Not every rock band has other bands dedicating tunes to them (and naming them in the title, no less), but that is exactly what veteran German rockers Sin/City did for Danko Jones on their album Th13teen. The track is called “D.A.N.K.O.” and it’s a hard-rocking tribute to Canada’s “unbeatable, unbelievable, unbreakable” Danko Jones. What does it take to inspire that kind of appreciation from your peers? In Danko Jones’ case, it seems to take a tenacious and fierce dedication to a no-nonsense, no-bullshit musical philosophy and an unflinching determination to rock the hell out.
After almost two decades in the business, Danko Jones (both the man and the band) sticks to the path of righteous, straight-to-the-solar- plexus rock: the three-piece is all intensity, speed, and (yes) fire on the band’s latest album Fire Music. With front-man Danko Jones wielding his guitar like a rock’n’roll power tool, John Calabrese slaying on bass, and the more recently added Rich Knox just killing it on drums, this album rips, roars and rumbles through 11 terrific tracks without ever pausing to catch its breath. It’s tight, hard, fast and loud – just the way it should be.
From the roaring opener “Wild Woman” (“you don’t listen to love anymore”), to the heart-ripping tale “She Ain’t Coming Home”, the band tears through the track list with awe-inspiring and irrepressible abandon.
The tracks are all killer, no filler with personal favourites of mine including the furiously raw and gripping “The Twisting Knife”; the fist-pumping glory of “Gonna Be A Fight Tonight”; and the cowbell-heavy hip shaker “Do You Wanna Rock”.
There are tunes here that almost make you gasp for breath because they hit so hard: just listen to “Body Bags” – a track with a jagged, vicious edge just raring to draw blood; and high-speed bullets like “Watch You Slide” and “Piranha”.
For all its heat and speed, Fire Music isn’t just about punk-rock-fuelled ferocity. “Live Forever” makes for a pretty damn awesome love song, with a great hook and riff to catch you when you’re down; and “I Will Break Your Heart” has a heavy, bone-shaking beat and so much swagger and groove that you’ll want to listen to it on a loop (I might have done that…).
Also, this is definitely a band with a sense of humour. That comes through loud and clear on the hard-rocking and hilarious “Getting Into Drugs”, a tune that tells the tale about what can happen after you smoke your first joint.
In the end, it all boils down to one thing: Fire Music is pure rock and roll adrenaline. Get it, play it, and crank it up loud.
Danko Jones is touring Europe and Canada this year (do they ever stop?), so you might be able to catch the band somewhere along the route. I’ll be there when the band hits Vancouver with Australian band The Lazys in April. And if you want to check out Sin/City’s track “D.A.N.K.O.” you’ll find it here.
- Danko Jones – guitar, vocals
- John Calabrese – bass
- Rich Knox – drums
- Wild Woman
- The Twisting Knife
- Gonna Be A Fight Tonight
- Body Bags
- Live Forever
- Do You Wanna Rock
- Getting Into Drugs
- Watch You Slide
- I Will Break Your Heart
- She Ain’t Coming Home