iFest's Jesse Dayton: "I'm Ready to Throw Down"

dayton zombie.jpg
courtesy Jesse Dayton
Jesse Dayton (r) as Captain Clegg
The last time Rocks Off caught up with Jesse Dayton, he was up to his eyeballs in alligators with his film project Zombex, working on an album of Kinky Friedman cover songs and playing Kinky for a bunch of New York art types in Marfa. One of the hustling-est hustlers in show business, Dayton has plans to spread himself even thinner. He had just left a rehearsal when we caught up with him.

Rocks Off: The last time we talked, you were editing your movie. Where does that stand?

Jesse Dayton: We're very close to being finished. I just found out the producers are going to take it to Cannes next month. And it looks like I'm going to get to direct two more pictures for them. I've got one script finished and I'm working on another one.

RO: It seems a little weird that they're taking a zombie movie to Cannes.

JD: Yeah, but we got some great actors in it, people like Malcolm McDowell, and I think that gives it some cachet and cred some zombie movies might not have.

RO: What's it like, movie work versus making music?

JD: Making movies is a hard, hard, very demanding gig. After working on the film this long, getting in the studio to record or getting out with my band is like a vacation. That's my way of fucking off and relaxing.

RO: Will you be going to Cannes?

JD: Probably not. I was just looking at the schedule, and I'm headlining at Gruene Hall on my birthday, and that falls at the same time as the film festival. So I doubt it.

RO: What is the musical project you've been working on with Don Was this week?

JD: Don came into town to put together a house band for a show that is part of the big celebration of Willie Nelson. His statue is being unveiled -- and it's being unveiled on 4/20, man. Only in Austin.

Anyway, the organizers asked Willie what he wanted to do and he wants to do a night of remembering Johnny Cash. So Don asked me to play guitar and sing harmony. Sheryl Crow, Matt McConaughey, Kris Kristofferson, a bunch of guests are going to sing. The whole thing is being filmed for PBS.

RO: Who else is in this band?

JD: Buddy Miller, Kenny Aronoff, Ian McLagan. We've been rehearsing two days and it's been a blast.

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