Danko Jones Rocks out like you wouldn’t believe! Sure, it’s a bit more complex than that, but I haven’t decided if I’m ready to let the rest of the country in on one of the best kept secrets overseas. The band already has a frantic following in Germany, Holland and Norway and legions of fans in Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, and right next door in Canada-which also happens to be Danko Jones’ home country. But we all know what could happen once a band makes the jump to mainstream in the U.S. First comes the name, then the fame, the band gets overplayed, then like *that* they just don’t sound the same.
I’m a little conflicted here, mainly because I can’t think of a band besides Danko Jones that deserves the accolades, respect, recognition and monetary benefits that accompany mainstream success. But I’m just not convinced that an industry that peddles manufactured pop, diluted rock and mediocre hip hop, tailor made for the masses, deserves a band like Danko Jones. Do I sound bitter? Sorry about that, but the good thing about my bitterness towards the “industry” heads is that they helped carve out a smooth path for me leading right to (within a few feet) of Danko Jones. So I can at least thank them for that-right?
If my rant hasn’t prompted you to roll your eyes in your head, flip on your favorite local radio station and totally dismiss what I might be ready to tell you about Danko Jones, then you’re probably hungry and hunting for some damn good music, just like me. Read on.
Although Danko Jones has been around for more than a decade, I first heard about them in 1999, roughly three years after the band had already formed (1996) and a year after they had already released their first self-titled album Danko Jones EP (1998). A friend of mine who sleeps, drinks and eats eclectic, underground, Indie Rock, hands me this import titled My Love is Bold (EP) during a (very local) battle of the bands show all the while nodding his head, yelling “Check out track six!” I’ve been hooked ever since.
Track six, My Love is Bold (1999), is a malicious mix of sex, soul, garage-punk and pure rock & roll. Oh yeah, he meant to do some damage with this one. It opens with a pulsating bass line that makes a b-line for your bones; bluesy riffs fade in and out until My Love is Bold literally explodes from the speakers shooting shards of heavy hard rock riffs, head-bobbing drum beats and unapologetic lyrics in every direction. The track ends with Jones’ raspy, hypnotic vocals floating high above an acoustic guitar. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better than this, it did. In fact, each Danko Jones album gets better and better, but they’re each so unique in their own way (and for their own time), its’ tough to pick out a favorite.
Since 1999 Danko Jones has released a series of CD singles and albums including: I’m Alive and on Fire (2001), Born a Lion (2002), We Sweat Blood (2003) and Sleep is the Enemy (Europe & Canada 2/2006 and U.S.A 5/2006 via Razor & Tie). They even released a spoken word album titled Magical World of Rock (2004) in which DJ speaks about, among other things, his respect and awe of other rock n’ soul legends who helped shape this rock n’ soul God into who he is today. I had the pleasure of seeing Danko Jones live at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago a few years back and amazingly, there are no traces of the ultra-cool, ultra-confident, bad ass in-your face Danko Jones I saw in the flesh on Magical World of Rock. It’s nice to see The Man’s softer side.
I’ve seen Danko Jones suited up, dripping with sweat and bone dry and button-downed, rockin’ a cocked-to-the-side Fedora-it doesn’t matter what this dapper dude decides to hang on his slender bod-his ass-kicking lyrics and hard core riffs remain consistent and captivating every time he takes the stage. Heard enough? Want to find out where you might catch him live?
If you can’t make it to Sweden where Danko Jones plays regularly in sold out stadiums or you’re not planning a trip to Berlin, Madrid or Brussels, unlike during the early DJ days where U.S. appearances were rare, Danko Jones seems to be dipping in and out of the good ol’ U.S of A, more and more lately. Danko Jones completed his first full blown U.S. tour in 2005, making stops New York, Chicago (9/2 & 10/2), Milwaukee, Denver, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle and Vegas, to name a few. So keep an eye out for performance dates in the States by checking out their website regularly (very regularly) at www.dankojones.com or simply sign up for their mailing list to receive regular updates. If you can’t wait for a Danko Jones visit to the states, the closest you’re going to get is Canada. Depending on where you live, the trek across the border by car or by plane is well worth the mileage. I’m done gushing about Danko Jones (for now), so read on for a little Danko Jonesology.
Danko Jones – Front Man, The Man, Vicious Vocals, Down n’ Dirty Guitar
John Calabrese – Killer Bassist
Dan Cornelius (new) – Head-banging percussionist
*Former Drummer (6 years) – Damon Richardson
Sound: Blues, Rock N’ Roll, Soul, Gritty, Garage-punk
Comparison: None, but if I really, really had to choose a band, it would be the legendary AC/DC.
Label:Bad Taste Records
EPs – My Love is Bold
CD’s – We Sweat Blood
Born a Lion
I’m Alive and On Fire
Magical World of Rock (Spoken Word)
Sleep is the Enemy
Singles – I Want You
Play the Blues
Sound of Love
Vinyl – We Sweat Blood
Born a Lion
I’m Alive and On Fire
Influences: Fugazi, Thin Lizzy, Aerosmith, Jesus Lizard, Black Flag, Kool Keith, The Rolling Stones, Slayer, Grand Funk Ballroom, Testament, Skid Row, The Real Kids
Opened For – The Rolling Stones and um, Nickelback
BOSTON HERALD (4/22/05)
“One of the most listenable, purebred rock albums of recent memory. ‘We Sweat Blood is packed with brain-hijacking, catchy hooks disguised as guitar riffs, and a drummer already poised for the bombast of the arena circuit…”
“4 stars (out of 5) – Packed with odes to miniskirts, sexy women, and city livin’, Blood sounds like AC/DC sniffing glue with Motley Crue. its bone-crushing riffs, arena-ready drumbeats, and catchy choruses will instantly transform you into a jean-jacket wearin’, head-bangin, metalhead.”
“Swaggering rock and roll that has no time for sensitivity-training courses or painfully earnest emotions. If this were any more raw, it’d still be mooing.”
NEW YORK MAGAZINE (3/28/05)