Last Friday Danko Jones released a new album. A day of celebration. Any day that Danko Jones releases a new album is a day of celebration.
I love the Beatles, I love the Rolling Stones, I love Led Zeppelin, and countless, countless other bands.
But I worship at the Altar of Danko.
That’s not a lie, nor an exaggeration. I have each and every one of their albums (barring an EP or two) and, more importantly, have listened to each of them dozens upon hundreds of times. Straight ahead rock music that’s not quite metal, but a little too hard edged to fit on mainstream rock stations.
I love them. I worry every time they release a new album that it might be their last as a band. Why? Because they seem successful enough to keep going but not quite successful enough to make serious money. Plus Danko (the band is called Danko Jones and that’s the lead Singer’s name too. Like Alice Cooper before Alice went his own way) is one seriously well-spoken dude. He’s got a podcast but I’m surprised no one has offered him a lucrative gig talking on TV or radio. Though, thinking about it further, he’s probably gotten those offers and turned them down.
Because while I worship at the altar of Danko Jones, Danko worships at the altar of Rock. Lives it. Loves it. Breathes it.
Some critics love them, some don’t care about them. They’re one of those bands that are loved by those that love them but ignored by others. Not hated, never heard anyone who hated them, but indifference? Sure. Some get it, some don’t. Whoopty.
They have a song called Sore Loser off of Below the Belt that I use as motivation. It’s all about this woman who didn’t work hard enough to make it but complains that she didn’t make it. I don’t want to be her. Gotta give it all I’ve got because I’d rather live with the regret of not being good enough than with the regret of not trying hard enough. Trying is under my control. Talent ain’t.
I write books in my copious spare time (two kids, two cats, one wife, one full-time job, comic strip, volunteering) and listen to music to drown out the typing. Also to juice the pace. Quick, hard, nasty, pure rock of Danko Jones works best.
Last year at a show of theirs I sat off to the side but near the front and sang along to every song and at the end this girl reached out her first to bump. Apparently watching a guy that into it, that obviously, with that comprehensive a knowledge of the songs was almost as entertaining as the show itself. Which, by the way, was the best show I’d ever seen. Just three dudes up on stage giving it all they got as the crowd goes nuts.
What constitutes a favorite band? Is it the right song at the right time in your life? Is it a careful curation of the band’s output as weighed against other bands to determine the ‘winner’ for you? Is it acknowledgement of greatness?
Or is it the one that makes you howl at the moon, screaming at the top of your lungs, as your fingers fly over the keyboard and the words flow like wine through Jesus’s beard (he was a very sloppy drinker, most people don’t know this).
Danko Jones is my favorite band. Their new album confirms that love but I knew it would. There were times when they could have been huge. If they’d collaborated with the right people at the right time. Softened their sound. Slicked it up. Made it poppy. Rode Nickelback’s coat tails.
Instead they’ve done their own thing. Never sold out. Never will sell out. Will remain doing what they do for as long as they do it and I’m just grateful I got to hear them.
What about you? Your favorite band? And why?
Was it because you were young once and so were they and they were the soundtrack to your best times? Or is it because being young is when music means the most to you?
I like Kaleo, Of Monsters and Men, Sabaton, Disturbed, Kamelot, a bunch of modern bands but they’ll never mean to me what Danko Jones does. They can’t; Danko Jones holds that spot and keep producing awesome album after awesome album because they refuse to budge.
There may be a parallel there with them and Rick Dodge but I refuse to see it.
Thank you for reading,