By Carl Begai
A Monster’s Life is a benchmark record that dictates just how high and how far The New Black has to shoot the next time they hit the studio. Four albums into their career, the German rockers have adopted The KISS Concept (Keep It Simple, Stupid) with unexpectedly mindblowing results. Not to say they’ve existed under a cloud of suckitude up to this point, but of the delightfully old-school 10-song romp of A Monster’s Life there’s really only one track (‘A Pill Named Ting’) that falls flat. The New Black have always been more rock than metal, big on melodies and the almighty guitar riff, and they’ve managed to take their best ideas and string them together while leaving most of the unnecessary fat on the studio floor. Best guess is that Volbeat producer Jacob Hansen had a valuable hand in the carving, but credit where it’s due to the band for having the balls to keep things compact in this bloated “more is more” world.
Folks following The New Black will be pleased to hear the familiar high speed Motörhead-isms, and they’ve always had the Rocktallica feel to their sound in the spirit of Volbeat that’s so pronounced on A Monster’s Life. ‘Long Time Coming’, ‘Dead In The Water’, ‘Blockbuster Life’ and ‘Better’ are the requisite supercharged headbangers this band is so good at, while anthems ‘With A Grin’, ‘That’s Your Poison, Not Mine’ and ‘Buddha Belly’ crush anything of their kind they’ve served up before now. Favourite track of the moment is ‘The Beer Of No Return’ for bashing out everything new about The New Black in the space of three-and-a-bit minutes. And ‘Send In The Clowns’ is one of those bluesy ballad-esque tracks every rock radio band desperate for airplay would kill for. 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.
“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