July 9, 2008
By David Huff
Jackyl - Rocklahoma 2008 - July 9-13
Setting the Benchmark
This southern rock band’s no-frills approach to rock and roll became one of the must-see live shows in the early ‘90s. Though the sheer power of the group never really came across in their albums, they never left a crowd disappointed after a performance. Snubbing their noses at musical fads and the media alike, it was Jackyl’s way or the highway. Eighteen years later, that same attitude resonates louder than ever – thanks in part to a certain chainsaw.
Brothers Jeff and Chris Worley (guitar and drums respectively), founded the group in the early ‘80s. A revolving door of musicians followed until the infamous lineup of Jesse Dupree (vocals), Jimmy Stiff (guitar), and Thomas Bettini (bass) settled in with the South Carolina natives in 1991. Their Geffen Records debut went platinum on the strength of constant touring. Their video for “I Stand Alone” (in which the band played live in a K-Mart parking lot to protest censorship) and the MTV hit “The Lumberjack” – where Dupree vigorously used a chainsaw as a musical instrument – brought them instant attention.
Despite their initial success, Jackyl’s label lost interest, focusing their considerable marketing muscle on Nirvana and Guns N’Roses instead. Dupree decided to take the news lying down – literally – by posing nude for Playgirl Magazine. His self-styled marketing panache brought attention to Jackyl’s aptly titled sophomore release, Push Comes to Shove. Once again, relentless touring on Jackyl’s part saved the day, and the album would eventually go platinum.
Jackyl severed their ties with Geffen and signed a one-off deal with Sony in 1997. They recruited AC/DC’s Brian Johnson to do a duet with them called “Locked & Loaded” from the abrasive Cut the Crap release. Though their days as a platinum selling act were behind them, relentless self-promotion was not. In an attempt to take their unrelenting stage show to everyone in America, the band entered the Guinness Book of World Records by setting the benchmark for most shows in fifty days (100), and most shows within 24 hours (21).
Jackyl took a hiatus in early 2000 to allow for Dupree to work on his first solo recording, Foot Fetish album. During this time, the Worley brothers toured as Captain Virgil while Stiff and Bettini found religion (and thus ended their relationship with the band). When Jackyl reunited, Dupree took over the second guitar slot and former Brother Cain member Roman Glick came on board playing bass.