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Saturday, August 17, 2002

'Do you want to open for The Stones?'
By KIERAN GRANT -- Toronto Sun

TORONTO -- Talk about a homecoming gig.

On Tuesday, Toronto band Danko Jones was looking forward to a homecooked meal and a bit of shut-eye as they were wrapping up a three-week Canadian tour in Northern Ontario.

Then they found out they'd be opening for The Rolling Stones last night at Palais Royale.

"We got a call saying, 'Don't tell anyone, but do you want to open for The Stones?' " Danko Jones bassist and manager John Calabrese told The Toronto Sun late yesterday afternoon by phone, following the band's soundcheck at the Palais.

"We were ... pretty excited. But we had to keep quiet."

Danko Jones, a lean garage punk 'n' blues-rock trio led by the motor-mouthed singer of the same name, rose out of Toronto's indie scene in 1996 to prompt acclaim. But heavy European touring has seen to it that the band has garnered its biggest success in Scandinavia in the past year.

Their latest album, Born A Lion, was released last month by Universal in Canada.

Calabrese said Danko Jones fulfilled a commitment to play a show in North Bay Thursday night before heading straight home overnight for The Stones throwdown yesterday.

The invitation to play the gig came from a Clear Channel Entertainment executive, though the bassist said he hopes there was some input from The Stones.

'IT'S FOR US'

"A friend of ours was at Mick Jagger's birthday party in July and gave him our CD, so it'd be nice to think he heard it," he said with a laugh. "Anyway, maybe he'll listen to it after tonight!"

The Danko trio, which also includes drummer Damon Richardson, was allowed one guest each at last night's show: Calabrese brought his dad, who was at The Stones' famous El Mocambo gig in 1977. Singer Jones' father actually declined the invite.

"He said he didn't want to stay to see The Stones," Calabrese said, laughing.

Danko Jones took the stage at 8:30 p.m. for a 40-minute set. "We don't really know what's going on afterward," he added. "We're going to hang out and be really nice, play our show, and get our equipment ickly as possible.

"Of course there'll be a Stones after-party, but they're not going to be be at that. It's for us!"

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