Danko Jones — the singer/guitarist of the Canadian hard rock trio of the same name — recently appeared on the "Cobras & Fire" podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the influence of KISS:
Danko: "I did join the Kiss Army when I was six. I got KISS 'Alive!' – that was my first rock album. I guess that would be a big deal, especially when KISS wrote me back. That was actually the biggest thing. Once they wrote me back, I kind of became a fan for life, so to speak... I am a fan, but my fandom isn't blind. There's people who will buy everything. Maybe 10 years ago, or even further back, I would have bought stuff that I could [have], anything, but [now], I don't need it. Once I got the 'Kisstory' books, I'm done. That's all I need, really. I don't need anything else. What else is there after that? Especially 'Kisstory I'. Nobody needs 'Kisstory II'. It's pretty garbage, but just having those two things, I don't need anything else. Plus, I honestly feel [that] with Tommy [Thayer] and Eric [Singer], they're cool and very capable musicians, but if they're to join KISS, they have to have their own makeup. That's a big thing to me. When Eric [Carr] joined and when Vinnie [Vincent] joined, they had their own makeup, and it made sense to me. I accepted them easily, but you can't wear Ace's makeup. That's Ace Frehley's makeup. They set the precedent when they made Eric 'The Fox'. I'm not going by my own rules. These are the rules they set. That's just how I feel. I'm not into it, man. The new music is cool, and they can do whatever they want — it's their band — but I don't have to be, like, a huge booster like I was growing up, and like I am up until about, I don't know, 'Lick It Up' [and] 'Asylum'. That's where I pretty much say, 'Bye.' I like 'Revenge', but that's about it."
On the vinyl revival:
Danko: "I don't really understand how people who just started [buying] vinyl are suddenly collectors now. I find the notion ridiculous. It's just a pose... For me, collecting vinyl wasn't because I wanted to look cool and have a big collection so I could show off. My whole reason for collecting vinyl was because CDs were exploding and people were unloading their record collections, and you could get them for, like, $3. Albums that now go for $40 or $50, you could buy them for five bucks. For $20, I could walk into a used record store and come out with three or four albums. To me, it was more of a way — this is before the Internet — to listen to as much music for as little money as I possibly could. I didn't have a lot of money at all, so $10, if I could get two albums instead of one, then I win. I didn't care if it was used; I didn't care if the speakers I had weren't the best. In fact, they were probably the worst. As long as I could hear the music, that was all that counted."
Danko: "I grew up with cassettes. That's another fetishized piece of furniture now. People think they're so cool... They unraveled. The worst is when they would unravel, and that was the only cassette you brought and you're two hours away from home, so now, you have to go home on the bus in silence. That's why when I hear people fetishizing cassettes, I [know] they didn't live through it. They don't know how really bad it is, because if they did, they'd never touch it."
On judging his own discography:
Danko: "We're our greatest critics. I think you ask most people that, they'll tell you [the same thing]. What I don't like is when we're in a room or in some place that's public where there's a stereo system, and whoever's there decides to start playing a mix of our songs. I can't even concentrate, because then I start fixating on the sound and if it's any good. I don't like to hear it back publicly like that. I can do it privately, but I can't do it publicly. Sometimes, the errors and the mistakes start really sticking out for me in those situations, so it's hard for me to listen to our albums in that setting. There's albums in our discography where I think we missed the mark. Sometimes, I can't go into it publicly why we did, but I know why we did. Privately, we all know why. I think [2008's] 'Never Too Loud' was a weak album — the mix was terrible, but the demos were great. If everybody had heard the demos and we had stuck to the demos, then it would have been a great successor to [2006's] 'Sleep Is The Enemy'. [2012's] 'Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue', that was the result of a recording session that was rife with tension and arguments, and it just wasn't cool. It wasn't a good time. I had a terrible time. J.C. [bassist John Calabrese] had a terrible time. There's a lot of takes on that session that were rushed. It was just terrible. It wasn't organized well time-wise. We spent too much time talking about stupid shit when we should have just been, like, recording. There's other albums like [2017's] 'Wild Cat' and [2015's] 'Fire Music' and our new one, 'A Rock Supreme', where... the vibe is better in the band, we all laugh and have a good time together, and we don't have to talk shit out — we just get to the business of making some rock with really talented people who are helping us, like [producers] Garth Richardson and Eric Ratz. It just makes a better album. Just concentrate on fucking tones rather than, like, 'I don't like how you spoke to me about my take playing my instrument yesterday.' That only happens if there's someone with a huge, giant ego that is as fragile as you can imagine, so everybody has to walk around [on eggshells]. That's happened in several situations, several times over the years in our band. For one reason or another, there's always been one person that kind of fucks up a really possibly great situation, but now, everybody's got a level head and is pretty grounded to know that, 'Hey, not everyone gets to do it, so let's put our stupid shit aside and have fun.'"
On the difficulty of being in a "rock" band in today's music industry:
Danko: "Being in a metal band or a punk band, even an indie-rock band, there's an infrastructure behind that. There's a scene and a community that helps support it, or at least puts you in the right context. When you're put in the right context, you automatically get, if not a fan base, a certain amount of curious listeners, whereas a rock band, there is no community in hard rock music the way there is in metal and punk. There's no community; there's no infrastructure; there's no websites dedicated to it... Even within heavy metal — take DEAFHEAVEN or DEATHSPELL OMEGA or EMPEROR. That is as wide and far from a band like METALLICA or ANTHRAX, but it's still under the umbrella of metal, so it's still within the community. You can have disparate sounds within the community and still, the fan base remains, and you still have at least curious parties who will check out your band. In rock, there's nothing like that. Even though a band like KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD sound a million miles away from, let's say, GRETA VAN FLEET, to me, they're still two rock bands — but there's really no community that binds those two bands together, like there is a community that binds METALLICA to EMPEROR or METALLICA to MAYHEM. Even though it's two different scenes [and] two different types of people who would even end up going to those shows, it's still under the umbrella of metal, whereas in rock music, there's no such thing... It's hard to call yourself a hard rock band or a rock band these days."
"A Rock Supreme" will be released on April 26 via M-Theory Audio (U.S.), Rise Above (UK), Indica (Canada, AU, NZ) and AFM (rest of the world). The album was produced by Garth Richardson (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS) and features cover artwork by Ulf Linden (GRAVEYARD, EUROPE).