About a year ago, shortly after I joined the Electronic Cottage community, Hal McGee introduced me to the music and persona of Florida music legend, Danny McGuire aka Jiblit Dupree.
Hal sent me a link to the 2012 album that he and Danny did entitled Jiblit Dupree and Hal McGee Love You. To paraphrase the album description, Jiblit Dupree and Hal McGee Love You “combines trailer trash, country blues, noise, punk and comedy into a blend that sounds quite unlike anything else.” I instantly became a fan of the irreverent, “something to offend everyone” lyrics and the whacked-out take on good ol’ country, rock ‘n’ roll and noise that rivals anything my beloved Residents have ever done, that’s darn for sure.
Since then I’ve enjoyed Jiblit’s appearances at a number of Apartment Music shows as well as his albums with his first band Waterdigger, his solo work and numerous collaborations. In follow up to an interview that we had started via Facebook Messenger, I got the opportunity to sit down and chat with Danny in late June when he and I performed at Apartment Music 34 in Gainesville. Hal McGee and Mark McGee joined us for the conversation which was full of laughs but serious moments too as we discussed the controversies, the music and the philosophy of Jiblit Dupree.
LS: Where did you grow up?
JD: I grew up in Winter Haven, Florida. The hometown of Gram Parsons and Jiblit
LS: What or who first inspired you to pick up the guitar, write songs and sing?
JD: My first music memory is hearing The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine and seeing the movie in a drive-in with my parents. I don’t think anyone in particular inspired me but I did like Bob Dylan from a young age and still do as an old man.
LS: Who is your favorite writer? Who is your favorite comedian?
JD: My favorite writer would be Ronny Elliott. He has written no books I know of but he writes a blog and posts on Facebook everyday and plenty of my favorite songs. My favorite comedian is easily Richard Pryor.
LS: What about Nick Cave or Thurston Moore/Sonic Youth?
JD: Yeah, I dig Nick Cave’s songs a bunch and Thurston’s too. I’ve met Thurston a couple times. A real nice guy-- I don’t care what anyone says. I saw him play in Tampa with Chelsea Light Moving. I drunkenly interviewed him in the parking lot and took pictures. Then he drove the van so I saw that he wasn’t as big of a rock star as I thought he was. (Laughs) That gave me a whole new image of him. Just made me think that he wasn’t as big of a celebrity as I thought he was. He broke a guitar string that night and I’ve got it hanging on my wall. He did spoken word poetry while someone changed the guitar string out so we got something special that night. It was awesome--a killer concert. I’d seen Sonic Youth before, way back in the day. I think Lou Reed might be the one that sunk in the most for me.
LS: When did you get into Noise? What was your first band?
JD: I first found out about the International Noise Conference at a train depot in Tampa. That was a decade or two ago. It blew my damn mind. Within six months I was playing noise shows with Hunker Down Roy, a band I started with Don Butler. Don was also the bass player in my first band, Waterdigger.
(Hunker Down Roy performing at Hal McGee’s 51st birthday party)
LS: How did you come up with the name/moniker Jiblit Dupree?
JD: Jiblit Dupree is a name one of my old friends was calling one of his friends and I just stole it. Jiblit Dupree is a worldwide superstar and Danny McGuire is just some regular ole guy that works a bunch.
LS: What inspires your lyrics?
JD: My lyrics are inspired by whatever takes away the pain of everyday life. Also (they can be) about someone I’m trying to get in touch with, whatever that means. They can be something I think up while working or when I wake up from a dream. Usually it’s just stupid songs that I make up at work. I think, “These people need to hear this. I bet that they ain’t heard this one yet!” Like “Granny is Better”. Who would think up that kind of shit?
LS: How did you develop your cool guitar style? I saw you wearing a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt in one of your Instagram postings—is he an influence for you?
JD: I have tried not to learn much about playing because the technical players bore the shit out of me. Yeah, Hendrix is an influence but I could never play like him or even want to. My style is the only way I know how to play. Like David Fair of Half Japanese says, “You can play it fast or you can play it slow, you can play these high notes or you can play these low notes. Now you know how to play guitar.” That’s the best guitar lesson there is.
LS: I understand that you’ve got a great guitar and amp collection. What are some of your favorites in your collection?
JD: I’ve got a little yellow guitar that sounds like Godzilla that’s my favorite. Ronny Elliott sold me that one and I bet he regrets it. I’ve got a ‘63 Silvertone that looks brand new. I also have a ‘73 Gibson SG that’s real nice. This list could go on for way too long and nobody better rob me, thank ya very much.
LS: How many instruments do you play? You were good on the Jew’s harp.
JD: I play them all, I just don’t play them good (laughs). (However), I’m the Jimi Hendrix of the Jew’s harp. That has gotten me into a lot of places. My first time playing was on stage with Ronny Elliott, in front of about eight hundred people. Scared the shit out of me. (Laughs) A lot of times I don’t play guitar. I played the synthesizer once on a Bruce Springsteen song.
LS: Was that on Spring A Leak? Which song did you play synth on?
JD: “Hungry Heart”. (The song on the Spring A Leak album is entitled “Famished Beater.”) Hal and I did that album.
LS: How did The Dusty Twang and The Quantum Singularity come about? If there was any justice in this world you all would’ve been bigger than Mazzy Star and living it up in the Hollywood Hills.
JD: Dusty Twang came about from me and Jesi Langdale wanting to terrorize the world but only getting around Florida. We toured from one end to the other. We played massive stages and played a porch in Gainesville the day MJ (Michael Jackson) died. We stayed drunk and played shows with the biggest noise big shots in the world!
LS: You are very prolific and have worked with so many terrific folks. Which of your collaborations and albums do you think are the best?
JD: As far as playing with different people, they are all great and I’m very thankful. The list of people would be in the hundreds, seriously. As far as my favorite music, I’ve been a part of the two Waterdigger albums and Jiblit Dupree’s Songs for Her. Someone real special inspired that album and she knows who she is. The girl on the cover of Songs for Her is Jocelyn Lindsay Ring. She is the artist who did the two Waterdigger album covers. Can’t forget her!
LS: We Are Not A Project - We Are A Band by Noticer is another great album by Jiblit Dupree and Hal McGee. What one would call a “stone cold classic”:
LS: Do you consider The Rot Guts your current band?
JD: The Rot Guts is a super group of individuals that one can name drop all day long. It’s hard for us to get through a practice being the intellectuals that we are. We actually don’t call it practice. It’s more of a meeting of the minds. Yes, we hope to record. In addition to me, The Rot Guts are Dan Reaves on bass and Greg Leibowitz on drums.
I didn’t tell you the story of us getting shut down at a big outdoor festival. Those lyrics of mine got us shut down.
LS: What were you singing?
JD: “She Goes Both Ways.” There was something before that, and they come running towards the stage, in between songs. The soundman come running, “Hey man, you’re going to have to cut back on them lyrics. They are kind of rough. This is a family crowd that we’ve got here today. You’ve got to cut back some. “ And then we played “She Goes Both Ways” and I guess that was too much for them. They come running up in the middle of the song and pulled the plug on us. “That’s it. Y’all gone!” And it was so hot out there, I’m glad they pulled the plug. They didn’t have a roof on the stage and it was all black. Man, it felt like it was 150 degrees out there. I was like “Thank God, they pulled the plug on us.” And I had to work that night. Out there being rock stars in that kind of heat. Rock ‘n’ roll ain’t easy.
Waterdigger's version of "She Goes Both Ways".
LS: What about the Redneckisms like on Jiblit Dupree and Hal McGee Love You? I know that it upset some people.
JD: I didn’t know that I had any Redneckisms. That was the point of that album to be as crazy and stupid as we could be. Offensive—we meant to be offensive.
LS: What’s fun about being offensive for you?
JD: Like Richard Pryor, he couldn’t perform nowadays because everyone is so
politically correct. It is kind of like that. I try to be as crazy and offensive as possible.
LS: You want to get under people’s skin?
JD: Yep. Like Andrew Dice Clay. We watch him at work and he is extremely offensive but funny too. It’s so shocking the shit he says. I don’t know how it couldn’t be funny. He is saying the stuff that everyone is thinking but wouldn’t say in front of anybody. He is saying it in front of everybody. But he’s gotten rich off of it; I’ve haven’t yet! I don’t think that I could be as offensive as that guy. My god! He’s an offensive cartoon.
Two Live Crew played in my hometown. I saw them back in the day. Back when they had all their controversies going on. So maybe that had something to do with me. Yep, blame it on the Two Live Crew. They blew my mind the first few times that I heard them. For me, they were the first to make really nasty songs. And Blowfly. I met him a few times. When he played the New World Brewery in Ybor City, his band had just quit on him and took off down the street, drinking somewhere else. So Ed Lowry’s band was his back up band that night. (Ed Lowry was in Waterdigger and the drummer on Welcome to Seminole Heights.)
LS: I asked you about Nick Cave—I know that you posted his “No Pussy Blues.” He did a good live version of that. I noticed that in the comment section, a number of women posted and said “I can’t believe that is his problem.” Do you think that was his problem?
JD: Apparently it was when he wrote that song. He probably has had some dry periods. (Laughs) That would be a good song. “Even Nick Cave Has Dry Periods.” (Laughs) Or “Nick Cave Ain’t Got Any in Awhile so He Wrote Some Songs.” (Laughs)
I asked Sylvie Simmons, Mojo magazine contributor and author of the book, I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, to give Leonard Cohen a message. I’m not sure if she did. I wrote a song called, “Leonard Cohen and Jack Daniel’s Couldn’t Get Me Laid.” (Laughs) It’s about how I took this girl to see Leonard Cohen and we were drinking Jack Daniel’s all night and it didn’t get me nowhere. You think I’d be in, you know. Those were some expensive tickets. And he did a three hour show. Unbelievable shit. We were up in the balcony, on Jack Daniel’s and I couldn’t get anywhere. (Laughs) Nothing. Not even a handshake. (Laughs) Yeah, Leonard Cohen was a badass son of a bitch.
LS: Who do you think is the best one for getting someone in the mood? People talk about Barry White. Iggy Pop said that the Seeds song “Pushing Too Hard” was a good song to have sex to.
JD: Maybe Billy Squier. It was while his first album was playing that I think was the first time that I got any. It worked pretty good, apparently. I think that a Van Halen album might’ve been played too. Probably the first one. I’ve seen them four times. Never with Sammy Hagar.
[Editor's Note: Did Jiblit stop making love to change the record?]
LS: Here are some Mojo magazine type questions: What would be your Saturday night album?
JD: The Rolling Stones' Some Girls would be good for Saturday night.
LS: What would be your Sunday morning album?
JD: The Velvet Underground and Nico, of course. It’s the first song on it. I just saw the video of the Velvet Underground playing in Dallas,Texas. At a Vietnam anti-war rally in the daylight.
(Hal McGee and Mark McGee join us for the interview….)
HM: Oh my god. Did they get a stroke from being out in the sun? Because they are so vampirishly white?
JD: There are all these hippies out in this field watching them. They are playing (starts singing) “I’m Waiting for the Man”. They did a slow, country version of it. And then they played “I’m Set Free” and “Beginning to See the Light.” And there are all these people out there not knowing what they are witnessing. I’ve seen a bunch of bands like that. They could’ve been the Velvet Underground but they turned out to be nothin’. Because people didn’t go and pay attention to them.
Like Pull Out Method from Tampa. The best album to ever come out of Tampa and nobody has ever heard it. It’s a classic. They should have been worldwide famous. It wasn’t nothing but a bass player and a drummer. It was like seeing pure evil. (Laughs). The first time I seen them, I said to myself, “God, this is pure evil.” They just sounded evil. Like nothing I never heard before. I went and saw them every chance I got.
LS: Are they still making music?
JB: The drummer does. I don’t think the bass player does anymore. He got
domesticated with family. Started making them babies instead of music (Laughs.) Ya see if I was on that Four Loko right now this interview would have gone a whole lot better. Because I’d be talking about all kinds of crazy shit. You got to get the liquor in me.
LS: Okay, staying in the Mojo vein, they always ask the question, what do you think happens after we die? Where do we go?
JB: Oh God, I don’t know if I ever read that in Mojo. You’re getting real deep on me now. I’m the wrong person to ask that one. You need to ask the person who created all of this shit to begin with. Okay, I know exactly where we go. We go somewhere where we got more of this torturous life for another lifetime somewhere else. It’s just endless torture. Over and over and over. So that’s what you’ve got to look forward to, more of this shit. Over and over and over again. They say heaven and hell is in your brain. Maybe it is. We will find out when the day comes and the heart quits beating. Yep. That’s the only way we are ever to know. But we’re going to find out. If it turns out that religion was only to keep people in line, I’m going to be very pissed off. There was a lot of years where I behaved myself. I was a church boy for five years. I don’t want to know that I was just wasting those five years. Those five years better pay off for something.
LS: Did you sing in the church choir like Keith Richards?
JD: I did back during that time.
LS: Do you believe in God?
JD: Yep, I don’t think that it was an accident. Nope. We might be God’s entertainment of some sort that is all I can figure. If I was God I would create something to entertain myself. Yep! (Laughs)
HM: Do you create your own mythology? Based on your life? For instance, you seem to have a lot of themes that you consistently go back to in your music over the course of the years and there seems to be a set of characters you go to.
JD: I did not even know that.
HM: Are you a storyteller? Are all the stories you tell based on personal experiences? Or are they hypothetical situations?
JD: Yeah. Some are (based on personal experiences), some are made up. And if they ain’t involving me, they are involving someone else. They are true stories, one way or another; from real life.
HM: Do you think that you are misunderstood? Why do you think that is?
JD: Oh yeah. Because apparently people think that I do the stuff that is in some of my songs. Apparently. Nope, I don’t have time to do all that crazy shit. I work at least 60 hours a week. I think that you are misunderstood too, Hal.
HM: Could be, could be. I’m not sure; maybe in some ways.
LS: Do you think that is what has brought the two of you together?
HM: Yeah, somewhat. I remember that when I first met Danny, I instantly liked him. We are both such different personalities but we are both Capricorns! And we are only two days apart. You are the 17th and I am the 19th of January.
JD: I’ve been recording a Goth album for about two years now. Hal McGee would never do that. He makes an album in an hour and puts it out. I’ve been dragging my feet on this one. I opened up for To Live and Shave in LA. I played some of my new dirty songs that hadn’t come out in the real world yet like “Dope Dick”. It’s going to be on my Goth album—all synthesizers, no guitars. Synthesizers and drumbeats. (Sings) “She says that he’s got a dope dick, can’t get hard.” (Laughter) I can’t even remember the rest of it. Thank God, I’ve got it recorded. It’s on my little four track hand held recorder. As long as I’ve got the recorder, I’m doing good. I’ve got twelve songs and I’m going to do a total of twenty. It’s going to be if Guided By Voices made a Goth album. Real short songs.
MM: Can I ask a Spinal Tap question? As long as you have the sex and the drugs, could you live without the rock ‘n’ roll?
JD: Nope, you can’t live without it. (More laughter.) You’ve got to have it. It’s like if you have sex, you’ve got to keep having it because you then know how good it is but before you’ve had it, you’ve got to keep living every day and it’s best not to even have sex because once you’ve had it, you’ve got to keep having it and once you hear rock ’n’ roll you’ve got to keep listening to it. There you go.
After high school and a year in the DC noise band, Psychodrama, I moved to SF in 1982.