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Jackyl Frontman Bridges the Gap Between Rap and Rock

Larry Perez

There is a song that sounds like it would be controverial, titled ‘Just Like a Negro,’ on Jackyl‘s latest album. But despite the dicey vernacular, the song celebrates black music. Darryl McDaniels — better known as DMC of Run-DMC — is even joining the band for the song on Jackyl tour dates. Given Run-DMC’s early fusion of rap and rock with Aerosmith for ‘Walk This Way,’ this collaboration is more sensible in its execution than it may seem on paper.

“It is a disparate pairing for sure, but I think it worked in the sense that we’ve been able to stir up attention,” Jackyl frontman/chainsaw operator Jesse James Dupree told Noisecreep. “People are connecting with it and digging the groove. At the end of the day, it’s just rock ‘n’ roll. The lyrics speaks for themselves and speak about great black artists that created rock ‘n’ roll, like Chuck Berry, DMC …”

While Dupree admitted he was not a rap fan when they met, he loves working with DMC. “It’s an honor having him on stage,” he said. Dupree and DMC met at Duper’s Atlanta studio. Introductions were made, and the duo hit off. When DMC heard the song ‘Just Like a Negro’ — which Dupree had written with local black artists — he knew he had to be a part of it.

Dupree also realized that the song’s title may alienate some people, but he encouraged them to realize there’s a much bigger meaning, saying, “A legendary black artist is working with us and supporting it and is a part of it, so that indicates something a little deeper going on. We’ve been playing the song for 10 years. DMC is throwing his stamp on it. It’s time for this song to come out.”

Dupree insisted that all of his music is built on simple rock ‘n’ roll tenets, saying, “I leave saving the planet to U2 and Bono. They have great noble causes, but rock ‘n’ was built on two guitars, bass, drums, groove and attitude.

“If you asked kids in the ’50s, ‘What is it that you like?’ Not one kid said, ‘Rock ‘n’ roll will bring about world peace.’ And you can kiss my ass if you think different. Internet heroes may critique Jackyl and belittle me, and that is fine. But do not insult principles of rock ‘n’ roll, which is about groove and stimulating glands.”

Working with DMC, Dupree learned that the duo have influences that conventional wisdom would think the other person would have. For example, Dupree said DMC’s influences are caucasians like Jim Croce and Sarah McLaughlin, while Dupree — whose parents owned a diner in a rough section of Alabama — was raised on jukebox music like James Brown and Wilson Pickett. “DMC even said I introduced him to some black music,” Dupree revealed with a laugh.

The rap/rock schism is closed with a song like this, and Dupree knows that not everyone will embrace it, which doesn’t bother him. “I am not going to change your mind. If you don’t dig it, listen to something else,” he said.

In other Dupree news, he can currently be seen on the truTV series ‘Full Throttle Saloon,’ where he was shot out of a canon and pulled someone’s tooth with pliers.

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