Danko Jones Is Doing It for His Country. Are You?

Danko Jones Is Doing It for His Country. Are You?
"Once you're given an opportunity to tour Europe, you take it," says Danko Jones, of Toronto's dynamite rock'n'roll trio. Born A Lion, their slick garage album that is destined to be a classic rock record, has already been released there via Sweden's Bad Taste Records, and has just been unleashed in Canada via Universal. They are a success in Europe, and have spent most of their time in the past year and a half there. The band are not expatriates; they just find that they suit the more socialistic stylings of ye olde world, while wondering why things are not the same in Canada.

Alarmingly, Jones notices a lack of a Canuck presence overseas. "When we're in Europe and we say we're from Canada, people don't know anyone else besides Celine Dion and Bryan Adams and maybe Godspeed [You Black Emperor!] — there's no one else that they know at the tip of their tongue. That's brutally embarrassing. They ask how the ‘scene' is over here — the fact that they can't name any Canadian bands and I can name so many bands from Sweden alone is proof that we fool ourselves here. I come home and everyone's patting each other on the back, but I was just at a place where there was 100 million people and they don't know who you people are. It's not a diss, it's just that there's so many great bands from Canada, and I namedrop as many times as I can: Bionic, the Dears, the Smugglers, Sloan, Sons of Otis, the Weakerthans. I see the support that music gets over there and I see just how everybody is so willing to help each other out — [Europe's] just a great scene. Canada has to be back on the map in terms of music. FACTOR and MuchMusic have done a lot for us, but things have to turn around more.

"The audiences just know a lot more about music and have a respect for it. People just want to go and check out bands. It also reflects in the bands that they export to the world. Sweden alone has less than one-third of the population of Canada, yet it produces three times the number of bands that Canada does: the Hellacopters, Soundtrack of Our Lives, the Hives, Sahara Hot Nights, Backyard Babies, Spiritual Beggars, the Crown, Entombed, A Camp, the Haunted, the Diamond Dogs. I'd like to see a thing like [outdoor festival] Roskilde in Canada, where it's like three days of non-stop music of all kinds. We just played Roskilde in Denmark — with everyone from White Stripes, Andrew W.K., Erykah Badu, Puff Daddy, Garbage, Rammstein, Steve Earle, New Order, Slayer. It's fucking incredible!"

And what about the US? Does Jones want to strut down an alley way in New Mexico and hear his music pound through some apartment window accompanied by the sounds of sex? "We're working on the States via Europe — it's the only way to do it," Jones confidently quips. "Hendrix did it, so did [‘70s Canadian rocker] Pat Travers, so why shouldn't we?"