DANKO JONES‘s namesake vocalist/guitarist recently appeared on the “Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon” podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the group’s latest album, “A Rock Supreme”:
Danko: “We never try to ‘say’ anything — we just try to write a bunch of good-sounding rock tunes. The process is usually the same — it’s us in our practice back in Toronto working on riffs, turning riffs into full songs. This time, we took them to [producer] Garth Richardson. It was a great experience working with him. He really helped make the songs blossom. We had a hell of a time — we just laughed through the whole production, and we came out with ‘A Rock Supreme’.”
On how punk rock helped the band navigate the early years of its career:
Danko: “As much as I’m a heavy metal kid, what tempered all that was when I got into punk rock. It kind of grounds you a bit. Even though we did find out that there’s lots of rats and snakes in the music industry, as much as we already heard, to experience it firsthand is another thing. It was our grounding in punk rock that really helped us get through it all. Our world wasn’t as shattered as maybe some other bands. Punk rock is the grounding kind of scene — no one’s supposed to think that they’re better than anyone else, so having come up through that scene, we were better able to handle a lot of the disappointments when we did decide to go into a hard rock stream. There’s all kinds of people you meet along the way, and we were a little bit more innocent, like all bands are when they start out, and you get a little thicker skin and more calloused skin and you trudge on if you want to keep going. That’s what we did.”
Danko: “As I got into punk rock and noise rock, the biggest bands in that scene played, maybe, 400-seaters — like, little clubs. That’s where our heads were at. We just wanted to do that. I remember year one of our band, being in Toronto — the only thing we really wanted to do was tour America, open for ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT and get produced by Doug Easley. Those were our immediate goals… If we got all that, I would have just packed it in and said, ‘Hey, we did it. We did what we set out to do.’ And then we just kept going longer and longer. You adjust the goalposts as you go on, and we changed our sound — we went from a garage/punk rock sound to a full-on hard rock sound, and we just decided to do the kind of music we listened to when we were kids. We lost a lot of people along the way, but we gained a newer crowd. It never affected me when I realized, ‘We’re never going to be a stadium band,’ because we did pack in clubs, and we were able to tour. We left Toronto, and we got into a van and we drove around North America, and it was a blast. Then we got to Europe and did the same thing, and even more people came. You’ve got to be grateful for what happens, and just the fact that I didn’t have to go back to my day job and I could still stay in the van and tour around was success to me.”
On his continued passion for rock:
Danko: “There’s tons of new rock bands out there that are killing it, that are amazing. It’s just a matter of having your ear to the ground, like it’s always been. I’ve always had my ear to the ground, trying to find the new thing, because when I was a kid, when I heard all those bands for the first time, it was like Christmas, the first time I heard METALLICA, the first time I heard MÖTLEY CRÜE, the first time I heard BLACK FLAG. It was a head-twist, so I’m always trying to find the next new band to listen to to kind of recapture that feeling. I can list a dozen bands that are brand new, out there doing it, that sound amazing. If only people would hear them more, there’d be more rock fans. Rock music is an old type of music now, kind of like how jazz was when I was growing up. Rock has settled into that category, and even more so, gone underground as pop music and rap music and EDM have taken over what people consider popular music. Rock ‘n’ roll is now underground music. It’s almost outsider music, and I like that. I feel affiliated with that. I can feel a kinship to that, and I’m proud to now say that I play rock n’ roll music… Gene Simmons saying that rock is dead, what people didn’t realize, you’re talking about a guy who lives in an ivory tower. How does he know what’s going on in an underground form of music now? To consider rock n’ roll as, like, a real popular form of music a la Katy Perry, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and COLDPLAY is ridiculous. It’s underground music, so up in his ivory tower, when he announces that rock is dead, from his vantage point, he can’t see what’s underground. Of course rock is dead to people like Gene Simmons. For me, at the bottom of the ivory tower looking up, it’s very much alive.”
Danko: “I’m very, very outspoken about KISS, and it’s only because I’m a huge fan. Sometimes, it gets mistaken for me being a hater, but it’s only because as a huge lifetime KISS fan… My fandom isn’t blind. I can’t just like every single thing they do. Who wants that?”
“A Rock Supreme” was released on April 26 via M-Theory Audio (U.S.), Rise Above (UK), Indica (Canada, AU, NZ) and AFM (rest of the world). The album features cover artwork by Ulf Linden (GRAVEYARD, EUROPE).