Hyperactive hard-rocker Danko Jones doesn’t even know what sleep is


By Steve Newton

Danko Jones has no time to snooze. In fact, his current bio claims that he hasn’t had a nap since kindergarten. Any time spent in dreamland would just cut into his opportunities to rock your fucking ass off! “I’m firin’ on speed right now,” claims the hyperactive singer-guitarist, on the line from Toronto. “I’m goin’ a thousand fuckin’ miles an hour. I don’t even know what sleep is.”

On the rare occasions when Jones does catch a few winks, don’t be surprised if he mumbles in his sleep: he likes to talk nearly as much as he likes to rock. For nearly two years he’s broadcast a syndicated radio show on Sweden’s Rocket 93.5FM (“the rock home of Stockholm”) that also airs in Portugal, Germany, Norway, and Canada. As an extension of that, in 2004 the chatterbox released a spoken-word CD named after his radio program, The Magical World of Rock, but it failed to thrill critics in his native land.

“It was well received all over Europe,” he claims, “but when I put it out in Canada I didn’t get one good review. People were, like, ‘Who does he think he is, Jello Biafra? Henry Rollins?’ And I’m just goin’, ‘Well, wait a minute. First of all, they’ve been doin’ it for 22 years. Second of all, can’t someone start?’ I mean, have you heard those early Rollins records? They’re not the best. But now he’s great, he’s amazing!”

When he’s not flapping his gums on the international airwaves or doing spoken word, Jones–a Kiss Army member at the age of six–communicates through his kick-ass, ’70s-inspired guitar-rock trio. Its third CD, Sleep Is the Enemy, is scheduled for release on February 21, following 2002’s Born a Lion and 2003’s We Sweat Blood.

Born a Lion, despite our efforts, turned out to be like a heavy blues-rock record,” notes Jones, “and then we wanted to get away from that blues-rock tag, so We Sweat Blood was a heavier kind of album. And this next one is as heavy as We Sweat Blood, but more melodic.”

The upcoming disc includes a guest vocal by John Garcia of Kyuss on “Invisible”, which sports the romantic line: “I’ll rip my nuts off just for you!” That sweet refrain may make an appearance when Danko’s group–which includes bassist John Calabrese and drummer Damon Richardson–opens for Nickelback at GM Place on Friday (January 20).

“I know there’s a lotta people in cool circles and stuff who don’t really like them,” he says of the multiplatinum headliners. “I understand that completely. But, you know, 10,000 people’s 10,000 people, man. And that’s who I want to play to. I have no time for people in bands who go, ‘I want to play for these kinds of people, I don’t want to play for those kinds of people.’ I’m disgusted when I hear that. People should be grateful that they have an audience to play to in the first place.”

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