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Metal Maniacs Metallica Special, 5/90
By Marina Zogbi

   There are few artists of the metallic persuasion who have stirred up
as much curiousity and speculation as Glenn Danzig. The shroud of mystery
that surrounds the guy is as much a result of his closely guarded personal
life and purposely kept low profile as it is his dark and powerful music. 
Add to this the widely contradictory reports from those who've met or 
worked with Glenn and we also have a big question mark in the personality 
department (although this writer has always found him to be personable and
generally cool). Whatever murky things you may have heard about Mr. D., 
one thing emerges crystal clear: his undeniable talent and influence as a
   Possessed of a powerful, blues-tinged voice and obsessed with things 
horrific and deathly, Glenn put together his first "serious" band circa 
1977: Misfits. A bunch of suburban New Jersey boys, they were a punk band 
with a difference. Glenn's tunes combined often poignant melodies and 
catchy choruses with ghoulish subjects, frequently incorporating a bit of 
wit (see "I Turned Into A Martian" and the mournful "London Dungeon" with 
its admonishment "Make sure your face is clean now, can't have no dirty 
dead."). Others, like the early "Bullet" and "Die, Die My Darling" are 
genuinely sick in lyrical content. It was a really wild combination, this 
great booming rock n' roll voice belting out songs about corpses and 
zombies. Quite unlike anything else that was happening at the time, the 
Misfits garnered a large, loyal following mostly by word of mouth and 
distribution of several singles, EPs and five official LPs on Glenn's 
own label, Plan 9. (There are, however, many bootlegs floating around.)
   First LP MISFITS WALK AMONG US (released 1982) is currently unavailable
as there is a lawsuit pending. (An illegal reissue of the record appeared 
last year; Glenn sued.) but EARTH AD, EVILIVE and LEGACY OF BRUTALITY are
still out there as is a very cool 20-track recently issued compilation 
entitled simply MISFITS. The two best known Misfits tunes are probably 
"Green Hell" and "Last Caress," lovingly covered by Metallica on GARAGE 
   Around 1983, Glenn disbanded the Misfits and put together Samhain 
(which included ex-Rosemary's Baby member/current bassist Eerie Von) 
moving toward a heavier, more metallic sound. They released one EP 
"Unholy Passion" and two LPs, INITIUM and NOVEMBER COMING FIRE before 
disbanding in 1986. At this point, Glenn "wanted to do different, more 
serious, better songs." Not content this time with local talent, he 
recruited guitarist John Christ from Maryland and celebrated ex-Circle
Jerks, D.O.A. & Black Flag drummer Chuck Biscuits to join him and Eerie 
for what would be his most accomplished project yet: Danzig, the band.
Mega-producer Rick Rubin who'd been interested in Glenn since Samhain 
days, signed them to his newly formed Def American label. Around this 
time, Glenn contributed his talents to another Rubin record, the 
soundtrack for LESS THAN ZERO. On it, the late Roy Orbison sings the 
Glenn-penned "Life Fades Away" (a big thrill for the longtime Orbison 
fan) and Glenn himself sings the title track.
   DANZIG, the record, was released in late summer of 1988 to much 
critical and popular acclaim. In turn sinister and harsh, haunting and 
beautiful, it stands as one of the most outstanding LPs released in the
'80s. Danzig live became the show to catch, the band often playing with a
brutal intensity that left audiences feeling breathless and shattered.
   By the time you read this, a longform home video should be out 
containing the controversial (uncensored) clips for "Mother" and "She 
Rides" along with "Am I Demon" and "Twist Of Cain," plus backstage tour 
footage and an interview with Glenn. Next up, a second Danzig LP tentatively
titled 777 due for release in spring or summer of 1990. (The title track 
received enormous crowd response when performed live last summer). In 
addition, Glenn is also planning to produce an LP for St. Louis band 
King Horse, who opened for Danzig on a couple of midwestern dates last tour.
Glenn's not a big fan of many current bands, so it should be interesting 
to hear the one outfit he chose to work with, newly signed to Caroline 
Records (who happen also to distribute Misfits and Samhain vinyl.)
   And that, dear readers, is the dirt on Danzig.