J.D. was born in the delta town of Greenville, Mississippi (also the birthplace of Muppets creator Jim Henson) on the same day Richard Nixon was elected president. He is of Irish-French-German-Cherokee-Choctaw decent, the oldest of 7 siblings, and attended 17 different schools (public and private) while moving back and forth between his mother and father. His great-great-great-great uncle was Horace Mann, the founder of the American Public School system. His father (Puddin - yep, thats what they call him) is a welder/artist/amateur archaeologist and inventor. His mother (Sally) has had many professions, including concert promoter and owner of a country/western nightclub called The Headless Horseman, where as a young child, J.D. spent many school nights until the wee hours of the morning hanging out backstage and on stage with the likes of Hank Williams, Jr., Juice Newton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Paycheck, David Allen Coe, Ray Price, and many others. After a short stint in college and a 15 month stint in the Marine Corps stationed at 29 Palms, California and after hanging out with some actors in L.A.