Stripped-down rock works well for Danko Jones and fans

Amanda Jess
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TORONTO – From playing in a ‘dingy basement’ to a crowd of thousands, one thing has never changed for Danko Jones; they always have been, and always be, a rock and roll band.

Danko Jones

“No matter what critics said about the record, the one thing they couldn’t’ say about it was (that) it was not rock,” Jones said in an interview leading up to the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee.

It’s not that he doesn’t believe in progress, but he notes it can be a bad word for rock musicians.

The lead singer and namesake for the three-member band thinks they’ve improved in the right way without taking away from the simplified nature of the genre.

This became clear after their latest album, Garage Rock! A Collection of Lost Songs from 1996 – 1998.

Released earlier this year, the 17-track album takes the band back to their early days, a series of songs they had forgotten about, found on old cassettes in a box in Jones’s parents’ basement.

“It was definitely a trip down memory lane, and we realized these songs are actually, back in ’96, it was a scene – a garage rock scene that died out. And what inevitably came out of it were bands like The White Stripes and The Hives. They kind of catapulted to the main stream and the rest of the scene really faded into the background.”

Their next studio album is on the way, produced by Eric Ratz, who has worked with Billy Talent and Monster Truck, as well as Danko Jones back in 1999.

“Given our lack of musical prowess on our respective instruments, it’s pretty much going to be what you’d expect of our band,” he said. “Dragging your audience that you’ve worked so hard to garner through your experiments, and your ‘finding yourself’ is pretty arrogant. We know who we are. We know what we like, and we know that over the years, we’ve managed to find an audience that likes what we like, so that’s what we’re going to put out. I’m not selling myself short when I say that we’re going to put out another record that is rock and only rock. I’m not holding back on anything. It’s what I want to hear. It’s what I play and it’s what I want to hear.”

He approaches his stage presence in the same way. He is only himself. How that translates depends on the situation.

“For me to just walk on stage and be the exact same way off stage one-on-one with somebody, it means that I really don’t care. It doesn’t affect me and it does,” he said, describing performing as a heightened sense of reality.

Jones rocks out for Jubilee tonight.

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda

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