Like a fine wine, Danko Jones are only getting better with age. Celebrating 25 years as a band, the trio released their tenth studio album, Power Trio, just last month. Again, the band has delivered on all fronts, piling on a great big helping of electrifying riffs, soulful energy, and foot-stomping action. The title of the album is pretty self-explanatory to even the most casual of Danko followers. It pays homage to that inspired energy that the three members share with each other; the real driving force behind a unit that has become a rock n’ roll institution. We challenge you to find a band with more spunk, endurance, and fortitude than this one. You won’t be able to!
Power Trio is the follow-up to 2019’s A Rock Supreme, one of the band’s most commercially successful records to date. For Power Trio, they once again worked with producer extraordinaire Eric Ratz, who also worked with Danko on 2017’s Wild Cat, and 2015’s Fire Music.
With the band eager to get back on the road, we recently caught up with the man himself, Danko, for a quick chat about more than just the music. Rather than just talk about the latest album, we had a little more of a philosophical conversation about the band, and rock n’ roll in general.
There are very few, if any, rock bands that have as much energy and poise as you guys demonstrate every night on stage. From your own personal point of view as a songwriter, do you view your music as empowering, or just a rocking good time? Or maybe both?
Danko Jones: “I would say both, depending on the song. Some songs are meant to encourage the listener, while others are just meant to throw on at a party or on a good Friday night.”
Aside from people enjoying your music for how it sounds, what are some of the most common reactions you tend to get from fans when they explain what they love about your music?
“I really don’t know. Most simply say they like our band, if they have the records.”
People connect with rock n’ roll in a very passionate way that is quite different to how they may connect with other genres of music. What is it about music, like your own, that you think really resonates with listeners?
“I think it’s because rock n’ roll isn’t the most popular form of music anymore. This means the people that do like it love it. Because of this, it breeds a more tenacious fandom. I feel it myself for the rock bands that I love.”
The title of your new album Power Trio just sums up the culture and the history of this band so well. In choosing this title, are you trying to emphasize that special chemistry you guys share as a group of musicians?
“(bassist) JC (Calabrese) suggested the title and it was a simple to-the-point title that defined our band instantly. I think power trios are a dying breed these days. The ones that were successful really had to be better than all the quartets and quintets out there. After 25 years, I think we’ve earned the title.”
As a “power trio,” how do you help to motivate each other as friends and as artists? Would you say you’re good at giving one another a lift when required?
“Being in a trio is more intense than the regular quartet. Things are exposed a little more. You’re unable to hide mistakes. So everyone has to be on their top game at all times. I think we motivate ourselves by just bringing our ‘A’ game always.”
Every musician has bands and artists that have inspired them to play or sound a certain way, but who are some artists that inspire you more as just a musician or a songwriter?
“No, I like bands.”
Who are some of the people who inspire you outside of music? I’m talking about other types of artists, perhaps filmmakers, actors, activists, etc…
“There are many but I can’t even think of them right there. At this time, I would say frontline workers are very inspiring.”
I’m sure this has happened to you a thousand times now, but how do you react when you come across a fan who pours their heart out to you, telling you (perhaps tearfully) how important your music has been to them in their life? Does it still surprise you even after all of these years?
“When it’s happened, I appreciate it. I don’t know their whole story but I’m glad that our music has hit someone that deeply and emotionally. I have felt similar feelings for the bands that I like too, so I get where they’re coming from.”
After 20 years of doing the band and ten albums, what would you say is the primary motivating factor that you keeps you going, and coming back for more with this band?
“Getting to play live is a privilege that we do not take lightly. It’s still a rush getting up in front of people and playing the music you wrote yourselves. Also, it’s not 20 years, it’s 25 years.”
Personally speaking, would you consider yourself a person of faith? Not necessarily religious, but someone who believes in some form of a higher power?
“I detest organized religions of any kind. There might be a higher power or there might be the random chaos that is the universe. Most people believe the former because the latter would drive people to madness.”
Thanks for joining us today. I know it’s hard to say specifically right now, but what are your plans moving forward with the band and the new album?
“Touring as we always do. Hopefully more people get vaccinated so we can get over this pandemic. Wear a mask and distance.”