Canadian Musician - November/December 2021 - Page 39

DANKO JONES CONDUCTS THE PUSTERVIK CROWD when she came out wearing an NHL jersey . And that just told me everything about the country that I ’ m in , the kind of culture that I ’ m trying to play for .
Luckily , there are pockets in the world that appreciate music equal to sports . Nothing will ever top sports , but [ there are places ] where it doesn ’ t take over to the point where they have no interest in music ; and that ’ s my point … That ’ s the thing I don ’ t understand about this country , it ’ s all about sports from top to bottom . Music , arts , they ’ re relegated to a footnote , and I think that ’ s the real reason why a band like us needs to [ play outside of ] Canada .
After months of sending files back and forth , arranging , rearranging , and finally committing to the songs and rehearsing , the trio hit a couple classic Toronto spots with producer Eric Ratz to carve it all in stone , with drums tracked at Noble Street Studios and the remainder done at Vespa Music Group . Ratz and the band have a long history , with the producer working on one of their popular early singles , “ Bounce ,” in 1999 , and then reuniting on 2015 and 2017 LPs Fire Music and Wild Cat , respectively .
With the songs fully prepared and ironed out , the recording process was quite straight-forward . “ I mean , the studio costs money ,” says Calabrese . “ There ’ s no waiting for artistic creativity to hit you ; we ’ re just there to execute , which is good because we can spend more time on getting a guitar tone rather than ‘ should we double the third chorus ?’”
In terms of the tones in question , Jones cites the use of primarily vintage Marshall and Orange heads on top of whatever other specialty pieces might find a place in the songs . “ It ’ s usually Orange and Marshall ,” he reassures . For his tones , Jones says , “ the only thing I want the guitars to sound like is the sound that I ’ ve been making since I was a kid when playing air guitar . So , if [ the record ] matches that sound , then we ’ re in the ballpark .” For his bass tracking , Calabrese relied on his Sandberg California basses , and leaned heavily on his EBS Reidmar 750 head with an 8x10 cabinet .
Tracking ran through late September and into October , before the record would then wait on the shelf for almost a year barring the drip-fed singles throughout the first half of 2021 . Then , come August , the veil was finally lifted , the trio was able to return to the stage , and the best , most complete record of Danko Jones ’ career finally began to penetrate eardrums and mark the return of not only one of our nation ’ s loudest , most fun bands , but live music at large as venues began to reopen .
“ It ’ s Danko making another rock record ,” says Calabrese . We know what we ’ re doing ; we ’ re not going to take the audience through a musical journey of me wanting to explore how to play the accordion . “ We know what we do and we do it well , and we ’ ve been doing it for many years . Ultimately , when we ’ re arranging the songs and playing the songs , I always think , ‘ How is this going to translate live ? How ’ s it going to work in open air ? How ’ s it going to work in a club ?’”
After losing count of how many months we ’ ve been without live music and the sweaty communion of rock ‘ n roll ’ s most dedicated fans , that question can only be answered in one way : “ Time to find out .”
Andrew Leyenhorst is a Niagara-based freelance producer , engineer , mixer , and a Consulting Editor at Canadian Musician .