Dano Hammer, aka Dan Ralph Miller, is a modern day renaissance man whose resume spans the arts.
Viking shaman, singer-songwriter, musician and producer, poet, writer and journalist, broadcaster and stage-tech, artisan, craftsman, web-developer… named after the legendary weapon of the mighty Thor… “Dan o’the Hammer” has accumulated a skill set that is as versatile as it is diverse.
Born 1963 in Minneapolis, USA, and immigrated to Canada in 1969, young Dano Hammer also spent many summers at the family’s home-base in Detroit, Michigan. Moving to the west coast in 1974, the Hammer finished growing up on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia and in Vancouver.
Dano got his start in show business at 15, as a stage-hand for Shari Ulrich, and went on to work for acts including Aerosmith and Spirit of the West. He spent his 20’s working in theatre, for houses such as the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver and the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. He also worked more than a few calls in Vancouver’s fledgling film industry in the mid 80’s.
Dano Hammer also got an early start as a singer-songwriter, presenting his own original music as a solo-artist and in a series of bands, performing around Vancouver and the Gulf Islands.
Under the handle Dano Miller, he first busted out onto the radio airwaves in Vancouver, in 1990, for Coast 800 and CKST 1040, a cutting-edge, commercial, alternative music radio station with cohorts including Canadian radio legends David Marsden, J.B. Shane and Long John Tanner. Working in most departments, he managed remote-broadcasts for the station and was on-air weekend mornings, spotlighting many independent Canadian artists.
His most recent stint on-the-air was with CFSI 107.9 fm Radio Salt Spring Island, producing the underground music-driven show Hip Hop On The Rock, finishing up a two year run of Friday nights in late summer, 2011. The show made a bad habit of the most obscure Old-school and Underground Hip Hop, frequently providing broadcast premiers for scores of up-and-coming Canadian Hip Hop artists from Vancouver to Halifax.
An early-adopter, Dano Hammer started online as a writer and journalist in 1994 and was soon offering Internet development services to public and private institutions such as Telus, University of B.C., Vancouver School Board, Industry Canada, and Mainframe Entertainment.
Early Dano Hammer bootleg recordings do exist, but are rare. He established his own home-studio in 2009 with Hammer It Home Records. As of late 2011, he’s produced more than 50 songs and continues to build his original library.
Recent live performances include Shambhala Music Festival. He’s a regular at the Underground favourite Sound Clash of the Titans, frequently appearing with his cousin, DJ Dan Snakehead.
Dano Hammer’s interest in indigenous cultures and comparative religion stem from a deeply spiritual childhood. An arm-chair academic, but nevertheless a dedicated researcher, he has made the study of history and cultural anthropology his life work, with a particular focus on ancient Europe.
He grew up reading about all the popular organized religions and famous ancient philosophies, but gravitated more towards the tribal indigenous cultures worldwide. In Dano’s mid twenties he became aware for the first time that ancient Europeans also once had their own indigenous, tribal cultures prior to their conversion to Christianity.
During a vision-quest in the mid 1980’s, in the tradition of many North American First Nations, he says he experienced a vision of his European ancestors, and within three months had sworn devotion to the elder pagan Nordic gods.
Since 1989 Dano has been hosting free, public, community celebrations in a revived pagan tradition profoundly inspired by his ongoing study of the Nordic or Germanic languages and cultural families. He played a role in the historic Canadian pagan non-profit society Temple of the Lady in the mid 90’s, the first home-grown organization in the nation to offer legal pagan marriages.
Dano Hammer continued to set historic Canadian precedents in the new millennium, founding the first Heathen non-profit native to Canada, focusing on the Nordic cultures exclusively, in 2002, a society now called the Heathen Freehold Society of B.C..
After seven years of extreme volunteerism, Dano became uncomfortable with the direction subsequent members chose to take the organization, so he and other members formed a new organization centered on, they believe, a healthier foundation.
Since 2009 the seminal Fridhgard Fellowship Society has been preparing for its official foundation in 2012. The fellowship’s purpose is the modern revival of the ancestral culture of the ancient, indigenous Germanic tribes of Northwest Europe with an aim to restoring physical, emotional and spiritual health to our tribes.
His chosen genre, self-styled as Heathen Hip Hop makes him unique on the planet. In fact, if you are an Asatru Rapper, he would love to hear from you!
Dano presently lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada with one son in high school and a large extended family he calls tribe.
To reach Dano Hammer directly, hit the Contact page.
To socialize with the Hammer, see the Network page.
Images of one of Dano’s wood carvings: