Glinding Cool — Toronto rock Gods Danko Jones descend upon Youngstown Ed. note: This article originally appeared in the Fall 2009 edition of Youngstown Pulse. By B.J. LISKO Youngstown Pulse Editor YOUNGSTOWN — A mere few hours after his plane landed at LAX, I got the call from Danko Jones. The Toronto-based frontman of the band bearing his own name was prepping for a gig at the famed Viper Room — a one-off show before the group was to begin tracking the follow-up record the critically acclaimed release “Never Too Loud.” Ironic, considering “Never Too Loud” was released just about everywhere except America until Sept. 8, and the Viper Room show marked his first in the states in nearly five years. Danko Jones is unmistakable in its delivery, showmanship and performance — like Thin Lizzy with attention deficit disorder, or AC/DC stripped to the bare bones with a vocal sneer from a north-of-the-border pit bull. It’s mean. It’s intense. But the driving force of the sound is it’s unmistakable swing and swagger. The band has garnered hard rock hero status in Europe, touring with Motorhead as well as playing a seemingly endless stream of European festival circuits. The group has been nominated for multiple Juno Awards — basically a Canadian Grammy. Thirteen years after forming, countless tours, seven full-length releases, and Danko summed up the state of hard rock in America as compared to other countries with three words. “I don’t know,” he said. “I ask that question myself all the time. I really don’t have an answer.” Despite being speechless for perhaps the first time in his career (Danko also has done numerous spoken word albums and has hosted his own syndicated rock ‘n’ roll radio show), it doesn’t mean the band is giving up on rocking the states. In fact, to mark the U.S. release of “Never Too Loud,” the trio is touring with British punk icons The Damned for a series of shows, as well as playing its own one-off show on Sunday, Oct. 25 at Cedars Lounge in downtown Youngstown. As eluded to, the band has played numerous high-profile festival shows in Europe, and they also nabbed the opening slot for The Rolling Stones “40 Licks” world tour kick-off show in their hometown of Toronto. One might think going from tens of thousands in the audience to a mere smattering of punks, hipsters and garage rock winos might be a shock to the band’s system. That’s hardly the case. “That’s what we’re all about,” Danko said. “It doesn’t really mattter to us. Obviously playing a stadium show sometimes is more of a rush. But an equal rush can be in a room of 500 that can only fit 200 where everyone is going crazy. Sometimes those are even better gigs. We’re a band that has organically developed to adapt. We enjoy it all.” It certainly shows on the group’s numerous releases, and “Never Too Loud” is no exception. Recorded at Dave Ghrol’s Studio 606 in Los Angeles, the band tapped Grammy-award winning producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, Foo Fighters, Coheed & Cambria, Velvet Revolver) to man the controls. Danko has never been one to shy away from personal experiences in his lyrics, and with his most recent offering, it’s no different. Always one to share a relationship story through song, Danko doesn’t shy away when it comes to penning lyrics and manning the microphone. “I think everyone has had their share of interesting relationships,” he said. “We just happen to put it to music. There are guys that have way more interesting stories to tell, but they don’t write songs. Everyone has those experiences so they can latch onto the songs. It’s the same way that we did growing up.” A member of the KISS-Army since age six, Danko pulled quite the Gene Simmons-esque move when the band toured with the very prim and polished mainstream Nickelback for a Canadian Tour. Some cried foul when the solidified underground rock trio hopped on a high-profile tour with an obvious over-produced act. Danko lashed back. “For some it was a chance to be exposed to our rock music, because they hadn’t because of where they live or who they hang out with,” he said. “It’s obviously a guitar rock show anyway. But for us it was a win-win situation. And even though it didn’t look like there was a lot of people there when we went on at 7 p.m., it was more people than could fill five sold out clubs with a ‘cooler’ band. We heard some snickering when we took that tour. But anyone who is really worried about their cool factor concerning the bands they play with, then they’re not that cool. You’re really not gliding on your own cool. We don’t care. We loved the fact that we played in front of people who would never hear us. Isn’t that the point? To turn people on to something new? It’s more punk rock to play that way.” Any snickering went away in a hurry when the band hopped on a Euro-trek with perhaps one of the most legendary cult rock bands of all time, Motorhead. “That was the best tour we’ve ever been on and the best we’ve ever been treated,” Danko said. “Everything about that tour was amazing, the band, the crew, everyone involved. You remember that. There’s a reason they have a song about their own road crew. Lemmy is the man. Everything you’ve heard and think about Motorhead is true and more. It’s great when you can meet a band you grew up idolizing and they’re awesome as well. That just makes it even better.” The band went back to work on its forthcoming studio album following the Viper Room gig. It was clear in the interview that an obviously excited Danko was ready to lay down the tracks. “I don’t want to fall in this trap that everyone always says, but these songs are so fucking good man,” he said. “I was listening to it on the plane and I was laughing because I was so excited. I don’t get that way for every record. Come to think of it, I haven’t ever. On this record there’s like seven or eight songs, that if we don’t do them I’m gonna punch a hole in the wall. These must get recorded. We wrote a whole bunch — 16 or 17 songs. Usually it’s like two per album that get me that excited.” That excitement will undoubtedly show when the band hits the stage in the states, Cedars Lounge included. The band’s last appearance in the Mahoning Valley was in 2005 at the now defunct Cellar in Struthers. Thousands of shows later, Danko, of course, remembers it vividly. “It was the best show we’ve ever had,” he laughed. Thankfully for the Valley, it wasn’t his last. Danko Jones takes the stage Sunday, Oct. 25 at Cedars Lounge following an interview on The Homegrown Show on CD93.3 The Wolf set to air at 9 p.m. Local rockers Turbo Lovers will open the show at 10:15 p.m..