Jesse Dayton’s Beaumonster is filled with song interpretations that are part-greaser, a whole lotta twang, and quintessentially outlaw country badass. Beaumonster encapsulates a life filled with adventure and lore featuring some of the greatest musicians this world has ever known.
Now a successful independent act, in the last handful of years Dayton has played guitar on Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan’s latest solo album, launched his own weekly radio show, Dayton’s “Badass Country Show,” on Gimme Country and licensed more than 50 songs for film and television…not to mention touring his arse off playing over 150 live dates per year throughout Europe and North America while also releasing five albums for Blue Élan Records.
Dayton’s life story reads like a “who’s who” of American music. In his debut memoir Beaumonster, Dayton reveals the stranger-than-fiction encounters and outlandish experiences that have ensued across his wide-ranging career. After sneaking into nightclubs to play gigs in his youth, 18-year-old Dayton and his trio began packing clubs and theaters across Houston, Dallas, and Austin. His first solo record—featuring great luminaries like Doug Sahm, Flaco Jimenez, and Johnny Gimble—hit #1 on the Americana Radio Charts, and then he was off to the races, touring the world as an opener for punk legends Social Distortion, The Supersuckers, and X, and helping with arrangements and guitar on The Supersuckers’ biggest selling record, “Must’ve Been High.” While doing press in Nashville, he caught the attention of Waylon Jennings and was whisked off to Woodland Studios, where he was greeted by none other than Johnny Cash, who tells Dayton: “We’ve been waiting for you.”
After that meeting with “The Man In Black,” Dayton’s ride across the entertainment industry, traversing genre and format, has only gotten wilder. Whether it’s playing guitar on records and film with the likes of Cash, Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Johnny Bush, and Glen Campbell; writing and recording soundtracks for horror director/rockstar Rob Zombie; directing Malcolm McDowell and Sid Haig in his own horror movie; or filling in for the iconic punk band X’s guitarist on a massive 40-city US tour, Dayton is down to make his mark—making Beaumonster a uniquely entertaining tale that will impress new and old fans alike.
The companion album finds Dayton performing songs written by the many talented musicians and songwriters featured throughout his memoir. The album zigs and zags from Waylon Jennings to Social Distortion and Townes Van Zandt to Willie Nelson — all who shared a connection with the storied Beaumont guitar slinger.
When Billy Zoom was going through cancer treatment in 2015, Dayton filled in on the X summer tour. Dayton, first and foremost a fan, was thrilled to play X songs each night in the spot of one of his guitar idols. He wrote about the once in a lifetime experience and decided to cover what he calls a “Johnny and June hillbilly version” of X’s “Burning House of Love” which features Dayton’s signature Texas twang with a dash of outlaw country.
While on tour with the Supersuckers in 1994 Dayton found himself “…prayin’ the Devil didn’t steal [his] soul, and that [his] mama wouldn’t find out about [his] evil ways.” On his cover of “Born with a Tail,” Dayton starts off with a driving intro then adds a Spaghetti Western flair and somehow even more slide guitar that does justice to the Supersuckers own, the late Rontrose Heathman.
“Story of My Life,” a classic Social Distortion song was an easy pick for Dayton, “This song pretty much explains why [Mike Ness’] working class fans love him so much… he’s one of them.” Dayton’s punkabilly drawl cuts through a mix of organ and background vocals to give an entirely new feel to the group’s most iconic song.
Working with Waylon Jennings was a dream come true for Dayton, “[Waylon] put a dangerous cool factor into country music when it really needed it, and playing with him was mind blowin’.” Dayton’s cover of “Just to Satisfy You” is a tender interpretation of the heartbreak song and showcases a softer side to Dayton’s vocal abilities.