The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
The Rockpit 2013 Interviews DANKO JONES



tells us all about the new album 'Rock and Roll is Black and Blue' and coming downunder to play Soundwave and other pressing issues like 'Has Rock and Roll been written off'? and will the band ever go through a 'Folk' phase...


Read on...




Mark: Hi Danko, thanks for calling in. It’s great to have you guys over for the Soundwave Festival. We love the new album, “Rock and Roll is Black and Blue”, the previous album “Below the Belt” was one of our favourites of 2010, but this is even better, how do you do it?



Danko: I don’t know! We just write a bunch of new songs, that’s how simple it is and that’s about as much thought goes in to it! We make sure it’s the best possible songs that go on to the record, we write a lot of songs and whittle it down. At the end of the day, I think it’s a folly to look at what you did last time, and what other people are doing, or what’s the general atmosphere of songs. It’s best to just go by my ears and what sounds good to me. If something’s not working we just delete it, drop it and forget about it, and move on. I’ve always said, if you give me five minutes, I’ll give you five riffs! So, it’s not like we’ve got writers block or anything, so it’s a case of figuring out which songs are the best and moving forward. We are also just a rock band; we are not trying to reinvent the wheel! We know our place, and don’t take ourselves too seriously to presume that people will follow us through a “folk” phase or “symphonic” phase! When I see bands do that I think they are a bunch of arrogant pricks!! So, what you are going to get from us is a bunch of rock tunes, and the next album, which we haven’t started yet, I can guarantee you, is going to be filled with a bunch more rock songs!




Mark: I think that’s the refreshing thing about bands like yours, it’s something that’s been missing for years, and it’s bringing that whole sense of fun back in to rock and roll, would you agree?



Danko: I do, and it’s been like this for a long time, and I’ve heard people say that for years, that it’s not fun anymore, and you guys are bringing it back to the basics and back to the roots, and it’s true to a certain point, but it never takes off! When it comes to other genres of music, like Rapp and even Metal, Pop, the most popular artists are musicians or bands in those respective genres, they are ten times bigger than the most contemporary rock band! You could say the most contemporary rock band out there is Jack White and The White Stripes, or, Wolfmother, but neither one of those is as big as Lady Gaga, or Metallica! So, even though audiences are waiting for it, there are just not enough of them to catapult it to the stratosphere that it once was at.



Mark: It’s an interesting time and if you look back to the reviews that Led Zeppelin got back in the seventies, the critics hated them pretty much across the board, but back then there was a mechanism in place, I guess, in the form of record companies who would support them if they sold records. These days, it’s almost like rock music has been written off.




Danko: Yeah, I feel that too, I agree with you completely. No matter how maligned, a song, a record, or a band is, there was always a machine pushing it in to people’s heads, and now that machine is just a shell of its former self.



Mark: So, are we all wrong? Are we wrong for liking rock music, are we the minority?



Danko: Oh, yeah, we are definitely the minority! Whether we are wrong or not, I think the most common denominator of music is usually wrong! But, my tastes have never fallen in line with the majority of people, my tastes just never match up, I wish it would, it would make my life a little easier!! The kind of music I like I had to search for as a kid, and it’s the same now, when I was growing up and you were growing up, you had to find out these things by groping in the dark. You would read a band interview, and hope they would name drop another band they liked, and then you would go from there. Now, you can just type in a name and find out everything about them and all the other bands you are supposed to like!



Mark: Yes, I think the internet makes everything easier and more accessible, but I think it also isolates us. You are touring the US with Volbeat, another great band, do you know them well?



Danko: I know Michael and the guys, we have played with them before, and we did a show together and went on tour with Metallica. I’ve known Michael for a few years, and there has been talk of us doing a tour together for a few years, and it was just a matter of lining it up. Michael and I talked and figured the two of us touring together would be a pretty good rock package, especially in a time when, as we were talking about before, there is really no scene. There’s a bunch of bands, but really no structured scene, and no hierarchy of bands, there’s just like isolated camps, and is all separated. So, I think a tour like this can kick-start something and people recognise that rock bands can go on tour together, and it’s actually happening, and at this point is selling out the place, so it’s good.



Mark: That’s fantastic.  Of course when you come over here, you are playing with Loaded, Duff McKagan’s band.  How did that come about?



Danko: We had nothing to do with it. I think Soundwave organise their own side festivals, and do all the off day shows, they pair like for like bands with each other and they play in the clubs. I think it’s a great idea. We knew we were in line to play with someone, but didn’t know who, when we found out it was Duff, it was a very cool thing! I’ve met Duff a few times, and also we toured with Guns n Roses for a year, and that took us all over the world, we did ten countries. On the soundwave bill there are a lot of bands from Toronto, and other bands that we are good friends with, so it will be a great tour.



Mark: It will be. Who will you be checking out at the festival?



Danko: I guess everyone will say Metallica, of course, I have seen them a number of times over the years, but I am more interested in checking out Red Fang, which is a band I recently got in to, they are awesome! Fucked Up, are a band from Toronto, and they are friends of ours, as are The Gallows, Kingdom Of Sorrow, and Anthrax, I would love to check out as well. The list goes on and on! 
Mark: Going back to the new album, it is one of those rare albums, where I can’t pick a favourite. What are the favourites to play off the new album?




Danko: Well, the last time we headlined a tour, we played four songs off the album. “Terrified” and “I Believed in God” are my favourite songs to play.



Mark: I love the idea of the golden guitar pick that you have got, with the new album, have there been any winners so far?
Danko: No, surprisingly not! I am still waiting; I want somebody to win, so that people don’t think it’s just a gimmick! There were really five picks put in there, but people don’t really buy CD’s as much as they used to! I want someone to win, now!!!
Mark: It’s a great idea to say that if you do get a CD with a golden pick, you get to see any of our headline shows for ever!! What happens if in twenty years, someone opens that package?




Danko: Well, I don’t know!! I don’t know how many shows we’ll have left in twenty years, considering we’ve been around for seventeen already! They would enjoy the ones that were left! I must say, it wasn’t our idea, it was someone in the office, so I am still waiting, and there are five of them, not one of them has been found yet.




Mark: It’s a cool idea, and I think these days, you need to do something like that, it generates a bit of excitement and gets people talking.



Danko: I have a feeling that once the first one comes out, it’s just a matter of time! I bet they are all packaged, side by side, too!!
Mark: If you could have been a fly on the wall for any music event in the history of rock, what would it have been and why?
Danko: Probably the first thing that Peter, Paul, Ace and Gene did. I am reading the Peter Criss biography at the minute, and it is so well written, as not to be boring, I often get bored by biographies with the entire pre amble about their family history, but he makes it sound interesting.



Mark: Finally, what is the meaning of life?



Danko: I have no idea!! I’m still trying to figure it out, I’m just trying to have a good time, and just treat everybody as cool as possible.



Mark: Well, good luck with the tour and it’ll be great to see you at Soundwave.



Danko: Thank you, see you there.





By Mark Diggins January 2013




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