Interview

DANKO JONES (English Version - 2012) - JC (Bass guitar)

As you're reading these lines, DANKO JONES' latest album is finally out. New drummer, same force, JC talks about this...


JC : Hello Nicolas !

SBM : Hey how are you ?

Oh great thank you!

Thank you for your time…

You’re welcome, my pleasure!

We’re here to talk about your brand new album that you’re currently promoting. So how do you feel about the release and the work you’ve done?

I’m really happy with it. Our new album “Rock’n Roll is Black and Blue” is the first one with our new drummer Atom Willard. And it should be out in the fall of summer and I think it will be receive quite well by the fans as it’s “Below the belt” blast off…
Yes it’s gonna be fun for the fans.

Yeah I had the chance to listen to the album very quickly. Can you explain to us the title “Rock’ n Roll is Black and Blue” What does it mean to you?

Well, basically when you say that something is black and blue you can also say what you‘ re going to fight, you’re bruised and things like that, so when we say rock’n roll is black and blue, we just say that rock’n roll is going to a fight, it’s getting kicked on and, you know, it’s kind of being beat up (Laugh).
And in a way it’s a king of message to show how rock’n roll is viewed, it’s kicked in a back. There are more popular stuff like Hip Hop, RNB, so yeah, rock’n roll is black and blue, it’s going to fight, but here we are, still doing rock’n roll.

Yeah thank you for that! (Laugh)

Oh no problem! (Laugh)

And how would you describe your musical evolution between “Below the Belt” and “Rock’n roll is Black and Blue”. And moreover you have a new drummer, so how would you sum up all the evolution?

I think that we have a really fresh and new energy in the band, and a really big chemistry with the three of us, so it was a chance for us to jam. You know, for “Below the Belt”, basically it was Danko and I doing the whole songs, all the songs. And then we had the drummer coming and just play the part, but with the new one it was definitely a coming back to the roots of the band, you know… three people in a sweating room, playing and creating. You know I’m not the kind of “cliché” to say that when a new guy joined the band it’s a different energy but… It was definitely a different energy.

Why did you have to change you drummer? Has he left the band?

It’s just that he was a good musician, a good player but… There were some things that would not have worked with him, writing just became a kind of war so it was just time to make a change, and when we told him he was surprised, he said “Oh I didn’t know I can last this long, thanks for the opportunity”. That’s what he told us. (Laugh).

As you said, your stuff is rock’n roll. You have songs that last between three or four minutes, like short powerful songs. But have you ever think about writing longer songs? More epic maybe? Or do you prefer… Blast the faces ? (Laugh)

I think we just want to blast the faces, but we’ve already done a few songs like “Never too Loud” or “Forest for the Trees” that are really longer…

In your influences we have a lot of bands like Motorhead, AC/DC, and punk bands. Have your influences evolved from your beginning ‘til now?

Hum no… To be honest we’ve always had these core influences like Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Motorhead, it’s a kind of tricks we took to those bands that have inspired me and Danko doing what we’re doing.

And by keeping those core influences, are you afraid to have, one day a lack of inspiration?

Well you know, these old bands have really paved the way, and what we’re doing is just something that has been done before so we recognize that… We’re not doing anything new! (Laugh).
And the difficulty comes into talking about a subject somewhere in the rock and making it interesting. You have so many songs like… Well I say it all the time, like Danko, lyrical contests always talking about being in a relationship, not being in a relationship, not being with the girl, want to be with the girl. And he can write so many songs about that and it still keeps it fun, still keep it fresh. It’s the difficult part so it’s a real challenge in the way that we do that we do and it’s fun. And when it’s fun, we really enjoy what we do and I think that people can see that when they come to the shows. Because when you listen to the records you can say “These guys are having fun. They love what they do”.

And talking about the lyrics, you said that you were talking about relationships and stuff like that. But have you ever think about writing about wars, society and things like that?

Well no, we just want to tell simple rock’n roll messages, that is that. We leave the war and stuff to Bono (Laugh). If U2 want to write a song too, we’ll go on tour with them! (Laugh).

(Laugh) Great idea!
On the album we have this song “You wear me down” which sounds really bluesy. So have you thought about adding more blues influences?


Yeah you know when we were working on this song we called it the “Zeppelin song”; because it has a total Zeppelin vibe, and it’s definitely bluesy. We wanted that song, it gives more stuff, even if we wouldn’t have done this on the whole record. But “You wear me down” is a good example of classic rock in the vein of Led Zeppelin which is another influence that I have not mentioned before, but of course Led Zeppelin is a major influence, from the drum to bass part, to the guitars.

So you’re mainly influenced by old bands, but, personally, have you “modern” bands that make rock’n roll being alive?

You mean recently?

Yeah, let’s say within the last ten years?

Well there are so many bands, Mike Monroe, Doom Riders… There are so many bands, so much music… The French band Gojira, which is a great band…
But you have to be really fan of music to be really able to keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re not, you won’t be happy and you’ll get tired of doing stuff.

You’ve mentioned Gojira, which is really a death metal band, so do you also listen to this kind of music?

Yeah I definitely listen to stuff like that… Gojira, Mastodon, At the Gates, Shining…

Ok… And at the end of the album we have the song “I believed in God” which sounds really religious. So can you tell us more things about this song?

Well in a way it’s a kind of blaspheme because the song is “I believED in God”, so I used to believe but now I don’t believe in God. It’s more the way of singing we wanted to had, the gospel, and making it like that.

And during summer you will make an appearance at the huge Wacken festival. What does it represent for you?

Oh yeah… Actually we played there last year. But this year it’s just Danko that’s gonna be doing a spoken word performance. And it’s going to be him doing a one hour lecture of his favorite band which is Kiss.
He’ll be there during two days, and I think he’s going to sing a song with Scorpions.

Yeah! That’s a great thing!

Yeah it’s a great festival and lot of fun… And hopefully we’ll be back next year in France and we gotta play Hellfest, there’s a great festival here.

Great news!!
So at the end of 2012 you’re going to tour, but what are your plans for 2013?


Definitely more touring. There is going to have a tour during spring, and then we’ll do festivals, so we’ll be pretty busy.

And have you already new materials for the next album? Maybe some songs from your studio session?
Well we have different ideas on some projects, we have a lot of songs that we haven’t put on the record. We wrote over 14 or 15 songs for this record… We went down to the studio with 16 and we recorded 13. So we’ll keep working on it…

OK and do you have side projects or things you’d like to do beside Danko Jones?

Well you know I’ve already worked on some music but… Just for fun. I do some kind of electronic music but it’s more for fun, Danko is the main thing that I do.

So you don’t want to record your personal stuff…

No… I’m happy with the famous story I live with the band…

Yeah this would be enough… (Laugh)

(Laugh) Totally!

I guess we’re reaching the end of the interview now, so I’d like to leave you the final words. If you wanna say something to your French fans?

Well for people, just check out our website, dankojones.com, the new album is “Rock’n roll is Black and Blue”, and definitely keep an eye on it for tour dates and we will see you “la prochaine fois en France” (Pronounce in French).

Hey very nice pronunciation! (Laugh)
Oh fuck I forgot a question, sorry… And it’s quite important. You’re currently promoting a brand new DVD. So can you tell us more about the stuff in?


Yeah basically it’s a 90 minutes documentary of the band, a 20 minutes short film which is three last videos we did together into one short film. It has a collection of all the music videos we’ve ever done, and it has about 13 or 14 live clips of us all around the world. I think this will be a very good introduction for people who don’t know the band.
So people can take a look at it it’s called “Bring on the Mountain”.

It sounds really awesome for the fans and the newcomers too…

Oh thank you…

You’re welcome.
Well again, thank you for your time…


Thank you for doing this…

My pleasure… Good evening!

Good evening.
 
Critique : SBM
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