Musician spotlight: 6 questions for Danny Click • SONOMA INDEX-TRIBUNE • April 7, 2016
Local musician spotlight: 6 questions for Danny Click
“Man, being a musician is tough these days,” said Danny Click, as he swapped his smartphone from speaker to headset when we called him this week. “You gotta know all this technology and PR stuff and websites. All I want to do is play my guitar. I’m about ready to just dump this damn thing and get a land line again.”
Click, born in Indiana in 1960, the youngest of nine children, lost his father and one of his brothers in a car crash when he was just 10 years old. He could have discovered the blues right then and there, but it took him a couple more years for that.
After beginning his career as a player in his sisters’ country act, he soon had his own band and moved to Austin in 1989, where he became one of the best-kept secrets on the music scene. A chance encounter with an 18-wheeler into the back of his car put his career on hold for two years while he rehabbed to get back on the stage.
Landing in Marin County in 2006, he quickly put together a band of top-notch locals, including Bonnie Hayes, and formed the Hell Yeahs! in 2011. Click has played all the big rooms in the area, including being a regular at Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Station in San Rafael. And this Saturday, you can catch him and the Hell Yeahs! at Rossi’s 1906 Roadhouse, kicking off at 8:30 p.m.
Click told us about his love of the Beatles, the blues and the Checkmate acousic that got away.
Many musicians in our generation site the Beatles on “Ed Sullivan” as that moment when they knew music was what they wanted to do.
When did you know music would be your life?
My first recollection of music was my family always playing in the background as I was growing up when I was just 5 or 6. My momma used to put a guitar on her lap and play it flat and used a butter knife for a slide. I thought that was cool. She tried to teach me, but she was left-handed and I wasn’t – so things were a little different. Then when I was 7, I bought the Beatles “Help!” album and thought those guys were the best thing I’d ever heard.
That first instrument you owned. What was it and do you still have it?
Who are your influences?
Man, a whole bunch. As far as songwriting, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, that whole crew. As far as guitar playing, I’d say (Jimi) Hendrix, Duane Allman, Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Mark Knopfler. Hell, the first time I heard “Sultans of Swing,” I made my buddy pull his Camaro over right then and there so I could hear that song. I had never heard a Strat played like that. Then it was Jeff Beck, then Muddy Waters – and I knew then I had to go all the way back to the beginning and I found some old Robert Johnson albums and listened to those songs and was amazed at what one man with one mic and one guitar in a hotel room in the ’20s was laying down.
What CD or playlist is in your car or your iPod?
Classic rock stations mainly, I guess. I like older rock ‘n’ roll. Not really a fan of a lot of new stuff. Web Wilder, the Hollies, the Guess Who’s greatest hits. Those are all in the car.
Who else are you playing with these days?
Mainly just the Hell Yeahs! the last few years. I did a solo acoustic thing at a house concert last weekend. I’m starting to produce some folks now but that’s about it.
If you could have written one song, what would it be?
Wow, that’s a hard one. Can I pick three? No? Well then, I’d have to say “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” by Bob Dylan – no, wait, “We Can Work it Out” by the Beatles. The counterpoints being laid down in that song by Lennon and McCartney are just amazing. If you don’t love that song, then you’re just not alive, man.