It’s coming tomorrow. The new album from Danko Jones, “Wild Cat.” Danko’s music can only be compared to the moment after the coolest dude in a grungy bar looks you square in the eye and says, “let’s do this” with a vibe on his face that’s 50% dangerous and 50% mysterious.
What is “this”? Is “this” good? That’s all you’re thinking.
I don’t know, man. Maybe? But that’s not the point. The point is the feeling. Every second of a Danko Jones songs make me anxious for the next second. JC’s bassline slinks like a stalker on “Lovercall”. The drum intro mixed with the bassline on “Caramel City” is enough to raise the hair on the back of your…everything. Every song drips with anticipation.
And that’s not to mention the lyrics.
Put yourself back in that grungy bar from the first paragraph. The 50/50 dangerous/mysterious dude says to you (not your friend, not the guy standing next to you…YOU), “I’m into never stopping, I’m making no sense. But I can never sit still I keep on riding.” What do you think next?
- Oh, shit! Call security! This guy is mental!
- Cool! I need to form a GANG with this dude!
- Is that the lyrics to “We Sweat Blood” by Danko Jones?
I know the answer is #3….but #2 is a much more accurate feeling to describe how those lyrics make me feel.
I’m blocking off my afternoon to listen to the new record, then I’m headed out on the town with a “let’s form a gang” mentality.
Getting old is incredibly inconvenient. Physically, your back hurts for no reason. Mentally, you find yourself responsible for your parents (not the other way around: what a trip!), and eventually you need to decide if you’re going to age with your favourite bands or if you’re going to “let them go.”
Aging with a band requires the discipline of a Drill Sargent, You continue to go to the shows, buy the albums and follow on social media. Your worship of them never waivers. You live in the musical past (for the most part) because the future is too complex. Too uncertain. Too hard. This group gets busy with the challenges of life and eventually squeezes new music out of it. As we age, we gradually find new ways to see ourselves in the world. We no longer need new music to see our reflection. We have children, careers and emerging interests to do it instead.
Embracing the ideology of “letting a band go” means being prepared to stop liking them. Being prepared to stop defending them: and not holding it against them. Songwriters age (like the rest of us) and inevitably change their writing style, content and performance tactics as a result of a morphing world-view. Unless you’re changing on the same trajectory (or one close to it), it can be hard to truly identify with your favourite band as a 21-year-old, on the same level, in your mid-30’s. This is no ones fault.
I have to let the Foo Fighters “go”. They’re officially a “Dad Rock” band to me. The evidence was all over the sold out concert in Edmonton last night. The lead singer pulled a mega-dad move and played the show in a leg cast (my dad would never miss a day of work either). The band pulled John Doe out of the crowd to join them on stage to sing a cover song. That cover song was by the ultimate “dad rock” band: Rush. I understand there were local children on stage at some point for some reason or another. These are all incredibly gracious acts by the Foo Fighters. A band know as much for their genuineness as their record sales.
Some music lovers age with all their favourite bands. Some “let go” of them all and integrate a new roster every few years. Maybe you’re on one end of the spectrum or somewhere in the middle. There is no right answer.