As I’ve noted here a few times, I’m on Bob Lefsetz’s mailing list. Lefsetz is an older (as old as me) recorded music professional. I don’t know his bio, but I like his posts because they’re passionate and informed about a wide range of issues, and he loves the classic rock music (far more than me, but he really loves it).
I didn’t read his original post, but tonight he posted a letter from a musician named Jesse Dayton, who responded to a Lefsetz post by describing who he is:
Hey Bob. Dig your blog. Here’s the skinny. Old Texas family. Recorded w/ Waylon, Cash, Willie & slew others playing guitar after 10,000 hrs of moving the needle on Jerry Reed vinyl. Did hillbilly music for 3 Rob Zombie films which did good enough for me to buy a house in Austin which is now worth quite a few shekels. Just filled in for Billy Zoom while he was getting cancer treatment on 40 show tour w/ Doe, Exene & DJ in X which reintroduced me to a national audience. Wrote/directed a Cormanesque B-movie creature feature w/ Malcolm McDowell that sold & I made $ on & is now a cult thing. Just released new record The Revealer w/ a batch of songs that I didn’t just write, but opened a vein & let them bleed out of my insane childhood & all the desperate characters I was subjected too along the way. It’s all there…civil rights issues, conned hillbillies not voting their interest, being unworthy of real love…you name it. Right now I’m in the middle of nowhere living by my wits w/ 3 piece band on a never ending tour in a motor home. Thx for the shout out amigo. Onward JD
Now, I’m not a big Rob Zombie fan, but Corman, Malcolm McDowell, and Jerry Reed stroke my strings. I’m into open veins pouring, too, if it isn’t suicide.
The great thing about the modern world, a really great thing and I don’t think we’ve absorbed how this has changed us, is that after I read this email note I could immediately listen to Dayton’s record (on YouTubeRed, in this case). And I could judge.
And I judge, meh. Here’s a song I like more than others.
Very Jerry Lee Lewis, and that’s not bad. But as it goes on this guy seems to more marketing to me about his deep roots than actually rocking. The rock feels too organized for someone truly crazed by that wacked out background he describes. In fact the whole idea of the Holy Ghost Rock ‘n’ Roller seems, by the end of the song a pretty fail marketing ploy.
Dayton touches all the bases of apostasy, but starting with the album image and ticking through the tunes, the hi jinx of rural religion is used to denote authenticity. And the music of rock ‘n’ roll is used to denote authenticity.
And the music? Fun, if you’re will to suspend your belief in legitimacy.
I recommend listening to all of Dayton’s tunes. This isn’t bad music and is mostly not bad thinking, but from the album image to the calculated lyrics, this seems more intellectualized than rocked.
Bottom line, I can’t keep listening to it. If I want to hear this music I listen to Joe Ely, to Hank Williams III, to Steve Earle. If I don’t want so much testosterone I listen to Lucinda Williams and, on the sweet side, Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins.
But I am going search out that Malcolm McDowell movie.
As I go to bed, some truly bleak HW III: