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Entertainment Weekly   Oct. 14, 1994

Sympathy for the Devil (p. 28)
By Nisid Hajari

Glenn Danzig's satanic verses brought him to the top - but does
he really believe that stuff?

   Glenn Danzig doesn't seem that weird. Swathed in regulation
black - boots, jeans, Wolverine T-shirt, and curtain of hair -
the short, barrel-chested frontman for the death-metal group that
bears his name pontificates with the assurance of a TV pitchman,
punctuating his long sentences with brief, shy smiles. "America
was founded on satanism," he says earnestly, tracing a skull
inside a black heart on a Post-It. "Thomas Jefferson? He was a
satanist. And the flag? Did you ever wonder why it had 13 stars?"
   Um, to symbolize the 13 original states?
   "No," Danzig whispers ominously. "Thirteen members to a
   Witness the face of heavy metal, circa 1994. If Kurt Cobain
clipped the hair bands that dominated the late '80s, Glenn
Danzig, 35, has positioned himself to recapture what's left of
the headbanger army. Stints with the seminal horror-punk band the
Misfits (composers of such peppy anthems as "Mommy, Can I Go Out
and Kill Tonight?") and the more baroque metal group Samhain lend
him the necessary indie credentials. And for the last six years
he's tilled the killing fields as leader of his eponymous band,
churning out bluesy dirges heavy on riffs and references to
incubi. Cultural cognoscenti Beavis and Butt-head finally blew
the coffin lid off the band last spring, sending a live version
of Danzig's single "Mother" into the Buzz Bin and up the charts.
Now, with the release of the band's long-delayed album 4, The
Box's most-requested metal act faces the glare of Top 40 exposure
   The band's prospects, however, are clouded by Glenn's
well-known preoccupations - although that's precisely what first
won Danzig its cult following. "We're one of the only bands that
get censored for theological commentary," the singer complains
after learning that MTV's standards and practices department
rejected the video for 4's first single, "Until You Call On the
Dark," probably due to lyrics like, "I wanna be the God who
kills/I wanna be the Christ who dies/Upon the fires/Of infamy."
   While he consistently denies bowing before Beelzebub, Danzig
(who has written songs for Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, among
others) only mildly disguises his taste for brimstone: Elaborate
demons-and-dragons sagas unspool in his lyrics; his band revels
in gothic spectacles; and he resides in a forbidding 1905 mansion
that his L.A. neighbors have dubbed "the Addams Family house."
   The roots of Danzig's preoccupation lie in the working-class
suburb of Lodi, N.J., where he marked time with a boredom-killing
brew of music, comic books, and delinquency ("You know, lighting
buildings on fire - stuff like that"). A gig as a drum roadie at
age 11 led to singing for a local Black Sabbath cover band two
years later; in 1976 he founded the Misfits, where he and his
bandmates honed the clownishly malevolent persona that
distinguished them from the rest of America's punk-rock pioneers.
   "Sometimes it's cynical," Danzig admits of his public
fascination with occult imagery. "But none of it is intended as
camp. Unfortunately, some people... because they've never heard
it before, they find it silly - 'Oh, this could never happen.'"
Disdain swells his distinctive basso as he insistently, if
cryptically, adds, "It is happening. And just because someone
else wants to fool themselves into believing in this false sense
of security doesn't mean I need to."
   "Glenn gets a certain idea in his head and that's it, it's the
truth," says ex-Danzig drummer Chuck Biscuits. "You couldn't tell
him the way it really is if you tried all f---ing day."
   Of course, Biscuits has cause for rancor: A founding member of
Danzig in 1988, Biscuits either quit or was canned over the
summer - depending on whom you talk to. "He opted to leave the
band on the Metallica tour," insists Danzig, claiming that
Biscuits refused to sign both an employment contract and a
no-drug agreement. "Our problems with Chuck getting his life
together go back over two years... The band was tired of being
his nanny." Biscuits denies all drug allegations; he claims he
finished the tour and says he rejected the contract because it
would have made him, in effect, Glenn Danzig's employee. He is
preparing to file suit against the band.
   By all accounts, Danzig's nose (usually used to sniff out
conspiracies - "Every assassination of a U.S. President was
committed by the U.S. government") hardens when it comes to
business negotiations. He says he threatened to leave American
Recordings after the company postponed 4's release twice; since
the mid-'80s, he's managed his own label, Plan 9, named for
director Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space; and he recently
formed a publishing company, Verotik, to indulge another passion:
adult comic books. He eagerly describes a new, sexually graphic
comic about a character named Satanika as "a cross between
Milton's Paradise Lost, The Fugitive, and a demonology kind of
   Such fervor helps explain the popularity Danzig enjoys among
the wispy-mustache set - a suburban demographic united not by
animal sacrifice but by a passion for the lurid and
transgressive. "I don't know about you, but I couldn't exactly
feel like a badass jamming [to] Pearl Jam," says Rob Zombie,
frontman for fellow Beavis and Butt-head mascots White Zombie.
"You can pretty much be assured that anyone sitting at home
listening to Danzig reads comics, watches horror movies, plays
Mortal Kombat - anything they can get their hands on with that
same violent imagery."
   So, Glenn Danzig knows, selling records doesn't require
selling out to darker powers. "If I were really in Satan's
service," he points out, "I would sweet-talk whoever I had to,
subvert whoever I had to... to get my end result, and the dead
bodies would be lying in piles everywhere. Okay? Let's get real."
Danzig slouches low in his armchair, an impish smile crossing
from one fuzzy sideburn to the other. "You know, anybody who
would even f--- with Satan would be dead in their tracks, without
a thought. Without a thought."

The Week - Pop/Rock 
By David Browne

DANZIG 4 (American) No one bellows like Glenn Danzig; after three
albums, his mighty lungs still sound as if they could power a
countryside of windmills. This record finds him and his band in
full Conan-the-Rocker splendor, but also moving beyond the
pillage with a few dark, brooding ballads, a downright arty piece
"Sadistikal," and more actual singing than shouting from their
leader. Plus, their sense of humour remains intact: The album
ends with a devilish Gregorian chant that seems to know how
Spinal Tap it is. A-