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Saturday, February 11, 2017



Singer/guitarist Danny Kroha certainly made a name for himself as one-third of groundbreaking and influential band The Gories. Kroha is now fronting Danny & the Darleans a powerful stripped down to the bone rock'n'roll trio also featuring Richie Wohlfeil (Detroit Cobras) and bassist Colleen Burke.

A couple of months ago, IN THE RED Records released  the band's sophomore album "Bug Out", One of the last things recorded by Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recordings in Detroit before it closed.

To celebrate this mono masterpiece, we had a very instructive chat with Danny who told us everything we ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

1) Danny, you are no newcomer to the Detroit Rock'n'roll scene. We would like you to tell the viewers of this blog your full story. Your early days in the Gories, The Demolition Doll Rods episode and now stepping in the light as the front man of the Darleans.We want to hear it all from you!

This is a pretty broad question, but I'll try to make it brief! I started out as the lead singer in a mod band called The Onset in 1984 and 85. I began playing guitar around that time. It was in '85 that I met Peggy, and began spending a lot of time with her, then I met Mick and we all started hanging out together a lot. The Gories started at the beginning of 1986 and we lasted until 1992. After The Gories got back from our European tour in the spring of '92, I started jamming with a local punk band I liked called The Nervobeats. That band evolved into Rocket 455. I was with that band long enough to play on two singles, but the Doll Rods had also started and I started having scheduling conflicts between the two bands, so the Rocket 455 guys made me choose one band or the other and I chose the Doll Rods. The Demolition Doll Rods put out a bunch of records and singles and toured a lot between 1993 and 2006. I then left that band and joined up with a band that was backing the vocal group The Ultimate Ovation. My old band mate from Rocket 455, Jeff Meier, was in that band. I stayed long enough to record one single with them and then I started a band called The Readies this was in 2007 or '08. We put out one single and then I lost interest in that band. I started playing solo shows at this time. Just playing covers of songs I liked, but leaning more towards old gospel and folk material as I did more shows. Along with playing solo I also started Danny and The Darleans around 2010. We have a single and two albums out. I also played with Andre Williams for a while and recorded an LP with him in 1998.

2) Your previous album contained a track called "Les Fleurs du Mal". Are you a big fan of Charles BAUDELAIRE?

I've read some of his stuff. I like it, but I made that the title of the song because it worked. I didn't know what to call the song. The first title of it was "Prussian Blue", but that just wasn't working, then Les Fleurs Du Mal popped into my head and I sang it, and it worked and after that the rest of the words came to me easily.

3) About the new record "Bug Out!", can you explain the choice of the title and the very strange/funny artwork? Is this a black and white beast/graffiti of the same thing/beast that was on the front of the first record? If so, do you think this new album is darker than the previous one and therefore deserved a black and white cover?

Well, the title of the LP is of course the title of the lead off track. The words were based on survivalist culture. In that milieu there is something called a "bug out bag" which is a bag you fill with a few of the most crucial items you need for basic survival, so if a sudden disaster happens you can grab this bag and "bug out" or quickly escape.
The cover art is by the same artist who painted the image on the cover of our first LP. Both covers are photographs of murals. He paints variations of this same monster all over. It's his theme or signature. I love this monster because it looks like a sixties style Big Daddy Roth monster, but updated, more modern, and it fits with the music very well, in my opinion, as the music is sixties style garage, but we're not trying to be a recreation of the sixties, but a modern version of that style which is rooted in tradition but also reflects current times.  I don't think this LP is darker. I wanted to use and image by the same artist so I chose that image because I liked it and the artist happened to have a high quality photo of it. He didn't have good photos of all the murals of his I liked, so that particular image was chosen mostly for convenience, but it also works. It's gritty and crude and it's a nice contrast to the color image on the first LP.

4) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager and does it still influence your today work? What was your favorite band as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.

Recently a list made the rounds on Facebook. It became quite trendy with all of my friends. “List 10 albums that made a lasting impression on you as a teenager, and don’t think too much”. I didn't join in on the trend, but I interpreted this to mean albums you liked when you were 15 or 16, not albums you liked when you were 18 or 19. So you ask me, "What kind of music did I listen to as a teenager" I think it's fair to tell you the music I liked at 15 or 16 and not at the age of 18 or 19 when my tastes became a bit more sophisticated (and I discovered The Velvet Underground).
At the age of 15 and 16, I mainly listed to cassette tapes. I had tapes of these LPs: The Animals Greatest hits, The Kinks Greatest Hits, The Doors Greatest Hits, David Bowie - Low and Ziggy Stardust, The Who - Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, The Who - Quadrophenia, Elton John - Madman Across The Water. I also really liked the song, For Your Love by The Yardbirds and that stuff got me into discovering more 60's music. At the age of 18 or 19 I found a copy of Having A Rave Up With The Yardbirds and that LP turned me on to the songs of Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddley, and Muddy Waters because I had the LP in my hands with all the information on it, and I could see by reading the label on the record that none of The Yardbirds wrote some of my favorite songs on the LP. They were written by C. Burnett, E. McDaniel, and M. Morganfield, the proper names of the artists mentioned above. All the artists mentioned continue to have an influence on me. I always liked Elton John's singing and I still stand by that choice as well!

5) Are you the main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

I am the main composer in the band. The others generally make up their own parts, but if one of the others doesn't know what to play, or comes up with a part I don't like, I will ask them to play something else or give them an idea of what I'm looking for. I'm lucky in that what they instinctively do is often great, and if I have an idea or suggestion they are both very cool about listening to it and trying it.

6) Do you have a video on youtube featuring a track from the latest LP?? ? 

7) What can concert goers expect at a DANNY AND THE DARLEANS? Besides "Leavin' here" -which is brilliant by the way- Are you playing any famous cover songs?

We don't play any cover songs that aren't on the record, but I like doing covers and we will probably learn some more fun ones to play live. The latest cover we are working on is "Don't You Just Know It" an R&B classic that was covered by many!

8) When you perform with the Darleans, does it happen that you play an impromptu version of a song from your previous bands? 

I haven't done that with The Darleans, but the Doll Rods used to play Thunderbird ESQ sometimes.

9) What are the plans for 2017 as far as DANNY AND THE DARLEANS are concerned? Are you guys coming to Europe soon?

We plan on touring Europe some time this year.

10) Anything you would like to say to the viewers of this blog?

Thanks to all who dig what I do!



DEE DEE said...

One of my fav' band! Danny is the real thing!!!

Carlos Roa said...

Fantastic garage band!!! Superb!!