Versatility, dedication, and a brutal sense of keeping things honest are a few ways one could describe Glenn Danzig. For over thirty years Danzig has changed and influenced more music genres than one could even imagine while always keeping his integrity intact. From the horror punk styling of The Misfits to the evolutionary path of Samhain to Danzig, Glenn has kept us guessing what is next while in the same breath always staying true to his fans. You would be hard pressed to find any bands that in some form or another have not been influenced by the work he has put out. Like a tidal wave all these projects have grown at their own rate and swept aside the scenery that the mainstream constructors have built through the years and left behind a new horizon for us to look forward to. There were never any apologies or explanations like you seem to see in so many spineless "artists" but rather an uncompromising persistence in everything the Glenn did. Albums such as 'Lucifuge', 'How the Gods Kill', and much more seemed to take chances that most would be too scared to try, coupled with a voice I can only describe as Elvis meets Jim Morrison made them truly stand outs. This mentality of course didn't just apply to his vast music compositions; it also was fully demonstrated with the launch of his very own comic book company, Verotik. This was not your average run of the mill superhero in spandex comics, rather a very sexual, dark, depraved, and disturbing vision that with every issue had you itching for more. Glenn has always been one to do things his way and man did he always take us for a ride we wouldn't soon forget.
This brings us to 2010 and what seems to be Glenn's biggest year to date. Danzig is back and more determined than ever as he returns with a brand new album, 'Deth red Sabaoth', and this album stands to be his best work to date in my opinion. The album, in true Danzig form, is full of surprises and familiar faces as it marks the return of metal icon guitarist Tommy Victor of Prong and Johnny Kelly of Type O Negative and Seventh Void. However that is not all that is brewing Danzig's epic year, he has teamed up yet again with artist Simon Bisely to release a graphic collection of lost lyrics entitled "Hidden Lyrics" that is sure to make a sweet ending to every Danzig fan's wet dream. I had the honor of sitting down with Glenn and talking about what is in store for him, so ladies and gents sit back as I give you an interview with one of my own personal heroes; Glenn Danzig:
Rafi: New album is about to launch in June, how are you feeling about the final product?
Danzig: I like it. (both of us laughing) I am very proud of this record; otherwise I definitely wouldn't be releasing it.
Rafi: I read that you chose to break away from the whole Pro-Tools over produced sound that so many are relying on today and used quite a bit of 70s recording gear. What made you decide to go in this direction?
Danzig: I have always tried to avoid all that plug in shit that is going around, everything is recorded in a real studio. These are real drum tracks versus some drum loops sequence. (both of us laughing) My main goal with this album I really wanted to do a 70s type of record with a very contemporary kind of feel. Really had a blast making it.
Rafi: The album really took me back to the days of albums like 'How the Gods Kill', 'Lucifuge', Danzig I, and 4; what made you come back to the blues inspired metal you have done before?
Danzig: Honestly I wasn’t so much trying to go back to that sound; I just really wanted to make a very old style sounding record.
Rafi: It really came out in the track "Ju Ju Bone"; it has that almost Louisiana Bayou blues sound to it.
Danzig: That is exactly what I wanted to get done there! I really wanted that raw and dirty blues sound that I love. It definitely captured that feel while remaining very in your face.
Rafi: I know that even before the Misfits' days you started out as a drum tech, and the album features a track "Black Candy" with you on the drums; was this something you have been anxious to do and this was the right time?
Danzig: Yeah I started out as a drum tech/roadie, but I have been playing drums on material from The Misfits up until now. Funny thing is that half of 'November Coming Fire' was me on drums.
Rafi: It sounds great; those double kick drums on the new album sound solid.
Danzig: (laughing) Thanks man I appreciate that.
Rafi: You also welcome back Tommy Victor (Prong) and Johnny Kelly (Type O Negative and Seventh Void), what's it like working with these guys, as they seem to bring a new dimension to the music?
Danzig: I absolutely love working with Tommy, he is literally one of my favorite guitar players. It's amazing working with him in the studio; I can't even say one bad thing about working with him. He has been playing with Danzig off and on now since '96, he's great.
Rafi: Now aside from the new album, it is fixing to be one of your busiest years with the release of the book "Hidden Lyrics" which features art work from Simon Bisely. It sounds like every Danzig fans' dream.
Danzig: It is definitely because of the fans that this book is coming out. That and the 'Lost Tracks' album, they have been asking for the lyrics since for whatever reason we didn't include it or a lyrics sheet. Rather than just put out the lyrics I figured we would have original artwork to go with each song.
Rafi: Bisely you have worked with for some time, what kind of direction did he take with the artwork?
Danzig: Like you said Simon has been working with me for a long time, aside from the occasional Danzig album cover, he also has been working on Verotik with me since it began in about 93-94. He did the 'Thrall: Demonsweatlive' cover and has been a part of Verotik since. You are really going to see how well the artwork comes together with each bit of lyrics.
Rafi: Speaking of Verotik it is fixing to be a big year for the company as well with 'Satanika' the movie being put into production. How has that been coming along?
Danzig: Well that you would have to ask the director. (both of us laughing) I know he is really busy putting all that together, and I am really excited to see what comes out of it. I think that I will actually be showing up at a Horror festival in Toronto soon with a ten minute teaser for the movie so that people can check it out.
Rafi: There has been already one movie released from the Verotik collection, which from what I understand was done by a porn company, how have you enjoyed working with the movie end of things?
Danzig: Yeah that was the movie for the comic 'Grub Girl' which was written by Edward Lee, a porn company was the one who ended up wanting to make it. The graphic nature of the comic there was just no other way that it could be made (both of us laughing). It was a very sick concept to begin with, especially since the main character was basically a dead zombie hooker. It did really great in the porn world.
Rafi: Well it certainly added a whole new level for all the porn heads out there, guilty as charged here (both of us laughing). That is what I always loved about Verotik, the comics were so seedy and dirty, they were definitely not directed towards kids.
Danzig: (both of us laughing) Yeah there is no way they are directed at kids.
Rafi: I have read that you never had much of a taste for the mainstream comic books.
Danzig: That is for sure, I grew up in New York and we were just always exposed to all types of comics. We got some from the Italians and early Japanese comics that just made everything else look like a kid stubbed their toe. You would be looking through and reading these and thinking "wow this is insane." I really wanted to add something to the American underground comic world, maybe make it grow up a little. I know a few other people who were trying to do it as well, so perhaps we did help change things a bit.
Rafi: Hopefully it can change the comic movie genre as well, seeing as the ones coming out are border line G-rated.
Danzig: Our's is without a doubt going to be at least R-rated. (both of us laughing) I can tell you right now none of our movies are going to be G-rated, for that matter they won't even be PG, just R and above.
Rafi: Aside from the album and Verotik, you are embarking on a very limited engagement tour.
Danzig: It is going to be a bit limited there are going to be five east coast dates and four west coast dates, and that is it till the fall.
Rafi: I saw that you are bringing out Doyle and Gorgeous Frankenstein on only the East Cost dates.
Danzig: Correct they will only be on the East Coast dates.
Rafi: I got to talk with Doyle and company when they came to Denver and he said he loves working with you on this and everything you are doing for the band, how is it working with him?
Danzig: Doyle is a really hard worker and I really hope that this ends up breaking for him. I really admire that he has the balls to not rely on his past and come up with a band that has its own name and its own image. What can I say the guy has some real guts to stand on his own and build his own following, which he has already started to do really well. He has already come out with an album and toured on his own.
Rafi: When I saw them here in Denver they blew the roof off of the house, I was pretty impressed.
Danzig: I think he is doing great, they played a show with us just recently and they are coming together very well, he has his own singer now. That is one thing I have told him all the time is he needs a front man, not someone playing bass and singing but a singer who stands alone. So with that addition I think they have only gotten better.
Rafi: I have to wonder, is there any chance that Doyle will again join you on stage and do a set of old Misfits material.
Danzig: Well that was just Doyle joining us on a few gigs, he came out two thirds through the Danzig set and we did like eight Misfits' tracks. I don't think that we will be doing that this time around. I think it is more important for him to step back from that and let people see him and his band alone. Also on the East Coast dates Johnny and Kenny's (Type O Negative) band Seventh Void are going to be opening up.
Rafi: Speaking of which the metal community dealt with a huge blow with the losses of Peter Steele and Dio, what do you remember of them both?
Danzig: I remember co-headlining in '92 with Black Sabbath and at the time Dio was the singer. He was such a nice guy and an amazing singer. I have more of a history with Peter and Type O as we took them on the road with us in '94 on the Danzig 4 tour. Peter was a bit strange of course, but he was a very nice guy. Both will be missed very much.
Rafi: Ok back to the music, after this limited tour is there a chance that there will be a full scale tour?
Danzig: I think we are looking right now into doing a full scale run with the Blackest of the Black. I don't think we will play all or any of the cities that we are doing with this nine date tour. But yeah definitely looking to put together a big line up for that.
Rafi: One aspect I have always respected about that tour is that you took out bands that no one else was willing to give attention to. What made you decide to go that route rather than picking up mainstream acts?
Danzig: I just remember that nobody wanted, when I was starting out in any of my bands, to give us a shot. From the Misfits to Samhain and even early on for Danzig, nobody wanted to take us out with them. We could be playing out and selling places out and nobody wanted to take us on tour with them. Whatever their reasons were, even with Danzig they may have been scared of our audience or scared of us, they just didn't want to associate with Danzig. We just didn't get any great opening slots (both of us laughing) ever! We really had to get out there and develop our own following. So I wanted to give back and take out bands that I really thought that people should see, even early on I always tried to take out bands with us that no one else would even touch.
Rafi: Having seen so much, especially how the industry has changed, what advice would you give our readers who are aspiring musicians?
Danzig: Honestly like anything you have to really make sure that this is what you want to do. It's not easy, it's very tough and if you are expecting to make it overnight it just doesn't happen that way. Also the big thing is don't just make a demo and expect people to listen to it. You have to sit down make a CD and hit the road, force them to listen to what you have going on. Sometimes you will be playing in front of maybe 20-30 people but you have to do it, just like all the rest of us did to build a following. If you sit around at home it is just not going to happen. (both of us laughing) Don't forget to be honest with yourself.
Rafi: What do you hope that all your fans who have followed your career take from what they see?
Danzig: I don't know there, they can take from it what they want. Some people get strength from the songs and some get inspiration, whatever comes through to you by all means take it!
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