Ben Rispin of Puff Digital’s Into The Weeds Podcast chats with legendary hard rocker Danko Jones about music, art, podcasts and weed.
Hey all, thanks for visiting the Into The Weeds Blog! The following is a transcript taken from an interview I did with the legendary Danko Jones for an article I wrote for www.highermentality.com. That story can be seen here:
Huge thanks to Danko, this interview was only supposed to be 20 minutes but we got chatting, a little off topic, and then had some fun too. The audio can be heard at the other podcast I co-host, Mass Nerder, right here:
Without further ado, Mr. Danko Jones.
BEN RISPIN: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat man!
DANKO JONES: Sure, no problem.
BEN RISPIN: We actually kinda met briefly a couple summers ago, I opened for you guys and Billy Talent, my band did, at Tiger-Cats Stadium, or whatever it is called now, Tim Hortons Field…
DANKO JONES: Oh, okay.
BEN RISPIN: That Homefield thing, yeah, it was a lot of fun, you guys were fucking incredible, dude.
DANKO JONES: Oh, what is the name of your band?
BEN RISPIN: That band’s called RULES, it’s like, it’s a bunch of guys who used to play in punk and hardcore bands together, dudes from Penske File, Chuck Coles from Creepshow, one of the guys from Walk Off The Earth, it’s a psychedelic hard-core band, it’s just all for the fun but we get invited to play some cool shit sometimes, kind of thing.
DANKO JONES: Oh, cool.
BEN RISPIN: My old band used to be managed by Adam Sewell. He always went on about how much he loved what you do…
DANKO JONES: Oh, what’s your old band?
BEN RISPIN: The Video Dead, and I was in Saint Alvia Cartel.
DANKO JONES: Oh, okay, yeah I know that band, yeah. Cool.
BEN RISPIN: Yeah, so, Adam managed us for a while. And he put out The Video Dead, just a good guy. He’s always helped me out whenever we needed it, love that dude, he is great. Anyways…
DANKO JONES: Yeah.
BEN RIPSIN: Just wanted to say what’s up, but, so, I’m super stoked you did this, and I know Sarah Lutz was telling me you don’t smoke weed, so I appreciate this. I’m from a company called Puff Digital, and we own a bunch of different publications, but I understand that you’re good with the cannabis, right? Like, you are a supporter even though you don’t use it?
DANKO JONES: Yeah, I’m a supporter of the health benefits of it, and even the environmental usage of it.
BEN: Oh, what do you mean by that?
DANKO JONES: Sorry?
BEN: What do you mean by “the environmental usage of it”?
DANKO JONES: Well, like, I mean hemp, like, you know.
BEN: Right. So, industrial use. Got it.
DANKO JONES: Yeah, so, yeah everything about it, and the criminalization of it, I’m against.
BEN RISPIN: Right, and obviously, you don’t have to throw anybody under the bus, and I guess we are into this now. We’ll get into the album really soon too, I can’t wait to talk about it. I love the album art. However, while we are here, we might as well just keep going. You must see weed a lot on the road. Obviously, bands, people smoke weed on the road.
DANKO JONES: Sure.
BEN RISPIN: Is it around you guys quite a bit?
DANKO JONES: I mean, I couldn’t, I wouldn’t say that any of us in the band are heavy pot smokers at all, actually, I mean, you know, maybe there was a time where we would all kind-of smoke, but we have been around for 23 years, you live life and you get older, you go through your phases, but yeah, me personally, I don’t smoke it because I just can’t handle my high. And mainly because the pot has gotten stronger, and stronger, I think, as the popularity of it has grown, it has gone from underground to overground now. It’s gone from something everyone kind of did secretively to now, where everyone is like really proudly doing it, and openly doing it. I think with that comes stronger strains, just because there is just more people doing it. I just can’t handle it. I had something years and years ago that was laced with something bad, and I had a really bad reaction, and so ever since then, I was in my early 20s, ever since then, I just stayed away from it because I mean, I can’t paint with a broad brush, but for me, it didn’t affect me very positively. I mean, I respect anyone doing it, if they can handle it, it is way better than getting drunk on a Friday or Saturday night. So many other things that could happen, in terms of violent outcomes with alcohol, as opposed to pot, I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, how it has destroyed relationships and families, and jobs, and careers, with pot, I just have yet to see the effects of that. However, if you eat Doritos every day, like, you are going to die. Anything in excess is going to have an adverse effect, and I think when it comes to criminalizing pot, people have taken their argument and made that the norm. I just never bought into all that crap. You know.
BEN RISPIN: Right. I don’t really tour really any more, but a lot of people would use cannabis as an exit drug. I had a lot of friends who did a lot of drinking and a lot of blow, the rock ‘n’ roll cliche, whatever that is, and then they would all just kind of mellow out on weed. That’s kind of how a lot of the bands I’ve seen or grown up with kind of got clean was through weed, now they don’t really smoke weed anymore either. Have you experienced anything like that?
DANKO JONES: Well, I guess, I mean, yeah, I have never been a party kind of guy. I mean, I was lucky enough, I taped the Minor Threat discography off someone when I was in high school, and I had to rewind the lyrics… and when I understood what they were saying, and I looked closer into the scene, I really kind of vibed with that way of thinking and straight edge has always kind of been looming above me wherever I am, wherever I play. I hung out with people who partook in it all the time and did mushrooms, and I did mushrooms, and I think that is, you know, a very common path where people end up, you know, leaving the world of excess behind through pot, and then maybe, maybe not eventually giving that up too. But there is also, there should be stated that people use the argument that pot is a gateway drug to harder drugs, and I don’t think that is the case, that is the same argument that, you know, if you listen to Judas Priest, everyone is going to blow their head off, there is always that one person who would have done that anyway, and so, if they are going to do heroin or cocaine, they are going to find it anyways.
BEN RISPIN: Let’s get into, it is interesting, did you used to subscribe to “straight edge” growing up? Did you think; “I am straight edge, I love Minor Threat”? Or was it more like, “hey, I like that idea”? Were you from the hardcore community?
DANKO JONES: Well, I got into the hardcore community, you know, I was listening to, you know, Minor Threat and Youth of Today and bands like that. But I wasn’t part of the scene, and even when I got older and found people in the scene, I would always remain on the periphery because I was also a metal kid. I’ve said this before, when I am in the metal scene, I feel like a punk rocker, and when I am hanging out with a bunch of punk rockers, I feel like I am a metal guy. So, I always felt a little outside. If I had to choose anything, I’d choose hard rock. That is where I am most comfortable which is a good medium. But I listened to all the bands and I knew all the albums, and I knew what it all stood for, and the scene, and I was aware of a lot of bands in the scene, locally and stuff, but you know, I considered myself more of a tourist because, you know, I fucking loved Mötley Crüe. But punk rock means a million things to a million different people, but for me, punk rock is Bad Brains, Black Flag, and Minor Threat.
BEN RISPIN: Being someone who has loved punk rock most of their life, that punk is kinda like love, you just know it when you see it, you know? Like, there’s not really a sound to it, it’s not really an aesthetic, it’s just, you just kind of see when something is punk rock. I don’t want to get off track, but some of the guys, like these SoundCloud rappers, you know, it’s not music that’s made for me, but, I’m like, these are just like kids who dress up like Kurt Cobain and go punk a fucking laptop, and they can’t afford to be a band, so they go and make their own shit, and people like it, and to me that’s kind of punk rock.
DANKO JONES: Yeah sure, I think punk is ever-changing, which is different then, you know, hard rock and heavy metal. It changes quicker and it changes from generation to generation. I am of the generation where, you know, Black Flag’s My War is the best punk rock album ever made. Which sounds a million miles away apart from Blink-182. Blink-182 is punk rock, it means so much to a whole generation of people, and I have no connection with it. It boggles my mind. For me, punk rock has to have an edge, and has to be mean.
BEN RISPIN: Like, a little dangerous?
DANKO JONES: It’s just got to be mean. I just don’t hear where the anger and-the-meanness is. That’s why I love the music I love. It’s because there is always a meanness to it, so that’s why I was attracted to punk rock.
BEN RISPIN: It’s interesting that you say My War, because with your guys sound, and My War, it simply like the most prog-eyish, I would say, of the Black Flag records, especially, I think, anything with Rollins.
DANKO JONES: Well, I mean it depends. My War side 2 is like the template for a lot of doom bands too.
BEN RISPIN: That’s true, absolutely, I agree. It’s interesting as well too, because you guys, like Danko Jones the Band, is known for big riff, big rock and stuff like that, and not smoking weed. To an outsider, it would seem to represent this big party rock stadium band, even the artwork of A Rock Supreme, you know, it’s a little young rocker like sitting at a desk creating something. It’s all very cool….
DANKO JONES: I mean, yeah but, I mean, these are stereotypes that have been embedded into the square world, and I am just not part of the square world. So, you know, doing a rock band, and not subscribing to, you know, the whole alcohol and partying and all this Dionysian lifestyle, to me is the most punk thing you can do. And rock ‘n’ roll is beyond the music, it is freedom, which I think punk rock embodies, as well. And so, in order to live, to play rock ‘n’ roll and stand behind it, that is how I defined rock ‘n’ roll as freedom. Over the years there’s been people who have questioned our rock credit because I don’t drink, and I don’t do drugs, and I don’t have any tattoos, and I don’t do this and I don’t behave like that, and then they questioned the credibility, and I question there’s because they don’t really understand the definition of rock ‘n’ roll which is freedom. Which is why punk rock came into being. To remind rock ‘n’ roll what it was supposed to be. That was the whole genesis of punk rock to begin with. It was just music that, you know, people who were tired of prog stuff and they wanted something short and fast. They had the freedom to make it. So you know, you are in this music industry, and you have to deal with all these people, and it attracts a real insecure type of person, and with that insecurity, comes this uniform that they feel they need to wear, and I just don’t feel the need to wear it. I mean, I am an insecure guy too, I guess, getting up on stage every night, and wanting people to clap for me, but it is not in that category, I know what I like, and I know who I am, and I don’t need to prove to anybody the rock cred that I may or may not have by drinking a fucking beer. I think that’s the most ridiculous thing in the world. So, yeah so, we are a rock band. I think we rock harder than most. We don’t do any of that. I don’t do any of that. I’m very proud to say that. I am not scared, and I’m not being secretive about “don’t tell anyone that I don’t do drugs”. You know, but me being pro-cannabis and pro-hemp, pro all the stuff, it is because I see the benefits of it. I see the health benefits from it. I am not against it. But, I am against one thing about their product and that is the way it is consumed, I need to say that outwardly, the way that people consume it in Western society is… I think not cool. With the legalization of pot, hopefully, it’s not a party drug. It should be given the respect that it deserves. It is a very potent substance, and with its potency should come respect, it’s not supposed to be used to reenact teen comedy movies. It’s got to be given the respect that it deserves, and I think that I couldn’t handle my high anymore because I wasn’t giving it the respect that it deserved, I was just trying to get high and just have a good time. Whatever the case is, I think for me, the best times I had consuming it was doing it with good friends and listening to music, and just getting off on that, and there is some spirituality involved. I don’t think it should be this Friday night, you know, drink beer, smoke pot, listen to tunes, and fucking all the cliches that people in the square world think about pot. There should be information dispensed, in order to keep up with this. I hear no talk of respect for the substance.It is just whether it is legal or not, whether you can take it or not, whether it heals your sickness or not. Give it the respect it deserves. That is not a topic that is included in any discussion about pot legalization, which, you know, maybe just comes from my perspective and the experience of not being able to handle your high, you know.
BEN RISPIN: Absolutely, I spent some time in Germany. In regards to drinking, they don’t put the stigma on it that it’s like a rebellious thing to do, so, people kind of casually grew up with it. People can go outside and drink like that there, and it’s not like fucking chaos like it is here, like after some of The Raptors games in Toronto. Gradually over time, perhaps the more exposed you are, it may not be such a big deal and maybe people would settle down? Do you think there’s a cultural maturity that we need to grow to as Canadians? Do you know what I’m saying?
DANKO JONES: Well, first of all, if Germany won the World Cup, I think the world would get pretty sloshed and you would get a similar situation that happens in Toronto. I think it comes with every sports team that, any city wins, or any country that wins, some sort of sporting event or tournament, that is just part of, you know, the culture.
BEN RISPIN: Maybe it was a bad example. But say, people like going outside and drinking out front of a Danko Jones show. Or after any rock show, at Lee’s Palace or something, people go out and walk and drink, there are probably going to be problems…
DANKO JONES: Yeah, I think, I mean, it’s like the same thing. It has been illegal for so long, just like when you are 18 and you finally turn 19. In Canada, you can drink, and we turn 19, you get completely sloshed. I think now with the legalization of pot, I think there is going to be a lot of people who never dared to try it because, you know, they want to follow the rules. Now that is legal, they are just going to go fucking ape shit, and you can do that, but there should be some sort of mention that, no, this is a very highly potent substance that should be given respect. It’s not going to, you know, be as tragic as coke or heroin, or alcohol, but it needs respect. It is part of the earth, it’s not like cocaine, it is part of the earth.
BEN RISPIN: I definitely agree 100%…
DANKO JONES: You know, Rastafarians do that. I think we can learn from them in that respect. In that way, we can really learn from how they treat the drug. I just don’t see it ever talked about. Every time I am asked about pot, it is always whether I am for it or against it. Well, it is not simply that black-and-white. It’s like driving a car, you have to go for driving lessons before you drive a car. These people have never been high and then they smoke a joint… like it’s crazy. For everybody who smoked pot through high school and college, we have lost perspective. Think about a person who has never done it, and never experienced anything similar. First time doing it in their bedroom would be like, “Am I going crazy?”, you know, there should be a little bit more information given.
BEN RISPIN: I agree 100%, I said this before, but people who always, like, people who don’t know what cannabis is or weed is, whatever you want to call it, they will compare it to opioids, they will compare to alcohol, they compare it to tobacco, they compared to tea, really, but really, it’s own entity that is different all those things as they are from each other. It takes a lot of conversations with a lot of different types of people to understand what it is, because to some people it is religious, to some people it’s their form of medicine, to some people it’s recreation, and why shouldn’t it be all those different things all those different people? But I think what happens is people try to loop it in with something else that they already understand, you know? So, weed kinda gets bastardized of what it really is. Until we can really talk about cannabis in its complexities on an adult level, like a realistic adult level,we won’t really be able to move forward in a manner that makes sense. There’s a senator out East who thought three tokes of joint was the equivalent to 3 or 4 grams. That is a huge problem. That is someone we have to communicate to and explain things to, but I agree with you 100% that people have to recognize what it is, and that comes with a great deal of respect from all angles. There isn’t an easy explanation to them because the product is metabolized differently, by everybody. A cannabinoid is fat-soluble. Cannabinoids being the active compounds in cannabis. Being fat-soluble, everybody metabolizes them differently. So that needs to come with a great deal of respect. I could smoke a joint and be totally fine, but that doesn’t mean the person right next to me can do that as well. I used to work for a clinic. Most of our patient base was 55+ women. It is very important to explain to these people, senior citizens, take one drop of this oil, you know, “Start low and go slow” is the overused mantra of titration.
DANKO JONES: Yeah, yeah.
BEN RISPIN: So, let’s talk about the record, let’s do this, the record is Rock Supreme, A Rock Supreme. Who did this, I love this fucking cover art, man, who did this?
DANKO JONES: Ulf Lunden ( https://www.ulflunden.com/projects/6458883 ) is the name of the artist who did it, he has done a couple of Graveyard (https://www.nuclearblast.de/en/label/music/band/about/219863.graveyard.html) covers that we really liked in the past. The work he has done for Graveyard is really amazing, and so we asked him to do our album. He really actually didn’t have time, but he had this cover already worked out for another band, that never worked out, so we loved it, and obviously he changed a few things in it to match our band. He put up our old covers, old logos, and he put my SG guitar in there. I was glad there was a rocker girl as opposed to just another rocker guy. I think rocker girls who like rock are really underrepresented in the whole rock ‘n’ roll game. They are only seen as somebody’s girlfriend. You meet a lot of women who are, you know, as into it as the guys. I really wanted that to be in the forefront, the foreground of the illustration, and so, yeah, it was good, it was great, we are really happy with the artwork.
BEN RISPIN: Yeah, it’s going to look fucking amazing on a vinyl.
DANKO JONES: Yeah .
BEN RISPIN: Who produced this record?
DANKO JONES: Garth Richardson (https://www.gggarth.com) produce the record… out in Vancouver, and we flew out to his studio, Farm Studios, and we did the record there with him, for about a month.
BEN RISPIN: Wow. Do you guys write in the studio or do you guys have everything prepared for when you get out there? Or both?
DANKO JONES: No, we are very, very, very prepared as a band before we even start talking pre-production with a producer. We have got all the songs written, and you know, the producer sets the stage for us well. You know, throwing suggestions out in terms of arrangement. The suggestions Garth made, we took pretty much most of them. Whatever serves the song, so yeah, I mean, his experience, you know, he’s valuable…
BEN RISPIN: He is a Canadian legend, really.
DANKO JONES: Yeah, so, between the three of us, we all liked a different part of his discography. So, you know, Rich loved, Rage Against The Machine album he did, and JC loved the Biffy Clyro records he made, the three records he produced, and I love the Jesus Lizard and Melvins records he made. So between the three of us, it covered a lot of his discography, plus there’s like, pretty much, you know, everyone has an album in their collection. With that experience, it really helped. We have been around for 23 years, we are a band who knows what we are, and what we sound like, so there is no shaping. We are not like a ball of clay at this point, at this stage, we know we are. It is a producer’s job to make sure that, you know, we are kept on track and things sound great. That is all.
BEN RISPIN: Have you always played an SG?
DANKO JONES: No.
BEN RISPIN: What did you play first?
DANKO JONES: I think it was a telecaster when we first started, we were heavily touring and, yeah, I played a telecaster for years and moved on. At home, I always played an SG. I just didn’t think they would stay in tune live, they are really temperamental guitars. I still play an SG, but I’m endorsed now by Hagstrom guitars, so I kind of recently, just in the last few months, made the transition from Gibson to Hagstrom. I still play Gibson and I’m still cool with everyone at Gibson it is all good. But I’m in an ad for a Hagstrom guitar. I play an Ultra Max now because when we were making A Rock Supreme, every track on that album was recorded with a Metropolis Hagstrom. Which we bought at a secondhand guitar store during the production. So, I reached out to them saying, “Hey, I am making this album and using your Metropolis guitar”, which is like a $300 guitar. It sounded fucking amazing. So, you know, through that, we just started a conversation with them. It ended up with me going fucking all in with Hagstrom, and they are a Swedish company. They are 1/10 the size of Gibson, but they have such a great reputation because their guitars are so well-made.
BEN RISPIN: What is your amp set up?
DANKO JONES: I play Orange Head and Orange Cabs, I am endorsed by Orange.
BEN RISPIN: Nice.
DANKO JONES: I was playing High Rock for the longest time, and before that I was playing Ampeg. I played a modded Orange Head, Rontrose Heathman, Rontrose from Supersuckers, the lead guitar player in the Supersuckers, had this modded Orange when we were on tour with them. I played it every night. It was the best Head I have ever played in my life. I was just like this the best fucking head ever. He had modded it, that experience had Orange stuck in my head after that. When the occasion came up to, you know, jump ship and go to Orange, I had no problems with that.
BEN RISPIN: Wow. That’s cool, that’s really cool.
DANKO JONES: Yeah.
BEN RISPIN: It looks like you’re playing a lot of festivals coming up, and then you’re going to Australia, then you’re going back to Europe. You guys have a lot of touring coming up with the new album cycle, right?
DANKO JONES: Yeah, you know, with a new album, it’s a heavy year on. I guess on paper it looks like a lot of festivals, but in fact, it is only half of what we are used to, we’re used to playing 25 or 30 festivals in the summer. But, that’s okay, the festivals we are playing are pretty cool. Swing Rock, Highfield, was a really good festival. It also sets up next year. There are a few festivals we are not doing this year or last year, I think we will be due to return, so that’s good.
BEN RISPIN: When are you guys back in Canada?
DANKO JONES: It’s going to be just European festivals for the summer, we are playing a festival in Alberta I think at the end of June, but after that, it’s pretty much European festivals for July and August, so…
BEN RISPIN: Tail Creek Mud and Music Festival is June 28th
DANKO JONES: Okay, yeah that’s in Alberta somewhere, yeah.
BEN RISPIN: Cool. That’s awesome, man. Like, is this, like the track that’s, sorry I gotta get back there, just on your website. The single that we’re pushing right now is Dance, Dance, Dance?
DANKO JONES: Dance, Dance, Dance is one of the songs, yeah.
BEN RISPIN: Are you serviced into radio, all that stuff? Are you requested, or you just kind of doing it all on your own thing? Keeping it…
DANKO JONES: No, no, we service it heavily to radio in Canada, and I don’t know, the response has been kind of lukewarm. If any response at all. But across the pond, it’s actually doing better than any song we have ever released.
BEN RISPIN: Congratulations, man, that’s fucking awesome.
DANKO JONES: Yeah, it is an interesting thing that we have come to get used to. you know, being a rock band in Canada, I think we are an oddity here, but overseas, we definitely find our scene. There is really no scene here.
BEN RISPIN: How do you pass the time when you’re touring? How do you escape Danko Jones’?
DANKO JONES: I work on both my podcasts.
BEN RISPIN: You have two podcasts?
DANKO JONES: I have two podcasts. I have been doing the Official Danko Jones Podcast since 2011, so it is eight years I have been doing that. We are on episode 195. Two years ago, I started a second podcast called the Regal Beagle Podcast which is a podcast on Three’s Company.
BEN RISPIN: Really? That’s fucking cool, you’re a huge Three’s Company fan?
DANKO JONES: Yep, yeah, it’s my favourite show of all time.
BEN RISPIN: So, you just kind of talk about each episode?
DANKO JONES: Yeah, we work chronologically, so season five episode 14, I believe it is Furley Vs. Furley with my co-host Blaine Cartwright from Nashville Pussy.
BEN RISPIN: That’s fucking, that is a great idea, that’s cool.
DANKO JONES: It’s my idea.
BEN RISPIN: Yeah, that’s a great idea. I can’t wait to listen to it, man, that’s really, that is a cool thing.
DANKO JONES: Episode 15 is coming up this Wednesday, and that is going to have Murray Lightburn from the Dears.
BEN RISPIN: Oh wow, how many, how many seasons did Three’s Company produce?
DANKO JONES: Eight seasons and then two spinoff seasons, with two different shows, so it’s 10 seasons of Jack Tripper.
BEN RISPIN: I didn’t know they did two spinoff shows.
DANKO JONES: Yeah, they did the Ropers and Three’s A Crowd. I have every episode, so, you just give the guest the episodes to watch, and then we talk about it.
BEN RISPIN: That’s fucking, that so cool, man. I will check that out. I’m going to drive around and listen to A Rock Supreme today. Where can people find you online?
DANKO JONES: Let’s see, Instagram is @Danko_Jones, and Twitter is just @DankoJones, one word, and Facebook is, I believe, @DankoJones as well, one word. Then I have another Instagram account called the Next Level Record Collecting, where I just post all my odd, bizarre records. I’ve been doing that for 2 ½ years now. Then I have a meme account called Memes of Danko, which other people make memes of me, and I just post them. Then I have another one called Next Level Bookclub, I started that one because I put out a book last year on Feral House Books called “I Got Something To Say”, and yeah, I guess I should plug that, it’s on Feral House, which is one of my favorite imprints. I kind of went through school reading Feral House books, and to be on the imprint is pretty fucking… it is heavier than any cool record label to be on.
BEN RISPIN: That’s awesome, man congratulations.
DANKO JONES: Yeah, Feral House put out Lords of Chaos. They put out the Harley Flanigan autobiography, they put out Apocalypse Culture, Ramps, they put out some seriously incredible books, and so, to put out a book like that, you know, on Feral House was definitely a feather in the cap for me. It’s a compilation of articles that I have written from various rock magazines through a 10 year period. And Duff McKagan wrote the foreword and then Damien Abraham, Eerie Von, Juan Montoya, Mary Fleener, Gary Dumm from American Splendor Comics, Fiona Smith, they all contributed illustrations.
BEN RISPIN: Wow, that’s fucking cool, man.
DANKO JONES: Oh, and Damien Abraham contributed an illustration to my pro-pot article.
BEN RISPIN: Really? That’s cool, where can we see that? That is, the pro-pot article?
DANKO JONES: Well, you’re in Canada, so you can get that book at any Indigo or any cool bookstore, it’s available at Indigo’s.
BEN RISPIN: Okay, I’m going to pick that up today too. I’m going to have a whole Danko Jones content day.
DANKO JONES: Sure, yeah, it’s something…
BEN RISPIN: You are content creation machine.
DANKO JONES: Well, I mean nobody in Canada knows us, like, I mean Feral House, to be on Feral House, I am screaming at the top of my lungs in Canada going, “do know how cool this fucking thing is, man?”. Then everyone is like, “hey yeah, you know, check out this, check out this person from this band, they are on a cooking show, out of Willowdale, check this out, this is the best thing ever”, and so, I just kind of eye roll and face-palm my way through this. All the labels we wanted to be on kind of rejected us back in the 90s, you know, everyone from Touch-And-Go to In The Red, they all rejected us. So we are just forced to do everything on our own. But Feral House, being on Feral House is cooler than being on Matador, Touch-And-Go, and In The Red combined, and I thought, that would be enough to like, you know, find some headway but no, it’s like, “hey, this guy who sings these like folk songs is on this cooking show. Check this out everyone”. So, you know, I just kind of, you know, you just gotta live with it. It is funny though. But yeah, it is one of the things I am most proud of doing is “I’ve Got Something To Say”, the book, and A Rock Supreme, our new album, I know everyone says it, but this is our best album, I think.
BEN RISPIN: Congratulations, man, that’s so, that so fucking cool that you’re doing all this stuff, and I mean…
DANKO JONES: Thank you. It’s like, “This like incredibly cool thing is happening right in front of your eyes”, “yeah but do you know that the lady from the game show tweeted about the singer-songwriter?” Like, fuck, I give up. So, the best thing to do is just put your work out there and hope to God that it goes over Canada and reaches other places, because, yeah, when I say stuff like that, you know, over the years, I’m perceived as cynical, and that I’m negative.
BEN RISPIN: You’re not being cynical and negative. People don’t realize that that’s the way, Canada reacts then they are walking around with their fucking eyes closed. Especially the Canadian music industry, and I get it, I get that everybody is scared of losing their jobs and stuff like that, like an A&R job, that position is pretty volatile for a lot of these people. At the same time, nobody will back something up until another country has. That’s the way it is. If people don’t think that’s the way it is in Canad, they are fucking wrong. I don’t want to insult anybody because I have a lot of friends in the industry, but there’s not a lot of people with the backbone to take a risk on something they think is cool until somebody else has vouched for it first, and accepted in places like the UK or primarily the US.
DANKO JONES: Well, that, I mean, you say the UK, even there, it’s like we got signed to Rise Above Records, which like Feral House’s, Rise Above is my favourite label, like, my favourite record label these days. So, currently, I go “oh, wow this is amazing, we are going to be on like this amazing cool label, my favourite record label”, you know, nothing in Canada. “Hey, did you know the guy from Twilight likes this pop singer from Scarborough?”
BEN RISPIN: I’ll admit, I was all over the news when it was announced that the guy from Twilight was playing Batman…
DANKO JONES: I don’t even know who the guy from Twilight is, I just know like Twilight is the thing that the kids loved, I mean, I understand, it is how it is these days, but I’m from a time when, you know, people used the term “sellout”, and tried to avoid being labelled as such. You know, just got in a van, and drove around and played shows until, you know, you can maybe work hard enough to see some sort of progression, you know? And I just don’t think that is around anymore, so…
BEN RISPIN: Yeah, I definitely don’t think “sellout” culture, like that term, really doesn’t exist anymore..
DANKO JONES: Yeah, it doesn’t exist, and, you know, to be honest, it’s good that it doesn’t exist. I actually have come to terms with that. I think it was, it really, really prevented a lot of cool shit from happening back in the day. It really did. Everybody was too scared to be called a “sellout”, and so, it prevented a lot of shit from happening, and you know, that is just how it goes.
BEN RISPIN: I could talk to you fucking all day, but I’ve already taken up 46 minutes, and it’s supposed to be a 20 minute interview. I really, really thank you for your time.
DANKO JONES: Cool. Yeah, but, did you know that the guy from the Voice quit? Like fuck…
BEN RISPIN: ( laughing ) Thank you so much for coming on dude, I really appreciate it.
DANKO JONES: Okay, see you later.
Find More about Danko at www.dankojones.com