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Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son

Behind the Song: "Danger Dan"

"Danger Dan" on stage with the Seventh Son in January 2013.

Track 3 on Friends in Low Places continues the hard rock-oriented sound that Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son has become synonymous with over the past three years. "Danger Dan" is an ode to former bandmate and Creating Clementine bassist Dan Guerron, and has become a surprise staple of band shows.

Bobby Mahoney and Jon Alba spoke with the site to discuss what has become one of their favorites off the album.

How did "Danger Dan" come to be?

BM: "'Danger Dan' was the nickname of a friend, Dan Guerron of Creating Clementine. We wanted to make a Chuck Norris-themed set of lyrics with all exaggerated, tall-tale style stories about Dan. That was the original idea for the song - more of a novelty, but it turned into a really cool song that I am very proud of."

JA: "Bobby had said he liked the nickname 'Danger Dan,' which is what our former bassist was going by. I suggested the idea of having a fun, no-shits-given kind of song on the album, with some corny but creative lyrics. And thus, the song was born."

What kind of vibe do you feel the song gives off?

BM: "It is a groovy song. Very Red Hot Chili Peppers."

JA: "I think you hear a bit of a Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe in the drums, which is credit to how Giancarlo played it on the album and how James does live. It would have been perfect for our old drummer Drew as well. However, I don't think the guitars carry that at all, honestly. Whenever I hear that song, I hear a very Lenny Kravitz-esque rhythm."

What is your favorite element of the song?

BM: "I love the drums and how they blend with the guitar riff. Giancarlo (and now James) really fit into the pocket and I think it shows off their musicianship. They really fit the drums snug with the riff and it is really cool to feel that groove."

JA: "The instrumental bridge. It's something we've never done before, with the call and response between the guitars. I came up with the idea to kind of mock a gun being fired and the response of the victim, to give in to that folklore/outlaw mythology behind 'Danger Dan' himself. That's what the physical instrumentation demonstrates."

The song has become a hidden gem, per se, on the album in terms of live performance. Do you plan on keeping it live?

BM: "I don't see why not. It is fun as hell to play."

JA: "It really is probably the most fun song to play we have. It allows us to explore a new element we've never done before, so I sure as hell hope it stays for a while."

Describe the writing process of the song.

BM: "Jon had the basic idea for the riff, and we had the lyrical concept, and I finished the details of the lyrics and had the ideas for the call and response section, choruses, and the key change at the end."

JA: "This is the first time we're mentioning it here, and you'll hear a lot about it in the coming articles, but there was a series of songs on the album that we banged out (structurally) all in one day. This is one of them. I had an idea for a lick in my head, we figured it out on guitar, and we worked with it. I actually wrote the key change lyrics, which give allusion to the next song ("A new age outlaw, a one-man band").The instrumental bridge originally sounded a little bit different, but Bobby called an audible in the studio." 

Where does it fit in to the grand spectrum of the album?

BM: "'Danger Dan,' in this case, is that friend that is begging you to come out tonight, and though you don't really feel like it, you go anyway. He is the one saying, 'Hey, come hit the town tonight,' and it all runs together in the events of one night, from 'Teenagers Too' through the rest of the album."

JA: "As you read these, you'll see that each song really connects with one another. What Bobby said is exactly how the first three songs of the album unfold."

You've mentioned the lyrics are a little unique in that they are kind of out there. Was it hard writing them because of this?

BM: "I wouldn't say it was difficult, but it definitely took some time to get right. I wanted to make sure the 'tall tale' aspect was clear."

JA: "I'd say it probably took about a week or two. I came up with the key change lyrics on the spot, but it was a little harder figuring out what was 'too much' when it came to how hokey we could get with the lyrics. In the end, I don't think anything is too bad with them."

Do you feel the song was worth taking the risks?

BM: "It is one of our tightest live songs, and it definitely stands out on the record because of how different the groove is from our other songs."

JA: "Definitely. Because I don't think it comes across that we took some, which isn't a bad thing. We love it, and when we nail it live, we know it."

Friends in Low Places is available via iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify and various other outlets.

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