(Feral House, 2018)
Danko Jones requires little introduction. Whether you are a fan of his incredibly hard-rockin’ band, his hilarious podcast, or his articles on all things rock for myriad magazines, the guy is an undeniably-prolific veteran of rock and roll. And it is because of his lifer dedication to rock that his new book, the uproarious I’ve Got Something To Say, rings so true. A collection of essays culled from his musings at magazines like at Rock Hard, Close-Up, or the Huffington Post, there’s a ton for any truehearted rocker to unpack, and to enjoy here.
And it’s because of his tireless dedication to rock and roll that Danko’s musings here are so eminently relatable to any rock fan. You get articles about playing popular pop songs backwards in order to find the real hidden messages to Satan (I mean, if I’m Satan, why the hell wouldn’t I put backmasks in shit like Whitney Houston or the Beatles?!), or bestowing effusive, entirely-apropos praise upon Thin Lizzy, Mule, The Jesus Lizard, Death Angel, or Turbonegro.
Hell, there’s even a whole feature piece discussing the RYB color wheel as it relates to each of the four KISS solo albums, and the power-dynamics therein. Or there’s Danko’s in-depth treatise on how to properly deejay your next [Advanced!] Dungeons & Dragons campaign, complete with notes on the correct character theme-music as it relates to each character’s class or moral alignment.
As a die-hard rock nerd myself, this is the kind of shit I live for. And reading Danko’s book, you get the feeling you could nerd out with the guy on rock topics for hours on end – and that’s part of what makes the guy and his writing so likeable [to my luck, I’ve actually gotten the chance to nerd out with him on all things metal].
Through it all, the book never gets boring, or lofty, or so up its own ass that a reader will lose interest, and that’s truly the inherent charm: Danko – in his rock and roll as well as in his writing – always comes across as a man of the people. For example: every great rocker started out first and foremost as a fan, and some people never lose sight of the fanboy they once were, no matter how famous or popular they get. Two of the greatest stories in I’ve Got Something To Say illustrate this perfectly: the graphic-rendered tales of teenage record-store clerk Danko meeting Johnny Cash, or grown-up rock star Danko coming full circle and getting to sing “Born To Raise Hell” onstage with Motörhead at a festival.
There are loving tributes, both posthumous, to luminaries like Lemmy Kilmister, Robin Williams, and Ravi Shankar, as well as elegies to the living legends like Dregen, Neil Peart, and Tony Iommi. There are hilarious diatribes on everything from people’s disgusting feet, to having to share chip-bags backstage, to choosing to never throw the devil-horns again, to the hell of listening to musicians talking about their own music. There are recommended mixtapes for the latter-35-years of Black Sabbath (i.e., Born Again and after), or stoner-rock playlists for non-(or former)stoners. There’s Danko in Vinnie Vincent “ankh” makeup, or extolling the virtues of collecting Kerry King’s guitar picks. But, throughout it all, there is an unwavering love and dedication to all things rock and roll. Hell, even the title is in tribute to Danko’s beloved Misfits.
Further credit has to go to the great comic artists Danko enlisted to tell some of his great stories: Brian Walsby, Gary Dumm, Mary Fleener, Valient Himself, Away, Fiona Smyth, and Cam Hayden (not to mention great artwork contributions by Eerie Von, Damian Abraham, Juan Montoya, Gary Taxali, and Richard Comely). Their art really brings the books to life. And huge props to Feral House for publishing such a great, great layout: This is the kind of rock book that is just screaming out to be read in its print form – an e-book just won’t do the art-heavy format justice, so spring for the paper copy, ya cheapskates!
Like the youth say, real recognize real. As someone who devours rock books with regular wolverinic voraciousness, I can’t recommend I’ve Got Something To Say heartily enough. It’s hilarious, bombastic, and throughout, as heartfelt as the patches you wear on the back of your kutte. Case in point: Danko’s hilarious Secret Letters To Ritchie Blackmore might as well be love letters to his cherished rock and roll. But then, the whole book is, pretty much. Looking forward to the eventual Volume II, because you can’t stop Danko Jones.