Tag Archives: Danko Jones

7 Points Of Interest For CMW 2017 Veteran Attendees

She-Devils

She-Devils

Say you’re the kind of person who can remember a time when there were eight major record labels operating in Canada. Back then, there was no YouTube, or Soundcloud, or Bandcamp. There was no Napster, no streaming, and there was certainly no Twitter or Facebook.

When you wanted to learn about new music you had three choices: listen to the radio (but that was always a Pyrrhic victory because you had to listen to the radio), you could find out about new bands by reading what your favourite music writers in daily, weekly or monthly publications were recommending, or, you could chase down these new sounds the truest way — by trudging in and out of the clubs to check things out.

By doing this you’ve seen soooo many great bands. Some that never broke (Flashing Lights, Copyright, Deadly Snakes, Tangiers, Royal City) and some that, relatively at least, did (Broken Social Scene, The Dears, Constantines, Joel Plaskett).

You’ve been doing this sort of thing for 19 straight years now. And you’re tired. The thought of jostling with college kids with unearned beards in over-capacity clubs to see the “next big thing” doesn’t sound pleasant in any way.

And yet, the spirit remains willing.

So you brace yourself. It is, once again, Canadian Music Week. And once again all of the Canadian music industry will descend upon Toronto to polish up and show off their latest pet projects while a whole separate underclass of patronless dreamers will also arrive in the hopes of “networking” and “making some valuable connections”… but mostly by trying to push unwanted flyers and stickers on you.

It can seem all too much. But you know there are still great bands and great songs out there, so you mutter, “I’m getting too old for this shit” and once again step into the breach…

This time it’s different, though.

Because you are getting too old for this, you know that many of these “new projects we’re working on” are bullshit false flags. You know that party with seafood will smell like seafood and that’s enough for you to skip it. And you also know that navigating the website will, as always, be a Sisyphussian lesson on why organizations should never let musicians and their representatives self-curate their profiles on your web real estate.

Your plan is to simply say “fuck it,” to not be moved by the hype, to not have to cool hunt. You’re going to see what you know, what you like, and what’s not going to irritate the shit out of you.

I’ve identified seven ways in which you can fulfill this quest. Read them below:

54-40
Wednesday, April 19 @ Phoenix Concert Theatre as part of the INDIE Awards

54-40 have always been a bit taken for granted all these years because they’ve always been good and they’ve always been with us. But the CanRock we’ve all known and loved for so many years is dying. Rush have retired, it’s been made clear it’s impolite to speculate on The Hip’s future, but y’know, the ’70s and ’80s acts like April Wine, David Wilcox and Loverboy are lumbering into their twilight years, and all those ’90s acts who went gold on every record have officially exhausted all their reunions. Against this, we still have 54-40. They’re getting some sort of lifetime achievement award and they deserve it.

Charlotte Day Wilson
Wednesday, April 19 @ Mod Club
Thursday, April 20 @ Mod Club

There’s a whole generation of young adults who’ve never heard Sade’s “Smooth Operator” and who wouldn’t know a Massive Attack record if Banksy spray-painted one in their ears. To these people, Charlotte Day Wilson is their fast-emerging new queen. That’s not meant to be dismissive. Wilson’s voice is chillingly good and if there is a legit “next big thing” performing at CMW this year, she is it. Seeing Wilson is your best bet to score easy cred points this week.

The Silver Dollar

If you haven’t heard, the Silver Dollar is basically dead. But on the way out, mercurial concert promoter Dan Burke has booked a number of righteous RIP shows up until the end of the month to honour the place. You owe it to yourself to make a stop by this week and pay your respects. And when Dan tries to pretend you’re not on the guest list, or that there’s no more room for wristband holders and badges and it’s paying customers only, just pay your $10 and enjoy the experience. You’ll be happy you did when the new Silver Dollar ground floor retail space/resto-lounge mood-boarded by some Charles Khabouth design protege opens in 2021 and ruins everything.

Danko Jones
Wednesday, April 19 @ Velvet Underground

I’ve got a strong suspicion that large pockets of the “the industry” in Canada hate Danko Jones. And I’ve got an equally strong suspicion Danko feels the same way about them. But the band are still here, playing a showcase-style gig anyway. Officially endorsed by Lemmy from Motorhead and Duff McKagan from Guns n’ Roses, they’re big enough in Europe that they get to negotiate the font size of their name on festival posters. This may very well be an act of defiance-as-rock concert for all those haters, which makes it kinda exciting.

She-Devils
Thursday, April 20 @ Costume House (165 Geary Avenue)
Saturday, April 22 @ A Common Sort (free Record Store Day show)

Gal singer + “soundscape” producer duos are second only to “sounds like Drake” for things the music world doesn’t need any more of in 2017. Except for She-Devils, that is. This Montreal pair are mighty compelling in a they-could-have-been-on-4AD-back-in-the-day way. Instead, their first album is going to be on Secretly Canadian, which in its way is almost the same thing, and they’ll be among peers like SUUNS, Anohni, Jens Lekman and Yoko Ono. With their ’60s pop grooves and Velvet Underground world weariness, this may be the actualization of what Andy Warhol wanted in Nico. If your old bones are going to take a chance on something, this is it.

Worst Place To Score Seats

I’ve ranked a number of the key participating CMW venues on how unlikely it is you’ll be able to score a seat if you show up during non-peak, non-at capacity times. The lower the ranking, the lower your chances of avoiding crippling back spasms throughout the week:

15) Horseshoe Tavern
14) Lee’s Palace
13) Silver Dollar
12) Monarch Tavern
11) Cameron House
10) The Paddock
9) The Rivoli
8) Bovine Sex Club
7) Dakota Tavern
6) Mod Club
5) The Garrison
4) Adelaide Hall
3) Drake Underground
2) Velvet Underground
1) Great Hall

The Dandy Warhols and The Sadies
Friday, April 21 @ Lee’s Palace as part of the Dine Alone showcase

Finally, a bill you understand. A label you’ve heard of is putting on a stacked bill with bands you’ve actually heard of and it’s got a headliner whose one album you really liked and they were funny in that documentary and it’s a bit of an underplay for them. You just gotta figure out who you still know who can get you on the guest list…

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Danko Jones Explains What It’s Like To Drink With Lemmy From Motorhead

Danko Jones and Lemmy from Motorhead

Danko Jones and Lemmy from Motorhead

Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister is one of the most legendarily hard-living, hard-drinkers in rock ‘n’ roll history.

Danko Jones is not a hard-living, hard-drinking rock ‘n’ roller.

Except when he’s hanging out with Lemmy.

Danko told me what it’s like to have a few jack-and-cokes with the Motorhead singer in a story for Noisey.

To read the full story go here.

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4 Great AWA Wrestling Theme Songs

A scene from The Freebirds'

A scene from The Freebirds’ “Badstreet USA” video

When Danko Jones and Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham recently got together to discuss pro wrestling for an episode of Exclaim TV’s Chatroom the pair completely no-sold a question I sent in asking what their favourite AWA wrestler themes were. So I answered my own question… myself.

Here they are:

Sgt. Slaughter & Camouflage “The Cobra Clutch”

The Sarge was always particularly pathetic at copying Hulk Hogan’s ideas, so when the Hulkster used his (legit) music background to make an album Slaughter did, too. This is not good, but it is kinda amusing.

The Midnight Rockers using Judas Priest’s “Living After Midnight”

I totally hated those cocky dandies Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. At least they introduced me to Judas Priest, though.

The Road Warriors using Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”

“Iron Man” is a pretty awesome song when you hear it for the first time as an 11-year-old. And it’s even more awesome when it’s used to soundtrack two giant crazypeople doing previously unimaginably crazy things in the wrestling ring.

The Freebirds’ “Badstreet USA”

It’s only now as an adult I realize how great The Fabulous Freebirds were at playing the heel. The layers of dumb in this video are magic.

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Danko Jones’ ‘Fire Music’ Is For The Misfits

Danko Jerry

Danko Misfit. Enhanced photo.

There are two immediately noticeable things about Danko Jones’ seventh and latest album, Fire Music.

First, that it’s very angry. And second, that its songs are breakneck fast.

These are not unique Danko Jones traits. After all, this is a man who composed violent fantasies about nailing a record executive to a cross (“The Cross” from 2003’s We Sweat Blood), who’s signature song is about kidnapping a gal’s boyfriend and stuffing him in the trunk of a car (“Cadillac”), and who can call the king of speed rock, Motorhead’s Lemmy, a genuine friend.

There is, however, a very particular reason why Fire Music sounds the way it does: Danko Jones was channeling a blackacidevil.

“I was like, ‘Who can we use as inspiration? Who can we use as a guide?'” says Danko, explaining the dark places his mind went in order to come up with something more vicious than 2012’s Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue. “And that was Glenn Danzig. Like, the Misfits, Samhain and Glenn Danzig. That’s me. That is me. Talk to me enough and it’ll devolve into talking about my favourite Danzig things.”

Traditionally, Danko Jones songs have tread in the territory of boy-gets-girl/boy-loses-girl framed by bristling AC/DC-plus riffage. For Fire Music, though, the tone of the 11 songs created by Danko, man-at-arms bassist JC and drummer Rich Knox feel purposefully more virulent and less full of cheeky tongue wags and innuendo.

The catalyst for this turn was the throttling bury-your-enemies-alive revenge tale “Body Bags.”

“The first song off the record that was written and really set the tone was ‘Body Bags,'” says Danko. “It has a real heavy Misfits vibe that we’ve used in the past, but once we came up with ‘Body Bags’ we were just like, ‘Let’s just do a bunch of these.’ I didn’t see anyone doing it. I see bands doing it, but they’re not doing it the way I want to hear it.”

Danko Jones has never been a shy, retiring type when it comes to his music. This, after all, is a man who detached his own retina in 2006 because he was slapping himself in the face too hard when he performed on stage. But the act of getting into character, really playing a role for a song, was something he had never truly done before until producer Eric Ratz (Cancer Bats, Billy Talent) pushed him to become the creature he was singing about in Fire Music‘s songs.

“You hear all these nightmare stories of producers pushing the singer to the point where they break down, but he wasn’t doing that,” says Danko. “He was reminding me of the lyrics, ‘you just hate this guy, you want to kill him, you want to get him in a body bag and bury him, you’re a psychotic, crazy killer.’ Just like this whole acting thing. But I got into it to the point where — acting is not my forte — where I felt really spent.

“I’ve never ever tried, to use the term, ‘songcraft’ devices, it’s always been that for every song up until this record it has been a real-life experience. I’ve never looked at it like a storyteller or narrator, but songs like ‘Twisting Knife,’ which is a murder ballad put to a high-tempo, I was thinking Nick Cave and his album Murder Ballads… it set the whole wheels in motion for me going, ‘Murder ballads?’ We’ve never had a murder ballad song where the guy goes kills the spurned lover and all this stuff, nothing from personal experience, it was just these revenge fantasies playing in my head, so that’s what happened.”

In quick succession the band created a number of similar spirited songs like “The Twisting Knife” and the WWE-endorsed bar brawl anthem “Gonna Be A Fight Tonight.” The latter song came from a particularly peculiar place.

“I’ve never been in a real gang brawl,” says Danko. “But I’ve seen movies about it so it was The Warriors and West Side Story… and then you mix those two together and you get ‘Gonna Be A Fight Tonight.’ Who knew West Side Story would align itself with WWE and the Misfits?”

Having a cache of super-propulsive ragers — even dance-fight inspired ones — actually posed a too-much-of-the-same-thing problem for the trio. Their solution? Look elsewhere in the Misfits universe for catalysts, specifically the doom-blues former Misfits singer Glenn Danzig made his signature as a solo act.

“We said, ‘We’ve got five of these kinda Misfits songs. Let’s not turn the whole album into this thing,'” says Danko, explaining why they added some Danzig to their Misfits. “There’s always a Danzig thing, like ‘I Will Break Your Heart’ is loosely based on ‘She Rides’ by Danzig.

“Lyrically and the tone and the tempo as well, and just like the overall vibe we were all thinking Danzig, even on the drums in the beginning and stuff. So there was Danzig in there, Misfits were there… we didn’t want it to be like [2012 single] ‘Just A Beautiful Day,’ being prettier or softer than we’re used to. We wanted to get back on track.”

Danko alludes to what sent the band off track in only the vaguest terms, but it’s not that hard to figure out. The manicured sound of Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue now seems at odds with a band who seem more and more interested in reacquainting themselves with their bristling underground-garage-punk-hardcore roots. Likewise, one can spider-sense a certain bitterness over the departure of previous drummer Atom Willard.

The band, in turn, appear to have exorcized these demons the best way they know how — by looking at their record collection and realizing they needed to release the hellhounds and have a good ol’ fashioned bloodfeast.

“There was a lot of people and things to ‘fuck you’ to,” says Danko. “We went through a lot in 2013 as a band, morale was down, there were things going on behind the scenes that pissed us off, and JC and I felt like we were being walked all over.

“So this one was just fuck it, it’s gonna high energy, it’s gonna be non-stop pummeling. Even when it gets mid-tempo and slower the lyrics are gonna be dark.

“Basically it’s a big fuck you.”

Which, if you think about it, is exactly like how a record made by misfits should sound.

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When The Raconteurs Covered Danko Jones

Danko Jones

Danko Jones

Danko Jones may be hard rock’s Rodney Dangerfield in Canada, but in Europe he’s the king. So much so that when The Raconteurs, the band led by Jack White and Brendan Benson, were over there in 2006 they were covering Danko’s “Samuel Sin” in concert.

Danko was in Europe at the same time, in the same cities. Unfortunately he never got to see The Raconteurs perform his song — he had to be in bed.

To find out why head over to Spinner by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

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Concert Diary: Teen Crud Combo At The El Mocambo June 8, 2000

Teen Crud Combo

Teen Crud Combo

While doing some research for my interview with Allyson Baker of the way-awesome Dirty Ghosts I came across this snippet about her old band Teen Crud Combo in my concert diary. I figured it was worth sharing…

Teen Crud Combo @ El Mocambo, June 8, 2000 — I remember them being way obnoxious in a funny, Dan Burke-loves-‘em kinda way. I think they also came out with wrestling belts on. Danko came out and sang a couple songs with them. People were throwing buckets of water on them, which was kinda weird.

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Aaron’s Top Albums Of 2003

The Dears No Cities Left

The Dears No Cities Left

This is my official Top 10 album list for 2003:

1. The Dears No Cities Left
2. Songs: Ohia The Magnolia Electric Co
3. Metric Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?
4. The Coral Magic And Medicine
5. Sixteen Horsepower Olden
6. Danko Jones We Sweat Blood
7. Gord Downie Battle Of The Nudes
8. The Organ Sinking Hearts
9. Radiohead Hail To The Thief
10. Geoff Berner We Shall Not Flag Or Fail, We Shall Go On To The End

I must say, this is a mighty great year.

My #1 record this year was No Cities Left and it still holds up just as well all this time later. “Lost In The Plot” was the big single, a signature song which I love, but it was the double-shot epic tracks “Expect The Worse/Cuz She’s A Tourist” and “Pinned Together, Falling Apart” which really did it for me. They’re epic, sophisticated and they rock, all while maintaining their uniquely “Dears” narratives. These two songs done live at the time were particularly amazing, as they’d get stretched out into trance-like adventures. “Don’t Lose The Faith,” “Warm And Sunny Days,” “Never Destroy Us”… I know these songs inside out. Within the confines of “Canadian rock” or “Canadian indie” or whatever descriptive you want to use this remains one of the best records of the last decade.

The Dears “Pinned Together, Falling Apart”:

It would’ve been a heated internal debate for me at the time to put Songs: Ohia The Magnolia Electric Co. at #2. This was the transition record where Jason Molina, the mostly one-man band as Songs: Ohia became Magnolia Electric Co., a down-to-earth trucker-rock band in the vein of Crazy Horse. The change was weird to take at first, but over time the songs on this album emerged and they’re heart-striking works. There’s an internal struggle going on in this album that’s both intimately personal and universal to the human experience.

I love the playing around with the classic song trope of John Henry doing something. Songs: Ohia “John Henry Split My Heart”:

Ah, Metric’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? We were so young and innocent and unaware of Emily Haines’ prickly fits back then. It was all about dancing along to “Dead Disco” late at night. If time had stopped and Metric never did anything else ever the world would’ve probably been a better place.

Metric “Dead Disco”:

The Coral’s Magic And Medicine remains a totally slept on record here in the North of America. This record’s so hard to define. It’s sort of triangulated by the works of The Boo Radleys and Space, but at the same time remain totally outside of their worlds.

The Coral “Talking Gypsy Market Blues,” their slight Dylan return:

Clearly 2003 was the year I finally understood Sixteen Horsepower. Olden was a compilation record made up of a few different EPs, which usually makes for uneven listening, but I was completely shook and I now follow the works of band leader David Eugene Edwards closely. Olden is also one of the records that has helped me become more self-aware about the music I like. It’s not necessarily about genre anymore, but rather about intensity, purpose, gravity. I no longer care about half-measures and comfortable singalong songs. If I can’t see through to your soul in your music you’re just a circus performer.

Sixteen Horsepower “American Wheeze”:

It takes a lot for me to consider a song a match for the best of the Thin Lizzy catalog, but for simple balls-out rockers Danko Jones’ “I Love Living In The City” from We Sweat Blood is right up there.

Danko Jones “I Love Living In The City”:

My affection for Gord Downie’s solo work would continue with Battle Of The Nudes. It wasn’t quite the speak-to-me album that Coke Machine Glow was, but I still consider it a bold and brave work, complete with Sonic Youth moments and weird punk diversions. Downie could easily play out his career doing cash register rock in The Tragically Hip, but he continues to go for it. These are the ideals I respect in musicians.

Gord Downie “Pascal’s Submarine.” Not my favourite track on the record, but this album’s not well-youtubed.

I’m kinda bummed The Organ didn’t quite rule the world like I thought they would, but Sinking Hearts is still solid in a hey-it’s-the-girl-Smiths way. Haters on this EP were weird. It may not be perfect but it’s got passion.

Radiohead Hail To The Thief at #9? I think I let myself be run over by the hype train on this one. I never listen to Radiohead anymore and if I do, it’s certainly not this album.

Geoff Berner We Shall Not Flag Or Fail, We Shall Go On To The End was a pretty unexpected inclusion for me because, well, let’s face it, I’m not known as a klezmer-punk kinda guy. How We Shall Not Flag gets me is with the storytelling. “Volcano God” is brilliant and beautiful and “Maginot Line” is a valuable life lesson.

Geoff Berner “Maginot Line”:

Other album lists…

2015 Top Ten — SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart is #1
2014 Top Ten — Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There is #1
2013 Top Ten — M.I.A.’s Matangi is #1
2012 Top Ten — Dirty Ghosts’ Metal Moon is #1
2011 Top Ten — Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On is #1
2010 Top Ten — The Black Angels’ Phosphene Dream is #1
2009 Top Ten — Gallows’ Grey Britain is #1
2008 Top Ten — Portishead’s Third is #1
2007 Top Ten — Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock is #1
2006 Top Ten — My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me The Workhorse is #1
2005 Top Ten — Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl is #1
2004 Top Ten — Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry is #1
2003 Top Ten — The Dears’ No Cities Left is #1
2002 Top Ten — Archive’s You All Look The Same To Me is #1
2001 Top Ten — Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow is #1
2000 Top Ten — Songs: Ohia’s The Lioness is #1
1999 Top Ten — The Boo Radleys’ Kingsize is #1
1998 Top Ten — Baxter’s Baxter is #1
1996 Top Ten — Tricky’s Maxinquaye is #1

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