DANKO JONES On How Artists Make It Big Despite Being 'Mediocre': 'It All Has To Do With How Much Money Is Behind The Band'

September 5, 2019

DANKO JONES frontman Danko Jones recently spoke with Andrew McKaysmith of the "Scars And Guitars" podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the band's nontraditional music video for recent single "Dance Dance Dance":

Danko: "We didn't really have much to do with the video. It was [director] Amir Chamdin... he cast the girls. He told us what he was going to do. We've known Amir for a long, long time; we've just never worked with him, so we just let him do what he wanted to do, and that's what he came up with. It's great, because it is completely removed from what people's perception of the band is, so we like that... It's a one-shot thing. There's no cut in it. That was what was really great. THE PIXIES did that years and years ago — they did a one-shot thing where they're running over these rocks, and I always thought that was really cool. I really liked that one-shot idea."

On the band's forthcoming music video for new single "Fists Up High":

Danko: "We haven't done a performance video where we're in the video in seven years, but we finally filmed one [this summer] in Gothenburg while we were on the road. It will be us in a warehouse... it's the first time we've performed in a video since 2012."

On how bands can get big in this day and age:

Danko: "I think the secret is to sign all your rights away to a major label, and that's not the only ingredient. You have to have them also at the same time push what you signed away on, and if you get those two ingredients mixed together, then you will get millions of views. It's not a maybe — it's a positive, 100 percent [certainty]. Being on the inside, behind the curtain, you really see how the industry works, and it's not a dirty secret anymore. It's a secret, [but] it's not dirty anymore, because it's accepted. The bands that get the big push are usually it's because the band has signed away everything [and] given the record company carte blanche to use their music and their image and everything, and it's whether or not the record label decides to push that album that's on their roster. If they do, then you've got a perfect storm. We've always been a band that's very protective of our masters, our image. We don't want to sign away everything. There's a trade-off to that. It's the difference between five million views on YouTube and 200,000. That's where the difference lies, and it all has to do with how much money is behind the band and how much effort is behind that money, pushing the money. It's really that simple. As a music fan, I didn't know that, even being in a band for a long time, until we started to kind of gravitate in circles like that, and you'd go, 'Why are they No. 1, because they're so — I'm sorry — not terrible, but mediocre, whereas this [other] band that isn't getting any of the attention are incredible?' The bottom line is, one band gave away everything and the other band kept everything. That's really the music industry in a nutshell. People can deny it, but it's the truth."

On social media's pitfalls:

Danko: "I'm not on Facebook, and I'm perfectly happy. I'll go in if the band needs me to post something, and I'm the only one with a jpeg or what have you, I'll post something, but my personal profile, I don't even go on it. I don't have any friends; I don't do anything. I'm on Instagram, but that's not my platform. Instagram didn't come with my citizenship. When you're born, you don't buy into the company. You're basically on their platform, and they can write the rules... You're posting on their platform. You've got to watch what you post... On our Instagram and our Twitter, I keep it personal enough so people know I'm engaging with [them]. It's not just a robot — it's not a bot going, 'Come to the show. We have a new album.' But it's also not me going, 'I'm going to post this photo that's hilarious now, but might bite me in the ass later,' or anything super-personal about my life. It is so public, and it's not mine when I post something."

DANKO JONES's ninth album, "A Rock Supreme", was released on April 26. The group will kick off an extensive tour of Europe and the United Kingdom in support of VOLBEAT on September 23.

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