Texas vernacular just expanded thanks to Jesse Dayton
and his new autobiography Beaumonster
, a term Dayton thought up to describe people from his hometown of Beaumont.
Dayton will be performing at Rockefeller’s
along with his old friends The Supersuckers
on February 17 for what is billed as a “Super Psycho Country Jam.” Dayton spends a significant amount of time reminiscing on his connection to The Supersuckers and the mutual influence they have had on each other in his new book.
was released last month by Hachette Books
along with an accompanying album of songs which tie into his memoir. It is an engrossing and effortless read which ultimately carries the underlying message that hard work and authenticity mixed with a dash of good luck along the way can turn what was possibly destined to be a “normal” life into something spectacular.
In his memoir Dayton recounts being a young boy in Beaumont and all that comes with that experience; riding dirt bikes, hopping trains, hearing stories about the KKK and finding refuge in his bedroom where he would often draw and ultimately play guitar.
What began as Dayton posting long posts on social media recounting his brushes with great artists ranging from Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash to John Doe
and Rob Zombie
, turned into an entire book which he sat down to write when he stepped off the hamster wheel of life as the world shut down in 2020.
“I feel this is a great medium for me to explain my journey because if you get the Cliffs Notes to your life story people will kind of dismiss it, but that's the great thing about books, if you read a book you have to have a personal commitment and investment,” explains Dayton.
Dayton has had a long career filled with unexpected opportunities for someone who was always too rock and roll for country and too country for rock and roll. It’s because of his guitar skills and ability to play with a wide range of artists that Dayton’s story as a musician reads like few do, as most accomplished players spend the majority of their careers in one or two major projects.
“The music that I've done primarily in my life has been an alternative type of music,” says Dayton. “I’ve never been a super mainstream type.”
The songs selected for the Beaumonster
album go hand in hand with the stories in his novel and cover the wide array of genres that Dayton himself has been a part of. "I wanted to do stuff that was off the radar not the obvious ones," he says of his selection of covers. "The production on those songs was very '70s influenced and I am a sucker for '70s music."
“My deal with music is, I’m not a real genre loyalist. When I sing, I usually do country type stuff because of my accent and where I’m from and I would sound ridiculous if I tried to sound like Joe Strummer, who I love.”
“My deal with music is, I’m not a real genre loyalist."
Dayton personifies the inexplicable link between Texas music and punk rock. He describes The Clash as being not only what saved him from being just another Beaumont boy at a heavy metal show, but also for showing him to dig deeper into other genres like reggae.
“Seeing The Clash and Joe Ely open for them and Charlie Sexton and The Eager Beaver Boys, that changed my life. I was like okay, I can be who I want to be now. I have carte blanche to do that and I don't have to hide my accent or hide the fact that I grew up watching Jerry Reed on Hee Haw. When I first came to Austin, it wasn't cool what I was doing.”
“You gotta figure before Rick Rubin rebranded Johnny Cash, all the Highwaymen were doing Taco Bell commercials and playing in Branson and so I've seen that happen with my own career where I've kind of gone out of style and then boom you come back. I always kept my head down and had cool gigs.”
Dayton writes about how his friends The Supersuckers helped open his eyes to rock and roll and he in turn planted the seeds of country music into their band. He recounts their wild nights on a tour which helped introduce Dayton to a whole new fan base and laments the loss of guitarist Ron “Rontrose” Heathman who passed away last year.
Dayton’s experienced voice is clear in his storytelling and intentions in sharing his life. He offers friendly advice without sounding preachy and instead comes across as someone who has simply been there and is still a little surprised by his good fortune in life making him happy to help others along the way.
Dayton shares tales from the road, studios and home about the major artists he has had the joy of working with. He never divulges anything with ill will and as he admits, the only person he throws under the bus is himself.
“I don't think I could have done it twenty years ago,” he says of writing his memoir. “But I’m older now and I just don’t worry as much about what people think anymore. It’s none of my business what people think about me,” he says wisely.
Houston references are also sprinkled throughout Beaumonster
with Dayton describing working with the infamous Huey P. Meaux, catching an Astros game with Doug Sahm and Clifford Antone, hitching a ride with Guy Clark to Rockefeller’s and shopping for records at Cactus Music.
“I love Houston. I would have stayed in Houston but my ex-wife and our son were in Austin but trust me, I love Houston. I could have lived in the Montrose forever. I talk about Numbers, Anderson Fair and Fitzgerald's. Was there any better music scene in Texas? I don't think so, not at that point.”
takes readers right up to the present day and a visit to his doctor who wisely suggested he clean up his way of living if he wants to have more time to live. These days Dayton has significantly cut down on red meat, booze and sugar which in combination with regular exercise has him feeling great.
“I think the next book I'm going to work on is how us guys gotta really start expressing ourselves and getting shit off our chests. If a six foot-three Beaumont idiot like me can do it, anybody can do it.”
Beaumonster the book and album are available now. Jesse Dayton will be performing on Thursday, February 17 at Rockefeller's, 3620 Washington, doors at 7 p.m., $18-35.