a band. You get in front of as many people as you can. You get them to hear your music. At that point they’re either with you or they’re not. Same thing with the liquor. You get it in front of them. You put it in their mouth. They taste it. They either like it or they don’t. But you got to make that effort to get out there and make the connection.
Q: I would have thought you’d be marketing chainsaws before anything else.
A: Working on that next.