Photo Credit Jesper Lindgren
While Danko Jones might be big in Canada, the band is still making a name for itself in the US. All that might change with the band’s new two-disc DVD Bring on the Mountain, a comprehensive look at the band’s history and discography. Containing all 19 of the band’s music videos, a feature length documentary that delves into Jones’ history, and a completely original short film the product packs a punch. Unfortunately the content inside is lacking.
Of course this is coming from a band notorious for not even wanting to release an EP in their early years. Unnaturally guarded, the band took the true indie route and instead let their popularity rise through word of mouth alone. Almost 20 years later they have finally answered the call of their fans with a behind the scenes look into the history of the band. Sadly though the scope of what is being told is rather limited. Throughout the entire 90 minute documentary only Danko and bassist John Calabrese are interviewed, inter-spliced with footage of the band’s early days and life on the road. While it is true that the band went through a variety of drummers it is still very hard to believe that no one else was willing to be interviewed. A true documentary, even a biased one that wants to show only the good side of the band, should interview other people besides its main subjects.
The result eventually gets monotonous despite some of the interesting stories both tell about their backgrounds and life on the road. I admire their effort but the filmmakers could have put a bit more time into telling the complete story, especially if fans are expected to pay for the information. Despite all that, the music videos on the DVDs are well worth the cost, if only for hardcore fans. Watching the band evolve song-by-song is fascinating and that, more than the documentary, really gives you a feeling for the soul of the band.
And then there’s the short film. It isn’t entirely clear why the film was made since it doesn’t really connect to anything. At only 20 minutes it manages to sneak in everyone from Elijah Wood to Ralph Macchio and Lemmy of Motorhead. The honest truth is this special feature is almost unwatchable. Despite having some truly great actors involved the film ends up being a high quality B-movie without any real plot. While it may have been a blast to make for the band and the actors it is grueling for the rest of us to watch. Only hardcore fans need watch this one.
On the whole Bring on the Mountain is a good effort by Danko Jones but they can clearly do better. Hopefully this is not their only documentary as the band, despite having been around for almost two decades, still has a long life left in them. It’s a shame because the band is capable of some experimentation, if only they would be comfortable enough to share it with the rest of the world.