HELL YEAH! IT’S DANNY CLICK
HELL YEAH! IT’S DANNY CLICK
SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 | STEVE ROBY
Someone once described my sound as Jimi Hendrix beating up Buck Owens; I’m not so sure about that. But I guess it’s kind of appropriate.
– Danny Click
Up until a few years ago, singer-guitarist Danny Click was the Bay Area’s hidden gem. That all changed in 2011 when Click’s album, Life Is A Good Place, spent more than 12 consecutive months on the country, pop, and Americana radio charts. His fan base now includes music legends Carlos Santana and Elvin Bishop, who had no problem joining him on stage.
Click grew up in the small farm community of Tipton, Indiana. He’s the youngest of nine children, and his working-class family was devoted to country music. As a child, he listened to his mother play slide guitar with a butter knife, and at the age of six, Click started strumming on his brother’s guitar.
My mom got me The Beatles’ album Help at a grocery store in the ’60s, and I was hooked. I then got into the Southern Rock sound, and I played in a country band with my sister when I was 16 and in high school. I learned all that old school classic country music, too, like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.
During this formative period, Click discovered blues greats Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and an unlikely group that changed his life, Dire Straits.
I distinctly remember that day. I had my cousin stop his car and pull over so I could hear “Sultans of Swing.” It was completely different than anything else I was into. [Mark] Knopfler was playing a Stratocaster, clean, through a Fender amp.
Click quickly came to the conclusion that Indiana wasn’t the best place to be a musician, so he packed his gear and hit the road for Austin, Texas.
All the good music I liked was coming from Austin,” recalled Click. “There was Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, and Joe Ely… all that Americana stuff back then. I cut my musical teeth in Austin, and formed my own trio called Danny & the Hurricanes.
Click stayed in Austin for 20 years, but his career came to a complete stop when his Honda Civic was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler in 1995. After years of therapy, the guitarist was able to return to the stage in 1998.
I was in rehab for awhile dealing with injury shit, and the doctors, but when I got better, I started playing guitar for folksinger Jimmy LaFave.
Needing a change, Click and his girlfriend settled into San Rafael eight years ago, and in 2011 he formed Danny Click & the Hell Yeahs! They’ve been playing local venues like Fairfax’s Sleeping Lady, where superstar Carlos Santana and his jazz-drummer wife, Cindy Blackman, sat in.
Tracy Blackman, our background singer at the time, is Cindy’s sister, and she and Carlos came out to the club. It was so packed that night, they could hardly get in. I asked him up to play, and he jammed with us for about 25 minutes. He played my guitar! I saved the string for some mojo.
Click saw success in 2013 with a single called “Baptize Me Over Elvis Presley’s Grave,” a song by the under-appreciated L.A. band Flys on Fire.
Fans would come up to me at shows and ask what record of mine it was on, but we hadn’t recorded it yet. After we released it as a single, we decided to make a video to go with it. It’s the story about a hitchhiker trying to make his way to Graceland, and all the strange people that pick him up. We didn’t have a big budget, so we filmed it out in the hills of Nicasio and Petaluma. It got played on the Country Music Channel and topped out at Number 9 on the charts. It was right there next to Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert. I was shocked!
Danny Click & the Hell Yeahs! just released their debut CD this year, Captured Live! (Dogstar Records), with the help of fans through a Kickstarter campaign. It was recorded at Mill Valley’s Throckmorton Theatre, and it does a great job of capturing what the Hell Yeah1 experience is all about.
We recorded it just as it went down on 24 tracks, so it’s not a board tape, just a really good sounding recording. There’s no computer assistance at all. No Pro Tools. It’s a great calling card of what we sound like live.
Danny Click & The Americana Orchestra, his all-acoustic band, will be doing a live recording at the Throckmorton Theatre on Oct. 25.
Tickets can be found here: http://www.throckmortontheatre.org/index.php
Click says the CD will be called Highfalutin Live, and will be out at the beginning of next year. In the meantime, he’s headed to the studio to do more recordings.