Jesse Dayton is another one of those cool guys in our music scene! His guitar shredding can be found on not only his own albums but also on Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash albums. His songs, as well as his live shows, have led to a cult like following that grows and grows with every new fan. And he’s an actor and a director now, too! He’s definitely one you need to know more about if you want to call yourself a Texas/Red Dirt music aficionado! So here’s my spotlight profile on this honky tonk, rockabilly, Texas artist from Beaumont.
Katie: Let’s look back at your career…Does it feel like you’ve been doing your thing for 20 years?
Jesse: Just recently I’m finally starting to feel that 20 yrs plus feeling. When younger kids come up to me and say they heard my guitar playing on a Waylon record they discovered from 97′ it’s kind of impossible to not get that “journeyman” feeling, but I still feel 14!
Katie: When did you first pick up a guitar? Were you self taught?
Jesse: I was suppose to stay home with my older brother, while my folks went on vacation to Colorado but my Dad said “you’re too young, have to come with us!” I ended up meeting a black guy, Granville Cleveland, at the hotel pool in Boulder and he taught me the 3 Hey’s: ‘Hey Good Lookin’ by Hank Williams, ‘Hey Hey My My’ by Neil Young & ‘Hey Joe’ by Jimi Hendrix. It was like I could just play from the first time I played, even though I spent 10,000 hours in my bed room after that studying and practicing.
Katie: The acting bug apparently has bit ya too…tell me how (if at all) it’s different from the music side of your creativity.
Jesse: Acting is really hard, especially theater acting where you only get one chance, unlike the camera where you can shoot it over til it’s right. I have a new film coming out soon called ‘Two Step.’ It’s a crime drama shot in Austin and I play a biker named Bobby who has hung up his wild days and settled down with a family. Acting requires a lot more focus for me than music. Music is an extension of who I am. Acting is professional lying!
Katie: Has there been a moment in your career so far where you said to yourself, “I’ve made it?”
Jesse: I’ve had some real “I’ve made it” moments. Playing guitar with Johnny Cash and Waylon was one for sure, cuz I knew I’d be on the records no matter what happened afterwards. Last New Years Eve in Austin, Willie Nelson motioned me up onstage to sing three gospel songs with he and Billy Gibbons on guitar from ZZ Top which was totally surreal. Directing Malcolm McDowell in the film ‘Zombex’ was dream like. So yea, there’s been some instances, but it’s all about doing good work at the end of the day.
Katie: What’s next for you? More movies? A new CD?
Jesse: Just finished a 5 week tour and played David Letterman with John Doe. Working on my new record now which is due out this summer. Pretty much living on tour this year. Going to do another film at the end of the year in December and January all shot in E.ast Texas. I’m hitting my knees and saying thank you to the big guy more these days. I’ve never thought much about being a “star” or a “celebrity,” I just want a healthy family and do interesting work, so far so good!
If there is one thing I can say about Jesse…it’s that you HAVE to see him perform LIVE! Get details on his schedule here: http://jessedayton.com/.