The 10 best podcasts according to Danko Jones
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I would say I got into podcasts around five years ago now, when I started listening to a lot of the comedy podcasts. I’m a big comedy fan, and comedians have really taken the medium and charged out of the gate with it. They led the whole explosion of podcasts, really – in particular Marc Maron’s WTF and The Joe Rogan Experience.
In the beginning, Marc Maron had a very interesting approach to podcasting – which I don’t think he does so much now – where he went back into his history and mended fences with people he’d pissed off. He’d bring all these comedians on and make amends with them, on this new platform, and I always found it very interesting because I knew both comedians. And it was a very loose form of conversation that I found very refreshing, since radio – whether it’s satellite or terrestrial – would often be very structured.
I’m a huge Howard Stern fan, but even there it runs by a clock. Podcasts can go from an hour to up to three hours, and there’s really no limit to how long or short they can be. There’s no limit to subject matter either. They can be about comedy, sports, music, dungeons and dragons, or whatever. The medium just exploded in a million different ways...
WTF WITH MARC MARON
WTF was really the first podcast that I got into. Marc Maron is a comedian that’s been around for a while, and actually now he has his own show on HBO. It’s in its third season, and it’s a drama-comedy show that’s basically about a podcaster that does a podcast from out of his garage, which is what he does. In the beginning it was just comedians and comedy writers that he had on – from Conan O’Brien to Bobby Lee – and then he slowly started branching out with people like Iggy Pop and Dave Grohl. Most recently he interviewed Barack Obama. He’s the epitome of the podcaster. He is what all us podcasters are striving to become. He’s like the Mick Jagger of podcasting. He’s up to about 500 episodes now and it’s really hard to remember all of them, but I always use them to accompany me out on the road. It’s a nice break from all the music.
TURNED OUT A PUNK
This is a podcast by my buddy Damian Abraham from the band Fucked Up. I think he started it about two years ago now, and I was the actually the third guest he had on. And Damian has been on my podcast, I believe, seven times. He has the most appearances out of anyone. Turned Out A Punk is about people that have some sort of affiliation with punk rock music. Sometimes they’re full on in punk rock bands, but what I find the most interesting is when Damian brings in guests that aren’t really identified as a punk these days, but they were in the past. So it’s an interesting exploration of what kind of people are attracted to punk rock, and how much punk rock can affect people’s lives and determine their outcomes.
THE ROTH SHOW
David Lee Roth has a video podcast that can also be downloaded as a strictly audio podcast, and it seems to be the Van Halen singer in his mansion, just talking about stuff. It’s not very long – sometimes just 10 minutes – and sometimes it’ll just be like a video of him pretending to be a Samurai or something, but it’s really interesting. It’s very sporadic. You get it when you get it. But it’s David Lee Roth, man. I could listen to that guy talk for hours on end. He doesn’t have guests on or anything, he just talks to the camera. And that’s The Roth Show. I wish he would do more of them. I’ve been waiting for the next episode for a while now.
THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE
The Joe Rogan Experience is a great podcast from the comedian Joe Rogan. He’s got a whole crew that he keeps coming back, and that’s something I’ve tried to incorporate into my podcast. I’ve had people come on two or three times, and I got the idea to do that from Joe Rogan. He invites all kinds of alternative thinkers onto his podcast and it’s very interesting, and they go on for two or three hours. So if you have the time you can really dig deep. He also has light-hearted guests too, like Russell Peters, David Lee Roth and Paul Stanley, so it’s just a wide range of guests and they’re always interesting. Joe Rogan is a really smart guy, too. He really digs deep and gets to the nub of the issue.
HENRY & HEIDI
This is Henry Rollins and Heidi May's podcast – she works with Henry. He used to do a radio show, which he started in around 2004, and he started to bring her on there. What listeners discovered was that they liked to cut each other up and just make fun of each other. I thought that was really cool, and it showed a different side to him. He’s an easy target and I think we’ve all taken light-hearted jabs at him in the past, but she does it and gets away with it in a way that’s really funny. And he looks great because he can take the joke. Back in February this year they started a podcast together, and the way it works is she throws out a subject to him and he talks about it. So she’ll say, ‘Oh, you worked with RuPaul!’ And he’ll talk about that. Or, ‘You worked at this ice cream store with Ian MacKaye!’ And he’ll talk about that. If you’re a fan of Black Flag or the Rollins Band you’re kind of familiar with these things about Henry, but he goes really deep into it on the podcast and it’s really interesting. The only criticism I have is the same criticism I have of David Lee Roth’s podcast, and that’s that I wish that there were more. The last episode they posted was back in July!
This is a podcast by Jesse Brown, who’s a Canadian journalist. He isn’t bound by any newspaper, or any kind of media. As far as I know he makes a living by doing this podcast that’s run by donations from listeners. He brings on some very interesting guests, from fellow journalists to politicians and known public figures, all the way through to celebrities. He mainly focuses on Canadian news items, but I’ve got to say even if you’re not a news junkie or even Canadian, it’s a very interesting podcast to listen to. He speaks much better than I’m doing right now, as I stumble through a description of his podcast. He really gets down to it.
This is a sad choice because Rowdy Roddy Piper recently passed away. But I was listening to the show right until the end, and it was Roddy Piper talking about wrestling with old wrestlers that he used to wrestle with. Since I’m an old school wrestling fan, I loved it. I’m not too up on the wrestling world these days, although I do still love it, but Rowdy Roddy Piper is one of my favourite wrestlers of all time. And sure enough the podcast was a really interesting listen. I believe it’s still up on iTunes and you can download it.
This is still on iTunes, but I don’t think that it’s an active podcast anymore. It’s a podcast by the artist David Choe and the porn star Asa Akira. Nothing was off the table with these two. They talked about everything, and anyone who was attached to their private lives was spoken about. I think they got into too much trouble with people they knew and had to stop, but I could be wrong about that. Anyway, he’s a huge Howard Stern fan and I think that what David tried to do was create a similar world where he had a posse of people that would accompany him. So he brought in Bobby Lee and his brother Steve Lee, and also Money Mark from the Beastie Boys. It was so much fun to listen to. I would have to actually say that it’s my favourite podcast out of all of them. I even bought merch!
SCOTT FREE PODCAST
This is Scott Thompson from Kids in the Hall. Kids in the Hall obviously originated in Toronto. It was a five-man comedy troupe that had their own show, and they went worldwide with it. They’re back together now, and Scott Thompson is currently acting in the Hannibal TV show. So he has that as well. But first and foremost he’s a comedian. He’s one of the funniest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, and he’s also been a past guest on my podcast. He’s been doing his own for about four or five years now, but again with very sporadic uploads. The last time he uploaded something was back in June. He does it with his friend Paul Bellini, who’s also affiliated with Kids in the Hall. Together they do this great podcast, and nothing is sacred with them. They’ll talk about anything and joke about anything. It’s raw!
THE OFFICIAL DANKO JONES PODCAST
Podcasting became so interesting to me that I began to wonder whether I could do it myself. The first episode I did back in 2011 was 12 minutes long, and it was me just reading articles that I’d written for magazines because that’s all I really had to go on. I didn’t know if I should have a co-host, or a group of people, or if I should invite guests on or anything. And I really had no idea what I should talk about. I continued that way for a few months and then I hit a wall. I realised that maybe I needed someone to bounce off, so I thought of all the friends I knew and I asked the one person who I felt I shared the best back-and-forth with, and that was my friend Nick Flanagan. Nick Flanagan is a punk rock singer who’s sung with punk rock bands and toured the UK and Europe, and he’s also a stand-up comedian. So he’s a comedy writer, too. And what was the topper was that in real life me and Nick don’t really get along. We’re friends and we’ve known each other for a long time, but we argue a lot and we get frustrated with each other. So I thought that would be a good dynamic to actually bring on the podcast. Since then I’ve had everyone from Henry Rollins to Phil Campbell and Duff McKagan on the show, through to comedians like Andy Kindler and Scott Thompson. And it’s easily available on iTunes and Soundcloud, just search for The Official Danko Jones Podcast. I think we’re up to 108 episodes now. You can subscribe for free and there are really no commercials – we just get in to it.
From the archive
Danko Jones hits the UK and Ireland this week. For more details, click here.