Welcome Back: Danko Jones

There is a fine line between hard rock and heavy metal and Canada’s Danko Jones has been riding it like a feral stallion since the late 90s. His self-titled band’s sound may adhere to a strict template of balls-out rock’n’roll, but thanks to Danko’s lifelong love of heavy music there are always a few nods to the metal world on their records and new album Fire Music – produced by Eric Ratz (Cancer Bats/Monster Truck) – is no exception, right down to some gleefully blatant moments of Maiden-inspired grandeur.

“There was a lot of Iron Maiden talk during the sessions!” laughs Danko. “The last song, She Ain’t Coming Home, has a solo where we were trying to emulate Adrian Smith and Dave Murray. We did it deliberately just to see if we could, and we were laughing our heads off when we realised we were as close to Maiden as this band will ever get. Normally I have to tone down my metal influences a little, but if you think about a band like Celtic Frost, their early albums are pretty raw and the riffs are very simplistic and rock’n’roll. We’re a hard rock band… but if you decode the riffs, you can hear the metal!”/o:p

Anyone who’s seen Danko Jones live will know that the band kick as hard as any metal band, but it’s their darkly humorous and spiky lyrical approach that truly sets them apart.

Fire Music brims with startling verbal gems, ranging from the furious Gonna Be A Fight Tonight (“It’s a cross between The Warriors and West Side Story!” says Danko) and the self-explanatory Do You Wanna Rock through to the simply hilarious Getting Into Drugs; a distinctly non-cautionary tale about discovering the joys of illicit intoxication.

“I’ve been vocal over the years about not drinking or doing drugs,” Danko explains. “Not that I never have… But it’s not about me. It’s about someone who’s never done it before and starts late and discovers he likes it! I haven’t done it for so long that I’m almost like that guy again now… ha ha ha! Maybe people will start throwing bags of pot on the stage when they hear this song. There are certain people in our camp who wouldn’t mind that!”