Dan 'Mango' Mangano of ABLAZE - Interview
HBH: Firstly, thank you for taking the time today; I really appreciate it. Before we dive into talking about the new album, for those that aren’t to familiar with the band can you give us a brief history of the band?
Dan: Cheers for having me! Ablaze originally started out as 3 young blokes (Ben, Matt and myself) who were fresh out of high school, listening to a shocking cover band in the local pub and thinking 'Jeez, we can do better than this, can't we?' So we started jamming a few covers with a few mates, got bored with covers fairly quickly and decided to start writing.
Fast forward to 2019, and after picking up Danny (vox) and Dave (Bass) along the way, the band has played with Marky Ramone, Richie Sambora & Orianthi, big Aussie acts like Jimmy Barnes, Diesel and The Screaming Jets, have released two EP's and a full-length debut album, multiple video clips and tours, a 'rockumentary' and are gearing up to tour the second single off that album, starting with 3 shows with John Corabi!
HBH: The new single/video ‘Long Way Home’ was just released today. Can you tell us a little bit about that song and the filming of the new video?
Dan: That song was one of 'those' tracks - we wrote it on one of our writing trips down the coast and knew early on that we had something special. It's an ode to the highs and lows of being in a touring band. The clip itself is a bit of a nod to our multiple middle-of-nowhere car breakdowns that have stranded us more than once, but that's just part of touring!
HBH: Let’s talk about some of the other material on “No Chaser”. The album has that great 80’s feel without sounding dated. Do you have a favorite track or tracks of “No Chaser”?
Dan: Pwoah....it's like picking a favourite child!
'Just A Taste' was easy choice for first single, it represents us to a tee. I think we all love 'Bar Fight Blues' and 'Where's My Drink?' because they're full-speed, fun to play, and funny. 'The Darkest Day' is one I really love, the song means a lot to me and I'm stoked with how it came out. And I love 'Bottom Of My Bottle' because I got to step up and play guitar and do lead vocals, which was a new experience for me.
HBH: Are there plans for more videos?
Dan: Hell yeah there's plans for more videos! Recording the videos would be one of our favourite parts of band life - we get to be creative in a different way, spitball heaps of ideas, and have a lot of fun doing it!
HBH: There are some great bands coming out of Australia these days (Ablaze, Dangerous Curves, Sisters Doll, Airbourne etc ) Can you talk a bit about the current rock scene there, and what are some Australian bands out there that you think everyone should be checking out (Besides ABLAZE of course)?
Dan: The bands are amazing, but Aussie original rock acts very, very rarely get any commercial radio play here in Australia. It's a real shame because some of the bands coming out of Australia are totally radio-friendly. Bands like Massive, Tequila Mockingbyrd, Dead City Ruins, Airbourne and The Lazys have to focus their attention on overseas markets if they want to continue doing what they do long term. Don't get me wrong, we can't wait to tour overseas too, but we love Australia, and wish we could do it more here too.
Besides the bands we've mentioned already, check out Atomic Riot, Jax and the Wayward, Ragdoll, Bad Moon Born, Electeic Mary, Darcee Fox, SheWolf, The Babes, Filthy Lucre, Kvlts of Vice, Rose Carleo Band, Echo Del Tusker...there's just so many!
HBH: A lot of bands talk about having that ah-ha moment when they knew they wanted to be a musician. Was there a moment that you remember thinking to yourself this is what I’m gonna do.
Dan: I've been learning and playing music since I was a kid - started on keys, then saxophone (I know right?) before drums took over. In the beginning I just wanted to play in a band with my mates but when we started writing, that was when I thought 'hey, this could be something...'
HBH: Growing up who were some of your musical influences?
Dan: First time I heard AC/DC's 'Highway to Hell' I was hooked. Rose Tattoo, Guns n' Roses and Led Zepplin followed. Then I got into stuff by Slash (both the Snakepit albums and the solo stuff have been HUGE influences on me), Alter Bridge (Myles Kennedy blows my mind!), Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Metallica, Chickenfoot, Buckcherry, The Darkness and even Reel Big Fish have had an influence on my writing growing up!
HBH: Following up on the last question, tell us your top 5 albums of all-time?
Dan: Another tough one! Well, the 5 albums I'd have to pick are my favourites because of the effect they've had on me. So I'd have to go with (in no particular order) Alter Bridge's 'AB III', AC/DC's 'Highway to Hell', Slash's Snakepit's 'Ain't Life Grand', Led Zepplin's 'Physical Graffiti' and Slash's 'World On Fire' ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators - I listened to my 'World On Fire' CD so many times it doesn't work anymore!
HBH: I Love the ''Ain't Life Grand" album from Slash's Snakepit! Rod Jackson and Slash are absolute beast on that album, as well as the rest of the band. Great album!
HBH: What are the bands plans going forward in 2019?
Dan: After we tour 'Long Way Home', we'll have a quick breather through winter before we get another video clip happening, few more local shows hopefully, and then we have our sights set on Europe!
HBH: Is there anything else you would like to add?
To everybody out there - support up-and-coming rock bands! A lot of big names in rock have been quoted as saying things like 'I don't envy bands starting out today, it'd be so hard'. And they're right. It's not an easy thing lining up tours, recording and what not. Your next favourite band could be playing in your town TONIGHT, but if you're stuck listening to the same 3 cd's from the mid-80's you'll never hear them play! Go to gigs, buy their merch, share their Facebook posts - Rock n' Roll ain't dead but we've all gotta help! Hope you all enjoy our new clip and our debut album 'No Chaser'!