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Interview:
Jesse Dayton at Small's, 5 Things To Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Jesse Dayton is the first to acknowledge he's had a charmed music life.

The Texas signer, songwriter and guitarist was discovered by the legendary Clifford Antone and has worked with legends such as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Ray Price and others. He's also played with the Supersuckers and X and contributed music to films by Rob Zombie. He also made his own horror film, "Zombex."

The 45-year-old Dayton has a solo career, too. During September he released his ninth album, "The Revealer," continuing to mine the rockin' outlaw country style he's been playing for nearly three decades. It takes him far and wide, and Dayton is in an Atlanta airport as he calls to check in before the start of his latest tour...

Dayton describes his career approach as "just trying to keep my mouth shut and be cool and just be part of it. I was just soakin' it up. I've kind of had a career where I was a guy behind The Guy, which actually doesn't suck if you're getting paid great. It's a lot less headache. But, yeah, being around Cash and Waylon and those guys was like living in a parallel universe. It was amazing. They were all super nice to me. They treated me like I was one of them. It didn't ever feel weird."

The lessons, he adds, kept piling up with each experience. "There's so many stories, so many experiences," Dayton recalls with a laugh. "I remember one day we were in the studio and Waylon walks in and says, 'Well, hoss, they want me to do the Lola Falana tour.' I go, 'Lola Falana? Isn't she dead?' Then five minutes later his manager walks in and says, 'Omigod, did you hear what happened? We're doing Lollapalooza!' (laughs) There's so many of those stories."

Dayton gives full credit to Antone -- the Austin club owner who also discovered and nurtured Stevie Ray Vaughan and many other players -- with helping him elevate his own musical abilities. "I was 15 years old and playing this dive toilet bar called The Boulevard in Beaumont (Texas), and Clifford came up to the stage while I was playing and gave me his number and brought me out to his big Continental car," Dayton remembers. "He had this big bodyguard named Sugar Bear and was like some Mafioso guy or something. He gave me five records; He said, 'Hey, learn all of these and you can come to Austin and play at my club.' As soon as he said that I was like, 'OK, this is what I'm doing...'"

Dayton is a lifelong "film geek," so adding movies to his resume has been a particular delight. "I've probably got more songs in films and TV shows than anybody you'll ever meet -- over 65, I think," Dayton says. "That was just from me hanging out with music supervisors in Los Angeles before the music business took a huge turn. And when it did I didn't have to change. I didn't have to be some modern country guy in Nashville. I could do exactly what I wanted and directors were like, 'Yeah, let's put this song in this end title.' Last year I got (songs in) 'Justified' and 'Sons of Anarchy,' a couple of other ones. Those are nice when you own all your own stuff."

Although he was "totally burned out" after "Zombex," Dayton sounds confident there will be more movies in his future. "There's a company that wants me to make another film," Dayton says. "I think what I'm going to do is license a script for the next one and produce it instead of directing it so I don't have to be there all the time. That way I can go and do a follow-up to 'The Revealer' and stay on the road. I may be going to Canada to act in this other film but, really, I just want to make another record and hang out wtih my boys and tour. It's a lot of fun, man."

Distinguished Delinquents Tour featuring Supersuckers, Jesse Dayton and Gallows Bound

Friday, Dec. 9. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Small's, 10339 Conant, Hamtramck.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door.

Call 313-873-1117 or visit smallsbardetroit.com.


Web Site: www.smallsbardetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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