Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Video Of The Week: Danko Jones

Danko Jones is a Toronto singer-songwriter who sings and plays guitar in his eponymous band. They started out in 1998, first known for their live acts and songs that dealt with Jones' life and personae - mostly how he's always craving sex, but also issues of race, such as The Mango Kid.

Musically, it's blues-based riff rock in a trio setting. Right before the turn of the millennium, his band, mine and a few others were often put in the ''Jon Spencer Blues Explosion'' basket, which in 2002 or 2003 became the White Stripes basket, because their success far exceeded that of Spencer's group.

And I think that may have gotten to Jones, because his output was uneven from then on. Or maybe it's because he's more comfortable in an EP setting instead of full-length albums, but some of those records from 2003-2010 seemed like they contained more filler than killer material. This year's Fire Music is steadier, but lacks the surprise and, dare I say, lyrical directness of the first few releases. I'd still rate it a solid B, but it's the straightforward pieces like Do You Want To Rock (featured below) that work best, while his more personal songs (Getting Into Drugs is so-so and predictable, I Will Break Your Heart is borderline emo, and She Ain't Coming Home sounds like all the awful recent Metallica songs blended into one) fail to bring the point home.

One area where Danko Jones (the band) compares to rock royalty (Pearl Jam, The Ramones, Spinal Tap) is their heavy rotation of drummers; while Jones himself and bassist John ''J.C.'' Calabrese have been there from the beginning, Rich Knox is their seventh official, full-time drummer. That's right, seventh; they seem to have a two-year shelf life, more or less. Those from the past: Atom Willard, Damon Richardson, Dan Cornelius, Niko Quintal, Michael Cari Cari, and Gavin Brown.

The video for Do You Want To Rock was directed by Lisa Mann, who has previously worked for/with Apocalyptica, Cascada, Hedley, and The Used.

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