Interview With Danko Jones
Canadian rocker Danko Jones has returned with his self-titled band's tenth album, Power Trio, which was released on August 27th. The album contains eleven straight-up rock tracks that are destined to be cranked loudly on your car speakers. I was fortunate enough to be able to ask Danko some questions regarding the band's career and their new album. Read on below for my interview with Danko Jones!
How is Power Trio an evolution for the band?
Danko: It's not. We don't make records to evolve and "progress." That's for other highfalutin bands. Long ago, we took the path that The Ramones, Motörhead, Slayer, and AC/DC took, and that is -if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
When thinking about your career, what moments stick out to you as the most satisfying? D: I think getting validation from the bands that inspired me to play in a band has always been the most satisfying. That's happened a few times, and it's what I remember the most. Playing in places that I never thought this band would get to has also been a nice feeling. We played Olympic Stadium in Moscow, opening for GNR back in 2010. Shows like that. What inspires you? What keeps you going? D: The chance to prove all the assholes wrong for another year.
What song or songs from Power Trio are you most excited for people to hear? Or to play live?
D: We've played a couple of shows already, and "I Want Out" and "Saturday" were fun to play. I'm excited for everyone to hear the whole album. I think it's pretty killer from beginning to end.
My favourite song off Power Trio right now is "Blue Jean Denim Jumpsuit." How did that song come together?
D: That might be my favourite too. That was the first song we wrote for the album, from beginning to end, and during the pandemic insolation from each other. Sending files back and forth didn't make it jump out, but when Rich sent his drums and JC laid it all out, the song just came to life.
Besides making great music, you've branched out to several other areas like podcasting and writing as well. Is there something else you'd like to add to the list when you have some time?
D: Not really. In fact, getting into writing and podcasting were direct results of having nothing much to do on the road but so many hours to kill, especially on days off. When we tour now, my head is buried in my laptop until showtime, and that's how I like it.
The video for "I Want Out" is awesome and very timely. What was the thought process behind doing it and how'd the video capture that idea? D: The lyrics speak for themselves. It's a direct reaction to living through a pandemic. Wanting to be out but being unable to. I literally wrote the lyrics to the chorus playing guitar staring out the window in my bedroom.
I've seen the band live half a dozen times and seeing you perform is always one of the highlights of whatever show or festival I'm at. You're well known as a must-see band. What do you think sets Danko Jones apart as a great live act?
D: I think an audience can really sense that we genuinely want to be there. We're very excited and are not calling it in. If you fake it, the audience can pick up on that in a few minutes.
What's the best piece of advice a fellow musician has ever given you?
D: Jim Weber of the New Bomb Turks once told us, "Never end a show with a ballad." We don't even play ballads anymore.
Getting Phil Campbell from Motörhead to help close out the album was an awesome idea. You guys don't do collaborations often. What made this one of the exceptions?
D: We had the name of the album figured out before we went into the studio. I had one song that didn't have a solo, so we started to think about guest guitar players. JC came up with the idea of Phil Campbell because Phil was in the greatest power trio that ever was. Power Trio was written and recorded during the pandemic. How did that change your usual process? What was the biggest challenge for you personally?
D: Firstly, the biggest hurdle was picking up my guitar. I wasn't very interested in doing much of anything when the pandemic started. I was paralyzed by fear. It's still anxiety-inducing, not knowing if you still have a career. After that challenge was met, it was trying to write songs apart from each other in isolation. But I think we did a fantastic job in the end.
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