By Trevor Morelli
CALGARY – If bands like AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, and Black Sabbath are staples of your vinyl collection, then Danko Jones is your man. More than 20 years into his career, Jones is still Canada’s main purveyor of rock n’ roll and with good reason.
Released last March, Jones’ eighth album Wild Cat is heavy on big guitar riffs, deep thumping bass, and furious drum beats. It’s an album meant to be turned up loud at a Saturday night house party and Jones says the band’s upcoming live shows will bring the good times to life.
“We’re a rock band, we’re going to play a rock show,” he says.
One track from Wild Cat that’s been turning heads is first single “My Litte RnR,” which makes good use of the cowbell. As cliché as it is, it’s the kind of song that would make Christopher Walken proud.
“Well, we usually incorporate cowbell on at least two or three tracks on every album of ours, so that one just happened to be the single,” Jones offers.
“”You Are My Woman” is probably my favorite song off the record but it’s like the third single off it. I mean that’s just how it rolls. Everybody thought “My Little RnR” was the way to go for a first single and I didn’t really debate it.”
Even though the band takes its eponymous name from Jones, the front man says writing Wild Cat was a group effort, just as it was on previous records.
“It’s a collaborative effort. I mean, we are a band, so you know, maybe I’ll come in with a guitar riff, and maybe we’ll work it out from there and everyone will have their say, or maybe come up with a different part here and there.”
For Wild Cat, Danko Jones worked with acclaimed producer Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Big Wreck). It’s their second time working with him following their last album Fire Music in 2015.
“Well this is our second album with him but we’ve known him for a very, very, very long time. With Fire Music, we finally got him on board as producer. He’s been making a name for himself as a producer while we’ve been touring and our reputation, our profile has been rising alongside his. So it’s good that we were finally able to work together.”
Jones says working with Ratz was a natural fit.
“For me personally, it’s a good meeting of the minds. We’re a pretty self-sufficient band when it comes to songs. We can write all the songs. It’s not something that he has to come in and put his producer hat on and start you know, helping us write the songs, like some producers do and like some bands need.”
He continues, “What he does bring is a really good ear and he knows how to get good sounds and tones, especially for me, as a guitar player. He knows how to get a good guitar tone, probably the best guitar tones I’ve had on some of our studio albums.”
After two decades, the goal for Danko Jones is the same: keep making solid rock anthems no matter how hard it gets.
“I guess I have my eye on the practical prize which is just being able to continue to make music and make albums,” suggests Jones.
“Because it’s really actually getting harder and harder to make a record these days. As easy as it is to record the album, I mean anyone can record now in a bedroom and make it sound pretty top shelf, but the fact that, you know, it’s leveled the playing field to the point where there’s just so many albums being put out. Your album gets lost in the shuffle so I don’t even know if people make albums anymore. So to be able to make music is a goal in itself.”
Danko Jones will be playing November 7 at Better Than Fred’s (Grande Prairie), November 8 at The Starlite Room (Edmonton), November 9 at The Gateway (Calgary), and November 10 at Nashville’s (Winnipeg).Better Than Fred, Danko Jones, Nashville’s, The Gateway, The Starlite Room