by Justin Beckner
Toronto's Danko Jones
Danko Jones is a power rock trio who have been relentlessly touring throughout the world for a very long time. I had a chance to catch up with Danko Jones on opening night of the 2010 Guns & Roses Tour in Winnipeg, Canada where they played to a nearly sold out MTS Centre.
MAXIMUM INK: Tell me a bit about your latest album.
DANKO JONES: It’s a little confusing. Our newest album was released in March of 2008. Its called Never Too Loud. We toured for that for about a year, then we put out a B-Sides record and toured for that in Europe last year. And we just finished the new follow-up album this last December, so only a month ago. That’s gonna be out this year - hopefully around May. So, Never To Loud just got released in America, B Sides is our latest record in Europe, and in Canada Never Too Loud got released almost two years ago.
MI: Danko Jones is pretty notorious for being on the road a lot. Do you have any tips for staying sane on the road?
DJ: I’ve found that the internet is a good way to stay sane. It keeps your mind busy. Other than that, eating healthy is very important because there’s nothing worse than being sick on the road.
MI: Now aside from your career as a musician, you also write for several magazines and host a radio show. Do you ever get burnt out having music as your job and your hobby?
DJ: That’s what I wanted to do all my life so having music around me 24 hours a day is comfortable to me.
MI: Could you describe the worst gig you’ve ever played?
DJ: These been a few that were pretty bad. I suppose when the only person in the crowd is the sound guy. That happened once in Rhode Island. But we still played our full set.
MI: That’s dedication. Not playing for one guy but just the fact that you toured through Rhode Island is pretty crazy. What has been the biggest obstacle in your life as a musician and how do you overcome it?
DJ: The biggest obstacle I guess would have to be the lack of marketing money and the way to overcome that is just to tour a lot and get your name out there by doing interviews and any other way you can think of.
MI: These been a lot of talk lately with our crap economy that the music industry is collapsing. Do you see that being true in the US, Canada, and Europe?
DJ: The industry in Canada goes hand in hand with whatever is happening in the states. But I think it is collapsing and at the same time there’s great music being put out by great bands every week. So people say the industry is dying but the caliber of the music being put out hasn’t weaned at all. Im not worried about the music, maybe the industry itself. As much as the infrastructure of the industry has helped bands, it has hurt a lot of bands too so maybe the industry collapsing isn’t such a bad thing. But we’ll just have to see what the next five years brings. It will be interesting.
MI: Could it be seen as a good thing if the industry were to collapse?
DJ: I see it as good and bad. Its bad that people at record labels have lost their jobs because there isn’t as much money floating around in the industry. On the other hand, it’s really bought the music onto a level playing field. Band that didn’t have that marketing money can have a myspace page and have the potential access to the same number of people that a Madonna or a Metallica would have. Today all you have to do is type in a address to where in the past you had to have these distribution arms find you. Everyone talks about how everyone is losing their jobs in the industry. But what no one talks about, and it’s a hard number to count, is the number of band that have been fucked over by labels. Majors and Indies - Indies aren’t above fucking over their bands. So if someone lost their job at a label, I’m sorry to hear but for every one person who lost their job at a label, there’s about 10 bands who got fucked over.
MI: You had a bit of experience with record label sodomy. Apparently they didn’t like your views on illegal downloading. Is that correct?
DJ: Yeah, its funny the only time I get asked about that is in Canada. It’s sad but that was the only issue that we ever really got any exposure in. It was never about the music. Illegal downloading is such and old issue and we still get asked about it a lot. It seems to be the only thing that people remember us by. I couldn’t honestly give a shit less if someone downloads an album for free. As long as they hear the music. That’s what’s important to me right now. We’ve been known as the band that lost their deal because we were too vocal about downloading. And I really don’t care about that whole deal anymore because the people who were at the label when they dropped us aren’t there. There’s only one guy still there and he’s such a cheesy douchebag that I wouldn’t want to be under his arm anyway. So, they’re all gone and we’re still here so we won and the fans won.
MI: That’s really all the questions I have, it’s really been fun talking to you. You seem to have been around the industry a long time and know what you’re talking about and I appreciate that kind of company.
DJ: Well it’s all relative. I don’t really know that much at all but compared to some of the people who have managed to weasel their way into the music industry - they know nothing. So they make us look good when it comes to that stuff. But the thing is, I don’t know too much about music. I can’t read music. I just listen to music and play what we feel are good shows. As far as marketing a band and making a band famous, I don’t know how to do that. All we know how to do is play a good show. We’ve never paid for advertising like Limp Bizkit or anything like that. We have no masterful marketing plan to make it in the music industry. We listen to a lot of records - more than the average person, the cool thing is that even we haven’t listened to most of it. So I can’t claim to be that knowledgeable.
CD: Below The Belt Record Label: Sidecho Records
• Purchase Below The Belt on Amazon