Hotrod Dunham (Mickey Jones) bought it last night on FX's Justified. The barrel-chested, bearded, ponytailed Memphis pot-dealer, pushed into doing business with Harlan, Kentucky's infamous drug kingpin Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) was being held hostage by a member of his own gang who'd tied in with Crowder. In a struggle to escape, Hotrod killed his captor by jamming a pencil in his neck, but not before being fatally gut-shot seconds before Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens (Tim Olyphant) and maverick DEA agent Alex Miller (guest star Eric Roberts, Julia's brother) came to the rescue--too late.
Hotrod brought his own Southern authenticity to the role. What's not so obvious is who Mickey Jones happens to be. The 72-year-old character actor, a Houston native, also known as Pete Bilker on the sitcom Home Improvement, began his career as a top-notch drummer before he got into acting, and not working the bottom rung.
In the 50's he joined Texas-based Latino singer-guitarist Trini Lopez, who became a significant star in the 60's. Based in LA, Jones left to join another energetic, well-known 60's singer-guitarist: Johnny Rivers of "Secret Agent Man" fame.
This is Jones reminiscing last year. Included are clips of him backing Lopez on The Ed Sullivan Show, his memories of meeting the Beatles and Sinatra during his days with Lopez and his stint with Rivers.
Jones joined Bob Dylan in 1966. Yes, Dylan used the Hawks, later known as The Band, but with Levon Helm temporarily out of the group (he left, upset by hostile audience response to Dylan's new amplified sound), Jones held down the drum chair on the road and brought an 8mm silent movie camera that became the basist of his video memoir Bob Dylan World Tour 1966: The Home Movies. Excerpts can be seen here, with Jones's narrative.
He moved from working for an icon to a rising star in 1967 when he joined the newly-formed Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, where Rogers first made his mark as a hit artist. Jones is seen here backing Rogers on the group's first big hits: 1969's goofy psychedelic "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)..."
...and the Mel Tillis composition "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town" (1969).
He went into acting after the First Edition disbanded in 1976. Prior to Justified he did numerous films including Sling Blade and Total Recall along with various TV roles.
Hotrod is gone, but Jones will no doubt be showing up again on the big screen or the flat screen.