Q&A: J.D. Wilkes
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
J.D. Wilkes is a singer-songwriter, artist, author, and Kentucky Colonel. Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys, Guantanamo School of Medicine) has said that Mr. Wilkes is the best frontman alive today, and if you've ever seen him perform live with Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, then, like me, you would probably agree. And if you haven't seen them live yet, well, you probably should.
First off, I’d like to thank you for this. It means a lot. Truly. Jello Biafra has said that you’re the best frontman out there today; is there a compliment better than that? That must help the ego a little bit. Do you agree with him?
It’s nice to have the respect of such amazing performers. But I never believe the hype, even if it’s about me, haha. I just like doing what I do.
Growing up, was there anyone food that you absolutely loved or detested? Especially one made by a family member.
I never liked asparagus or Brussel sprouts. But now I know it was because we were getting them from the can. Since then, I have learned I love em steamed and all buttered up!
Do you enjoy cooking? If so, anything you’re particularly proud of?
I’m terrible at cooking. I set my hair on fire, trying to boil water. But one day, I’ll learn. I bet I’d be good at it if it became a hobby.
If you’re a few hours away from being strapped down to Old Smokey, what would your last meal consist of?
Butter chicken, rice, garlic naan, and anything else curry.
Was there one record growing up where, after listening to it, you thought to yourself, “I want to do that!”?
Muddy Waters’ Fathers and Sons. Hearing the harmonica players on there changed my life. Mostly Paul Butterfield.
When you’re touring, what’s your go-to meal?
Indian food! It’s my absolute favorite. Otherwise, I really could care less about food. It’s more of a hassle than a joy.
I’m a truck driver and have had the fortune, and misfortune, of eating at many a truck stop. Do you have a favorite?
There used to be a cool old truck stop in Adams, TN, off of I-24, but they tore it down. Phantom 309 was a great truck stop diner in Dickson, TN too. Paducah has a nice one with telephones at the tables. You could smoke inside. It was like stepping back in time in the 70s.
Only pepper in grits?
I like mixing the syrup from the apples into my grits at Cracker Barrel. A sin for a southerner.
Anything you’re currently working on that you’d like to tell my 3 readers?
I’m writing a sequel to my book The Vine That Ate The South. Fingers crossed I don’t embarrass myself.
Thank you for your help, sir! And good luck with your next book!
Thanks, man! Bon appetite!