DFW Music News

Who the Hell is Danko Jones?

Who the hell is Danko Jones? "We're just a hard rock band from Toronto," he says. Yet, something in his radio friendly voice hints at a deeper meaning behind a man who shares a name with Danko Reproductions, a custom body shop; Emile Danko, a fictional Homeland security agent; and Rick Danko, another Canadian musician who was a member of The Band, a popular Canadian roots rock group inducted in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

Danko recently tweeted:

Have to interview me but don't know anything about the band? No problemo. Luckily it's 2013 and there's YouTube and Wikipedia. Try using them."

If you do, you'll find the band was formed in '96, released a six-song ep in '98 and another one in '99, was nominated for a Juno Award in 2000 for Best Alternative Album. Danko (vocals/guitar), John "JC" Calabrese (bass) and Atom Willard (drums) released their first full-length album - Born A Lion - in 2002, followed by We Sweat Blood in 2003, Sleep Is The Enemy in 2005/2006, Never Too Loud in 2008, B-Sides in 2009, Below the Belt in 2010 and, finally, Rock and Roll is Black and Blue in 2012.

Danko Jones also has a 90-minute documentary called Bring on the Mountain that features a short film of their latest three videos, a few other music videos and several clips of their live performances, not to mention their live oral history book entitled Too Much Trouble: A Very Oral History of Danko Jones. Not bad for a band who's still struggling for national recognition, although they did gain recognition in Europe when their most successful commercial album to date Never Too Loud became a Top 40 hit in Germany.

But who the hell is Danko Jones? Music critics compare the band's sound with its crushing power chords to AC/DC, Thin Lizzy and even Motörhead. Hollywood also seems to like the band's "garage sound." His song "I'm Alive And On Fire," which was offered on a 2001 album of the same, was featured on HBO's popular vampire series True Blood. "I'm not sure if we have some kind of element that attracts TV shows," Danko says. "We're just a hard rock band."

But what other hard rock band has Elijah Wood and Selma Blair starring as hitmen hunting Danko in a Tarantino-esque Below the Belt trilogy, which also features Ralph Machio and a Capitol One Viking? No, Danko Jones is not just a simple hard rock band from Toronto.

Danko has a series of podcasts called "The Official Danko Jones Podcast," and he's a spoken word poet who released a spoken-word album entitled The Magical World of Rock - named after his syndicated 2003-2006 radio show. "The Professional," "The Magical World of Rock" and "The Ozzygraph Session." They're more conversational pieces about various facets of rock-n-roll than lines of poetic words engaging listeners' hearts and minds.

So who the hell is Danko Jones? He's one talented dude. But only you can decide if you should care.

Danko Jones will be playing sometime between 2 and 5 p.m. on the second or third stage of the Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival on Wednesday, August 28.

Keep up with DC9 at Night on Twitter or Facebook.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.

Latest Stories