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Danko Jones – Bring On The Mountain
Who is Danko Jones you ask? And why does this band warrant a documentary? The Canadian ‘power trio’ named after their charismatic singer/guitarist who isn’t just a great songwriter, with extraordinary humor; he’s a damn fine singer and skilled guitarist to boot. I’m still relatively new to the band having recently discovered Danko Jones’ Below the Belt album in the summer of 2010. Once I began working my way backward into the band’s back catalog I found that Danko Jones is one of the best kept secrets in rock ‘n’ roll today.
Bring on the Mountain is a 90 minute documentary that is named after a never recorded staple in Danko Jones’ live concert set. The song has become a fan favorite which the band vows never to record since they simply can’t capture the energy of it in studio. The film digs deep into the early beginnings of Jones’ passion for music, through his foray into college radio in his late teens into the formation of his first band and the bands that would come then thereafter. The film’s pace picks up about 25 minutes in when Danko joins forces with John Calabrese who played in a rival club circuit band. Calabrese went on to become Danko’s right hand man; he’s been there by his side since the band’s inception in 1996. What sets this particular documentary apart from most; the bulk of the commentary is from Jones and Calabrese alone. There are no big name guests, though we know some are huge fans, it’s stripped down, intimate and leaves engrossed. There are several highlights in this film; the evolution of Danko Jones’ alter-ego who is a witty, assertive, motor mouthed poet who owns the stage and who has been known to own a heckler or two throughout the years . So intense is his performance that he wound up detaching the retina from his right eye. No kidding! How is that for hardcore? Jones’ injury resulted in him having to modify his performance or suffer further damage. Danko Jones could very well have surpassed Spinal Tap as the band with the most ‘disappearing drummers’ as they break in their 6th drummer— Atom Willard. Scandinavia was where Danko Jones had success first, they were signed by Swedish label Bad Taste Records when no one else would in fact they signed they without even hearing then band; they toured Scandinavia and they were welcomed with open arms. No surprise that the band calls that Sweden ‘their home. In a perfect world Danko Jones would be a household name, rather than a cult band, the fact that they aren’t huge in America makes them that more endearing.
As if a stellar documentary wasn’t good enough there’s more. The second DVD of this set includes The Ballad of Danko Jones ; the short film which the Below the Belt trilogy were based on. There’s also 14 career spanning live performances from Danko Jones’ archives and every Danko Jones video clip in existence (all 19 of them). Let’s hope that we get an officially sanctioned Danko Jones live DVD in the near future as it would make a great companion to Bring on the Mountain.
Bring On The Mountain
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