Danko Jones is ready to take the stage at the three-day, 10th annual Slinging Ink Tattoo Expo on Saturday night at Freeman Coliseum. Just don't ask the singer/guitarist, whose name is stamped all over the Canadian trio, to get branded himself.
That's right. Jones is a rock star without a single tattoo on him. Commence gasping. Then understand that Jones is all about his music. And speaking his mind.
Having released sixth full-length album Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue last October (click on video box at lower left for "Just A Beautiful Day"), Jones, bassist John Calabrese and drummer Atom Willard will be going on before headliners Volbeat (details at bottom). Jones, who says he's "between 20 and 50," also delves in podcasting and writing articles about anything that crosses his mind. He phoned me Thursday from Oklahoma City to, well, say what's on his mind:
Q: Rock & Roll Is Black And Blue is a terrific album. What makes it different than your previous efforts?
A: Thank you. That's a hard answer. It's just another rock record. We're not one of those bands that uses words like "progression." We're a rock band. We know who we are and what we do. And the next record's going to be another hard rock record and just contain, you know, 10, 11, 12 hard rock songs that hopefully will rock people the way it rocked us enough to put it on the album. Mainly in the tradition of bands like AC/DC, Motorhead, Slayer, and The Ramones. Not comparing ourselves to them. But just in the way they stuck to their story and understood who they were and what they were. To carve out a signature sound is more difficult than people think. If people could hear 10 seconds of a song of ours that they've never heard before and be able to identify it as us, that would be a compliment.
Q: Since you're playing the Slinging Ink Tattoo Expo, it's only fitting that I ask: how many tats do you have, and which is the most significant?
A: I have zero tattoos.
You know, I thought that. But I just wanted to make sure.
Which is very rare for a rocker these days.
Yes! I'm going against the grain.
Q: So there's zero chance of you getting your first here Saturday when you see all those booths and everybody getting tattoos?
A: There is zero chance.
I know you were at Soundwave last week. It's almost surreal to think that you were in Australia and came straight to Texas (Dallas on Wednesday).
Q: And I saw footage of you jamming with Duff McKagan's Loaded on classic Guns N' Roses. Any other highlights or stories that stuck out from the festival?
A: Yeah, I mean, touring festivals end up being more than kind of a big camping trip. They put you up in nice hotels. You shuffle around with a couple key bands, and you kind of get to meet most of the bands on there. Yeah, I mean, getting on stage and stuff with F----d Up, Nervous Breakdown. Got to meet Mike Dean, Sum 41. Even Metallica came by the first night. It was nice.
Q: You've been a band for more than 15 years, but you're still in the land where Rush is revered for its longevity and Nickelback for its popularity. Has it been a blessing or a hindrance making music on the Toronto scene?
A: Well, I mean we were a band when the Toronto scene first started. What every band wants to do is go on the road. And we eventually were able to do that, to the point where we were on the road more than we were at home. So you do that for 10 years, come home for any extended period of time, and you quickly realize that the scene has moved on. I feel a little disconnected with the scene. That's only because the natural trajectory of what every band wants to do is go on the road.
Q: Your band has had its songs on the TV show "True Blood," the NHL 11 video game, the "Saw 7" movie soundtrack and commercials for Ford & Budweiser. If you had one of those to pick as the most beneficial, which would it be and why?
A: It's hard to really track. You really don't know how people find out about your band. You just see them at the gig. You know what I mean? You just see that they bought our album on iTunes, but you don't get to really track how they found out about us, whether it was through a magazine or a commercial or a video game. I don't really know what is most beneficial, but I would say "True Blood" was the most immediate just because we followed the tweets on Twitter. It's hard to say which was most beneficial.
Q: A notable Texan who I'm guessing will be there Saturday is your "Viva la Rock Fantastico" partner in crime, Jason McMaster (see "suggested" links in blue below). How did the idea for that video come about?
A: I met Jason in I think '04 on tour with Turbonegro. It was an Austin, Texas, stop, and he was in the crowd, and he knew all our songs and introduced himself afterwards. I have Dangerous Toys albums back in the day, so it was easy to hang. We just kept up. When they (Broken Teeth) were making that Viva la Rock album, we were in Austin for the Texas Rock Festival. We filmed it in about as much time as it takes to watch it.
Q: I interviewed Biff Byford on Valentine's Day, and I've seen Saxon's "Heavy Metal Thunder" documentary where you spoke about what a thrill it was for you to tour with Saxon and Motorhead in England (in 2009). What did you learn most from them?
A: Both bands treated us really well. Both bands have been doing it for so long. The longevity is something to take into account.
Q: I have a question from one of my social media readers. Steve from San Antonio wants to know if you recorded the vocals for "First Date" while wearing the vamp teeth?
A: No, I didn't. I didn't really do that.
Q: I read your article on the Don Knotts, Danzig-style T-shirt, and I have a "Three's Company" story of sorts that you might like. Back in high school, I was in the marching band with about 60 of us. Me and my two friends were the only ones who were the life of the party. One of the final days of the year, we had to take the yearbook picture. Everybody had to go around and sign their name. The teacher would go by one-by-one to make sure everybody had signed their name. He gets to us and looks at us with exasperation and goes, "Alright, who's Ralph Ferley?"
A: Right, right, right!
Q: You contributed to a book called "Sex Tips from Rock Stars: In Their Own Words." How did that come about, and what did you contribute?
A: Well, he (author Paul Miles) just did an interview much like you're doing one with me. He asked me the same questions he asked everybody, and I answered them, and they're in the book. I didn't know it was going to be a big deal. We have our own book that not enough people talk about. It's about the history of the band called "Too Much Trouble." There's over 70 people who were interviewed for it. Everyone from Lemmy to Sepultura, Death Angel, F----d Up, White Zombie. They're all in it. It's an oral history of our band, about a 300-page book.
Q: Anything else you'd like to say about the show Saturday for those who are reading this and thinking about coming out?
A: Yeah, sure. We also have a DVD called "Bring On The Mountain," a 90-minute documentary on it called: "Bring On The Mountain!" There's also a 35-minute short film starring Elijah Wood, Selma Blair, Mike Watt, Lemmy, Ralph Macchio and us! There's a podcast on iTunes. It was ranked No. 101 three weeks ago on the iTunes chart, and we just uploaded -- probably by the end of the day if not now -- the new one with Damian Abraham from F----d Up and WWE world champion Chris Jericho. You can download that through iTunes. It's called the Official Danko Jones Podcast, or you can do it through soundcloud.com/dankojones.
- WHAT: 10th annual Slinging Ink Tattoo Expo
- WHEN: Today (2-10 p.m.); Saturday (noon-10 p.m.); Sunday (noon-8 p.m.)
- WHERE: Freeman Coliseum (3201 E. Houston St., next to AT&T Center)
- TICKETS: Click here
- MORE INFO: Click here
- SATURDAY'S SET TIMES: 1-1:40 p.m. SCREAMING IN SILENCE; 2-2:40 p.m. SOUTHERN DOSE OF REBELLION; 3-3:40 p.m. A DAY OF BLOODSHED; 4-4:40 p.m. CEREBRAL DESECRATION; 5-5:40 p.m. PIGWEED; 6-6:30 p.m. LAST WE FALL; approximately 7-8 p.m.: DANKO JONES; approximately 8:30-9:30 p.m. VOLBEAT
- SUNDAY'S SET TIMES: 1-1:40 p.m. STEEL SOLDIERS; 2-2:40 p.m. SO WHAT; 3-3:40 p.m. CODA VARY; 4-4:40 p.m. ACCORD OF DISSONANCE; 5-5:40 p.m. BIGWOOD; 6-6:40 p.m. PRIZMATIC; 7-7:40 p.m. ALLUS KILLUS
It pays to subscribe for free to the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner, no matter where you live. Do so at the top of this article or under the bio below for exclusive interviews, concert announcements, reviews, and all things metal. You can also "LIKE" the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner Facebook page, follow along on Twitter and check out his YouTube Channel.