Danko Jones: „It’s comforting for me to know that there’s a place where it’s all about music and nothing more“

„I support Record Store Week, because I like to be near places where music lives.“

Danko Jones (Foto: Dean Karr)
Danko Jones (Foto: Dean Karr)

How important is the specialized trade for you in times of the Internet and MP3, as a musician as well as a customer and music fan?

The internet has given us the expediency and the immediacy that record stores could never give. When I was growing up and I was curious about a band, I had to spend the money, buy the record and take a chance. With the internet you can sample bands to your heart’s content and make an informed decision as to whether you want to buy or not. Personally, I love the gamble of buying a record on a whim because when you strike gold, it’s the best feeling in the world.

Also, Record stores for music fans are a place to congregate, extrapolate, expound, rant and generally exchange ideas with people that you might not meet otherwise. I’ve met so many people just by hanging out at a record store and striking up conversations with like-minded individuals.

What meaning do record stores have for the music culture in the general and for your music in particular?

Well as music fan, record stores were the beacon in any desolate strip mall or banal block of stores and the place where music lived and breathed. It’s getting harder to spot them because they are going away faster than you can download the records they’re selling inside their shops. There are two kinds of record stores, the Mom & Pop indie stores that specialize in more avant-garde or underground tastes and the corporate entities that usually have everything at a higher price (or lower if it’s a current in-demand title). They both mean a lot to me just because it’s comforting for me to know that there’s a place where it’s all about music and nothing more.

When and where did you buy your first records or CDs and what memories do you connect with record stores?

I bought my first records at the Music World in Fairview Mall, the mall near to where I lived when I was a kid. When I was growing up throughout grade school I branched out and started to go to the record stores downtown like Sam The Record Man, A&A’s, Cheapies and Sunrise Records. Every Friday after school I’d buy a cassette tape and that would be my reward to myself for the week. When I was in high school I started to buy more vinyl and started going to the cool metal store downtown called The Record Peddler. I also started to buy a lot of used records because they were a lot cheaper and used record stores exposed you to other musics you wouldn’t necessarily get to see at other more formal stores. I would go uptown and visit Vortex Records where I still go and buy stuff to this day.

When I finished high school and started working, I would just go to used record stores due to my lack of funds and the cool indie record store in town called Rotate This.

I still visit record stores when I see a cool one on tour. I do a lot of my shopping through ebay now since I have almost every record I really ever wanted. But even the sellers on ebay work for record stores in other cities far away anyway so everything balances out. I have a wish list that probably contains about 250 more records. Once I get those, I’m done.

What are your current CD tips and which musicians and albums should not be missing from any CD shelve?

Well, I only started buying CDs in 2001 because I only got my first CD player in 2001 and it was a disc man. I was a vinyl guy through and through. Now I don’t really care what format it’s in, whether it’s on vinyl or CD. What is really important to me is if the music is good or not.

Sometimes I’ve noticed people with big record collections only collect records because the sheer volume is impressive. I know because I used to do that. I’ve gotten rid of hundreds of records over the last 5 years because they were taking up unneeded space and I wasn’t ever gonna listen to them.

I’m not one to tell you what albums you should or shouldn’t have. Just make sure you got some records that you can drive to, that you can air drum to, air guitar to, scream along with and fuck to.