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Danko Jones - Sweating Blood!!
[b][i]Danko Jones is well on it's way of becoming a Rock Phemomena. After important gigs like Lowlands and the Pinkpop festival, they will be promoting their new album 'We Sweat Blood', due for a October 6th release, by playing four shows in Holland coming December. Danko called MetalRage reporter Napalm Lex for a interview. A conversation that soon ended up in sharing Danko's admiration for Heavy Metal, Rock'n'Roll, and his dislikes for some bands and situations. Enjoy![/i][/b] Hey Danko, howís it going Iím okay.. [b]This is your last day at home before heading over to the US to play a couple of gigs. Now that Born A Lion (-Danko Jonesí 2nd album) has just been released there, you must be looking forward to that.[/b] Iím looking forward to playing shows, Iím not necessarily looking forward to being in the states. I really think America is a third world country, and they havenít told the rest of the world yet, hehe. Itís not the greatest place to be in. Itís the most segregated country Iíve seen in the first world. Iím not very comfortable by the fact that Iím not WHITE. Itís kinda scary, especially these days with the supposed ďwar on terrorismĒ. Detroit for instance, I think, is a HOLE. And thatís one of the stops of the Tour. [sighs] [b]But I saw you were playing some dates with Turbo Negro, now that must be an honor[/b] Yeah, weíre doing a week with them. That should be fun. You see, the shows themselves are gonna be great, I love to see the people coming out to the shows. Itís the in-between the shows isnít going to be that much fun. [b]So not too much hope for a great stay in the US then. Touring in general is THE life for you, I think you are a classic example for a touring band.[/b] Yeah, weíre basically on tour all the time, we enjoy and prefer it that way. If you get to play, it doesnít really matter where you play. Thatís why the gigs in the States will be fun, thereís a couple of places weíll be doing that we havenít been in since a number of years. Itíll be cool to hear what the reactions will be like after that long period. Weíve been hearing, even due to the fact that weíve been held off the stage in the US, itís been growing. Over there, everybodyís heard of us, but no one has seen us. Kinda weird. I guess you could compare it to Turbo Negro. Like, when they where broken up, their popularity rose. We werenít broken up, but we didnít play there for ages, so itís quite similar. [b]Letís talk about the new album, We Sweat Blood, thatís coming out in Europe October 8th. Iíve heard the new song that has been released as a single. And my perception is that you have moved in a bit more of a raw, heavier direction on that. Is that a good preview for the entire album?[/b] Yeah, we kinda consciously made it a little heavier, with shorter songs. You know, took out the guitar solos and really got to the point. It was like with Born A Lion, and the older material, we had raw and heavy material, and later added guitar soloís, expanded the songs. But with We Sweat Blood, we all had something like ďwhy canít we take the slickness of the studio, and the rawness of how we used to be, and just put it togetherĒ. Plus we wanted to fuse a little more of a darker tone on the record, and a heavier tone as well. [b]Looking forward to hearing the whole thing. And how about the theme used on the new one. Any similarities to Born A Lion, or also more progression there?[/b] No, itís different from Born A Lion. A lot of the songs on that, were break-up songs. I went through a break-up that was really messy. When the album got released, I had already gotten over that. It was just that the songs were waiting to be released. So from the time Born A Lion came out, to the time we released We Sweat Blood, the only thing Iíve been doing is either, being on tour, or working on the new record. And thatís what the new material is about. Itís really a reference to our live show, about how I work on this band twenty-four hours a day. Thatís why Bad Taste (Dankoís label - red) doesnít hesitate to throw any interview my way, Ďcause he knows Iíll say yes to every single one of them. Iíve never turned anything like that down. And itís these work ethics that we really wanted to name this record after. To tell the world like: Ďwe work fucking hard on thisí. Itís not like other bands! They have a management company, a manager. We are self-managed. JC, our bass-player, is our manager! Because of that it turns whatís normally a two to three hour workday, into a ten to twelve hour workday. And working with all the different time zones, we almost got be up twenty-four hours a day. And while many other bands are too busy throwing televisions out of the window, we got be on the phone, or on the internet. Thereís a lot of work to be done that other bands donít ever get to see. The problems, and headaches of being in a band every day. [b]And say that We Sweat Blood, will hit number one everywhere, and you become the next big thing, would you still be on the case twenty-four hours a day, doing everything by yourself?[/b] No, no. Weíre also realists, you know. Itís very hard already to do this at this point, and weíre definitely not the biggest band around. Weíre just a band that happens to be so lucky to be able to do this twelve months a year. But I think that if things would get more and more heavier and busier, and more demands were put on the band, I think eventually a manager would have to be called in. The three of us have talked about this, that there might come a time that we have to give up the reigns to a certain degree. Weíve come to learn a lot about the industry, and because we had the reigns of control ourselves, we wonít get some manager that steps up to the band and tries to sign us away, like the bands that want to be rich and famous. We arenít like that, because of that. What they would be dealing with are: people who know what they are doing. And of course, if they can deal with that, then thatís cool. [b]So even signed to a major label, would mean for you that youíd still be on the job all the time, looking that itís going the way you want it to[/b] Oh yeah man. I think itís any musicianís responsibility to keep up with what the hell is going on. Especially in the music industry. An industry filled with a bunch of fucking rats. [b]Danko Jones will never have the famous story of a certain band that I wonít name here, that sign up with a major label, gets a shabby contract, and in the end become a band that complains about there label being rats, I gather[/b] Well hereís the thing, and I have little sympathy for bands who complain like that. And letís just call it what it is, shall we. First of all, letís take a band like Incubus. They signed with some big label, I donít know which one. Guess what, Incubus are today one of the biggest bands in the world. And they were absolute nobodies when they signed their deal. Itís not like they put out two records on a small label. They werenít on Relapse. They werenít on Earache, or In The Red! They put their first record on a major label! And because of that, they became a very popular band all over the world. When they were nobodies, they signed a shitty contract for one reason, whether they admit it or not: they wanted to be big and famous. Guess what, theyíre famous, and Iím sure theyíre doing better then me and you. So they should shut the fuck up, and deal with the shitty contract they signed!! Because they were to stupid to read the fucking contract, and to fucking greedy to wait for something better! Or maybe, do it the old fashioned way like Danko Jones does and fucking EARN a good deal!! When I heard about Incubus, that they where whining, complaining and taking their label to court, I gave them the middle fucking finger! And I hope the label screws them so hard! If you play with fire, man, you gonna get burnt! Incubus can suck my dick!! Itís like you ask to be rich and famous, you get what you want, and in the end you whine and complain about being ripped off! Youíre nobody man! I think major labels, for the most part, are evil. They fuck bands over, and fuck so many musicians around. But in this day in age, when the infrastructure for independent music is so tightÖ I mean, we get shit done so much, just by being on-line. We got the infrastructure to STAY independent, man. When you work with a major label, you better know what youíre doing, cause youíre playing with fire! We are on a major label here in Canada, but you think we gave them reigns of control? We signed a marketing and distribution deal, only in Canada. Witch allows us full control. We gave them out product, they donít OWN our masters or publishings. We do. What we said to them was: Ďwe got a record, do you wanna put it out?í Because we were too busy to do it ourselves, just for Canada. If we were here all the time, we would never put it out independently. But as it is now, weíre busy all over the world, we havenít got time for that in Canada. But in five years, we wonít complain if we get ripped off by Universal, if weíre as big as Avril Lavigne. Youíre never gonna hear that from me. [b]Well, letís change the subject to something happier, before we start to talk about Linkin ParkÖ[/b] Fuck Linkin Park too! Did you know that Linkin Park used to be called Hybrid Theory? Like their first album? Their manager made them change their name. Because, Linkin Park, in the record store would be racked next to Limp Bizkit. [b]Unbelievable a band could agree to that..[/b] Well hey, man. It got them seven million sold. And look who theyíve been touring with last summerÖ (Metallica -red). [b]Is there ever going to be a chance in re-releasing the older, out of stock albums like the My Love Is Bold EP or the self-titled debut?[/b] No. Thereís no way we are ever going to re-release those. Basically, we took a lot of those songs and put them on ĎIím Alive And On Fireí. Thereís six songs on My Love Is Bold, five of them are on Iím Alive And On Fire, and the first EP, the self titled one, all of those have been re-released in one way or another, whether it be a b-side on a single, or on Iím Alive And On Fire. [b]Thereís also going to be an exclusive limited 7Ē of the b-side to your new single I Want You, a song entitled Take Me Out On A Stretcher. Did you happen to come up with that song during the gig at the Belgium rock festival Werchter this summer? Cause I heard you say that at least twice during the gig.[/b] On one of the last shows of our tour, I dared everyone to take me out on a stretcher. Cause I was like Ďthis is the last show of our tour, who wants to put me in the hospital?í haha. Thatís where I got it from [b]The b-side to that 7Ē will be a song called Woogie Boogie. Iíve never heard of that song, is it new material?[/b] That's one of the songs that didnít make the record. Itís actually my favorite song we recorded, ironically. I fought for that song to be on the record, but I got out-voted by the band, hehe. But now that I listen to the record, they were right. Itís only because it kinda sounds like ĎLiving Loving Maidí by Led Zeppelin. I was like, fuck! everyone will think I can play like Jimmy Page, haha. [b]That would have been good credit![/b] It would have been good cred but in the end, itís the right thing not to put a song like that on your album. Itís not an album cut, itís more like a b-side indeed. But I love that song, I really like how I sang on that one. It was on of those songs we wrote, and a couple of people were like ďI donít know about this songĒ. But we decided to record it anyway, and I loved it. [b]You are coming to Holland again this December for four shows. I can tell you that many people are looking forward to seeing that one band that wrecked the Pinkpop festival again. This indicates, I think, how popular you are becoming. [/b] I donít know about the festival, but I had a great time. But seeing that weíre breaking through in a totally different country.. Itís great, man. It really gives me confidence to know that what weíre doing is the right thing. When we were in Canada, we were told that we couldnít write a song, that we didnít know what we were doing, that we should do this, and we should do that. We didnít, and kind of proved them all wrong. [b]Kind of funny that these days, thanks to the revival of Rawk, nowadays people tend to start a band that sounds exactly like the music you play isnít it?[/b] Well you know.. Fuck trends, I will be listening to rock long after everyone stops. I listened to rock since I was a little kid, I joined the Kiss-Army when I was six! Whateverís gonna be good, is gonna be good, and whateverís gonna be shit, will be shit. Thatís how it is with trends. The people who are really into it, are still going to be in to in if the trend is over. And if you can pick up some people along the way, then thatís cool. But with this rockíníroll revival thing, that everybodyís into rock againÖ Weíve been doing this for seven years, we were doing this when no one was doing it. When in Canada, which is basically known for exporting Folk music we felt like aliens from another planet. Most people were going ďwhat are you doingĒ and ďwhat is this SHIT?Ē. Of course there were always people who got it, and those were the people that sustained this band. [b]Is that love for Rock music, is that what the song ĎBring On The Mountainí is about?[/b] Bring On The Mountain is a song we had since the first years existence. It was never that long a song, actually it was only a two-minute song. Over time we played it, and expanded it, to the point that is the final song of the show every night. Itís a song that is supposed to make you feel good. I feel good when I sing it, so I love playing it. But definitely. When people told us we sucked, especially from Canada, it was fuel for the fire. It makes me want to shove it in their face even more. And nowadays people from Canada are going ďholy shit, what are those danko Jones guys actually doing?Ē. [b]Is this a typical thing about Canada and rough guitar music? It seems that the story of a band like Strapping Young Lad is similar to what you are telling here. Am I getting the right picture here?[/b] Yeah, Strapping Young Lad, man, they donít do anything here. Do you think that shit will fly in Canada? They are in their own scene, there is no real Canadian metal-scene any more. There used to be, a long time ago, but that'í all faded away now. I thing that dominates the musical landscape here is this horrible folk-based music. Whether it be, country, rock or pop music, itís folk based. Meaning you can break everyone of those songs down, and play it by a campfire, while camping. No matter how much production a song has you could break it down and play it on an acoustic guitar. Itís horrible. There are great bands in Canada, like you said, Strapping young Lad are one of them. Itís funny, because we played in Vancouver (hometown of Strapping Young Lad -red) last year. Gene Hoglan, Strapping Young Ladís drummer was apparently at our show. He used to be in Dark Angel as you might know. So I went like ďIím looking for Darkness Descends by Dark Angel, Iíve been looking all over the place, ebay, everything, and I still am. I heard Gene is in this club right now, and if he is, Iíd like a copy please!Ē He left before I got a chance to meet him. But he told the guy who told me Gene was there ďjust tell Danko to give me an e-mail and Iíll get him a copyĒ. That reminds me, I still gotta e-mail him, haha. [b]Back on the Topic of touring Holland, of which we drifted a long time ago, I noticed you are playing four quite small venues in the Netherlands (Effenaar, Vera, Nighttown, Melkweg), while, in my opinion, you could easily sell out two slightly bigger venues. Is that a conscious choice to play smaller clubs?[/b] No, not at all. Those were just the shows that were given to usÖ I donít really know, thatís not really my department. [b]But if you had to choose between two large venues and four smaller clubs, what would you prefer?[/b] It depends. A lot of it has to do with how many dates weíre playing. If weíre playing the kind of tour weíll be doing, which is basically seven days on, one day off, Iíd much prefer two shows in a bigger venue, then four in smaller venues, if weíre playing seven days a week. It has to do a lot with that and this band. Weíre doing four in Holland, which is cool, we like Holland. [b]Are you familiar at all with the Dutch Rock Ďní Roll scene? Any bands in particular you like?[/b] I like some Dutch bands, like Peter Pan Speedrock, The Spades, SpoilerÖ. Theyíre all cool bands [b]As I hear you talk throughout this interview, I get the idea that you are a great fan of the Metal genre. Have you got any great metal albums lately that youíd recommend to the MetalRage.com readers?[/b] The new Entombed record, Inferno. I LOVE Entombed, itís so fucking heavy, in such a great rocking way, theyíve got this kind of rock thing about them that I love. The riffs are metal, but they ROCK. I like that one a lot. The latest Lamb Of God rocks. Iím Lamb Of God fanÖ GodÖ I always forget when Iím asked to do thisÖ I like the new Anthrax record, surprisingly. Iím such an Anthrax booster, I canít but like their music. Theyíve been around for so long, and theyíre such nice guys. Theyíre fans of Danko Jones, and theyíre one of my favorite metal bands of all time. I got the new Voivod record, which was okay.. But full-on metal albums.. those are the first few that come to my head. [b]Do you really keep up to date with the whole world of metal? It seems you are a big fan, since youíre so frantic to get exclusive Dark Angel material.[/b] Well I try to keep up, thereís a lot of metal I DONíT like. Nile for instance. I donít like that stuff. To be honest with you, I have the latest Nile record, but I really canít listen to it. Not the whole thing at once any way. That style of music takes a lot out of me. [b]That was actually my final question, thanks for your time, and good luck in the States![/b] Thanks, man. Weíll see each other in Holland!