Danko Jones

All posts tagged Danko Jones

By Carl Begai

During a recent BraveWords interview with Danko Jones for the band’s new album, Wild Cat, frontman and namesake Danko was met with a question he didn’t expect, which led to the revelation of a new project coming down the pipe. An inquiring mind (mine) wanted to know why the band has never covered a full-on metal song even though Danko is a diehard nail-spitting metalhead who is loud and proud when it comes to the bands and albums he holds in high regard. Sure, he’s performed on stage with Motörhead and Sacrifice, the band has covered The Ramones, but Danko Jones have never gone into the studio to lay down their best versions of their favourite metal cuts, which seems odd somehow.

“There are a few reasons for that,” he begins. “First of all, we could never agree on a song. JC (bass) will suggest something and I’ll go ‘meh.’ I’ll suggest something and he’ll go ‘meh’ and on and on it will go (laughs). We recently did agree on some covers, though, but I don’t know if we’ll ever get to that point. The second reason we haven’t done any metal covers is because I don’t feel I could pull them off without sounding like a joke. And the third reason is I just want to be a metal fan, and depending on what band you’re talking about I couldn’t even begin to try and pull off an Obituary song or an Annihilator tune. How do you even start writing a song from one of those bands? It’s intimidating to me.” Continue Reading

By Carl Begai

Danko 1

Toronto-based rocker Danko Jones is as multi-faceted a personality as they come, to the point that people unfamiliar with his work might consider him schizophrenic. His soft-spoken, articulate and almost geek-like demeanor during interviews is a stark contrast to the obnoxious mouthpiece dedicated to ripping up the stage night after night with guitar in hand. And if he’s not attending to the next episode of his long-running official podcast, Danko is known for penning articles on everything from the pros and cons of social media, to music he bought on a Christmas shopping binge, to ripping Gene Simmons to shreds for his now infamous “rock is dead” comment. In the end Danko Jones gives Slipknot / Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor a serious run for his money when it comes to keeping people guessing with regards to the next trick up his sleeve.

The band that bears Danko’s name echoes his diversity. Sure, every album since the Born A Lion debut in 2002 is based on the three piece of vocals/guitars/bass/drums rock formula, but each one has presented a slightly different side of the band’s persona. New record Fire Music keeps this tradition alive, and the initial buzz suggests it could well be one of the trio’s finest moments. It’s certainly the heaviest kick to the teeth in their catalogue.

“I think a lot of that has to do with the last record,” Danko begins, referring to Rock And Roll is Black And Blue. “I don’t really want to get in the dynamic that we had in the band at the time, but Atom (Willard/drums) lived in LA. We had to have these massive week long writing sessions, seven or eight hours a day, because he was in Toronto for a limited amount of time. We thought it was time well spent then and I thought it yielded some really good songs, but overall I think it was a little disjointed. There was another dynamic going on in the studio between some people that didn’t really make for a very comfortable easygoing session. There was a real sense of freedom in doing Fire Music.” Continue Reading

By Carl Begai

danko-jones-fire-music

With each Danko Jones release it’s not an issue of whether the new album is point blank good or bad, but rather how well it stacks up against its predecessors. Like KISS, AC/DC or Motörhead, Danko Jones have made a career of avoiding the use of rocket science in favour of the keep-it-simple-stupid vocals / guitars / bass / drums formula, and new (seventh) record Fire Music continues this tradition. While some folks may chafe at the idea of the Canuck trio being mentioned in the same line as rock / metal royalty, there’s no escaping the fact frontman Danko, bassist JC, and the latest drummer of choice (Rich Knox, please stick around) have earned their longevity rather than living off of YouTube views and Facebook likes padded by Beliebers.

It’s gotta be said that lead-off track ‘Wild Woman’ is standard fare for any Danko Jones release; no great shakes on the one hand but a smart move easing the fans into Fire Music as all bets are off from track #2 onwards. Frontman Jones has gone on record stating that a several songs on the album were inspired / influenced by the Misfits, and it most certainly shows. ‘The Twisting Knife’ followed in rapid succession by ‘Gonna Be A Fight Tonight’ and ‘Body Bags’ amount to almost 10 minutes of punk energy gift-wrapped in singalong attitude, echoed later on the album with equally speed-crazed ‘Piranha’ and ‘Watch You Slide’. Continue Reading

By Carl Begai

How do you write a hit record? Lock a bunch of unattractive over-the-hill songwriters with shattered dreams of being spotlight superstars in a room, add money, buy auto-toon software, and hire a pretty face to sing the songs. Or, if you live in the blood and sweat world of Annihilator guitarist/founder Jeff Waters you go with your gut, hit the studio when the time feels right, and cough up an album like the highly praised rip and tear called Feast.

Annihilator1

“This is the first record where we took a big break from getting in the studio and writing,” says Waters. “We were finished with the cycle for the last album by the fall of 2010. It was a little over two years of not going into the studio to write. Dave (Padden/vocals, guitars) and I decided that we could pump out an album every year-and-a-half, and some albums would be better than others but it would be a case of just doing the same thing over and over. We wanted to see what happened if we took some time off from the writing. I did tons of guitar clinics around the world, we did some special festival dates, I did some mixing and mastering in my studio; there just wasn’t any new Annihilator stuff coming out of that. And from what I’ve been told it paid off because everyone seems to feel that Feast has brought things up a level.”

“I think it was good that we took the time off, and if I didn’t have all that stuff to do in those two years I would have gone straight into the studio and started writing. I had lots to do and Dave kept pushing me away from it, so I just decided to go with it until the time was right.”

Waters is in a good place these days both professionally and personally these days, yet the music he cranked out for Feast is (for the most part) full-on aggressive and a great soundtrack for pissed-offedness.. Not exactly a case of the art reflecting the man this time out.

“I don’t get that either. We threw that one song ‘Perfect Angel Eyes’ in the middle of the album, but you’re right, other than that it’s more aggressive and has an ‘F-You’ vibe. It’s weird how that worked out.”

Feast’s punk attitude is equally weird and totally unexpected. Sure, the legendary thrash sound that made Annihilator famous is very much alive and seething, but there are moments where Waters sounds like he’s channelling as much of The Exploited as he is Slayer.

“You know what? That’s the one thing I didn’t realize until very recently. I did a two-and-a-half week European press trip, I did something like 113 interviews – which is way more than I’ve ever done for an album – and I repeatedly heard the question ‘Where’s this punk vibe coming from?’ And my only answer was ‘I don’t know’ (laughs). I usually get questions about my soloing and I tell them it’s blues speeded up, and even though I don’t really know the blues, I just know the stuff passed down by Angus Young and Glenn Tipton who got it from B.B. King and Chuck Berry. At least I know where that blues influence comes from. The punk stuff… no idea where that comes from.” Continue Reading

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.

Danko2

“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.” Continue Reading

By Carl Begai

Folks can argue that the Sleep Is The Enemy album from 2006 put Canadian (former underground) rockers Danko Jones on the map. If that’s the case, Below The Belt gave the band free reign to choose when and where their three-man circus would touch down on that map. Released in May 2010, it yielded three singles and star-studded videos for each, support tours with Guns N’ Roses and Motörhead, international festival gigs, and headline tours across Europe. Frontman and namesake Danko Jones calls Below The Belt an album that had to be made in the wake of the disappointing – as far as he’s concerned – Never Too Loud record from 2008. And in the end, it laid the groundwork in a big way for their new platter Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue.

“Below The Belt did really well for us on radio in Canada, the States and Europe, so I’m glad it had the legs; definitely more than Never Too Loud did. In hindsight Never Too Loud was a bit of a misstep for us, but I wouldn’t really take it back now that we’ve done Below The Belt and Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue because I like bands that have hills and valley to their discography. Living through Never Too Loud for those one-and-a-half years wasn’t torturous, but the outcome of the session was kind of annoying. I’d rather put Never Too Loud out again, but only as the demos. When we had those demos we were going into a world class studio with a world class producer (Nick Rasculinecz / Rush, Death Angel) thinking that was the album, but it didn’t turn out that way. I resisted saying anything when we were doing press because I couldn’t understand what people were hearing that I wasn’t. When we were finishing Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue I went back and listened to Never Too Loud, which was critically the worst received album we’ve done, and I wanted to make sure we weren’t at that level. I didn’t realize how sonically poor Never Too Loud was compared to the more recent two albums.” Continue Reading

By Carl Begai

During a recent interview with Toronto-based Danko Jones about his band’s new album, Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue, he offered some insight into the new book Too Much Trouble – A Very Oral History Of Danko Jones. Call it the companion to the recently released Bring On The Mountain documentary DVD, only the book offers a view from the outside looking in as well.

“The book was done by Stuart Berman, who worked on it for about two years,” says Danko. “He interviewed over 70 people that, all together, tell the story of our band. We didn’t oversee it because I don’t do that with people who make videos for us, write about us, all that. It’s like ‘Go crazy, man’. I think that if you free people up more on things like that you get a better outcome. Stuart was a good choice to write the book because he knows a lot of the people we know, and a lot of the people we have bad relationships with (laughs). He was a great person to track down old band members and bands we’ve had brushes with. A couple bands didn’t respond but there’s a enough drama in there to keep people satiated. With him writing the book those parties felt safer, which was good. I told Stuart that we weren’t going to censor anything they said.” Continue Reading

Your semi-regular update on Maple metal and associated rock continues…

Toronto rocker Danko Jones is gearing up for the release of a new DVD entitled Bring On The Mountain. The package features a documentary on the band spanning the early years all the way up to the present day, 14 live performances, and a whopping 19 (!!) official video clips. This one’s a keeper for the diehard fans, and for the diehard fans that pre-order (shipping date is June 13th) a free 10 minute preview is available online. Go to the band’s official website here for pre-order details and DVD formats. A three-minute documentary trailer can be found here.

French Canadian unsigned progsters Southern Cross are currently one of the featured artists on the BW&BK website, in support of their new album From Tragedy. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with frontman David Lizotte – story can be found here – an assignment I took on because I actually enjoy the new record. Song-oriented prog-metal is hard to come by, and it’s rarer still to find a band of this kind penning songs of the foot-stomping kind (see ‘Tightrope’). Fans of Ayreon, Pain Of Salvation and Parallells-era Fates Warning would do well to check them out.

My review of From Tragedy can be found here. Continue Reading

While you recover from those idiotic Christmas carols that did your head in the last time you were out shopping, some info on new quality Canadian noise guaranteed to give Santa a reason to skip your house this year…

Ultimate garage rocker Danko Jones, who just happens to have a huge metal-loving fanbase in Europe, has issued a new five-song EP entitled Mouth To Mouth as a digital-only release. Three of the tracks – ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Proletariat’, ‘The Kids Don’t Want To Rock’, ‘Guest List Blues’ – have surfaced over the last couple years as b-sides, while ‘She’s Too Pretty’ and ‘Mouth To Mouth’ are previously unreleased must-have songs if you’re a diehard fanboy/girl. An audio player featuring the latter two tracks is available at the bottom of this update.

In addition, Danko will hit the stage for a spoken word set at the Wacken Open Air 2012, which is set to take place August 2nd – 4th in Wacken, Germany. As of today the festival was officially sold out, so anyone who doesn’t have tickets will have to content with watching his performance during the online simulcast. Continue Reading

By Carl Begai

I recently caught up with Annihilator guitarist / founder Jeff Waters to discuss the band’s new self-titled album (that interview can be found on the BW&BK site here). Part of that discussion focused on vocalist Dave Padden and his influence on the band since coming on board in 2003.

WatersPaddenliveOfficially the longest lasting Annihilator singer with seven years and four records under his belt, Padden is also the band’s second guitarist when they perform. The new DVD, Live At Masters Of Rock, showcases a very different Annihilator compared to years past, with a Waters-Padden duo trading off leads, solos, and vocals over the course of the set. An effective approach that caught the fans off guard when the band hit the road in support of the Metal album from 2007. Asked if this approach was used on the new album, Waters says it was in fact business as usual.

“It’s still the same thing in the studio, with me playing the guitars and Dave singing, but he’s the second guitarist on stage now. He’s a really good rhythm guitar player but his confidence is really low in that, so I’m trying to boost him up. I only sing live because Dave needs a break. That’s all it is. On the DVD for example, we’re standing quite stationary a lot of the time because we knew we were being filmed. If we weren’t being filmed professionally there probably would have been more mistakes and we would have had a bit more fun. Dave had to plant himself at the microphone and then back off to play, but he couldn’t go anywhere because he had to play some Waters riffs (laughs). But, I think he’s gotten used to that by now.” Continue Reading