When I was younger, one of the first concerts I went to was a sold out show at the Richfield Coliseum on the Aerosmith “Get A Grip” Tour. The Coliseum was an amazing venue south of Cleveland, seeing many great musical acts come through there and hosting some incredible sports teams. It was the home of the Cavaliers for three decades (and the home of Larry Bird’s final game), and where every major band that came to Cleveland played. Thus the rock legends from Boston touched down there, bringing another, lesser known band to open for them. Jackyl was entertaining to watch and blended in well with the rock that was going to be the main course for the day. Their big hook was one of their songs, called “The Lumberjack”. Their front man, Jesse James Dupree, played a chainsaw on stage as part of the song. It was an interesting way to kick off the show, but not as interesting as you can kick it off now. Dupree has been fronting Jackyl since the late 1980’s. That is a lot of bars played at, and a lot of beer and whiskey sold. And by his reckoning, he has been “personally been responsible for millions of gallons of beer and whiskey that have been consumed over the years.” He rectified the beer part of that equation, releasing Jesse James America’s Outlaw Beer around 2008 and may still be available in Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota. A few years ago, American Outlaw Bourbon hit the scene, taking care of the whiskey.
Being from the South, Mr. Dupree knows something about whiskey. Jesse James Spirits was launched in 2010, the same year of Jackyl’s studio release When Moonshine and Dynamite Collide. It brought the American Outlaw Beer under a solid home, and allowed the release of The Original Jesse James American Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey into the world. Distilled in Kentucky and rested in charred oak for three years, it is an uncommon find when you are roaming the liquor stores of Ohio, or many other places in the United States. Lest you think that Dupree went into this as a lark, American Outlaw won a Bronze Medal, along with Four Roses Yellow Label, at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. He has also planned some expansion into Trimble, Tennessee, butting heads with the state over being able to create a product labelled as Tennessee Whiskey. Jack Daniels has a lock on that title, and on the process, that it requires to be called a Tennessee Whiskey. He
was one of many voices that argued that the requirements listed in the law were the process Jack Daniels’s used to make their whiskey, and shuts out the small distillers like his.
If you are either a bourbon or Jackyl enthusiast, today is (somewhat) your lucky day! The lucky bit is that Jesse James Dupree will be selling, and signing, bottles of his American Outlaw Bourbon and Michael Balard’s Full Throttle S’Loonshine at Manor Wine and Liquor on Airway Road. The unlucky part of it is that his second stop of the evening, Oddbody’s Music Room, where Jackyl will be performing with Transylvania Hellhounds and Four Star Revival at 7 PM, is sold out.
A good deal of time has passed since that concert in 1993. The Coliseum is now a field in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and Jackyl is no longer a little known opening act. They have become a powerful force in the rock world, with a new opening act they are looking to introduce to a broader audience. From what we have seen and heard about it, and with the continuing growth of the craft bourbon and whiskey scene, we may be seeing American Outlaw Bourbon eventually making a big name for itself. Cheers!