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The Lumberjack – Jackyl

Jackyl by JackylEditor’s note: “The Lumberjack” by Jackyl is not a true one-hit wonder. Though if you ask people about the band Jackyl, “The Lumberjack” is often the only song they know. Our resident heavy metal expert Jim Barton pays tribute to this unique song.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at a song that was never a Top 40 hit, but I think the novelty angle of a chainsaw being used as a musical instrument is enough to include the song here.

Yes, chainsaw.

When Jackyl’s debut album came out in 1992, “The Lumberjack” quickly pricked up a lot of ears and gained much airplay with its distinctive chainsaw solo.

Read that again…chainsaw solo.

Amazingly, chainsaw player (“chainsaw-ist”?) and singer Jesse James Dupree somehow even managed to make the chainsaw sound musical, at least as chainsaws go.

With “Down on Me” (not the old Janis Joplin song) and “I Stand Alone” also gaining radio airplay on rock stations, Jackyl’s debut album, Jackyl, quickly went platinum. But even as the Seattle grunge scene was rapidly clearing the premises of hair metal, it was “The Lumberjack” that provided a sly bit of fun for a while, although its allure diminished with each hearing. But hey, sometimes, ya gotta have a gimmick.

Hear more: Novelty songs

Hear more: Heavy metal one-hit wonders

Jackyl rocked on throughout the 1990s and even released an album in 2012. Yet it was that window of time between their 1992 debut and the 1994 follow-up Push Come to Shove that represents their most successful commercial period with Platinum and Gold records and a bunch of popular singles–none of which ever graced the Billboard Top 40 but remain anthems in their fans minds. And none is great than “The Lumberjack.”

Follow Jackyl on their official website

Listen to The Lumberjack by Jackyl

Buy The Lumberjack by Jackyl

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I'm a long-time student of the history of rock music and its performers, and my favorite branch of the rock music tree is heavy metal.

Filed under: 1990s, Rock · Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to "The Lumberjack – Jackyl"

  1. cats42301 says:

    For fans of Jackyl the chainsaw is only a small piece of their reasoning for liking Jackyl rock and roll. If Jackyl had gotten signed 5 years earlier they would have been one of the biggest bands of the late 80’s and early 90’s. For anyone who loves true rock &roll and hasn’t seen a jackyl show do yourself a favor and see them. They are the biggest drawing band in Sturgis during the rally and play at Full Throttle Saloon every year on thursday. Truly a band that never got enough credit because they were signed a few years too late. Grunge bands were the new thing! Look where we are now music wise, man I miss rock &roll!! Jackyl plays what I’m missing! !

  2. For Jackyl to be included on an article of “One Hit Wonders” is both appropriate and INappropriate. but as Barton points out, CHAINSAW could be described as a one-hit-wonder by people who do not follow the band. Using a chainsaw in stage, is a trademark of the lead singer, Jesse James Dupree and something that draws new listeners in. The first time I heard that this band used a chainsaw on stage, I thought…”gimmick”, I’ll admit it, But once I saw/heard the band live and was able to see how Dupree uses this chainsaw as an instrument, it blew me away. The “gimmick” is actually an instrument of expression like any other musical instrument, you just have to know how too “play” it. With the absence of “chainsaw lessons” in the world, I have a feeling Dupree is self-taught on this one!

    I agree with some f what cats42301 posted here, perhaps Jackyl would be bigger than they are now had they been signed earlier. However, with the band reaching Gold and Platinum record status, in addition to countless awards and recognition, they have the longevity that a lot of bands of the earlier days do not have. The rise of Grunge may have been the falling of the “hair bands”, but Jackyl was no average “hair band.” They seemed determined to thrive, and they have. Jackyl have outlasted the Grunge era, the age of the hair bands, the “shiny shirt” rock debacle, and have unapologetically held true to their own sound. …Jackyl is classic, timeless, and going strong.

    I always think of the phrase “The South will rise again” when I think of Jackyl, but not in the original context of the phrase. Being a band from the South, Jackyl members have proudly carried their roots into their song-writing, stage performance, and connection to their fans. Southern gentlemen from the “dirty South”, Jackyl is here to stay and if you haven’t seen them, now is the time as they are better than ever.

  3. reed42 says:

    I remember seeing Jackyl as the opening act for a Bryan Adams concert at the Meadowlands late in 1993 (yes, I know…). The chainsaw was quite a thing to see and hear live; it’s a unique experience. Unfortunately at this concert, the singer was seated at a wooden stool for part of the set; at the end of a saw solo, he finished by slicing the wooden stool clean in two, then hurling one half into the crowd.
    The set continued on while the arena medics had to go in and clean up the collateral damage. Not great publicity to maim your fans when you’re trying to make it in the bigger venues… but was a hell of a set!

  4. Michael Waterman says:

    Wow! That’s a crazy story to toss a big piece of lumber into an audience. Not cool for the person who was hit, but definitely memorable for the rest of the audience. Thanks for sharing.

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