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'Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue'
(Bad Taste)
Release Date: 17th September 2012

Phil Kane

phil kane

danko jones

Down here at the bar in the hole, evenings of late have been spent catching up on a bit of the more progressive side of things. By that we are talking the proper good seventies classic stuff of Yes and Genesis, Camel and Focus, tempered only with the subtle elegance of Wishbone Ash's 'Argus'.

You know what it's like, you find yourself in a groove that for some reason just won't let you go (especially after the relative frustrations of Skynyrd's latest; there were a few tears spilt into pints over that one, I can tell ya). At least, not until an album of sufficient quality lands in your lap that finally kicks you out of the admittedly comfy rut.

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'Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue' is just such an album. After a fair while listening to the intricate noodlings of our illustrious friends of yore, it was like a bloody big kick up the arse from the righteous boot of God when it landed on the death decks here; such a kick in fact, that it remained on continuous rotation for the rest of the night.

For those who don't know, the band got together in 1996, playing around the north-eastern United States and Canada, opening for the likes of Nashville Pussy, Blonde Redhead and The Demolition Doll Rods. In 2001 Bad Taste Records released a compilation of the band's early recordings, demos, and b-sides entitled, 'I'm Alive And On Fire' leading to a run of albums culminating in this, their sixth.

Danko himself is a top charting Canadian in Europe and is also known as a spoken word artist, magazine columnist and radio host. His list of aliases includes The Mango Kid, Dr Evening and The Brown Panther. This is one busy dude.

And 'Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue'?

At first, it proved an awkward album to pin down. It has that sort of modern punky buzz about it that the skater bands revel in. It has the spiky blues of Them Crooked Vultures and Grady yet there are moments of Green Day/Foo Fighter pop laced with some great Lizzyesque dual guitar work and more besides. It certainly caused some serious head scratching until it suddenly twigged what the album's certain something was.

'Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue' is so chock full of great tunes it is difficult to know where to start but try 'Wear Me Down', a great big Zepp stomper that pisses all over anything that appeared on Kingdom Come's debut. 'Believe In God' with its gospel intro kicks into a Kings Of The Sun style straight-down-yer-throat full throttle rock n' roller and the full tilt 'Terrified', 'Always Away', 'I Don't Care', 'Just A Beautiful Day' and 'The Masochist' clatter along as if they are chasing the Devil from the neighbourhood just to see the fucker run.

It's edgy, just managing to stay out of the up-its-own-arse minefield of alt; it's too boogified and canny for that. There are some heller big Metal stompers on here too, 'Legs', 'Get Up' and 'Don't Do This' for instance and 'Type Of Girl' pumps up the sort of pop rock we used to get showered with in the eighties with a nice line on the Lizzy duelling guitar groove thrown in to give it that extra bit of class.

The production, by long time Danko compadre Matt DeMatteo and mixed by Mike Fraser (whose credentials include the likes of 'DC and Aerosmith, which explains a lot) matches the songs. The album sounds live and full of vigour, big and gritty, spitting a fuck you attitude that rattles out of yer speaks to bait the neighbours with a grin on its face and its dick in its hand.

Though 'Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue' occasionally tips its hat at the topics of politics and religion, the reality is it is a ragged arsed road album that just wants to eat up the miles to the next opportunity to laugh in someone's face.

Oh, and that certain something? Try mixing the grit of those classic tough Australian outfits of years gone by with Yankee punk savvy and a good pinch of the Groundhogs and you'll not be far off the mark. Now how fucking cool is that? Needless to say, the prog stuff has been stowed back in the racks and the bar is now back in its more familiar rock n' roll biker mode.

Don't fuck about, just get 'Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue' and look sharpish about it. So c'mon, let's do this!





Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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