Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Jun 3rd 2010 2:30PM by Lonny Knapp
"Thanks a lot," he said. "We weren't sure if anyone was going to show up."
Danko Jones is the namesake and frontman of a three-piece hard rock band hailing from Toronto. In Europe, the band sells out 2,000 seat venues on their own, regularly share the stage with legends like Motorhead and Guns N' Roses and are a mainstay on the European rock festival circuit, hitting 25 fests this summer alone.
At home in Canada, however, it's been a slow burn.
Jones has his own theories about the lack of traditional rock'n'roll bands breaking out of Canada.
"Canadian music on a worldwide scale is exploding, but rock is just not represented," he tells Spinner. "In Canada, people feel that rock 'n' roll is a lowbrow form of music, and it is not accepted with open arms as much as other genres of music."
Nevertheless, after slugging it out for 14 years, it seems that Canadian audiences are ready to receive Danko Jones. 'Full of Regret,' the first single from the band's recently-released fifth album 'Below the Belt,' made its debut in the Top 10 singles chart while the album is currently at number 22 and comes out in the US on June 8.
'Full of Regret' is a driving tune that features Danko spitting high speed syncopated lyrics during the verses while showing melodic restraint during the hooky refrain. The tune's accompanying movie-trailer-style video starring the likes of Elijah Wood, Selma Blair, Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister and punk heavyweight Mike Watt, could very well be the pick that breaks the ice on this side of the Atlantic.
'Below the Belt' offers all the fist-pumping muscle-car riffs and in-your-face attitude fans expect from Danko Jones, but reveals a sense of melody, which, up until recently, was overshadowed on the band's recordings.
Grammy-winner Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush, Marilyn Manson) mixed and produced the band's 2008 offering 'Never Too Loud.' With its sing-along choruses and stadium-sized production, it's the band's slickest album, and showcases Jones' first attempts at a more melodic vocal approach.
"Over the years JC [bassist] has bugged me to sing more, but I was never confident enough. Working with Nick Raskulinecz on the last record, we broke down that barrier," he says.
Recorded in Toronto with longtime accomplice Matt DeMatteo, 'Below the Belt,' marks a return to the band's raw roots, and according to Jones, combines the best elements of the band's back catalogue.
"We took the heavier moments of 'We Sweat Blood,' and the faster more punk rock moments of 'Sleep is the Enemy,' and mixed it with the melodic sensibility of 'Never Too Loud,'" he explains. "I think it has some of the heaviest and fastest moment we've had on an album."
Back on stage, Danko Jones and his band powered through old favorites like 'Sticky Situation' and 'Lover Call' before fresh tracks, such as 'I Think Bad Thoughts,' leaving little time for chatter. During one of the few short breaks, the crowd raised their hands in devil horn salutes and roared their approval. and the warm reception seemed to catch the notoriously cocky singer off guard.
"Thanks Toronto," he said. "It's great to be home."