ABOUT THE BOOK:
Jesse Dayton’s 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 night clubs to play gigs in his youth, eighteen-year-old Dayton and his trio began packing clubs and theaters across Houston, Dallas, and Austin. His first solo record which featured great luminaries like Doug Sahm, Flaco Jiménez, and Johnny Gimble, hit number one on the Americana radio charts and then he was off to the races— touring the world solo and with punk legends Social Distortion and the Supersuckers. 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 told Dayton, “We’ve been waiting for you.”
Since then, Dayton’s ride across the entertainment industry, traversing genres and formats, has only gotten wilder. Whether it’s playing guitar on records and film with the likes of Cash, Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Johnny Bush, Glen Campbell and Duff McKagan; writing and recording soundtracks for horror director/rockstar Rob Zombie; directing Malcolm McDowell and Sid Haig in his own horror movie; filling in for the iconic punk band X’s guitarist; joining Ryan Bingham on tour; or the many solo and guest projects he continues to work on, Dayton is down to leave his mark, making Beaumonster a uniquely entertaining tale that will impress new and old fans alike.
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Beaumonster: A Memoir by Jesse Dayton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Beaumonster by Jesse Dayton is a 2021 Hachette Books publication.
The blurb for this book caught my eye, and I thought Jesse Dayton sounded like an interesting fellow, who has had some extraordinary experiences in his life.
He’s from Beaumont, Texas and is well acquainted with the Austin music scene when it boasted an eclectic array of talented musicians from a variety of different musical genres.
According to Dayton, he has an online presence that might be a controversial- he calls them online rants- but I was not familiar with any of that, and I didn’t take the time to research it, so for me reading this book was like going in blind.
Dayton is a real character. He’s brash, enthusiastic, and unapologetic, and had worked with quite a colorful cast of characters- country stars, rock stars, movie stars, and even performed at the white house.
Unfortunately, this memoir is not as organized as I would have liked it to be- though in all fairness, Dayton did warn his readers that timelines would skip around a lot.
I did enjoy the history he talked about, and his firsthand experiences with some of the biggest names in country music, as well as his work with Rob Zombie- of all people. Dayton is opinionated, and not shy about sharing his views- some of which I agree with and others, well… not so much. He has certainly lived a life outside the norm and has an incredible gift of adaptability.
This memoir was a little raw, but more realistic, sincere, and intimate because Dayton, though well-known in some circles is not a household name. There is some bragging, name dropping, etc., but the superstar ego and bloat are refreshingly absent.
Overall, if you have ever read my reviews for biographies or memoirs, you know that organization is something I’m a stickler for. I admit I did struggle with the format a little bit.
That said, Dayton has an interesting musical style I discovered, and his memoir is one of the more interesting ones I’ve encountered in a while, which helped balance things out the rough edges.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jessie Dayton is an American musician, actor, and record producer from Austin, Texas, best known for his guitar contributions to albums by country musicians including Johnny Cash, Waylong Jennings, and Willie Nelson. He is also notable for his collaborations with horror film director Rob Zombie, who commissioned Dayton on multiple occasions to record music to accompany his films.