Monday, November 29, 2004


Canada can't have the mango

Danko Jones demonstrates his five-finger palm exploding heart technique

Listen to The Mango Kid Listen to Bounce (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) There are strange rhythms to rock geek conversation.

“Have you heard BAND X?” one geek will ask, casually arranging the one-inch Joe Strummer and Atari 2600 buttons on the lapel of his corduroy sport coat.

“No,” geek two will reply, eyes peeking out from under his razor cut hair, hands resting on his ironically large belt buckle. “Where’re they from?”

“Where’re they from.”

Not “What do they sound like?” or “Who’s in the band?” but “Where are they from,” as if, in these days of instant song transmission, where musical trends fire from Tokyo to Toulouse in hours and days instead of weeks and months, a local sound can survive.

Though there’s no mistaking the geography behind much of today’s hip-hop (the dirty south, doesn’t sound much like the East Coast to my ear) I’d argue that the concept of a “local sound” hasn’t existed in mainstream rock n’ roll since the Sub-Pop days in Seattle. (what’s currently happening in Detroit is definitely a sound. Then again, as much as I love it, it’s pretty much the same sound that came out of Detroit last time).

As for non-mainstream sounds there’s always Florida and for non-rock there’s Nashville and, well, Florida again.

Though I don’t think local sounds are a big deal, there’s no doubt that bands will still leave home if they feel setting up shop somewhere else will get them closer to their goals. Toronto three-piece Danko Jones - they of the Budweiser neck brace commercial – have made a pilgrimage in hopes of getting a better shake. It’s a strange one though.

Rather than pulling up stakes for New York or London, Danko and the boys have set their sites on the OTHER great white north . . . Stockholm. That’s right, when they appeared at last year’s south by southwest, Danko Jones’ promo. material indicated that they have traded in Hogtown on the Lake for Beauty on Water, Tim Hortons for lingonberry pancakes. Mats Sundin for, well, Mats Sundin.

“Danko writes two kinds of songs,” my buddy Hagga-B once told me. “The ladies love him or the ladies done him wrong.”

Now, that repertoire wouldn’t make the Mango Kid any different from half the blues legends ever to pick up a guitar, but no one is going to mistake Danko for Buddy, Muddy or B.B. There’s a little too much Paul Stanley in the vocal delivery.

In fact, to paraphrase Jon Spencer, “Danko Jones don’t play the blues, they play rock n’ roll.” Sounds like Canada, indeed.

Visit Danko Jones on the web. While you're there, be sure to check out his radio show on Rocket 93.5 "The Rock Home of Stockholm" For more on the Skanda-rock scene check out the mighty mighty It's a Trap.

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