It’s been a year since Jesse James Dupree has visited the Keys. In fact, he was here with friend Michael Ballard (“Full Throttle Saloon”) scouting locations for a Southernmost bourbon distillery. And while they took a pass on the Keys (remote, flooding, hurricanes), he and Jackyl bandmates are coming on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16-17 for the annual CoralHead Music Festival at Marathon Community Park.
Jackyl’s slot starts at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. All the guys will be there.
“Our ‘new’ guy has been with us 20 years,” said Jesse, “so I’m not sure we can call him that.”
Jesse is vocal and guitars, and is joined by brothers Jeffrey (guitar) and Chris Worley (percussion) and Roman Glick (bass). The band’s sound is hailed as equal parts hard rock, heavy metal and Southern rock. Jesse met the Worley brothers more than 30 years ago. “I was playing with another band and they would come to our shows in South Carolina. They would take my guitar player out after the show and wreck him,” Jesse recalls. “Then I ran into them again when they would play at a bar I was managing in Marietta. Occasionally, I would get out there and join them. People seemed to like that, so we knew we had something special.”
The band formed in 1991 and had a record deal by 1992. Their first album contained gems like “The Lumberjack,” with a bluesy beat, and “Dirty Little Mind.” Jesse said his favorite to perform is “I Stand Alone.” The band has continued to make music all the years, releasing three new albums in the past decade including “Rowyco,” “Best in Show” and “When Moonshine and Dynamite Collide.”
Although the band tours regularly, Jesse is always on the lookout for something new. Way back in 1993, the band was a big fan of the “Beavis and Butt-head” show on MTV. It collaborated with the producers to make a compilation album that eventually sold 3 million copies.
Now, he’s partners with Ballard in the Full Throttle Saloon, the world’s largest biker bar, and the home of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. (Personally, he rides a Harley-Davidson Street Glide) And he’s developed a line of bourbon — Jesse James Bourbon.
“It doesn’t have that wince on the backside; it’s a bit smoother,” Jesse said. “And it’s half the price of other bourbons, so you can’t afford not to drink it. Two or three generations from now, we’re going to have created one big dysfunctional family.”
Jesse said he and the band are blessed.
“So many cool things have happened to us, with no sign of letting up.”