SOUNDS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – ‘The day I took Jesse Dayton to The Gay Village’

Ahead of his comeback to UK territory this weekend to play Ramblin’ Man Festival, Sounds journalists Samantha Simm and Anna Benesova caught up with Jesse at his recent show last month for an exclusive interview. 

The Texas legend made some time to sit down and chat, during the UK leg of his tour to discuss his new music, drink whisky and vent about Trump before his electrifying Manchester show…

SAM: So Jesse, thanks for taking the time to chat with Sounds! Welcome to Manchester – is it your first time here? 

JESSE: Yeah it is! I don’t know why, this is such a cool fucking history here, there’s a lot of records that I LOVE, like I’m a huge Johnny Marr fan. It almost seems like I’ve played everywhere BUT Manchester.

SAM: This is stop number 4 of 11 of your UK tour, how are you finding it so far in the UK?

JESSE: It’s great you know, the first show we played was urrr at the Red Rooster festival and there were five thousand people there, so it was very AHHHHH, you know? And then the next night was London and it was sold out and there was about three hundred people there. And then the next night we played in Sheffield, and it was like a smaller club like it was still so great. 

I LOVE the UK, especially England y’know – I’m from a small town in Texas so this all very romantic for me. Say if you were a big country of blues fan and you came to Texas you’d be like ‘Oh Willy Nelsons from Austin!’ or whatever, you know what I mean. SO I grew up like most American kids, I grew up listening to all the British bands on the radio.

SAM: So tell me about your upcoming album? A covers album?

JESSE: So I did two records back-to-back that did well, and they were all originals, and I’d been on the road for almost 4 years straight. And they were like ‘give us another record’ and I was like, I don’t want to just shit one out? I just want to take my time. So I said hey, why don’t I do a covers record? I’d always wanted to do it – most people do covers and they’re just OBVIOUS covers. Like if you’re a country singer everyone expects you to do all the stuff I grew up listening to like Jennings or Willie Neslon, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to make it in my own way, to write smart arrangements that were original it would make it a smarter record and not just like me being SOME guy.

SAM: I noticed you did an AC/DC cover of a Whole Lotta Rosie which was a bit of a surprise. 

ANNA: Great song! Tell me you’re playing that tonight?

SAM: That’s Anna’s favourite song by the way so well done, like bonus points!

JESSE: Oh wow are you guys rockers?


JESSE: Cool I LOVE that! Yeah I love it, I kind of did it like a blues song. Yeah I love that band. I did some different kind of stuff on this album in my own Texas way.

SAM: So are there any particular songs on this album that you think are going to shock your fans in particular or? 

JESSE: I think most of them will. *all laughing* but you know, if you just give people what they want every time then you’re just might as well be selling hamburgers. Like what’s the point if you’re not challenging yourself? Why fucking get out bed man? They’re all looking for me to throw them something out of left field y’know, and I’ve got to live up to that too.

SAM: I totally get you. Respect to you for doing your thing. So I was having a bit of a stalk on your Instagram, because c’mon you’ve got to –  and I saw that you were publishing a book? I saw a green eggs and ham thing going on? And I was like HMMM and OOOO.

JESSE: You remember that book? Was it big here?

SAM: YEAH! Oh yeah, it’s a CLASSIC.

JESSE: Was Dr Seuss big here?

SAM: Yeah it was Dr Seuss and The Hungry Caterpillar! Did you guys have that?

JESSE: OBVIOUSLY! Hell yeah. Well you know like a lot of times I try to bring it back to that little kid thing, because a lot of people get older and the kid in them kind of dies, they’re like “Well you can’t really do that” y’know, they’re just people with like fucking RULES, and if you play, if you bring that little kind out of inside of you, it brings out the artist in you – you become playful, that’s why I make a lot of comparisons like that, to bring people back in that mindset, people are like “can’t go to concerts anymore, MUCH too old for that! Better be at home with my children and be at church in Sunday morning” you know? THAT kind of shit, and I’m like okay dude, you don’t have to pick one or the other?

But back to what you were saying; I write a LOT on social media, I’ve always written a lot. I wrote like five screenplays, two of them sold in Hollywood, one of them was a movie and that was another revenue stream for me you know? SO this publisher was at dinner with a friend of mine and this guy says “I read a lot of Jesse Daytons rants online” and she was like “Yeah, you oughtta do a book with him”. SO I sent him four chapters and he offered me a book deal. My buddy said, ‘well that’s great – but now you gotta write a book!’. 

ANNA: So is that ongoing?

JESSE: We actually got the contract today. So that’s happening.

SAM: Is that something you do in the tour van as well as take interviews? 

JESSE: I do, I do. We have a bus in America, but it doesn’t matter if it’s a bus, RV, plane, car – Bicycle! Yeah I’m writing all the time. 

SAM: So when do you think you’ll release the book?

JESSE: Well I’m hearing it won’t be till 2020, I’m hoping it’s election year – I’m really very upset with what’s going on…

SAM: I think the whole world’s upset with what’s going on.

JESSE: *laughing* Well yeah most of the country artists in America, their fans are Trump supporters!

ANNA: Cody Cannon and his wife voted for him.

JESSE: They voted for Trump?

SAM: Did you?

JESSE: FUCK no, fuck that asshole! And you can print that! It’s amazing those guys came out and said that, I mean like, that they admitted it? Un-fucking-believable man. It’s pretty goofy dude, the whole situation. Like, we’re so fucking embarrassed!

ANNA: You’re embarrassed? 

JESSE: You guys only had to put up with him for a week – we have to put up with him for years!

SAM: Well hopefully it won’t be for much longer! SO I see you’ve just started doing some radio presenting?

JESSE: It’s this thing called GIMMECOUNTRY.com, you guys can hear it in the UK. It’s really cool because I have so many people online like ‘Why don’t you come to Australia or Japan’ and we’re working on that right now – but it’s good they can tune in and listen from anywhere!

SAM: All your fans globally can tune in on the regular and listen to you!

JESSE: Yeah! Like a lot of the other DJ’s I talk a lot, that’s probably hard to believe but I tell stories and talk a lot about my songs. So it’s kind of becoming a podcast sort of things. It’s getting a great response, a lot of people are tuning in; it’s building! I was kinda shocked they offered it to me!

SAM: Well it certainly seems like you’ve got a lot going on – radio seemed like the next obvious career move?

JESSE: I mean these days if you don’t have a few things going on its kind of hard to monetise it all. I mean of course I put every penny back in to beating Donald Trump. It’s not like I’m sitting around in a lavish house – it’s all to beat Trump *laughs*.

SAM: I see that! SO Jesse, final question – what’s the one question you don’t get asked in interviews you wish you were asked?

JESSE: Ummmmmm THAT is a good question. One thing I don’t get asked is, just how much hell did you actually go through to get to where you are? Because no one wants to hear about that?

SAM: People are interested in your highlight reel.

JESSE: They want to hear everything that’s great – I don’t want to sit around and talk about the bad stuff all the time either, but it would be really cool if someone said like ‘what have you actually gone though’ you know?

SAM: I imagine it’s been a tough grind to get to where you are.

JESSE: IT’S CRAZY! The definition of insanity is beating your head against the wall and expecting different results – and that’s what the music business is! I tell people, if you think life’s unfair you should try the music business. Listen I’m happy where i’m at – I don’t mean that in a martyr way, I don’t want you to feel sorry for me! But I mean it would be really cool if just one time they asked the questions like ‘what was your worst time?’ that would be funny to me!

SAM: Totally! SO thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with us! We look forward to having a few drinks later!

The show itself was a fantastic experience – Night People being a smaller venue for this Texas giant, made this gig unbelievably intimate and personal. For a first time seeing an artist on this scale, this was truly a raw and close-knit experience. Consider me, a Jesse Dayton newly converted super-fan!.

Whilst the finish of the show was the end of the night for many  – us Sounds Magazine girls (myself) Sam, and Anna had other plans…

We decided to plan our own afterparty as the night was undoubtedly not over. On a high from the gig, we took Jesse and his posse of raucous musicians to a classic British pub, talked about all things tour and music related – and alas, by the time the pub was done serving us, we were certainly not finished drinking!

Any Manchester resident knows, the only real options in the early hours of the AM midweek, is either sleep, or Gay Village. SO yes… I took Jesse Dayton to Gay Village.

Whilst these rustic, half-cut musicians were looking incredibly misplaced amongst the glitter and poppers, all in all, these men showed incredible showmanship and took it in the nights stride. My last memory was us all singing ABBA, the rest is a true mystery.

Make sure to catch Jesse this weekend at Ramblin Man Fair, his slot Saturday July 20th 16:35-17:30. Jesse then goes on to play the Summertime Festival in Newcastle, then Rivertown Festival in Bristol. 

Check out his latest release below – a cover of The Clash’s ‘Bankrobber’ which will be featured on ‘Jesse Dayton – Mixtape volume 1’, which is out this August.