Monty Python weren't the only act to record a song about a lumberjack. Kennesaw, Georgia band Jackyl's debut single also concerns a worker in the logging industry. Their southern rocker peaked at #24 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart in 1992.
Yes, that's a real chainsaw solo on the track, courtesy of lead singer Jesse James Dupree. Before they were signed to Geffen Records, a chainsaw bit was part of their stage show, with Dupree cutting stuff up and wielding it as an instrument during jam sections. When Jackyl got their major-label deal, Dupree figured it was the end of the chainsaw, since they were now big-time. John Kalodner at Geffen (who signed the band) thought otherwise, insisting they keep the chainsaw in the show and use it on this track.
In our interview with Jesse James Dupree, he said that this song was written and performed the same day in a burst of inspiration. Dupree was headed from Atlanta to South Carolina, where he was meeting the band for a show. Along the way, he wrote the song in his head. Said Dupree: "We got there, and there was a bass guitar right when I walked in the door. I picked up the bass guitar, figured out what key I was doing it in, and told the band that we were going to kick off a three-chord turnaround in A. And it's been 'The Lumberjack' ever since."
The song has a blues groove and follows a typical lyrical format of the genre:
I'm a ____ baby And I'm going to ____
The blanks can be filled with any number of metaphors, and in this case they are "lumberjack" and "cut you down to size." And like many blues songs of this vein, it's filled with sexual references.
The video was directed by Greg Vernon, who also did Aerosmith's "Eat The Rich." The clip is a mix of live footage, hillbilly clichés, and classroom scenes. As he did in the Aerosmith "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" video, John Kalodner is in the clip as an apparent woman who turns out to be a (bearded) man. Of course, the chainsaw has a feature role in the clip.
Jackyl is in the Guinness Book of World Records for performing 100 concerts in 50 days.