Boogie rockers Jackyl were instantly lumped into the hair metal category upon their debut in 1992, but their sound was only vaguely reminiscent of the genre. Still, this label stuck with them after the sound became un-hip and their loud rock & roll was largely ignored by the mainstream. But due to the well-rounded Southern rock they were releasing throughout the '90s, they maintained a dedicated following that few other bands from the era could claim.
The band started in 1990, forming in Georgia out of vocalist Jesse James Dupree, guitarist Jeff Worley, drummer Chris Worley, bassist Tom Bettini, and guitarist Jimmy Stiff. The fivesome shared an enthusiasm for AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and other like-minded artists, and were soon crafting their own blend of hard rock and Southern boogie around their native state. Record executives got hip to their live show, which included chain saws, among other things, and soon the band signed to Geffen.
A self-titled debut enjoyed several hit rock singles, including "When Will It Rain," "I Stand Alone," and "Down on Me." But the most attention was drawn by "The Lumberjack," an ode to burly chainsaw wielders that witnessed a power tool solo by Dupree. His chainsaw abilities became their recognized gimmick, and equally gimmick-crazy guitarist Ted Nugent took the band on the road for a tour that included his own archery display as well.
This was good for their career in the short term, but their reputation as a hair metal band was cemented by the appearances with Damn Yankees and Slaughter on the road. By the time 1994's Push Comes to Shove was released, Geffen was firmly against promoting a group with that reputation and allowed the record to sink to the bottom of the charts. The group left the label and moved to Mayhem, marking the occasion with a live album before leaving the label only a year later for a jump to Sony. 1997's Cut the Crap enjoyed play on rock radio, but was still overshadowed by popular alternative rock acts. Sony dropped the group, so they quickly signed to Shimmering Tone and began work on Stayin' Alive. The record came out to poor critical reception, and the cracks in the band's armor began to show.
A lineup change was necessary, so Bettini and Stiff got the boot and former Brother Cane guitarist Roman Glick was drafted into the lineup. Writing tracks with AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson, the band returned in 2002 with Relentless, followed by Live at the Full Throttle Saloon in 2004, When Moonshine and Dynamite Collide in 2010, and Best In Show in 2012. ~ Bradley Torreano
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