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Archive for the ‘Danko Jones’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: DANKO JONES-Garage Rock! A Collection of Lost Songs From 1996-1998 (2014).

Danko Jones has released nine albums an a bunch of EPs.  Back in 2014 he released this collection of songs that he wrote and recorded before his first proper single (1998).

This is a collection of raw songs, but the essential elements of Danko are in place. Mostly fast guitars, simple, catchy riffs and Danko’s gruff voice, filled with braggadocio.  With a cover by Peter Bagge!

He describes it:

Back in the 90’s,the Garage Rock scene, as I knew it, was a warts-and-all approach that favoured low-fi recordings and rudimentary playing over any modicum of musical prowess in order to glean some Rock N’ Roll essence. However, once a band got better at their instruments, songwriting and stage performance, the inevitable crossroads would eventually appear. Deliberately continuing to play against their growing skill would only evolve into a pose. There were a lot of bands who did exactly this in order to sustain scenester favour. We did the opposite.

What you hold in your hands is a document of what we were and where we came from. We didn’t know how to write songs and could barely play but we wanted to be near to the music we loved so badly. We ate, slept and drank this music. We still do. That’s why we have never had to reunite because we’ve never broken up. After 18 years, we’ve stayed the course, got tough when the going did and, above all else, we have never stopped. This album is the proof.

The first two songs are the best quality, with the rest slowly deteriorating with more tape hiss.

1. “Who Got It?” a big fat bass sound with lots of mentioning of Danko Jones in the lyrics. [2 minutes]
2. “Make You Mine” is 90 seconds long.  With big loud chords and rumbling bass Danko says “one day I’m going to write a book and let everybody know how to do it.  Seems to me there a lot of people around who want to see if I can prove it.  I been a rock prodigy since the age of 20 and my proof… my proof is right now.”
3. “I’m Your Man” is a bit longer.  The quality isn’t as good but the raw bass sound is great.
4. “She’s Got A Bomb” is good early Danko strutting music.
5. “Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue.”  He would name an album this many years later.  This song is fast and raw and only 90 seconds long.
6. “Dirty Mind Too” This is a fast stomping one-two-three song that rocks for less than a minute.
7. I’m Drinking Alcohol? This is funny because later he says he doesn’t drink.  I don’t know what the words are but the music is great–rumbling bass and feedbacky guitars with lots of screaming.
8. “Love Travel Demo” and 9. “Bounce Demo” are decent demo recordings.  “Bounce” has what might be his first guitar solo.
10. Sexual Interlude” “ladies it’s time to take a chance on a real man.  I’m sick and tired of seeing you women selling yourselves short, going out with a lesser man.
11. “I Stand Accused” Unexpectedly he stands accused of “loving you to much.  If that’s a crime, then I’m guilty.”
12. “Best Good Looking Girl In Town” a fast chugging riff, “oh mama you sure look fine.”
13. “Payback” This one sounds really rough but it totally rocks.
14. “Lowdown” Danko gives the lowdown: “You want a bit of romance?  I got you an bouquet of Flowers and a box of chocolates.  Why you crying for?  That ain’t enough?  Me and the fellas wrote this song just for you.”
15. “One Night Stand” garage swinging sound: Danko is a one woman man and you’re just his type.
16. “Instrumental” is great.
17. “Move On” is a long, slow long bluesy track about love.

It’s not a great introduction to Danko, but if you like him, you won;t be disappointed by this early baby-Danko period.

[READ: August 10, 2019] I’ve Got Something to Say

In the introduction (after the foreword by Duff McKagan), Jones introduces himself not as a writer but as a hack.  He also acknowledges that having something to say doesn’t mean much.  He has too many opinions on music and needed to get them out or his insides would explode.  He acknowledges that obsessing over the minutiae of bands is a waste of time, “but goddammit, it’s a ton of fun.”

So this collection collects some of Danko’s writing over the last dozen or so years. He’s written for many publications, some regularly.  Most of these pieces are a couple of pages.  And pretty much all of them will have you laughing (if you enjoy opinionated music writers).

“Vibing for Thin Lizzy” [Rock Hard magazine, March 2015]
Danko says he was lured into rock music by the theatrics of KISS, Crue and WASP.  But then he really got into the music while his friends seemed to move on.  Thin Lizzy bridged the gap by providing substance without losing its sheen or bite.  And Phil Lynott was a mixed race bassist and singer who didn’t look like the quintessential rock star.  What more could Danko ask for? (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: DANKO JONES-Below the Belt (2010).

I love Danko Jones.  He’s bad, he’s cruel, he’s crass and he rocks.  He’s everything a 15 year-old boy loves in rock.  And yet there’s something about him that even I (far older than 15) think is wonderful (perhaps he’s the thinking man’s Andrew W.K.?). 

I’m sure it’s because his early stuff was short, fast blasts of over the top machismo.  He hasn’t started too far from that template (his songs are now three minutes, but that’s okay).  And I still love him even if every song is a cliché (and that he still thinks a Cadillac is the height of coolness).

“I Think Bad Thoughts” is a stupid balls-out rocker about how bad Danko is.  Best line, “That’s how it is as a knight in Satan’s service.”  A nice nod to Kiss.  And this song is followed by the very early-Kiss sounding “Active Volcanoes.”  “Tonight is Fine” is a heavy rocker (okay they all are, that’s redundant), but “Magic Snake” is surprising because it seems to be addressing impotence (“It’s friday night but your magic snake don’t slither no more”.)–not doing anything about it, just addressing it.  “Had Enough” has a great sing-along chorus (when Danko is not yelling at you, he croons with the best of ’em).

Of course a song title like “I Can’t Handle Moderation” should tell you all you need to know about Danko (he must have his tongue in cheek, at least I hope he does.  I’ve never seen him in anything other than album covers, so I have no idea what his off-stage life is like).  It’s always a surprise when Danko reveals a softer side.  And even though “Full of Regrets” seems like it would show that softer side, it’s actually about how he’s full of regrets about any lonely nights he spent.  Heh.  “The Sore Loser” is a not very nice song about a woman.  But it’s funny.  “Like Dynamite” is all about sex, of course.

I love the aggressive riff of “Apology Accepted,” it’s faster and more furious (even if it is about accepting an apology).  And the final song “I Wanna Break Up with You” cracks me up.  It’s a song about wanting to break up with someone.  Did he imagine it as a breakup anthem?  Something you play in the background when you dump your significant other?  I particularly like the chanting “break up break up everybody break up” at the end.

There are two bonus songs on the disc (an idea as antiquated as his lyrics, but which is strangely charming).  Neither sounds like it shouldn’t be on the record–they continue what he does so well.  They’re both about guest lists, but I particularly enjoy “Rock n Roll Proletariat.” It sounds a lot like AC/DC but who fits the lyric “I pledge allegiance to the Rock n Roll Proletariat” into a chorus?  Genius!

Yup, his album covers are as sexist as his lyrics.  But there is something just cartoonish enough that I can’t help but think hes a really nice guy under it all (maybe it’s because he’s Canadian).

[READ: December 28, 2011] “Creative Writing”

Sometimes a very short, very well written story can really make your day.  I read this story this morning (because it was so short–a page and a quarter) and I was immediately hooked. 

It opens with a woman, Maya, taking a creative writing course (at the suggestion of her mother).  Maya just had a miscarriage and has been just sitting in the house not doing anything, and her mother thought that an activity wold be beneficial.  Maya’s first story was quite interesting.  [In fact, I LOVE the conceits behind each of her stories and while I immediately thought I’d like to read them, I’m not sure how will they would work beyond the simple concept presented here.  But the ideas are so clever that I wanted to read the full things right then!–maybe make this story longer and include Maya’s full works?]

All of her stories have to do with love or marriage or birth, but in wonderfully metaphorical ways.  The first story, about people who split in half to generate offspring has an ending that her teacher calls wonderful but which her husband finds quite dull.  [Incidentally, I’m all for reading stories from other cultures.  It’s fun and interesting.  But man, sometimes it’s so hard to tell the  gender of a person by his or her name is you don’t know the culture.  This story was written in Hebrew (translated by Sondra Silverston) and the secondary character’s name is Avaid.  In addition to not really knowing how to say the name, I had no idea if it was a male or female name.  I suppose it is not really up to the writer to compensate for ignorant audiences, but perhaps sometime earlier in the story an author can subtly hint at the gender of the person?  (We get the “he” in paragraph three).  Shy of a dramatis personae, there’s little that you can do organically for the story, I suppose. ] (more…)

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apocaSOUNDTRACK: DANKO JONES-Never Too Loud [US edition bonus tracks] (2009).

nevertooloudI reviewed this disc a few posts ago.   Since then the disc has finally been released in the States.  And, naturally, since I bought the import version there are three bonus tracks added on this one.  The three tracks are “My Problems (Are Your Problems Now);” “Sugar High”; “R.I.P. RFTC”

The tracks aren’t radically different from the rest of the disc.  However, the first track is notable for having a lot of backing vocals (yeah yeahs and other things).  It’s a bit weird.  As is the fact that the song sounds less bass heavy than most of their other songs–it’s still loud, but it seems a bit tinny.

The second track “Sugar High” sounds like Danko for a kids show.  In just about every other song I’ve ever heard that was about “sugar,” the sugar was a metaphor for sex.  And yet, this song’s chorus quite proudly proclaims, “ice cream cakes and candy cars, I’m the kind of guy who likes a sugar high” and “cotton candy and caramel I’m that type of guy.”  It’s almost too comical to be considered a real song, and yet it rocks really hard.  Some cartoon absolutely needs to use this song in its soundtrack.

The final song is about Rocket From the Crypt, obviously.  It’s also the first Danko song where I’ve had a hard time deciphering all of the lyrics.  But, suffice it to say that it’s a blistering fast track about the sad news that RFTC broke up.

Just three more interesting reasons to track down the CD now that it’s available in the States.

[READ: November 6, 2009] The Apocalipstix

The premise of this graphic novel is that a nuclear explosion has hit the U.S.  Our heroines are a kick-ass band comprised of three women (like Josie and the Pussy cats only really bad ass).  And despite the global destruction, they are still going to play their gigs.  Call it the “End of the World Tour.”

The main characters are: Mandy, a bad-ass black woman on guitar and vocals; Dot, a rather sweet (until she’s pushed) blonde bombshell on bass, and Megumi, a Japanese cowgirl (!) on drums who is mostly silent (she speaks Japanese) but who is very intense.

There are three short stories in this volume.  (more…)

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glassSOUNDTRACK: DANKO JONES-Never Too Loud (2008).

dankoDanko Jones is a hard and fast rock band, with a one track mind and a straightforward sound.  They deal in excessive cliches (album titles include: Sleep is the Enemy, We Sweat Blood, Never Too Loud, etc) and play mostly short songs.  And despite all that apparent negativity, I enjoy them beyond reason.

Their first full length was a compilation of their early EPs, and it was full of outrageously short songs about big dumb sex (a bunch of the tracks were under two minutes).  Danko’s voice sounds a but like Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy, to give a frame of reference.

Never Too Loud, despite the name, actually changes their style a little bit.  He throws in a ballad (!), and he’s got one song “Take Me Home” which reminds me an awful lot of Kid Rock.   And songs like “King of Magazines” and “Forest for the Trees” similarly slow the pace down (Forest for the Trees is even 6 minutes long!).  But despite all that, Danko still rocks hard.

And yes, I admit that lyrically the disc isn’t ground breaking (“Still in High School” tends to sum up a lot of the themes here), but I don’t care.  Sometimes it’s fun to just rock out.  And Danko rocks with the best of them.

[READ: October 14, 2009] City of Glass

Douglas Coupland is from Vancouver.  And this book (and the revised edition) is like a love letter to the city (although he describes it as a personalized guide book).

When he first published this in 2000, Coupland had been experimenting with things other than novels, but this was the first book he released that was primarily photography (not his own, mind you).  He mixes photos of Vancouver landmarks as well as stock photos to illustrate the varied and multicultural life of Vancouver.

He also includes alphabetically titled texts in which he writes about a paragraph or two or three about the topic.  Most of these are personal insights into the city.  It’s not a work of fiction or even a collection of essays.  It’s more like love notes about this city. (more…)

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