"ROCK ME, ROLL ME, JACKYL ME OFF" -- ROC TALKS WITH JESSE JAMES DUPREE
By: John Woods
Jesse James Dupree, the moon-shooting, chain saw wielding frontman for JACKYL, recently phoned THE ROC to talk with us concerning some issues he had on his mind, which included stickered albums, kids being ID'ed when buying albums, his photo-shoot in PLAYGIRL magazine, the JACKYL video that was shot at a K-Mart store, and the current tour with AEROSMITH. Luckily, we had a blank tape laying around the R.O.C. bunker and was able to record most of this conversation, so, here goes. Thanks to Lisa and Chrisie at GEFFEN for their help.
ROC: Tell us a little bit about the origins of Jackyl.
JJD: Jackyl came out of playing the bar scene and bar circuit up and down the east coast, and out of the demand of the people we started getting bigger and bigger crowds, and we drew a lot of interest from the record companies. This happened simply because of the following that we had. There was a lot of buzz about us in the industry traveling around, and so we finally ended up getting signed with John Kalodner (Geffen Records A&R) he came into Atlanta and saw us play, and signed us on the spot.
ROC: Are you based out of Atlanta?
JJD: Yeah, now we are, but Tom's from Tennessee, and Jeff, Jimmy and Chris are from South Carolina.
ROC: Are you looking forward and excited about being the opening act for Aerosmith?
JJD: Yeah, it's gonna be great. Aerosmith are definitely a big influence of ours. It's going to be great.
ROC: Have you ever done that big of a tour before?
JJD: No, and we're looking forward to it.
ROC: When you hear the word "censorship" what comes to mind?
JJD: Well, let me just say this first, Jackyl is not a politically motivated band as far as it's not like we try to take serious platforms on this stuff. I think it's reality and to a degree, I'm not hardcore anti-censorship, but I think it (the censorship) ought to come from other areas, like owners of businesses, or parents. In other words, it ought to be individual responsible persons and not a law. I just think it ought to be, you know, and kind of censorship ought to come from people who own establishments. They should not have anything offensive if he's got minors in there. Well, not necessarily minors but....six year olds, you know what I'm sayin? I mean there's a difference between a minor and a six year old. Obviously I'm not completely stupid, and if there was a five year old or six year old in from of me, I wouldn't be all about standing there going, "Fuck, Godamn, Fuck, Shit, you know what I'm saying"? In other words, I've got some couth about me, so therefore I tend to censor myself if I'm having a conversation in front of a six year old, I wouldn't expect a six old to be at our show. But younger people are getting smarter very early days. By the time an individual gets to be 12 years they pretty much know how the world is, you know. I mean, you can't go see, Arnold Schwarzenegger movies without seeing nudity, killing and all that stuff, so, what I'm saying is we're not a politically motivated band to the point where we think there shouldn't be any censorship at all. I'm not opposed to the fact that they put stickers on the album, as much as I am the fact that the stores won't sell it to people that are under 18 years old.
ROC: We saw that you clearly made that point in your video.
JJD: It's kinda strange. I mean it's just my personal feeling, but it just don't flip me out that they put a sticker on the album, but what does flip me out is the fact that someone who's 16 years old goes in to buy record and then they can't. I mean the sticker on record is fine if they're gonna put it on the especially to let somebody know not to buy it expecting to hear Disney tunes, you know, for their six year old. Does that make sense? It ain't that I'm opposed to it, but again, I think it ought to be the store people's discretion that they ought to know that somebody over 12 years old, or 13 years old are gonna know about these lyrics that are on the album. I mean they know, they're educated, do you know what I'm saying? It's ridiculous to me that it's got to the point where a lot of stores are enforcing an under 18 year old ban on our records.
ROC: Has Jackyl had any run-ins with any of the censorship groups?
JJD: No. I don't seek those organizations out myself.
ROC: Well you don't have to, they'll seek you out.
JJD: Well, basically what I'm saying is that I don't attack them by name. Bottom line is that I think rock n' roll should be fun. We've pointed it out, obviously me getting naked on stage, doing the PLAYGIRL MAGAZINE shoot, and all that kinda stuff, and when you read the article in PLAYGIRL it's not about me and what kinda romantic fantasies I have. The article is about the band and about the fact that they censored the record, but they can't censor our live shows. Past that, I don't think that people who love Jackyl would love to see me sitting in a court room for a month fighting for my First Amendment rights. Does that make any sense? I mean, this is a rock n' roll band. People don't pop in their CD's to worry about the economy or to worry about saving the whales, or whatever. They put rock n' roll in just to let off some steam, let off some stress, just like you have sex, it's a natural human function to have sex to release stress. It ain't no different when you put in some rock n' roll and singing about it, and rockin and raisin' hell. It's just good self-therapy I'd guess you'd say, and that's what the music is about. It's about the cutting loose and having fun, and we try to keep it to that.
ROC: Getting back to the warning labels, we took over 30,000 names on petitions to the RIAA last October calling for the removal of the stickers, and it's just like you say, over 3,000 stores across the country will not sell stickered albums to kids under 18, or won't stock them at all.
JJD: I'll sign that petition. It would definitely be cool. I shudder to think what would happen if I'd gone in to buy an Iggy Pop record or Ted Nugent's "Double Live Gonzo" which would now have a sticker on it, and was told I couldn't buy it. I'd have flipped out. So, it definitely sucks, but let me tell you how we feel about it. We want to reach as many people as we can. We are about rock n' roll. I mean these bands who sign record deals and then they whine about being commercial, they don't wanna be commercial, or they don't wanna do this or that because it's too commercial. That's so fucking stupid, they're talking out of both sides of their ass, because when you sign a record deal, you are commercial Jack! I mean you've got something on the shelf for us, the day you sign that deal, you are up for sale. The thing is, you want that deal so you can reach people with your music and people who love your music, and why not try to reach the masses. What's with this craze of just wanting to reach a select few, you're not gonna please everyone anyway. We'd love to have as many people get into Jackyl as possible. When the record company came to us and told us about this sticker we said like "well what are we supposed to do, that's ya'll's end of the deal." We tried to help them out and be supportive of what it takes for them......because I'll be honest with you, it's not like we've seen money. I mean you have to sell tons and tons of records before the band ever sees any money off of it. An album is a great way to reach people, which increases our live performance, and we get to play in front of more people and that end of the business is where the bands can stay alive. So, that album is necessary to reach people, so we try to do whatever it takes to help them (the record company) to reach as many people as possible so that we can increase our live shows.
ROC: Can you tell us a little bit about why you selected to shoot the video outside of a K-Mart store?
JJD: Let me point out one other thing first. Geffen is a great company, they're the best. How can we hold it against them because of the sticker? They are a business and all of the people at Geffen, individually may not be for it, but businesswise they have to be, you know. So we can't hold it against them, the people we're working with, and that we actually have great relationships with. They love rock n' roll too, and I can tell you right now, the people at Geffen think that sticker thing is ridiculous, but they were under the same pressure that all the other labels were under. I think they were smart when they "volunteered" to put those things on there, so that it didn't become a law, and I think that if groups like yourself keep applying pressure, it'll end up backing way off.
ROC: We hope so, we're keeping it on. So tell us about the K-Mart shoot.
JJD: Once again we were trying to have some fun. Hell, I buy a lot of stuff from K-Mart. I'm in a K-Mart store at least twice a week it seems like, so I have nothing against K-Mart stores. So, it was just something funny, and when they told us K-Mart ain't gonna carry your record if you put these songs on the album. So, when they didn't put our albums in the K-Mart store we just thought, hell, if K-Mart shoppers can't buy our record, we'll just go and play for the K-Mart shoppers. So we just did it. We pulled up front on that tractor-trailer and started jammin. They didn't press charges on us or anything. You know, I heard that the album will be going into K-Mart's now. I heard that our companies working something out so it can go into K-Mart and Wal-Marts.
ROC: What K-Mart store did you shoot the video at?
JJD: We did it a store in Marietta, Georgia. I would give anything to get into K-Marts and Wal-Marts, because let me tell you, there are towns in the country that only have K-Marts and Wal-Marts and stores like that where people can get any kind of music. So even if it was a matter of them saying it was only one song they could sell off the album, I would say, well then send that one song to sell, because if we can get into that town and we can reach people with even that one song and then when we come near there and play, they'll come out and see us, that is what it's about. When they come and see us live they're gonna hear it, and gonna see it.
ROC: That's a good point because when we tell people that a lot of records are not handled by K-Mart or Wal-Mart, they respond with, "Who cares, nobody buys their records at K-Mart anyway." Your point about how especially in small towns in the South, that K-Mart my be the only place around to buy records is very important.
JJD: Yea, why should you deprive the people that are in those towns by saying you wouldn't do whatever it takes to get your album in there? So, when the record company said they were trying to work it out to get our albums in there, and I don't know what they are doing for sure, maybe they're doing something with different songs, but I'm like, "get it in there." It's all about reaching the people with whatever you can reach them through. That's just like saying if someone's starving in California right now, and you try to get them some food, but you can't get 'em everything, you can only get them some bread and potatoes, you had some hamburger meat, but it just ain't gonna make it. You still go ahead and get them what you can. That's what it's about. You'd love to feed them a steak dinner, but you give 'em what you can. That's what we're gonna do with our album, whatever it takes to reach the people. Times are hard right now, and when people work eight hours a day, or maybe more, and make the shit-money the economy is forking out now, you've gotta give 'em their money's worth.
ROC: Tell us about the feature you did for PLAYGIRL magazine? When can we look forward to seeing it?
JJD: (laughing) In a couple of weeks. I'm always dropping my pants and having fun, so they wanted me to do complete nude layout. I told them that the only way I'd do it was if they came and shot me live on stage in front of the people. They said o.k., and did the shoot in Long Beach, California in front of about 5000 people.
ROC: Do you think the PLAYGIRL article might draw some fire for the band from the censors?
JJD: I don't know, when you see the article, I just got my copy this morning, and it says in here that "next thing you know they're gonna put a piece of duct tape over my mouth." There's a picture where a policeman got me up against a wall and I'm kinda lookin' back at this policewoman. But the whole article's not about me laying on a bearskin rug, it's about the fact that they put a sticker on our album. So it's all for the cause.
ROC: Where was the show that you got arrested at?
JJD: I got arrested in Cincinnati because I dropped my pants and shot a moon. They got me for indecent exposure, and the I did the PLAYGIRL in Long Beach in front of that audience, and I had to go to jail for that as well. In the PLAYGIRL article it says, "When asked if the exposure was worth getting arrested for, Dupree explained that the higher purpose of his exploits is to show that Jackyl is much deeper than just showing my body, the bottom line is that they put a sticker on our record. They are censoring our album, but they can't censor our live show. The stickers are to prevent juveniles from buying albums with less than parental guided lyrics. With a song like "She Loves My Cock," and "Down On Me" Jackyl is an easy target." Yea, I just got my copy this morning, it's pretty funny, it's got me standing naked turned around facing the camera and in the background there's 5000 people.
ROC: What do you think that we, as fans could do to fight the stickers?
JJD: Just go to record store that don't sticker and ID, even if you're of age and can buy labeled records. Whenever you go into a store ask them if they censor your album sales, do you ID individuals when they buy stickered albums, and, if they say yes, just leave it laying on the counter and walk out. Then go to a store that don't censor and ID to buy it.
ROC: Other than just the "bad words," that's something you can hear everywhere, what's your thoughts as to why they are so afraid of certain types of music?
JJD: It's funny that this generation is being so strict on the youth. The generation that's making the laws and stuff and putting the pressure to put these stickers on albums, you know the Tipper Gore generation, they grew up with the freedom to experiment with the drugs, and with the freedom to experiment with sex. They were able to experiment with all of that stuff, and it wasn't no big deal. But now they are the ones who have created the fact that it is uncool to do drugs, it's unsafe to have sex because of AIDS, and now they're wanting to censor rock 'n roll. So the "Sex, Drugs & Rock 'N Roll" thing it just went to shit. With the sex and drugs out of the picture then rock 'n roll's got some big shoes to fill, and they just need to leave it alone.
ROC: Any final thoughts you'd like to leave our readers with?
JJD: Just come see us, Rock Me, Roll Me, Jackyl Me Off. You're not gonna censor that are you?
ROC: No sir we won't. lt'll be in there word for word. Hey man thanks alot and we're looking forward to seeing you on the Aerosmith tour.