Having released their seventh studio album 'Fire Music' in February, Canadian Rockers Danko Jones, kicked off their European Tour at the Oslo in London last night, joined by The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. The band have also announced dates for various festivals across Europe including Bråvalla Festival, Bukta Festival, Ruhrpott Rodeo Festival and Porisphere.
We caught up with bassist John 'JC' Calabrese before the show to discuss the album, the tour, Motörhead and advice for upcoming bands.
Contact Music: What are you looking forward to the most on this European Tour?
John Calabrese: The shows really, that's what we're here for. I'm also looking forward to seeing The Admirals play too, that's the band that's going to be on tour with us for this European tour. Also looking forward to playing the new songs.
CM: What's your favourite part about touring in the UK?
JC: The crisps - Salt & Vinegar. I also have lots of friends that live here, so it's nice to come back to London to see them. Hopefully, next time we're up near Bristol, because a lot of them live up there, and Somerset and stuff. Nando's is not for me. I like Marks & Spencers on the motorway. Nando's is a no-no for me.
CM: 'Fire Music' came out in February, how's the reception been so far?
JC: It's been really good so far. Really overwhelmingly positive. Just can't wait to play the songs live and see how that works out. It's coming out a lot later in the US because it's always a mess putting stuff out there and we were waiting on some labels there and that didn't work out. So Bad Taste ended up putting it out on their own and that was the slot that was given to them. It's good if people want to hear it, I know they can pre-order it. Usually, in the past it was like you put out in the US first and now, I guess, karma has bitten the US back and they're getting it as the last country. But hopefully, it will go well there.
CM: Tell us a bit more about the album and the thought process behind it. What's it all about?
JC: Just another Danko hard rocking record. Basically, me and Danko get together and muster up the ideas of the songs and work them out with Rich, our new drummer. With this record here we went back to working with Eric Ratz who we worked with years ago on an album.
CM: 'Getting Into Drugs' could be seen as controversial. Do you believe people can be easily influenced by what they hear?
JC: People can be influenced by anything they hear. It's not up to what's being said as to what the person informs themselves with. ACDC wrote a song called 'Big Balls', so 'Getting Into Drugs' is definitely a tongue in cheek song. Anyone who hears it and doesn't recognise that it's a tongue in cheek song, I don't think we're at fault for them not understanding that. Perhaps they need to read up on their satire. You can't blame a song. If someone goes to smoke pot or goes to do anything after listening to our song, that's up to them! I don't think that's going to happen, I just think it's going to give people a chuckle than be urged to do anything.
CM: What advice would you give to upcoming or newly started bands?
JC: Stay in school. Don't do this. Whatever you do, don't do this. It's tough, it's a grind. But if you do decide to do it, stick with it, it's a long road. And be nice to everybody. If you start off being arrogant, it's not going to go anywhere. Be humble, stay strong and keep working hard.
CM: Have there been any bands that have caught your eye recently?
JC: There are always new bands that I've been listening to. I mean there's Admiral that are going to be playing with us. Audrey Horne which is a band from Norway that I love, they've put out a new record. I guess they're not new but Black Star Riders which are the Thin Lizzy guys. Jesus, I have crazy stuff. Also Hell & Money, someone turned me on to Hell & Money, she's a cellist she's really amazing.
CM: Vinyls or digital downloads?
JC: I'll take both as long as I can hear the music. I love the vinyls but what's important is the music. I love the vinyls when it's like a nice £180,000 vinyl. That's nice.
CM: There's been some debate that rock and metal are dying. What do you think of the current state of the rock world?
JC: I think metal definitely has a higher place than some rock, but rock is out there, it's just not as popular as the pop that's out there. You've got anywhere from Taylor Swift to Ed Sheeran, you can't compete with that. I like both of those acts, but the popularity is out there. It's more of a grind to be in a rock band and be on the rock side of things than it is being on the pop side of spectrum. I think everything comes full circle and it will just keep going on and on and on.
CM: Who's the best band you've ever toured with?
JC: I always love touring with Motörhead. I look up to those guys and they've always treated us really good. With them being a three piece, that's why I'm siding with them, although touring with Guns 'n' Roses was great. If there's any band left with a template for us to follow then it's Motörhead. When you see people that have been in the game for this long and they treat you like Motörhead have treated us, then you kind of have a good indication of where you can keep going with this.
CM: Who's the most unhygienic on the tour bus?
JC: Everyone's very clean. Sometimes the drivers. We never know who the driver is, so hopefully tomorrow we'll have a hygienic driver. In Canada we have one driver who is the cleanest guy I've ever seen. Sometimes I'll leave like a crumpled up tissue around just to see when he picks it up.
CM: What's next for Danko Jones?
JC: We're going to be touring this album. Hopefully we'll be back in the UK in the Summertime if we get to do some festivals, if not in the Fall we'll do more of a longer jaunt. Hopefully, I get to go to Bristol and see my friends and come back here.
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