METAL SHOP, p.18-19, Summer 1989 -------------------------------- DANZIG DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN by Marina Zogbi Circus Of Power and Danzig playing the same night at The Ritz in New York City? I predicted a surprise special guest appearance by Jim Morrison's disgruntled corpse (Ghost Of Rock'n'Roll Past) but it never happened. Actually, there WAS one exceptionally cadaverous-looking person in a hand- painted Samhain jacket whose face I couldn't see... Things got off to a late start. C.O.P. did not go on at 11:00 PM as promised, but nearly two hours later. So I watched New York speedcore band Carnivore-- one song "God Is Dead," I quite liked- but was too busy counting Misfits/Samhain t-shirts and jackets to pay attention. Interesting crowd. Lots of bands boast a crossover audience. This was the real thing, not a metal audience with a sprinkling of hardcore kids. And these were PUNKS circa 1979 with spiky hair and mohawks. I kept thinking I spotted Glenn Danzig until I realized there were LOOKALIKES. No easy achievement unless you're a short, stocky intense-looking guy with black hair flopping in your eyes, sleeveless black shirt, and a frightening tattoo on your upper left arm. Most were. (None however had managed to cultivate those distinctive sideburns--dead giveaway, boys!) Anyway, having never seen Danzig (or the Misfits or Samhain) live and therefore never having seen Glenn's devout followers all in one place, I now understand the extent of his cult status bigtime. Circus Of Power played a good solid, if somewhat time, set. I love this band, but I think I liked them better at Limelight when Alex Mitchell spit onto, rolled around on and nearly fell off the stage. Great songs too. I wasn't quite prepared for Danzig even though (or maybe because) I'd listened to the new LP for weeks on end. I just couldn't seem to get it off my turntable! The record is subdued and moody, its violence contained. While Glenn alternately sighs and shouts his way through the songs and the band does burn, it's a beautifully controlled performance. There's power in those grooves, but it's tempered, manipulated--thanks in large part to producer Rick Rubin. Danzig live is another experience altogether. After a smoky and forboding taped intro which had the crowd HOWLING in anticipation, Danzig hit the stage amid lights to slam into "Twist Of Cain." The effect of those first chords unleashed something fierce in the audience who immediately began their own fulltilt slam. The effect on ME was something best envisioned as a big Batman-like POW in the face. The violent intensity of those first few moments somehow, amazingly, never did let up. Visually, the band is a striking lot, dressed in black. Drummer Chuck Biscuits, the only fairhaired member sat high on his spotlit throne, flailing away like some crazed marionette whose strings are being yanked by a mad puppeteer. Guitarist John Christ and bassist Eerie Von, barechested and gleaming, stood grounded, leather-clad legs planted firmly apart, heads wrenching and black hair whipping in unison. It was the perfect visual counterpart for the stalking menacing Glenn whose whole being seemed to be caught up in some unholy, unseen force. Every muscle clenched so that even when he's standing still, he's seismic. He was constantly smacking the hands of ecstatic fans. No between-song patter, they let their music do the talking (and not always in civilized tones). The tight, muscular playing, felt in the gut, packed a colossal wallop. No lulls. No time to catch your breath. Even "She Rides," slow and bluesy on record, was pounding and forceful live. No crooning here, baby, Glenn wailed, shouted and roared. Only a voice like his could command a band like this! A highlight? The pulverizing cover of Elvis Presley's "Trouble." How perfect that Mr. D. should choose this particular threatening gem. With what glee must he have yelled the classic line "'cause I'm EVIL..." Indeed, I had to chucle. I also had to face the undeniable fact that Glenn could put every living Elvis impersonator to SHAME if he wanted. And the band! Christ was constantly amazing, playing with tasteful fury. Von, the scariest looking, pummeled his instrument mercilessly, yet with finesse. (Glenn hasn't kept him all these years 'cause he's cute.) Biscuits lived up to his sterling rep as a powerhouse drummer pumping each song full of lead. No weak links. The inspired din elicited severe physical reactions from not only the stageside moshing crowd (especially during old Misfits songs) but from those upstairs in the "industry" seats as well. A close friend (who goes to speedmetal shows regularly) suffered head and neck trauma from the night's headbanging for the whole week after this show. I myself didn't realize how hard I was pounding the railing (until the next day when I couldn't unclench my fist). I left The Ritz shaky but exhilarated, badly needing a cigarette. It was that kind of a show. UPDATE: The next night, MTV's "Headbanger's Ball" finally "premiered" the controversial "Mother." They had previously refused to do it. "Twist Of Cain" should debut as well depending on how wimpy MTV gets. If Danzig should happen to play in your town, you know what to do.