By Niki D’Andrea
Hogjaw singer and guitarist JonBoat Jones
Better than: Watching Deliverance with a drunk uncle.
First, let me just say that my friends Bones and Chazz – longtime cohorts for my “Niki at Nite” column – were super-stoked to see Jackyl. They’re both big fans of raucous, rowdy metal, and Jackyl is one of a handful of bands they can agree upon. Bones is an ‘80s metal chick with an affinity for Poison, Cinderella, Bon Jovi, and a bunch of other pretty boy bands that manly men cannot, in good conscience, admit to liking. Her husband Chazz is a self-professed “redneck” who loves beer, boats, and big boobs. He wouldn’t be caught dead with a can of hairspray and a pair of leather pants. But a metal band like Jackyl, where none of the members wear makeup and the singer dances around with a chainsaw – now that’s something guys can get into with no shame.
As for me, I was interested in seeing Jackyl, but I was really excited about the three local acts that were scheduled to open for them: Hogjaw, Jack Ripper, and Big Cock.
Big Cock is comprised of members of local “tribute/cover” band Metalhead, who pay homage to hair metal by dressing up in wigs and playing songs by the likes of Motley Crue and Skid Row. Big Cock is supposed to be their “original” music project.
Unfortunately, Big Cock canceled. I made a note of such, and Bones later added to my notes: “BIG COCK CANCELED…RAN OUT OF VIAGRA.”
So Hogjaw took the stage first. “We’re just some fucking rednecks from the woods,” singer and guitarist JonBoat Jones told the audience.
And that was about the extent of the lyrics we could understand. “All I heard was ‘drunk,’ ‘truck,’ ‘whiskey,’ and ‘redneck,’” Bones said afterward.
All three of us marveled at how much Hogjaw reminded us of the dirty Southern rock of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and I was impressed with the band’s musicality. The guitar riffs were gritty, the solos were solid, and the drummer used lots of cowbell. After the band’s set, I talked to Jones, who informed me that drummer KWAL and bassist Elvis DD used to be in Valley metal band N17, one of the most celebrated live acts in Phoenix. “We’ve known each other since high school,” Jones told me. “KWAL and Elvis joined N17, and we [Jones and lead guitarist Craig Self] went fishing.”
Hogjaw bassist Elvis DD
Fans of monster rock like ZZ Top, Nashville Pussy, and Mountain would do well to check out Hogjaw – the band’s having its CD release party at Joe’s Grotto on June 7.
After Hogjaw, Phoenix guitarist Jack Ripper took the stage with his band. I’d been hearing about the 11-year-old phenom’s six-string skills for a while, but had never seen him play live. But from the minute he started strumming, it was apparent that this is a kid who was weaned on his parents’ music. His first song was a dexterous guitar solo that melded together riffs from Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold,” Pantera’s “Cemetery Gates,” and the “Star Spangled Banner.” His band was competent, but Ripper was clearly the focal point as the band blazed through crowd favorites like Guns ‘N Roses’ “Night Train,” Ozzy’s “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley,” Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” and Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and “Immigrant Song.”
Guitar prodigy Jack Ripper rocks the Brickhouse
Toward the end of their set, Ripper’s band played an original tune called “All Alone,” which didn’t sound too bad at all (like early Creed, but burlier and minus Scott Stapp’s Jesus Christ poses). The set ended with spirited renditions of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodo Chile” and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.”
Looking at Ripper, Bones said, “I just wanna take him home and give him milk and cookies and make him hug his guitar.”
Jackyl was scheduled to hit the stage after Jack Ripper, and by that time, myself and my company were pretty oozy on booze. I’ll admit my memory is fuzzy, and I lost my notebook at some point. Luckily, when it turned up again after the show, it was filled with funny contributions from several people:
“Niki – people havin fun getting drunk. Love, Chazz.”
“Drummer = Speedos?”
“Raw, sexy ‘80s rock.”
“Jesse [James Dupree] is downing Crown [Royal].”
“Argument – does is taste great or is it less filling?”
“I love you, bro!”
(Thank you, mystery contributors).
Jackyl frontman Jesse James Dupree and his tool
My firsthand account of the show is this: Jackyl front man Jesse James Dupree is a fucking insane rock ‘n’ roll maniac. Anybody who runs around onstage with a live chainsaw has got to be just a few fur balls short of a loincloth. But damn, what a show! The entire venue seemed to be shaking when Jackyl ripped through “I Stand Alone” and the show’s closer, “Lumberjack.” Before leaving the stage, Dupree announced that there would be a meet-and-greet, and he would “shake the hand of everyone in this building.”
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But since someone in my party was on the verge of passing out (and did so, seconds into the drive home), we didn’t stick around for the meet-and-greet. But before drifting off in the backseat, Chazz made sure to tell me, “They didn’t let us down! That was a helluva rock ‘n’ roll show!”
Random detail: The owner of The Blooz bar, Tumbleweed (so named because of his springy, voluminous hair) was seen riding his Harley up and down Jackson Street.
Personal bias: My friend Bones posed for a photo with Dupree’s chainsaw, and probably couldn’t say a bad word about Jackyl since she “got to hold Jesse James Dupree’s tool.”