Danko Jones Hits the Road Like A Rock Supreme

Danko-JonesDanko Jones – the band who get their name from their colourful and killer frontman – has made a name for themselves over the years as a must-see live band. They’ve performed memorable tours with the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Motörhead and Clutch and they endlessly tour the world promoting their albums – the latest being a masterwork called A Rock Supreme.

Danko checked in with 519 ahead of their upcoming gig at London Music Hall tonight (May 9). He had chat about the new album and its latest music video, for the track Dance, Dance, Dance.

We’ve already heard the singles “Dance Dance Dance”, “We’re Crazy” and “Burn in Hell”. Other than kicking some serious ass, was there a theme or mission for the new album?

Umm no. The mission is the same as every time we do an album, which is trying to make the best rock album we can. Just write a bunch of hard rock tunes that we like that sound good to our ears and if they do, hopefully they’ll sound good to other people’s ears too.

That’s really all it is. I think that pretty much the same with every band on the planet. We’re all trying to make the best sounding records we possibly can. Everybody wants to make Appetite for Destruction. You know what I mean?

Seeing as you like to “watch the girls dance”, were you there for the filming of the video?

No, that was filmed in Stockholm. The director’s name is Amir Chamdin, and we’ve been wanting to work with Amir for over 10 years. He’s just a great film director and we love his music videos. He’s done pretty much every Hellacopters video and a bunch of others. We hooked up with him last summer at a Hellacopters show actually, and we got to talking. When it came time to make this video, he pitched us the treatment and I think it turned out great.

I really like the video.

Yeah, cool. We posted a clip of it to Instagram and it just shows you where people are these days. They saw the clip they started calling us sexist. It was crazy with a deluge of comments from people. People either loved the video or people accused us of being sexist. The girls all came to the shoot. They all dressed themselves. There was no wardrobe that Amir shoved in their faces. So, it was their own clothes, their own dance choreographers and their own trainers. They came onto the set ready to dance. Honestly, it’s what they wear when they dance.

We said in a follow-up comment, please watch the whole video before you start giving your review of the entire video. Once we posted a different clip and we posted what we what I just said, everything stopped. It just goes to show you that people will look at something whether and immediately make their judgment on it. Those comments that labeled us sexists were harsh; I mean that’s a strong accusation, especially in these times. So, if you’re going to say that about us make sure you do diligence and make sure you at least watch the whole video before you start accusing us of something pretty heavy to label someone like that in 2019.

You better have all your ducks in a row before you do that. All those comments disappeared the next time we posted a clip from the video. Yeah, we loved the video because we saw the whole thing but then it took away from the whole release of it. I was like, wow this is it sucks. This is seriously not what we were going for. I don’t believe in the saying “any news is good news” or “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. I think there is such a thing as bad publicity.

I haven’t seen you do a spoken word gig in a while. I love those. I saw Henry Rollins captivate an audience for two hours a few years back. Will we see any more of that again?

I don’t really do too many spoken word shows. I did some in 2004 because I wanted to try it out and see if I could do it – and I did it.

I did a week and a half of touring on it and it was okay. People showed up thinking I was going to do some sort of acoustic thing or the band was playing, so it wasn’t really promoted properly because nobody knew what was going on. I did it before and then I stopped doing it.

I didn’t do it for eight years and then I returned for the 2012 Wacken Open Air Festival, which is the biggest metal festival in the world. They made this crazy offer out of the blue asking if I would do a spoken word show at the festival and I agreed if I could have a few things with me. I needed a projector, a projection screen and a podium and they provided that for me. The projection screen was huge because it was under this massive tent that they were billing as the biggest tent at the biggest festival in the world.

I spoke for two days consecutively at Wacken in 2012. I did the first two days and then Henry Rollins did the second two days, so it was Henry and me, and I thought it was fun. We took the video footage and cut it into a bonus feature on our Live at Wacken DVD and it was just a lecture where I prove that the real Peter Criss died in 1978 – and that’s what my spoken word show was.

I’m not really into doing stuff like Henry and Jello Biafra do – they do it best and I don’t really want to tell road stories live – that’s probably what I would probably do if I had to do spoken word and that just doesn’t interest me at this point. What I do like to do is what I did – and that’s to lecture on KISS. When I put out my book last year I did some book talks and that was a version of a spoken word show. I just did one of those back in February in Stockholm and I just talked for an hour and read articles from the book but I also read articles that didn’t make the book. That was a different fresh approach to it.

I’m using the book if anything to do spoken word, but it’s not really the same thing. There are people that can do it really well, but I need more than what Henry and Jello need, so it makes it hard to tour – not everyone can provide me with a big enough projection screen that everyone in the audience can see clearly.

After your Wacken lecture, did you ever get to meet Peter Criss?

No. I spoke at a rock convention in London, Ontario where Peter Criss appeared. We were one the same day, but I didn’t I didn’t get to meet him because it was just too crazy.

Photo: Jens Nordström