Classic Rock

Danko Jones

Canadian headbanger Danko Jones on the special records, artists and gigs that are of lasting significan­ce to him.

- Interview: Henry Yates

The Canadian headbanger on the special records, artists and gigs that are of lasting significan­ce to him.

Snarling, self-flagellati­ng and seemingly at risk of a burst blood vessel every time he takes the stage, Danko Jones is the standard by which other intense modern frontmen are measured. After nine crunching hardrock albums since 2002 with his self-titled power-trio, it’s a revelation that shaking out the Canadian’s record collection turns up everything from pop princesses to cartoon bears.

The firsT music i remember hearing

It was probably Walt Disney forty-fives. Y’know, the songs from The Jungle Book and Robin Hood, Cinderella, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. I still think The Bare Necessitie­s is an amazing song. Should people be surprised that a future rock god was listening to Baloo the bear? No, I don’t think so. None of us are born with the antenna to find ‘cool’ music. I was an only child, so it was whatever I could find.

The greaTesT album of all Time

My knee-jerk answer would be Slayer’s Reign In Blood. By sheer numbers, I’ve heard that album the most in my life, because it took an hour to get to school, and Reign In Blood was half an hour, so there’d be days I’d listen to it four times. After listening to that, I’d arrive at school pumped up. Going to an all-boys Catholic school, you had to be on your guard all day long, cos everybody’s going through puberty. It helped me protect myself. I listen to a lot of metal, but I can’t play it – I don’t have the chops.

The firsT song i performed

My school band started off doing originals, no covers. The first song we ever wrote and performed at school was called Bill’s Mom, because she let us practise in the basement. We thought it should be on the charts. We thought we should get signed for that song.

The singer

It has to be Phil Lynott. It’s the emotion his voice can trigger. He has such a commanding voice, and he can go from sounding really tough to really soft and vulnerable. At the tail end of high school, a family friend gave me a VHS of Lizzy videos. Jailbreak was the one – what the fuck, y’know? I think we appreciate Halford and Dio because they’re so on-point and perfect. But if Phil had been a tutored singer it would have schooled all the rawness and realness out of his voice.

The guiTar hero

Billy Gibbons is my favourite guitar player. His playing on Sheik is just so tasteful. And it’s flashy without being deliberate­ly flashy, whereas someone like Yngwie Malmsteen was pretty wild but it was like everything and the kitchen sink. We first met Billy at SXSW. This guy walks into the restaurant and we’re like: “That’s fucking Billy Gibbons.” And he’s got a woman on either side of him at the bar.

The songwriTer

There’s no doubt that Tony Iommi can write a riff. Whether or not you like everything in the Sabbath discograph­y, every record, regardless of era, had consistent­ly good riffs. In the early years he was on a roll. When you stay in the game as long as he has, most people just cruise on their past, whereas he just kept going. There’s Tyr, Cross Purposes, Forbidden, Dehumanize­r… Okay, not every riff is like Iron Man or Paranoid, but they’re pretty fucking good.

The besT live band i’ve seen

I’ve always said that the greatest show I’ve ever seen was The Ex, who are a Dutch punk band, with Tom Cora on cello. That was in about 1993. I was high as a fucking kite, too – I thought I was gonna die. But the music was so stellar.

my anThem

You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ by Priest. That’ll always get me. I sing in the car, or getting ready to do something that requires a little pumping up. I just sing the chorus.

my besT record

I know this is probably what everybody says, but our new one, A Rock Supreme. We turned a corner with Fire Music in 2015, when we started getting good reviews – which I was a little taken aback by. But I feel there’s even been a bit of a bump up with this new one. I like the opening cut, I’m In A Band. It’s like my personal anthem. I couldn’t have done anything else but be in a band. I have no other skills left any more.

my worsT record

Never Too Loud [2008]. It was a real setback for us. The songs sounded better in the demos. Some of the production choices I question now, and it was mixed terribly. It was hard to tour that record.

my culT hero

There was a band from Montreal called Tricky Woo. They were contempora­ries of ours, and they were MC5, Stooges-type music. Nobody heard their albums, and they were incredible. Their one big song was called Fly The Orient, and it’s fucking amazing.

my guilTy pleasure

I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures, but I guess Kylie Minogue. Everyone knows Locomotion. But then in 2001 she had that huge album [Fever] and all those hits, one after the other. I have that album and it’s amazing.

The song ThaT’s greaT for The bedroom

In terms of music that puts you in the mood, I have a few. Isaac Hayes’s Hot Buttered Soul. And also Dripping by Blonde Redhead is a great song to set the mood.

The song i wanT played aT my funeral

Killed By Death, man. I think that would go down awesome. It would definitely put a smile on people’s faces, and that’s just the way I’d like my funeral to be.

“Phil Lynott can go from sounding really tough to really soft and vulnerable.”

A Rock Supreme is out now via Rise Above Records. Danko Jones opens for Volbeat on their U K tour starting on September 23.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom