He is the first individual I have ever seen to usher welcomed “boos” from the crowd, & teeter on the brink of love versus hate – when it comes to his egotistical stage rapport. But like a car crash or horror flick that you just can’t seem to veer away from, DANKO JONES expels loud & raucous “machoism” that fuels a greater insight for what we all wanna’ believe in…that for every one person out there telling you why you CAN’T do it, you need to give yourself a hundred reasons why YOU CAN. Six albums, a world-class DVD, & tell-all book regaling the history of his assiduous seventeen year career…Danko Jones doesn’t need any Juno Award, or industry adjudication, to necessitate his purpose for living a life of hard rock hedonism. If the chants & cheers don’t support his side of the story, by the end of an ALL ATTITUDE spank on the rock‘n’roll behind…you are probably in full denial that his trio, with teammates John Calabrese (bass) & Atom Willard (drums), are one of the most undiluted & brutally honest interventions of rhythmic virility bursting into the threshold of rock today. In fact, together we all even agree that for every major band touring the big circuit right now (them included)…there is an army of equally skilled garage bands in the wake – ready to take their place. Danko Jones not only has the balls to admit it, but supports the underground without fear of threat. It’s where they come from, & what’s spurred their code of ethics – do it LOUDER…do it HARDER…do it STRONGER…than anybody else can.
“The only real bands that make it anymore, in the current music business, are the PIT BULLS…the ones that are tenacious, stubborn, & uncompromising.” – DANKO JONES
“Rock & Roll Is Black & Blue” is the current release for Danko Jones on Bad Taste Records…& it was a title the group held on to, since their formation in 1996. It couldn’t have re-surfaced at a more pressing time for the industry, & signifies the battered popularity of a genre they are so resonantly passionate about. The overall punch of REAL HARD ROCK has caved to a spoon-fed society that doesn’t always share an appreciation for distorted guitars, crunchy vocal outtakes, & shameless energies that are capped by sadistic pleasure. “We just wanna’ play rock…that’s what we do.” the surprisingly mild-mannered Jones states, admitting their no-nonsense agenda, “It’s not something I got into, recently. I don’t really give it much thought, & I think that’s the key. Follow your intuition & whatever sounds good to you, chances are…it’ll sound good to other people. So, that’s all I’ve ever gone on.”
Recently coming off the Soundwave Festival tour in Australia, & finishing up main support for VOLBEAT on April 11th, Danko Jones’ gargantuan on stage witticism has the irreverent ability to bring out the rock‘n’roll badass in us all. Whether it’s girls flirting with the bassist from front row, or jealous dudes giving a “one-finger salute” from the back of the arena, the testosterone-fuelled unit commands one thing…ATTENTION. Having opened for acts like The Rolling Stones, Our Lady Peace, Nickelback, Motorhead, & Guns N’ Roses – their chemistry taps into high-throttled musicianship with raw comical backlash…& all the groove, sweat, & bite that brings a show to a manic edge. “Sometimes, being a three-piece, the stage overwhelms you…so we kinda’ try make up for that through volume & some of the banter in between the songs. When we toured with Guns N’ Roses for a year in 2010, we really had to learn that fast…cause their stage was just so big.” Danko shares, while going on to explain the roots of their background, “It was almost an anti-production, where (you know) it’d be one amp…not like a battery of Marshall stacks…& out of that small set-up would come this BIG SOUND. That was the whole point. We’re not a garage band anymore, so we can’t really keep that esthetic & keep it real…we would be faking it, I think. As the popularity of our band grew, we had to make some adjustments. We got into better studios, we worked with producers, & we worked on our songwriting. We just changed…like humans do.” But the band’s punk-pelted intensity hasn’t dramatically shifted since 2003’s “We Sweat Blood”, & “Rock & Roll Is Black & Blue” has been receiving their most rave reviews to date.
Soaked in heavily chorded riffs & deep, generous bass lines…the twelve tracks are a high-paced avalanche of catchy choruses powered through smashing percussion. Atom Willard…whose tightly furled work has stemmed from notables Rocket From The Crypt, The Offspring, & Social Distortion…has flawlessly melded with the group, since joining in February of 2011. He packs an intricate performance all of his own when it comes to flailing arms, flying hair, & crashing cymbals…while Calabrese jumps & b*tch-slaps his black Fender to the stomping beat. Heading into the studio this time, as an actual three-person team, has brought an organic expression back to the delivery…& it’s something all members respectively show. In a column for Seattle News Weekly, founding Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagen recently credited DANKO JONES as being the type of vintage formation that is missing in the hard rock scene today – stating, “The band plays as such a seething & tight three-piece unit that, in the throes of a gig, the beauty of not just watching or focusing on one guy is only realized after the show. It is rad.” Flattered by the support of McKagen, the band’s expertise in serving a diehard rock exhibition drenched with slick “tongue-in-cheek” outspokenness has built them a cult-like following in many countries…& they never apologize for not adhering to what might politically establish themselves to a trendier audience. “All the bands that you see…that are quote, unquote ‘BIG’…they could easily be replaced by an equally competent band. You can list (like) a hundred bands that don’t get played on the radio, that have been around for ten years or more. They’re obviously not successful enough to fill arenas, but they’re successful enough to keep putting out albums, & have a fanbase that supports what they do. They’re just not as known as some of the top end bands, but these are the bands that I listen to anyways…so, I support them.” Danko says, always raising the flag for independent garage-bred music.
“You can’t really do justice to a record, when you’ve only listened to it once or twice.” – DANKO JONES
Through a non-stop pursuit to write fast songs about sinful women, & life’s little idiosyncrasies, Danko Jones (the frontman) has also found time to become a thriving blogger & podcaster amongst the internet world. With a weekly column on Huffington Post, & hosting “The Official Danko Jones Podcast” (broadcast free on iTunes), the singer appreciates most efforts music journalists put forward nowadays…but finds it somewhat frustrating when they misconstrue information about his band, or don’t do the necessary “homework” involved to effectively construct knowledgeable opinions. Inspired by the days of early college radio, & having a flare for creatively demonstrating his own inner thoughts, Danko achieves self-satisfaction in managing all the demands that his busy schedule brings & speaking out on behalf of musicians everywhere. “I find more joy outta’ comin’ up with a column, writing it, & sending to my editor.” he says. A prominent personality to come out of Toronto, Canada – Jones is a smart guy with a lot to say, but he definitely knows when to shy away from the ULTRA-SUPERIOR ATTITUDE that directs every gig. “I walk on stage every night I do every tour, thinking that…I don’t know if this is just gonna’ fall apart.” – he confesses in an excerpt from the 90-minute documentary DVD, “Bring On The Mountain”. For the sake of hardrock maniacs everywhere, we better hope like hell…it never happens.
Plenty of touring is still on the horizon for Danko & his cohorts, starting with a two week European headlining run in May, followed by a number of summer festival appearances – including Hellfest & Metaltown. The group’s current single “Just A Beautiful Day” hit #26 on the Active Rock Chart last week, reaching #10 in Canada, & although they’ve been nominated FOUR TIMES for a Juno Award…they’ve never managed to walk away with a win. But if victory was marked by hardcore essence, & the sheer ability to leave spectators on the verge of aural overdose, DANKO JONES would knock most contenders outta’ the park…leaving rock‘n’roll black & blue, only because they’ve BEAT IT into shape. They’re the voice of stamina, courage, & reliability…a lifestyle…a mentality…in a genre that’s been left for dead.
For information on the band & tour dates, please visit: DANKOJONES.COM
Read about the group’s arduous 17 year career in Stuart Berman’s book, “Too Much Trouble: A Very Oral History of Danko Jones” – depicting the struggles of a Canadian band, who was embraced as one of “THE BEST” by a number of international counterparts…only to be rejected by the corporate politics that separate the underground from the mainstream. (Available through ECW Press & wherever great books are sold.)
Listen to the FULL INTERVIEW with Danko…& the ONE QUESTION he’s never been asked before!