Intervista ai Danko Jones

20 anni di carriera, un nuovo album, Wild cat, uscito a Marzo e un concerto al Live club di Trezzo d’Adda, per il trio hard rock canadese dei Danko Jones. Abbiamo approfittato del loro passaggio a Milano per chiedere a Danko, JC (l’italianissimo John Calabrese) e Rich come stanno andando le cose nel pieno di questo tour europeo.

– You started your tour for the new album some months ago. How do you compare Canadian and European audience? How did the guys react to this album?

Danko: It has been a pretty good reaction overall everywhere. People seemed to dig it a lot with positive reviews, from social media feedback and comments. People seems to really like it. It’s great!

– Are you enjoying to play it live?

Danko: Yeah, we’re putting lot of the new songs in our setlists and yes, they’re cool to play

– Speaking of setlists, after all your releases how do you guys put on a setlist for a concert? How did you find a balance between new and old stuff for this tour?

JC: iPod shuffle. (ridono) I do that and then I send the setlist to the guys. They don’t know that I do this. They just found it right now.

Danko: Oh, so it was iPod shuffle?

JC: What are we doing tonight? iPod shuffle.

Danko: After so many years the setlist is really heavy on a lot of songs. We know which of them the audience loves more, so there are certain songs that need to be put in the setlist. Always.

JC: Yes, you always have to play them because they were singles, they did well…

Danko: Even if we’re not a band with a lot of hit songs that everybody knows like Sugar Ray or something like that, there’s a couple of songs we definitely must play. Obviously we have a new album now so we have to play new songs, then there’s people who’s coming to our show for the second, third time and maybe they’d like to listen to something new or different. So sometimes it’s kind of hard work to do. I let JC do it.

JC: Yeah. IPod shuffle. (ridono tutti)

Danko: Actually I’m game for anything, I love our songs and I can play them repeatedly. When I’m sick of a song it’s kind of “I’m sorry guys. We’re not going to play it.” – but sometimes you just have to give a break to certain songs and then bring it back on setlist later on.

– Let’s come back to the new album. How did you write it? How many songs didn’t get into the album?

JC: Actually there were a lot of ideas that didn’t become songs and reach the track list, but a lot of time the ones that make the album are the ones that almost wrote themselves, the ones where we spend the least amount of time. Sometimes you start overthinking on a song and you get tired of it, so that’s why it doesn’t go into the album. For the big majority of them it works like that.

Danko: Generally speaking, I bring some riffs to JC and if some of them get his interest, we’ll continue and maybe do a loose arrangement that we could bring when we’re the three of us together, then jamming on it and make changes together. A lot of our songs work like that, but for instance on our single “Do you want to rock?” (da “Fire music”, n.d.r.) Rich started playing this drum beat and then we jammed on that and there was this kind of upside down process that brought in the song. But we never start with lyrics. Never. I’m not into singing melodies under the shower. (Canticchia come fosse sotto la doccia. Tutti ridono)

– Do you have time to write during your tours?

JC: It happened in the past. We wrote some songs on the road but we’re not really used to that. Well, “Full of regret” (da “Below the belt”) actually was written during a sound check. It happens, but our usual routine is at home.

– Who do you think are now the leading flag of hard rock and rock’n’roll? Are there any new bands that share with you the same genre and you’d like to suggest?

JC: Giuda, from Rome

Danko: Yep, them!

JC: You have to check them! There are so many good bands…

Danko: King Gizzard (& the Lizard Wizard, n.d.r.) from Australia but also Ecstatic vision. Their album “Raw rock fury” is incredible. Night flight Orchestra from Sweden are amazing and also Dr.Boogie from L.A.

JC: There’s so much music nowadays that you can’t remember the names of all those good band. You just manage to listen to their songs and then the name goes into the list of the others.

– That’s true. What you think about the way new generations access to tons of music and their attitude towards rock’n’roll and playing music?

JC: Young people is no more buying instruments because they have to pay Spotify? (ridono)

Danko: Yeah, but actually you don’t necessary have to play rock’n’roll.

JC: The other side of it is that kids that do play music now, are able to look at YouTube videos, slow them down and study how people move their hands, how people play. It’s an easier way than ours, when we had to rewind the cassette or put the record on.

– And what about you guys, when you started playing music. I know Danko likes Van Halen, but is there an artist or a gig that you attended and you thought “I wanna do that! I want to be a musician.”?

Danko: I think Van Halen is a good start. (ride)

JC: When I was a kid, I went to see Raw Power in Cosenza. I liked them so much that some years ago we asked them to play with us in Milano (2011, Bloom – Mezzago). It’s just great to be playing music for so long with bands like Motorhead, that are being so much inspirational for us. We got the chance to play with them. And there’s still a lot of people that we’d like to meet.

Rich: I joined the band 4 years ago, so maybe the music that inspired me and them could be a bit different, but mine is first coming from the rock bands I used to listen like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Nirvana. When I was at high school I was more into grunge.

– Your first release was 20 years ago. Is there any advice you’d like to give to the 20 years ago Danko Jones band?

JC: Get rich! (ridono)

Danko: Don’t be a dick! (ridono)

Andrea De Cunto | Foto: Giuseppe Rechichi