It’s easy to be skeptical in the music business. Darlahood singer-guitarist Luke Janklow figures he’s as much as cynic as the next person.
Which makes it all the more surprising that Janklow enjoyed the New York-based rock trio’s recent visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Cleveland. After taping an interview for the syndicated radio program “Rockline,” the group got an after-hours tour of the facility.
“The best part was that I got to touch Duane Allman’s Les Paul,” Janklow said with a laugh during a recent tour break after two months opening for Helmet, Danzig and Gravity Kills. “I thought I was going to hate the museum. I mean, I hated the idea of caging rock ‘n’ roll for everyone to gawk at.
“But it’s very well done. It’s musically inspiring to see this stuff, like Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. I guess if I can be swayed by it, anyone can.”
Rock fans and radio are being swayed by Darlahood’s breakout hit “Grow Your Own,” a chip off the classic rock block. Janklow isn’t worried that Tipper Gore may be listening and taking down notes of the song’s title and mixed message.
“A lot of people think it’s a double-entendre, advocating drug use, but it’s not,” Janklow said. “It can mean different things to different people, but to me, the music is upbeat and is a reaction to all the songs out there that are complaining all the time, with downer lyrics. This is our statement, that it’s not all that bad.”
“Grow Your Own” comes from the band’s debut album “Big Fine Thing” (on Reprise), released last fall. For the album, Janklow, drummer Joe Magistro and bassist David Sellar holed up in a rented mansion in upstate New York for several months last winter, writing songs and making demos before cutting it with co-producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley.
“We moved into this house and woodshedded and got stuck there during the Blizzard of ’96,” Janklow said. “We played and jammed, watched a lot of Knicks games and drank wine. It was a very organic situation, and there were no big-city distractions.
“The house kind of reminded me of ‘The Shining,’ but we were too cold to worry about that. We were literally burning furniture when the heat went out once. We never had any ‘X-Files’ communications, but a friend came by one day and said, ‘Nancy’s watching us.’ I asked her, ‘What are you talking about?’ and she said, ‘I don’t know, I just blurted it out.’ So that became our running joke, that some mythical character named Nancy was watching over us.”
All the while, Darlahood was determined to create a solid album, Janklow said.
“All of our favorite records were albums – with a beginning, a middle and an end,” he said. “We wrote 75 songs to make this result, and we went through phases. In the end, we were trying not to make a rip-off album. Not to sound boasting, but our rhythmic feel is one of our signatures, and that’s what comes across on the album.”