A mistake in the SXSW festival guide listing local rock gods Danko Jones as hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, became fodder for a running in joke during the conference. But for the Toronto threesome, the misprint was emblematic of a strange feeling of becoming strangers in their home country. Last week Danko Jones were dropped by Universal Music Canada. Numerous calls for comment made to the label's publicity and A&R reps were not returned.
It's shocking news, since Danko Jones are among the most promising rock acts on Universal's domestic roster and one of their few bands on the rise that have a global profile. A definite plus, you'd think. Apparently not.
"We were told that we weren't supporting our We Sweat Blood album well enough touring here in Canada," explains the man known as Danko. "But that's because we've been getting really successful overseas. As a touring band, it doesn't make sense to spend two months playing in one country when we have offers to play humongous European festivals in 13 countries for way more people over the same period of time.
"They also weren't pleased with some recent interviews I'd done in which I was pro-downloading. I probably should've discussed those issues with people at the label first, and I would have if they'd returned our calls over the last three weeks.
"The funny thing is, on Tuesday (March 16), when they told us we'd been dropped, we completed a licensing deal for South Africa that made North America the only territory where we don't have a label home."
It doesn't sound like the members of Danko Jones are losing any sleep worrying about their future prospects since splitting with Universal Music Canada. Nor should they. The only way is up for Danko Jones.
"Everyone at SXSW we told about being dropped from Universal Canada wanted to shake our hands," he chuckles. "We also spoke to a number of people from different labels who were saying, 'Hey, whatever you want.' I'm confident we'll have something worked out very soon."