Thursday, November 24, 2011

One Man and 40 Guitars: Danny Click

Guitarist Danny Click stands amid the glory being aimed at him with a huge smile on his face. He is humble and shy under the accolades he is receiving left and right from press, radio and fans. His charm and charisma stem not from ego or attitude, but from the true fact that he is an amazingly talented musician and songwriter and he knows he deserves the ride on the rising star that seems to be taking him to some heavenly stratosphere of acknowledgement within the music industry.

Struggling hard to make a name for himself and his music, Danny Click has been on the roller coaster most musicians of talent go through. Working hard, writing good music, being signed then dropped by a record label and then starting again from the bottom with random gigs with a few locals listening amid the clatter of dinner plates.

But perseverance gets one far and we now find Danny Click working his ass off in order to rise yet again, with weekly shows at Fairfax’s Sleeping Lady CafĂ© where because of word of mouth of Danny’s live shows, folks are left standing outside the packed venue hoping to get a glimpse of this amazing man, his many guitars and his blues licks that are straight out of the state of Texas.

His long and winding road towards “making it” in 
music started with a simple acoustic six-sting. “It was a cheap little Checkmate acoustic that my mom got me. I think she paid like $10 for it. It was so hard to play, but man I felt like I had found my home!” Recalls Danny. “It made me practice a lot because it was so hard to play. I worked that summer to buy my first electric. Which was an Electra Omega that I actually still have.” That six-string was a Gateway Guitar that led Danny into the world of making music.

At this point in time, Danny has about 40 guitars. For you guitar officianondos, Danny’s top three guitars used in his music making are as follows:

Gibson Original Jumbo Reissue acoustic, which is Danny’s main songwriting guitar. “It sounds HUGE and is very loud and lively. I wrote most of the songs from the new album on that guitar. When I pick it up, it always has something to say. Sometimes it’s a song that comes out or just a riff, but always something.”

LSL T-Bone ’52 Tele Replica. “This is hands-down the very best guitar that anyone has ever built for me and that I have put in my hands. It has it all. The vintage sound, feel, look and vibe. It just feels and sounds OLD. So it is my number one electric solid body guitar. The LSL makes me play the blues and changes how I think when I’m on stage. It challenges me. I love the feeling of it feeding back and resonating and coming alive on stage. Especially at our Lady shows where we’re all crammed in and close together. Very electric."

Heritage 535 Gold Top semi-hollow. “This guitar imparts the same feeling as the LSL in a very different way. It was made in the original Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan by the guys who worked for Gibson in the ‘50’s. Their guitars are way more Gibson than any new Gibson. They make them like they used to in the 1950’s and 60’s. Hand made everything. With this guitar it’s very fun to play British blues. Feedback and sustain and a very open tone. Just bitchin’!”

Growing up musical in Indiana, Danny also learned some mandolin and lap steel and he credits such bands as Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Duane Allman, David Lyndley, Ry Cooder, Santana, Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits for inspiring him musically. “I still remember the exact moment I heard ‘Sultans of Swing’ for the first time. Changed my musical life. And I remember listening to ‘Abraxas’ and putting up black light posters! So many great bands that helped me think differently.” Moving to Texas in the mid 90’s helped fine tune Danny’s love of blues, hitting bars and clubs and learning from seasoned folks along the way.

“I got to Texas in the late 90’s; got here to California about 2006. I’ll always feel the pull of the farmlands in the Midwest, and the wide-open skies of Texas. But I guess (for now at least) California is my home.”
Self-producing all four of his albums, 40 Miles, (1998), the live album Night Of The Living Guitars (2001) and the new Life Is a Good Place (2011) which is now charting on 15 different Country or Americana based radio stations in the US has allowed Danny to do his music his way. One album, Elvis The Dog (2003), was financed by an Italian record label and which sent Danny on his third tour of Italy, even playing one show in front of 10,000 people in Switzerland and blowing their minds with his riffs.

Danny Click’s magnetism and stellar talent has led him
to some of the best players for his band in the State of California. It seems that the name of his band has become The Hell Yeahs! as that is one of Danny’s positive catch phrases when performing. “I’m very lucky to have the band I have. Don Bassey on bass; Tracy Blackman on vocals and acoustic guitar; Bonnie Hayes on keys and vocals; Adrienne Biggs on violin and Dave Sampson still plays guitar with us sometimes.”

Says Danny of his band that includes a heavyweight rotation of drummers, “Mostly it has been scheduling issues that makes the drum seat change from gig to gig. Kevin Hayes is a very busy and in demand drummer, as is Paul Revelli, Ernest ‘Boom’ Carter, and Andy Doershuck. We’re extremely lucky to have the best drummers in the state to choose from. We are in a very good place right now with this group of amazing musicians.”

Um, not too mention Carlos Santana stopped in one night with bride Cindy Blackman (of Lenny Kravitz Band and also sister to Danny's bandmate Tracy Blackman) to kick up some shredding blues with Danny and his band. When you catch the eye of Santana, you know you have what it takes to go far.

Danny has found his calling up on the stage. He is prime for an explosion of notice and it is only a matter of time before that happens. But to Danny, it’s not about the fame or fortune, it’s about the music and what it does for his soul. “I feel right with the world when I play live. Like I’m in my kind of church. It’s a very spiritual feeling. Kind of like leaving the body sometimes. Except when I play a wrong note and I’m pulled back in!”

As for fame and fortune, Danny waxes philosophical, “Well, you always hope for that, making ends meet and having something to retire on someday would be nice. Not that I will ever stop playing. If that ever happens then I‘m dead. No thank you!“

With many amazing musicians and songwriters in the world, Danny Click shines like the gem that he is. He has worked so hard and deserves all the praise and adoration that he is receiving. And to that, I must say, "HELL YEAH! Mr Click! You rock!"

All photos Copyright 2011 - Carolyn McCoy

Moonmama says..."open you soul to live music"


  1. Hey Moonmama, great article. I sorta lost track of Danny, but I'm glad to know he's doin' well. He's incredibly talented. Here's a vimeo link to a music video I did with Danny for his song 40 miles. We shot it in Austin, places around Texas and in his home town in Indiana. By the way, his sister makes legendary Corn Bread--absoulutley awesome! As you mentioned, Danny is a spiritual guy and his incredible talent deserves a large audience: Thanks, Gary Gibich still lost in Austin . . .

    1. YEAH! Thanks Gary! Danny is super cool....He gigs massively around the Bay Area lately and has just made another video which has yet to come out....oxox Carolyn/Moonmama