Numerous bands have claimed the “hardest worker in show biz” crown, but only Jackyl has achieved that title officially – which it did in 1998, while touring behind its greatest hits album, Choice Cuts.
Jackyl's run of 100 shows in 50 days – which included 21 gigs in 24 hours, complete with full lights, and sound – earned the Guinness Book of World Records's nod as the “Hardest Working Band In Rock 'N' Roll.”
As good as earning the title felt, that doesn't mean it came easily, vocalist Jesse James Dupree recalls – particularly the 24-hour part.
“We set up in a radio station in Texas, and they rotated the audiences out – it was pretty crazy. Every show was a half hour long. The Guinness people told us that each show had to be 30 minutes long,” he said.
Asked what prompted such a stunt in the first place, Dupree cracks: “You know, we just didn't know any better, I guess, because it damn near killed us! Again, I don't know it came about, but we could say we did it.”
Jackyl's fall calendar won't be as extensive as that celebrated 100-gig outing, but will add some road mileage to the promotion of its seventh album, Best In Show (2012).
As far as what to expect, the band's just as lethal as ever. It's not about coming out to see the show, as much as it is about coming out to be part of it, you know?
Except for a handful of far-flung trips to the likes of Denver, CO, and Wichita, KS, most of the dates are Midwest-oriented – which is a region that Dupree always looks forward to experiencing, he notes.
“We've actually been up in Michigan recently – we were in Grand Rapids, Escanaba and we've got Flint coming up,” said Dupree. “We love Michigan. It's a home away from home for us. As far as what to expect, the band's just as lethal as ever. It's not about coming out to see the show, as much as it is about coming out to be part of it, you know?”
Variously described as biker rock, blue collar rock and Southern rock – which are descriptions that Dupree happily embraces – Jackyl have thrilled audiences since the first lineup started rocking its Georgia home turf in 1987.
Jackyl remains best known for its signature hits “Down On Me,” and “The Lumberjack Song.” The latter track, at the time, provoked some critical pooh-poohing for featuring a chainsaw as a lead instrument – which became a concert fixture, in Dupree's hands, and one that he's not about to lay down any time soon.
“They (critics) do the same thing with AC/DC, with (guitarist) Angus (Young) wearing his little schoolboy outfit,” scoffed Dupree. “They do the same thing with Kiss wearing makeup. They do the same thing with Iron Maiden, with (using) Eddie as a mascot, so I get it.”
However, for those who like their music raw, incorrect and unadorned, Dupree promises that the ride will be as unapologetic as always.
“We do what we do. I mean, people who over-analyze what Jackyl's about are generally the same people that have a hard time admitting that they masturbate,” he said.
Even so, Dupree and company can take pride for having outlasted many critical favorites – a situation that he chalks up to the band's entertainment-or-death ethic, and a penchant for wearing its musical street smarts on its sleeve.
“We're honest about what we do. I think that's the connection – when we come to jam, we do it loud, proud, hard and honest, and that's what they're gonna get (at Club Fever),” he said.
Such sentiments are fitting for a man who cites James Brown, Wilson Pickett and Steve Marriott as the frontmen who most inspired him as an up-and-comer – which is something that today's bands can emulate, too, Dupree believes.
“All I can emphasize is, they'll never replace the live show, the live experience. While the music business is upside down – record-sales-wise, and everything – if you can put people in a room to support you on a regular basis, you can build a career,” said Dupree. “Again, we've been very blessed to make a connection.”