Jonesing For Rock

19 February 2013 | 5:30 am | Brendan Crabb

"There really isn’t one or two, or five or ten defining bands. It’s frustrating; that’s the one thing I really criticise about the new vanguard of rock‘n’roll bands. There’s no thread between all of us."

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Throughout a career exceeding 15 years and half-a-dozen studio albums, “deep and meaningful” has never been high on the agenda for Canadian hard rock trio Danko Jones. Not that there isn't value in such ideals; the larger-than-life frontman just realises it isn't his particular role within the wider scheme of things.

“Bands who talk about how deep the music or how much meaning there is, who go on and on about what it's supposed to be about are just blowing hot air in my ears,” the charismatic, engaging main man explains. “I find them to be pretentious dimwits. And they are, usually. I'd say 90 per cent of the time when we meet them off-stage or behind the curtain, they're just egomaniacal dimwits. I mean the kind of people who just take themselves way too seriously. If there's so much of a message in your song, I would say write it down; write a book, write an article.

“I don't think it's my place in rock'n'roll. I listen to bands who have socio-political bents and I'm a fan of the music. But the music comes first, always has. Because you can rant and rave, but if your music is shit no one's going to listen to it. It has its place. It adds to the anger of the music, gives it its edge; its purpose, drive and energy. It's just not for me and it's not for the type of music we play. But I don't rule it out.”

It's suggested that such content wouldn't sit comfortably alongside an elemental, albeit instantly memorable song like Legs from latest record Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue anyway. “Well, that's just it. When people ask me, why aren't your lyrics more serious, I just ask them, point blank, what lyrics would sound good with those three chords we have fashioned for this riff? Do you really think it would be fixing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? I just don't feel that, don't hear it. What I hear is a good time riff and the lyrics follow suit. Sometimes the lyrics are angry, but it doesn't get angry any deeper than, 'This guy pissed me off' or 'This girl dumped me',” he laughs. “[The new album title has] got a double meaning or even a triple meaning. Or no meaning; fuck, it's just rock'n'roll, how deep can it get?

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“I've gotta sing them every night, so they've gotta have some truth to them, some meaning. For example, Legs. I love legs – that's just it,” he says, bursting into laughter. “I'm not a breast man per se. I'm not gonna write a song called Breasts. I enjoy them, they're great, but my favourite is legs. Legs trump breasts for me,” he laughs again. “I really love legs; I've said that in other songs.”

The band is undertaking their first Australian trek since 2004 at Soundwave, and Jones is audibly enthused about bringing their sweat-dripping, high-energy fare to the festival. However, he's slightly concerned about the current rock landscape. “I was talking about this with someone the other day and despite rock'n'roll being an older type of music it doesn't have a scene anymore,” he ponders. “There's an indie rock scene, a noise scene, black metal scene, a death metal scene broken up into different areas. But when it comes to contemporary hard rock, there really isn't a scene. It's spread all over the map. There really isn't one or two, or five or ten defining bands. It's frustrating; that's the one thing I really criticise about the new vanguard of rock'n'roll bands. There's no thread between all of us. I don't see a tightly-knit community like in other scenes with other bands.”

Danko Jones will be playing the following dates:

Thursday 28 Febraury - Gershwin Room, Melbourne VIC
Friday 1 March - Soundwave Festival, Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne VIC
Saturday 2 March - Soundwave Festival, Bonython Park, Adelaide SA
Monday 4 March - Soundwave Festival, Claremont Showground, Perth WA