Danko Jones is currently on tour in the UK/IRE for the first time in many years, last making an appearance as support for Motorhead. Gigs kick off tonight in Dublin and prior to getting the rock underway Mr Jones himself kindly took the time out to answer a few questions for us here at Moshville Times…
Since you last extensively toured here, with Motorhead, you’ve released four albums including B-Sides. Are you focusing your live set on the more recent stuff or are we going to get a nice, big selection from everything?
If you’re including B-Sides then it’s actually been 5 albums – Garage Rock was released last year on Bad Taste/New Damage. Garage Rock was a compilation of found demo tape recordings from ’96 to ’98.
Our live set now is a difficult one to manage. We have to play the singles of recent releases as well as standards while pleasing people who appreciate deeper cuts and finally, pleasing ourselves. We try to accommodate everybody with our live set.
You seem to release new material regularly. Do you find the writing/recording process to be fairly easy? Are you always full of ideas?
Pretty much. Rock N’ Roll has been around for a while. Nothing is new under the sun. If you think you can reinvent the wheel then you’re in for a long bout of writer’s block.
What has the reception been like for material from this year’s Fire Music?
I’ve been pleasantly surprised that most music “critics” have given it positive reviews. Usually, our records are lambasted and jeered at by these people. So, I’ve welcomed the unusual change.
How is Rich fitting into the band? How did you choose him to fill the drummer’s seat?
Rich is fitting in quite fine. His influence is heard on this record. Songs like “Do You Wanna Rock” were written around drum beats he came up with and forwarded to us.
We found him through a mutual friend, Nick Sewell from Biblical, and we checked out video clips of him on the web. We were impressed with what we saw and Rich has delivered 100%. Songs like “Full Of Regret” are played the way they were intended, unlike how our last drummer played them.
Incidentally, you seem to have gone through more drummers than Spinal Tap! What do you do to them?! :)
On the outside it might look like we’re the problem but behind the scenes it’s much different. Some of our crew have been with us for 16 years. We’ve been working with the people at Bad Taste Records in various capacities for over 14 years now. Some people in Canada we’ve been with for almost 17 years. Our long relationships speak for themselves. My only problem is that I detest drama.
Is it true that you never originally wanted to release albums, just play live? If so, what changed your mind?
Yes, it’s why it took us over 2 years to release anything. Usually bands have a 7”, an E.P. and a line of t-shirts before they’ve played their second show. We wanted to be on our favourite indie labels and if we couldn’t we’d just play live. It was important to us from the beginning to be a strong live act. When we realized that in order to keep playing live and to do it farther and farther away from home you need a release, we started to concentrate on recordings more.
As well as music, you’ve released spoken word material and hosted a radio show as well as writing columns for several magazines and doing a podcast. Oh, and there was that video trilogy with Lemmy, Ralph Macchio and Elijah Wood. Is there anything else you’d like to turn your hand to if you had the time or opportunity?
I didn’t do all that at once. That spans over 12 years. I mostly concentrate on the podcast, outside of the band. The video trilogy involved a video team that took care of all that. I just stood in the spot they told me to and did my part when needed while the cameras rolled. I’m very happy writing columns when I’m asked and doing the podcast bi-weekly.
You’ve opened for some incredible acts – GnR, The Stones, Motorhead… is there anyone you’ve not played with who you’d love to?
Absolutely! AC/DC and Metallica come to mind first. I’d love to tour with Black Star Riders too.
After all that live experience, what’s the most amazing, insane or unbelievable thing you’ve seen on the road? Either backstage or while you’ve been playing?
An old drummer of ours drinking someone’s lactating tit backstage.
Knowing what you do now about the music industry, if you met a band who are at the same stage now as you were in the late 1990’s, what advice would you give them?
I’d tell them to quit and I’d mean it. You had to be a bit nuts to continue when we did back in the late 90’s but you have to be clinically insane to continue today. There’s no mystery, no respect for the past, no record sales and no record stores. If that doesn’t dissuade them then they might have what it takes.
- Fri 18th Sep – DUBLIN Whelans
- Sat 19th Sep – BELFAST Limelight
- Sun 20th Sep – GLASGOW King Tuts
- Tue 22nd Sep – WOLVERHAMPTON Slade Rooms
- Wed 23rd Sep – NOTTINGHAM Bodega Social Club
- Thu 24th Sep – MANCHESTER Sound Control
- Fri 25th Sep – LONDON Underworld
- Sat 26th Sep – LEEDS The Key Club
- Sun 27th Sep – BRISTOL Exchange
[header image by Dustin Rabin]