DANNY JOHN JULES – ACTOR
KILLA KELA: You are pretty much the A to Z of street culture, you were originally from Ladbroke Grove, right?
DANNY JOHN JULES: Yeah, Ladbroke grove, Powis square originally, which is the epicenter of hip-hop in London of Break dancing, graffiti, hip hop. Big up Skam by the way.
When I was in when I was in Starlight Express in 1984, the guys from Ladbroke Grove came and graffitied my dressing room at the Victoria Palace theater. My whole dressing room was graffiti. The two guys that was in the dressing room with me, they didn’t know what was going on. I was choking on the fumes.
KILLA KELA: That’s incredible. How did Starlight Express even happen?
DANNY JOHN JULES: I was into musical theater, Starlight Express was actually my third show, I worked up the ranks and ended up auditioning.
KILLA KELA: When I think of Danny John Jules, I think of like all these different characters, and they really seem to all have a bit of funk to them. You are the funk!
DANNY JOHN JULES: Yeah, it’s James’s Brown, it’s Little Richard, it’s Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, it’s Chuck Berry, it’s Cab Calloway, it’s Prince, it is it’s Morris Day, it’s Rick James. It’s funk.
KILLA KELA: You have so much ambition, so much drive and so much tenacity. What’s your best career advice?
DANNY JOHN JULES: It’s not about making it, it’s about thinking you can make it, if you don’t think you can make it you ain’t gonna make it. Don’t compromise yourself, don’t lose your integrity.
KILLA KELA: Talk to me about Studio 54 days,
DANNY JOHN JULES: It was the place of high-end debauchery, hedonism, bohemia & all of that stuff. You had had people who could literally be nobodies, meaning not a big rich person, but you have a big personality you’ll get in before the rich guy. Money meant nothing, The feeling of walking through that red rope at studio 54 after all the hype you heard was just like holy shit, I’m in studio 54.
It was funny because one night I went to the bar and I was waiting ages for a drink, I’m just dying for a beer. Once I got my beer, I turned around and lent against the bar and had that first swig, and Rick James was standing next to me. I never left him till about 11 o’clock in the morning. I was sitting there with Rick James and Morris Day arguing about who’s the best. It was just like, wow!
KILLA KELA: I hear stories about Red Dwarf and the parties that you guys used to have like going up to Manchester.
DANNY JOHN JULES: Yeah, we used to fly to Manchester in the mid 80s, that was some real balling back then. A car came and picked us up from your yard, take you to the airport, get on a plane, fly to Manchester, car take you to the hotel, from there let’s get a car take you to the studio. That’s how I was rolling in 1987.
KILLA KELA: The lineage and and the details in which you have for the tapestry of your life and career I don’t know where you get them. It’s like a sponge of information, it’s bonkers
DANNY JOHN JULES: That’s why my one-man show is about Sammy Davis jr because that’s exactly what he was. When you have inspiration and influences like that, you go down that road. I said to people that was my focus Sammy Davis jr the greatest entertainer that ever lived, that’s who I wanted to look at. He’s not mediocre. He was in the middle of two communities that both hated him but when he went out in front of a black audience doing a a charity event and got booed, he sang one song, and they gave him a stand ovation. He said to them, disagree with my politics, but I will not have anybody tell me that I’m not black and then he proceeds to sing this song called I’ve gotta be me. That is power. That is my inspiration.
This week’s podcast we are lucky enough to be sitting in with British entertainment royalty. A legend that not only brought amazing characters to british tv screens, but also a level of professional output with an arsenal of creative strings to his bow; Danny John Jules’s legacies include starting as an original Hip Hop selector of the NW London scene in the 80’s, theatre roles such as Starlight Express, The Kat in Red Dwarf, Children’s TV such as Maid Marion, Film’s such as Lock Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels, Labyrinth, Blade, Little Shop Of Horrors, TV show’s such as Strictly Come Dancing and way more… Today we are chatting about the early beginning’s of his career in Ladbroke Grove, Hip Hop, Studio 54, meeting Rick James, Red Dwarf mythologies, motorbikes, the entertainment industry and way more… This in Danny John Jules Podcast, ENJOY!