Just as every road has two sides, so does David “Tank” Danner.
Danner will have 28 years of service in July with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Danner has also played bass for 38 years in some of the county’s most noteworthy bands — or was asked to sit in with them.
Danner, a lifelong Henry County native, grew up in Eminence and graduated from Eminence High School in 1975. In the seventh grade, Danner was the team manager for the EHS varsity and junior varsity basketball teams. Coach J.T. Stinson called him Tank and the nickname stuck. Not many people know David Danner, but most locals know Tank.
“If someone calls me up and needs for me to sit in, I am there,” said Danner. “I got my first guitar when I was 10 years old. We had a music teacher at Eminence who went on to be a music professor at Kentucky State. He told me the saxophone I was playing wouldn’t last and what would win me over would be the guitar. He was right, the sax didn’t last.”
Danner regularly plays at Scriber’s Station and recently sat in with Six Miles South. He actively plays with Eminence City Council member Leo ‘Night’ Mason in the band Nobody’z Bizness. Danner works to play.
“I sometimes get in at 3 or 4 in the morning on the weekends from a gig. I guess I’m just programmed to do it,” Danner said. “When I am not playing on the weekends I’m a homebody. I like to spend time with my grandkids.
Danner will start his day during the week just a couple of hours after that.
“I am officially an equipment operator, a peon,” Danner joked. “I get to work by 7 a.m. and every day is different.”
He and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Henry County Maintenance Crew cover about 220 miles of state roads in Henry County. Danner’s snowplow route covers U.S. 421 south, KY 561 and KY 573 (Wood’s Pike) into Gest, and KY 389 to KY 22.
“I know enough people in the area on my route that if something went wrong I wouldn’t hesitate to knock on someone’s door,” Danner said. “There’s two sides to every road so I start on the other side.”
During the heavy snow season, Danner and the road crew will plow 16-hour shifts with eight hours off. The crew routinely performs maintenance along I-71 from the Carroll County line to Oldham County. During the current pothole season, the crew will consist of a cushion truck (a truck Danner explained is equipped to handle a collision), a truck equipped with flashing caution lights and one truck that tows a trailer of hot asphalt. The caravan spans out to given ample notice to interstate traffic of the crew’s position. Several crewmembers will jump out of the truck near potholes and fill them while traffic flies by.
“If anything crazy is going to happen it happens on the interstate,” Danner jokes. “You hope if any vehicle gets hit it is the cushion truck.”
Danner said while working for the Division of Traffic in Shelbyville he witnessed a wreck involving a cushion truck.
“We had a DOT (Department of Traffic) officer with blue lights behind us while we painted lines on I-65 and an 18 wheeler passed him thinking that was it,” Danner said. “He was going about 65 or 70 miles an hour and hit the cushion truck and spun it around in the middle of the highway. The truck driver said he was from Alabama and was in a hurry to get home. I saw him holding onto a bar on the side of the truck with some teeth missing. The other side of the truck had just disintegrated.”
Danner plans to continue working for the state and his band Nobody’z Bizness.
“We do everything from Wilson Pickett’s 634-5789 to Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious,” Danner said. “It’s good Motown and soul like Muscle Shoal’s soul. I played as an original member of the country band Sugarfoot. We played to large crowds every weekend, and now I am playing with some topnotch musicians in Nobody’z Bizness.”
Danner points to bassists like Jaco Pastorius (jazz bassist who collaborated with Pat Metheny, Weather Report and Joni Mitchell), Nathan East (played with Eric Clapton, Phil Collins and Michael McDonald’s soul albums) and Victor Wooten (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and Chick Corea Elektric Band) as players of inspiration.
Danner has a collection of about 18 guitars including different bass guitars he uses — some for the road and some that stay at home. His collection includes two Silvertone Jupiter guitars with diamond pickups and gold inlay. Danner loves where he is at musically.
“I love the music we are playing. It’s very bass oriented music,” Danner said. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”