By Carl Begai
Vocalist / guitarist Danko Jones is best known as the mouthpiece for the Toronto-based rock trio that bears his name. He writes songs admitting that he thinks bad thoughts about your daughter, that maybe just maybe he has a regret or two in life, and that rock n’ roll can never be too loud. When he’s not on stage somewhere in the world or locked in the studio, however, downtime beyond his private life extends to the realms of an online blog, the official Danko Jones podcast, and keeping the fans informed on the state of the world via Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else he can think of. Call it a working vacation from his daily grind.
“I really cut out all the time-wasters in my life,” he says of pulling off this Olympic-level balancing act – “I don’t watch too much TV or movies, I don’t drink and I never really did so I don’t go to bars, I don’t sightsee, so that’s how I can do it. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. When I’m walking around, the things that are going through my head are the things you’re reading on the Huffington Post or wherever.”
Case in point this past April, when Danko took the unusual step of expressing his disgust for what he considered a poorly written and unfair concert review posted on Beyond The Watch. Yes, he took it personally and ripped into the journalist that wrote it via his Huffington Post column:
“I fucking skewered them so hard (laughs). And then you posted it on Brave Words, so it was even more hammering on those guys. My whole thing with pointing them out is because it wasn’t just a blog or a writer, it was people from our home town. It was a more sensistive place to write a review. You can be from Toronto and put us down, but you should know why and how you’re putting us down because we’re from your home town and we’ve been doing this for 17 years. These guys are mid-20s probably, so they’ve grown up seeing our videos on MuchMusic. There’s kind of no excuse. It was a Toronto blog so I figured that fair’s fair.”
“Trust me, on that Volbeat support tour, we read stuff online where people just carved us,” he continues. “People would tweet me saying how much we sucked. That’s fine. Those people don’t really have anything to go on, and they just see this band they’ve never heard of. For a guy in Idaho who’s there just to see Volbeat, and then we hit the stage, I understand the negativity. That doesn’t bother me. It’s the Toronto thing that bothered me. And I thought we got a great reception. I walked off stage thinking ‘Now THAT was a Toronto crowd…’”
Danko has also addressed things in his column that don’t affect him directly but do get his synapses firing. Take, for example, his “Four Signs That Metal Is Everywhere” article, (found here) which included his take on today’s “me me me me!” generation ripping off Canadian metal legends Voivod for a hairstyle, specifically original bassist Blackie’s partially shaved head back in 1984.
“That’s the picture I get in my head whenever I see that kind of style. When I first saw someone wearing that haircut I thought ‘That kid is way too young to be THAT into Voivod.’ Then I started to see more often and I realized it wasn’t about Voivod, and I kind of cobbled it all together. It was funny because I didn’t get a lot of comments about the Blackie hairdo; I got more comments about the devil horns.”
His ongoing official podcast has picked up steam and noteworthy attention as things move forward, boasting guests such as Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth), Duff McKagan (Loaded, ex-Guns N’ Roses), Chris Jericho (Fozzy), Tad Doyle (TAD), Marty Friendman (ex-Megadeth), Ian D’sa (Billy Talent) and Cone McAslin (Sum 41) to name a few. And, of course, his continual focus on KISS.
“Some of them are more organized than others, like the one with Scott Thompson from Kids In The Hall. He’s a friend of Nick’s (Flanagan) so we scheduled a time to do it; there’s more thought involved with something like that. The ones on the road when I’m by myself, that’s just me grabbing somebody and going with it.”
And when he’s not feeding people with his columns and podcasts, or commenting on the state of the insane world we live in via Twitter, Danko has no problem with using the internet to be completely self-serving. Prior to the Soundwave festival tour in Australia in early 2013, he posted a message on YouTube addressed to Anthrax, saying that he wanted to meet the band to get one of the records in his collection signed. It was a shot in the dark but he got his wish.
“Joey was super cool. I met him the first night. We knew some of their crew, and they came up to me saying ‘Joey wants to meet you.’ I’m like, ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ On the last day I met Scott Ian. He actually came up to me and I just stared at him like a freak (laughs). I asked him if he saw the video and he said ‘Yep,’ then I asked him to sign the album, as a fanboy does (laughs).”
Australia also saw Danko take the stage with Duff McKagan’s Loaded for a crushing rendition of the Guns N’ Roses classic ‘You’re Crazy’. Not a dream come true, but a good time at the end of the day.
“We did seven shows with Loaded on the same stage, and I sang ‘You’re Crazy’ at five of them. Duff came up to me the first night and asked if I wanted to sing the song, and I told him no, that he had to give me a day to get prepared for that. It’s funny you should mention that because I just wrote a piece for the Huffington Post about Gwen Stefani (No Doubt) fucking up the lyrics to ‘Wild Horses’ on stage with the Rolling Stones (found here). People were making a big deal out of it, so I wrote a piece defending her. I used the time I sang ‘Too Drunk To Fuck’ with Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) where I blanked. It happens. So, when I did ‘You’re Crazy’, the first two shows I had all the lyrics written down on my hand. I defended Gwen, and I said that if you go up on stage with the Stones you should fuck up the lyrics. It shows how big of a fan you are and how nervous you are. Two weeks into the tour, I sang ‘Angel Fuck’ with Volbeat every night and never got the lyrics right once (laughs).”
Speaking of Volbeat, Danko says it was a good tour and has no complaints, but it did have its rough moments when it came to keeping his on stage persona in check….
“The Volbeat tour was hard because I’m used to doing my on stage banter thing, so as the support act I really had to readjust. I went off a couple nights and started hearing ‘Volbeat… Volbeat….’and I remember thinking ‘Wow, that’s a diss!’ (laughs). It was weird. Now we’re out in a headline tour and people are expecting me to talk, and nobody has any idea how long I’ve been bottling this shit up (laughs).”
Check out Danko Jones’ official podcast page here, featuring new and archived material.
For information and updates on Danko Jones (the man and the band) check out their official Facebook page.