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Glenn Danzig - Danzig / Samhain / Misfits
1999 - On the phone with David Lee Wilson

Some call him Lucifer others Satan or El Diablo, Glenn Danzig just calls him "Dad." And like any good son would do when asked, Danzig has come again, this a sixth time, in his fathers stead to spread the words and deeds of depravity and malevolence, well, maybe not.

If you are not hip to Glenn Danzig's dark humor by now, chances are you never will be. If there was a man who has been more adept at seeing the world in its true and twisted way and then goof on it any better than Glenn Danzig he would have been a rock star too. As always Danzig is extreme and best listened to or viewed with a sense of humor.

"Danzig 6:66 Satan's Child" is completely uncompromised by any thought of commercial potential. The big record companies are gone and Danzig captains his own ship this time out and though he holds a mirror to society he never forgets that a song begins and ends with rock and roll. There is an almost industrial feel to " Satan's Child" that has grown from the blues romp of the early Danzig records into a Sodom and Gomorrah heavy metal dance track and the mix is bloody as hell. As if a new record wasn't enough of an occasion to get with Glenn for a chat there is also a final nail to be driven in the coffin of Samhain which is exactly what Glenn will be doing as he tours in support of " Satan's Child" where the special guest spot will be filled by, you guessed it, Samhain. Two bands, same singer, one night. No wonder why Hell wasn't big enough.

DAVID LEE: I have to admit that, to this day, I have never heard "Blackaciddevil" but after having played this new one a incessantly I am thinking that I may be missing something, have I?
GLENN DANZIG: It is a little different. This one is a little bit more guitar heavy. The guitar kind of got buried on the last one. I don't know, this one is kind of like all the Danzig records. I took all of the best elements out of Danzig 1 through 5 and added some new stuff, it is kind of like an overview with some new stuff added to it.

K2K: You ended this record with a bluesy feel, which is kind of where Danzig started.
GD: Yeah, that is a song that I wrote for Johnny Cash a while back.

K2K: Is that right?
GD: Yeah, He had it on a record that American Recordings put out.

K2K: Do you still have any kind of relationship with Johnny Cash after having left American yourself?
GD: I don't know if he is still with American or not, I haven't talked to him in a real long time. There is a song on Blackaciddevil that I wrote for Johnny because he really liked "Thirteen" and all of his friends really liked it and so he asked me to write him another song and I wrote him this song called "Come to Silver." I showed it to him and he really liked it but then once I left American I really didn't want to give it to American so I did it on "Blackaciddevil" and Jerry Cantrell did some leads on it and a couple of the other songs.

K2K: Without trying to get off on too much of a tangent, I am absolutely amazed that you and Johnny Cash would have anything to do with each other given your respective images. He is devoutly Christian and you are, well, you are not. (laughs)
GD: He is probably one of the coolest guys that I have ever met. He is a real musician; I can't say enough nice things about him because he is a really nice guy and a great songwriter.

K2K: Did you ever get a chance to run through any of his classic numbers? I could just imagine you doing "Ring of Fire" together.
GD: No, but I got a version of me and him, a couple of versions actually, that Rick (Rubin) recorded on DAT of me and him doing "Thirteen" and that is really cool.

K2K: If you want to talk about rock and roll legends, that is one right there.
GD: Yeah.

K2K: Alright, well, you have gone through another record company and who knows how many legal battles to get this record out, is it getting a little bit tiring to do this with each record?
GD: No, because it is free and clear and it is all great. I had my big lawsuit with American and we settled that and the Hollywood Records thing, thankfully, never went to the lawsuit stage, I just got a nice settlement and left. I got all of my stuff back and I have a lot of stuff coming back from American too so, it is pretty cool right now. The situation that I am in right now is the best of both worlds because I have got my own label and real distribution, it is great.

K2K: I understand that people will be able to download the record direct from the Internet, is that right?
GD: Right now you can download two songs from the record. If you go to the E-Magine music site you can hear pieces of the whole record, every song, but you can either download "Five Finger Crawl" or "Unspeakable" those are the only ones that you can download right now.

K2K: Are you charging for that?
GD: No, no for free.

K2K: That is definitely cool.
GD: Yeah, that is a pretty cool deal.

K2K: Having watched Danzig grow since it's birth it has been interesting to see the evolution of what you are doing and how radio has grabbed onto some of it. At the very beginning it didn't look like it was gong to be something that radio was going to go for but once they saw the kids going nuts for it they jumped in. The song that I hear more than any other is "Mother" so I am wondering if you worry much about the public having a bad reaction to what you are doing now because it is somewhat removed from what you were doing on "Mother?"
GD: Yeah, I get the publishing reports and the songs that are getting played the most are "Mother," "Can't Speak" and "Dirty Black Summer" but "Sacrifice" too though. Man, in some markets "Sacrifice" gets played to this day.

K2K: What markets are really still there for those old songs steady?
GD: I could go back and check to be sure but it is pretty much all the big Danzig markets are. (laughs)

K2K: Are there certain spots in the country, or even the world, that have been consistently strong markets for your music?
GD: I can tell you one thing, Detroit has always been a really good market for any of the bands that I have been in and we always look forward to coming into Detroit because you know it is going to be crazy, you know that everyone has been waiting for you to come and, it is just like explosion city. LA too. LA and Detroit.

K2K: New York?
GD: Yeah, New York too but it is different. It is not as crazy as Detroit. I have been gong there since THE MISFITS and Samhain and we have played there lots of times. If I had to pick one of our strongest markets I would have to say, "Yeah, it is Detroit!" And it is the murder capitol! (laughs)

K2K: There you go! "Murder City U.S.A." is what the tourism board likes to say, I think.(laughs) You live in LA now, don't you?
GD: I have been living here for ten years. This is where the tour is starting after a one off show in Boston when we get back from our press trip to Europe.

K2K: Are you going to be playing guitar live like you did on this and the last record?
GD: I played all of the guitar except for the stuff that Jerry Cantrell did on the last record but I didn't play all of the guitar on this one. Jeff Chambers played a lot of the guitar but I do play on a lot of it too. I played guitar on a bunch of the tracks from "Danzig 4" and some on the "THRALL" EP but not live, I am a singer on stage and I have got to go crazy!

K2K: I have experienced that craziness too. In fact, my very first Danzig show I got a pair of monitors kicked down on top of me by you.
GD: I kicked monitors on you?

K2K: Oh, yeah! It was great too because I was all ready to just sit and watch the show in the barricade and, BAM! here come the monitors flying! (laughs)
GD: (Laughing) Did you put it back?

K2K: No, I think one of your crew guys picked it up and put it back but it was definitely a sign that this wasn't going to be a regular rock and roll show!
GD: You know what happens sometimes is that I always tell them that I don't want monitors in front because it always gets in my way and they will always put them there so eventually when the mic cord gets all wrapped around them and I am getting all pissed off I will wait for somebody to come and take them out of the way and if they don't I will just pick them up and fling 'em! Fuck, you know I have got too hands, you know what I mean? Eventually, you have to say, "if you guys aren't going to do what you are paid to do, I am going to do it myself.

K2K: Like I say, it was cool because it wasn't any of this simulated stage violence it was real juiced up rock and roll and the bruises healed but the memory is obviously still there. Hell, that was at least a decade ago now but it is still fresh in my mind and that is what this is all supposed to be about so I guess, thanks for flinging the monitors! (laughs)
GD: Well, if you come to the show at the State Theater you are going to see a crazy, crazy show and I don't mean just up onstage.

K2K: Is there much production tie in to this record?
GD: I think that we are going to bring a video screen and maybe some things that the guys can stand on to look out over the audience.

K2K: Who is going to be playing guitar for you?
GD: Todd Youth. He was in Murphy's Law and he is the new guitar player for the band.

K2K: So you are keeping that strong punk attitude to the show?
GD: Yeah, oh yeah.

K2K: Twenty years down the road from where you started do you feel like you have completed what you set out to do and in which respect do you feel you still have room to move in?
GD: It is still growing and as long as there is still stuff for me to explore and places for me to go and new things to conquer, it will never be complete.

K2K: Is there anything that you won't do?
GD: Yeah, I won't do Backstreet Boys kind of music, sellout music. I won't play the game and that is why I am at the label that I am at now. It is my label through E-Magine and it is my game which isn't much of a game because it is like, I put out a record and I go out on tour and that is it. None of that stupid bullshit where some stupid dork from a record company comes in holding a cellphone and goes "Hey this is hot right now so try and make the record sound like this." There won't be any of that anymore, you know? There won't be anybody doing any of that and then when we don't do it they won't be standing there trying to decide whether or not they should work our record.

K2K: Having done this for as long as you have you know that there is a certain way that things work if you want to get your record played are you ready to do all of that yourself?
GD: No, don't do that shit. No, as far as buying adds, we don't do that. We never did and never will. They will pick it up and decide whether or not they are going to play it but we still have to go out on the road and get the buzz going because there are so many trendy bands and there are so many labels offering radio stations money to play records, for a band like us, we have to work a little harder.

K2K: Do you feel bitter at all that for all of the work that you have done to establish a certain kind of scene that others have walked in after the fact and basically copied what you have done without paying the same dues?
GD: Yeah, I know those people that come in and ripped off what I did and made it kind of poppy, I don't care about those people. It is what it is and those people are what they are and people can see through all of that. It is a trendy thing and then it is gone. Yeah, we do have to work a lot harder than other bands and we have to prove, each time that we go out, that there is still an audience for what we do. It is the same thing for other bands like AC/DC that have been around. Just recently Nine Inch Nails, I guess that Trent booked a club tour because it had been so long since his last real record that he didn't know if there were any Nine Inch Nails fans out there still. I knew that there were and so does everybody else because we see him in Billboard where he came in at number one but you still have to go out there and prove it.

K2K: I know that you are playing The State Theater in Detroit but what about in the other markets? Does the venue size vary from town to town?
GD: It is pretty much all about that size. It is weird because last time we did two Detroit shows, we did the Ozz-Fest and then we came back and did a State Theater show on Halloween and then we came back a month or two later and played the Palace of Auburn Hills. Really strange. So, you never know because one day you are going to be playing a big place and the next you are going to be playing a smaller place.

K2K: Is there a particular environment that you prefer to play in?
GD: I like, and I have always said this, I like something around five thousand seats because you have got enough people there to give it that crazy live energy and it is not so big like an arena.

K2K: Just enough so that you can see that balcony start to shake a little bit eh?
GD: Big enough so that, or small enough that there is this crazy amount of energy but not too big where you lose any intimacy.

K2K: Do you think that the bigger places become faceless for the performer?
GD: Well, it depends. Some people try to put up a video screen and stuff like that and make it a little more, I don't know, that is my personal thing. I realize that some bands can't do that and I understand that. Maybe they have a high overhead when they are on tour, I don't know.

K2K: I wanted to ask you about one lyric that jumped out at me from the new record, "All I save is my pain," what were you trying to say with that line?
GD: "All I save is my pain?"

K2K: Yeah, or should it be pretty obvious what it is?
GD: (Laughs) Naw, it is pretty straight forward.

K2K: (Laughing) Nothing deeper then?
GD: Naw. Of course you could look at the lyric and think about it and it will get deeper but, yeah, that was about it.

K2K: You have never been terrible subtle in your lyrics but has there been a particular lyric or a thought that people have consistently misinterpreted?
GD: Yeah, one of the things that I do in my lyrics is to make them pretty simple so that they can be interpreted lots of different ways and each person can make it their own personal thing. I leave it open and sometimes it is really cool because kids will tell you about a song or whatever and what it meant to them and you will immediately get a psychological profile of them. (laughs)

K2K: I know that you can hear my kids running around in the background here so I might as well include them in all of this since we are talking psychological profiles. My son thought it would be a good idea to take the CD cover from the new album with him to the Sunday school that his grandparents take him to and. . . .
GD: Did he like, hold it up and stuff? (laughs)

K2K: Well, he just brought it into his little Sunday school classroom and the teacher yanked it away from him and sent it home with a note asking where he would have gotten such a thing.
GD: Oh, what did they say in the note?

K2K: They just said that it was inappropriate and quoted a few bible passages and asked that he not bring stuff like that again.
GD: Did they send the church militia after you?

K2K: No, no. (laughs)
GD: God forbid that I should kill as many people as the Catholic Church has. Is it a Catholic Church?

K2K: No, Lutheran.
GD: Do you know how the Lutheran church started?

K2K: Martin Luther's protest against the selling of indulgences.
GD: Yeah. With numerology, which is considered a cult, they found out that all of the Pope's names translated into 666.

K2K: Really? I never heard that.
GD: It was their duty to destroy the Catholic Church and to start something new. Of course the Catholic Church they went out and tried to kill all of Martin Luther's students and him himself. Have you ever read about the whole Lutheran revolution?

K2K: Not terribly deeply.
GD: Yeah, it was pretty bloody.

K2K: Well, I guess you would get that any time that you are making an assault against whatever power base is in operation at he time.
GD: That is what it is all about.

K2K: We are all Atheists here but we let the kids go to Sunday school so they can learn the hypocrisy first hand and they are smart they will see it for what it is without indoctrination from us.
GD: Good.(laughs) It is just interesting for me and I am singling out Christian religions but it could be any one of them, they can kill all of these people and then someone will make a record and then they will blame that person for all of the evils of the world, it is mind boggling. You got gall. You got balls, man! Where do you get off? You know what I mean?

K2K: Absolutely. My son is only six years old so this is all far too deep for him and I am very thankful for that.
GD: He should be just having a blast being a kid.

K2K: Exactly. We are almost out of time and we talked about everything but the real big news, you are doing some Samhain shows along with this tour, how is that going to work?
GD: Yeah, we are going to be doing a Samhain set on this whole tour and that will end December 3rd and then that will be it for Samhain.

K2K: There was a couple different versions of Samhain so who is in this one?
GD: It is going to be Damien, Steve, London and me.

K2K: I am looking forward to seeing the blood!
GD: Me too!

Written by David Lee Wilson

Jen has loved reading comics since her earliest days of reading. The whole world of good versus evil-with colorful tights thrown in as an added bonus-has intrigued her since she first viewed Wonder Woman, Batman, or the Adventures of Superman. She's always wanted to work in comics and talking with creators / artists / writers, etc. is more fun than work.

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