Rock ‘n’ roll ain’t no luxury item. It’s essential. It’s the blood in our veins and the fire in our hearts. And nobody does it better than Danko Jones.
Formed in Toronto in 1996, this six-legged riff ‘n’ refrain machine have spent the last two decades delivering huge, jolting doses of stripped back ‘n’ strutting hard rock with the relentlessness of men possessed. Led by Danko himself, the closest thing the modern world has to a credible king of rock’n’roll, and now deftly supported by suave bass maestro John Calabrese and loose-limbed drum god Rich Knox, this pumped-up Canadian power trio grabbed the world’s attention with a flurry of early EPs, before exploding fully into action with 2002’s full-length debut Born A Lion.
Ruthlessly devoted to the road and masters of the lost art of rocking the living shit out of audiences from Utah to Ulan Bator, Danko Jones have grown in strength with every new album and breathless round-the-world trek. While touring with everyone from Volbeat to Guns N’ Roses, Danko and his comrades have earned a formidable reputation as one of the few modern hard rock bands that truly unite the tribes, bringing punk rockers and metal purists together through sheer force of personality and amp-wrecking oomph. From classic albums like 2003’s flawless We Sweat Blood and its widely acclaimed 2006 follow-up Sleep Is The Enemy (which featured a guest appearance from ex-Kyuss legend John Garcia) to recent triumphs Fire Music (2015) and Wild Cat (2017), Danko Jones have re-written the hard rock rulebook, bringing back all the fun, ferocity and lifeaffirming power that only the all-time greats can harness.
Fast forward to 2019: Danko Jones are back with a brand new album, A Rock Supreme. Serving up precisely what its title promises, the new record boasts yet another non-stop blitzkrieg of irresistible, energy-packed anthems. Sharper than ever after yet more years on the road, the Canadian three-piece sound somehow bigger, tougher and more thrillingly plugged into the rock ‘n’ roll mainframe than ever. Recorded with esteemed studio guru Garth Richardson (Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Biffy Clyro, Rise Against), at his own Farm Studios near Vancouver, A Rock Supreme is both more of the brilliant same and a subtle creative step up for the 21st century’s most indestructible rockers.
“Since Wild Cat came out, we’ve been on the road and that’s pretty much it!” says Danko. “When we weren’t on the road we were getting this new album ready. Nothing changed how we usually write rock songs – we just go into our rehearsal space and jam until something sparks. We were lucky this time because there were a lot of sparks! Working with Garth was a matter of co-ordinating. We’ve both been wanting to work with each other for quite some time. Once we were all in a room together, we quickly realised we all got along and we laughed our way through the recording. I think you can hear how well we got along by how rocking the songs turned out.”
A Rock Supreme doesn’t fuck about: with 11 skilfully crafted hard rock anthems in 40 furious minutes, it’s a proud and exhilarating paean to the untouchable magic of loud, blaring rock’n’roll. From the wide-eyed bombast of first single We’re Crazy and the heads-down clatter of Burn In Hell to the bruised melodic thump of That Girl and Fists Up High’s rampant classic rock, these are simply the punchiest and most gloriously riotous songs Danko Jones have produced to date. Opening track I’m In A Band says it all: Danko, John and Rich are in this for life.
“Yeah, that opening cut is a kick in the balls,” Danko notes. “It pretty much sums up how I feel every day I wake up and I gotta do this rock n’ roll thing. Burn In Hell is another favourite of mine. It’s got a country vibe but, make no mistake, it’s hard rock through and through. I just wanted to see how fast I could sing without taking a breath! You know, all of our songs I love equally. They’re like our kids. But there are some, like Fists Up High, that I like a little bit more. It’s just a goddamn hard rock song, the kind you would expect to read about if you looked up ‘hard rock song’ in the dictionary.”
“You’ll get no surprises from us,” the frontman continues. “No symphonies or guest rappers. It’s just more straight up, zero bullshit hard rock songs written and performed with a respect to the past and crosshairs directly aimed on the butts of every listener. Every band says their newest album is the best. I won’t say that, but… fuck it, this is the best album we’ve put out!!”
Poised to win yet more hearts and minds with A Rock Supreme, Danko are not just about rock’n’roll revolution: there’s evolution going on here, too. Following on from Danko’s much-acclaimed debut as an author – I’ve Got Something To Say, available now via Feral House! – he and his band are also entering new territory, releasing A Rock Supreme through five different labels (four of which they haven’t worked with before) – M-Theory Audio (US), Indica (Canada), Rise Above (UK), Indica (Australia / New Zealand) and they are continuing the collaboration with AFM in the rest of the world.
With new partnerships, new horizons and a healthy serving of new anthems, Danko Jones’ determined mission to rock the world’s socks off is clicking into a new gear. Get ready to rock. After all, what else is there?
“There’s no real plan for this record other than touring, touring and more touring!” Danko concludes. “We’ve managed to inch our way up doing it this way, watching others who tried to jump ahead fall further down. It’s been a slow long haul but we’re still here at a time when rock is being pushed more and more underground. I think the way we are doing it, nose to the grindstone, is the only way to go.” - Dom Lawson