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SPIN   January 1991

Reincarnated in the steroid-pumped body of Jim Morrison, Glenn
Danzig is the meanest rock'n'roll performer around. His band,
DANZIG, embodies both rock's past glories and the promise of its
future. Whether you like it or not. (pg. 28)
Legs McNeil reports

   It looks just like the shopping mall from Dawn of the Dead -
after it was rid of the zombies. The entire place is deserted.
None of the shopkeepers are in their stores, but the happy
fluorescent lighting and the ultra-pleasant Muzak is still
humming along. Everything is on automatic pilot.
   Suddenly the silence is shattered.
   "Ahh, man, there's gotta be a titty bar around here,"
complains Glenn Danzig to his road manager, George Harris, and
his security chief Jesse James, as the three breeze through the
mall's entrance.
   "Empty! Just the way I like it - no assholes in my way," Glenn
beams, throwing his shoulder-length black hair out of his face to
reveal his striking looks. With his monstrously developed chest
and his evil eyes, he looks like a cross between Jim Morrison and
Cro-Magnon man. Only meaner.
   "What do you want first, titty bars or comic books?" George
   "Comic books," Glenn answers.
   "I already asked about the titty bars. They're down past the
hotel," George says as he scans the Deerfield Shopping Mall
directory in search of the comic book store. This evening's
Danzig concert at the Palace Theater in Waukegan, Illinois, has
been canceled. The hall owner got hold of the band's latest
release, Lucifuge, and opened up the CD sleeve to see it formed
an upside-down cross. To him, Danzig is an obvious sign of what
Geraldo has warned everybody about: satanism, cult murders, and,
of course, the theme music of eternal damnation.
   "Yeah, it was the upside-down crosses and all that shit," says
Danzig. "But here's the stupidity of it: The hall owner is
supposed to be a good Christian, but if he knew anything about
the upside-down cross, he'd know it was a very holy symbol. In
fact, St. Peter was crucified upside down, because he said that
it would be blasphemy to be crucified like his lord, Jesus
   Danzig speaks in a bored tone that suggests he'd rather be
concentrating on comics than theology.
   "It was St. Peter or St. Paul. I forget which..."
   Glenn and Jesse and George don't give a fuck about the
canceled show. They're just glad to have more time for serious
comic shopping.
   "You have any more Mighty Mouse Number Threes?" Glenn asks the
fat, obnoxious store owner, while the other two comb the racks.
There's a whole section of nothing but advanced Dungeons and
Dragons guidebooks, as well as picture dictionaries of fantasy
weapons and tactics for future wars. On the wall is a poster of
Judge Dredd executing another cyberpunk perpetrator.
   This isn't a comics shop as much as a convenience store of
chaos for the postpunk, post-hardcore, post-everything kids who
inhabit the wasteland, knowing that death and destruction are
already upon us. These kids know there's nothing left to do but
sit back and enjoy the fires burning out of control.
   As lead singer of the Misfits, the seminal hardcore/thrash
band of the early '80s - and later of the more experimental band
Samhain - Glenn Danzig had always employed his fantasies to
create chaos for the world to enjoy. After 10 or 15 years of
this, he's bored with explaining things. It's not what he likes
to do. You either get what Danzig is doing, or you can fuck off.
And it's that attitude that has them screaming in the aisles for
   "But you're smart enough to realize," I persist, "that when
you put out an upside-down cross it's going to piss a lot of
people off?"
   "If it pisses people off, that's their tough luck. I don't
care about people with small minds."
   He stops. The eyes grow darker, the bulging biceps tense up,
the threat of violence radiates out of every pore.
   "I don't like hassle in my life," he says, getting quieter,
more intense. "Because I, ah, I have a really quick temper and it
takes a lot of meditation to keep me from killing the world every
day of my life."
   The tension is broken as he compares his comic book loot with
George and Jesse and cracks that devious smile. When Glenn Danzig
isn't being intense, ready to attack, he lets out that smile.
That huge one - showing off all the teeth - that makes him look
like the Big Bad Wolf caught holding the freshly devoured carcass
of Grandma.
   But just as fast, the smile is gone. Glenn suddenly looks up
at the store owner and asks, "Hey, what about those Mighty Mouse
Number Threes?"

Do you want to take a life? / Do you want to cross that line? /
'Cause it's a long way back from hell / And you don't want to go
with me.
- from "Long Way Back From Hell"

   Onstage at the Barrymore Theater in Madison, Wisconson, the
following evening, it's easy to see why Danzig is the Next Big
Thing. His Jim Morrison looks and vocal style - that same
slurred, malevolent baritone, his monstrous physique radiating
sexuality - combine with the tightest, most straight-ahead
rock'n'roll band out there. Chuck Biscuits on drums is just above
the huge skull with the piercing blue eyes. Eerie Von on bass and
John Christ on lead, with their long black hair, pale skin,
mustaches, and beards, flank Glenn and hammer out the sound - a
stirring, complete celebration of the Dark Side.
   But it's not heavy metal. No boring guitar bullshit,
indecipherable thrash, or high nasal screams. Just loud, evil
rock'n'roll with a bluesy edge. And because of its simple,
punishing fullness, the theater in Madison is packed with
delinquents, punks, skins, and skateheads, as well as buxom
blowjob blondes. All push to the edge of the stage and alternate
between drooling at Glenn's feet and banging their heads on the
stage floor.
   This is definintely not an R.E.M. college crowd. The college
kids will come around in a year or two, but right now Danzig is
only for those who can appreciate this Frank Frazetta cover come
to life. You remember those wonderfully violent Conan covers
where the Barbarian is slicing the Intruder's head off with the
giant sword while the big-breasted sorceress stands behind him,
warding off huge saber-toothed tigers? To these post-apocalyptic
kids, Glenn Danzig is a new hero, their authentic champion of
evil - a comic book cover come to life, proving that they can
endure and flourish in the wasteland.

I'm the wolf / I'm the one you want / I'm the killer wolf / I'm
'onna pound you home.
- from "Killer Wolf"

   No, this isn't about satanism or a struggle between church and
state. Nor is it about censorship. This goes way beyond that.
What Danzig is about is drawing the line between those who
believe in the facade of the American Dream and those who want to
fuck all night, howl at the moon, and lay it all to waste,
celebrating the survival of the Greatest American Nightmare - the
New Rulers of the Malls surveying their domain, announcing that
they now own the wasteland, and scaring the hell out of the rest
of the population.
   Somewhere between Madison, Wisconson, and Columbus, Ohio,
Danzig pulls me to the back of the tour bus. "You know if you're
gonna fantasize," he says, "go all the way. That's my problem
with people: They fantasize halfway. I always believed fantasy
was, How far can your mind go? Don't settle for nothin' when you
can have everything. That's how my life is. Why set your sights
on ten when you can set your sights on a million, a billion, a
   "Is that the difference between Danzig and the Misfits," I
ask, "that it's more Glenn Danzig's personal fantasy?"
   Glenn tenses. He hates to answer questions about the Misfits.
They remain the mythic hardcore band - a nice moment in time that
influenced a lot of people - but they're not the thing he wants
to be remembered for.
   "The funny thing is that the Misfits weren't really popular
when they were around," he explains. "Also, they weren't very
good live. I was good, as good as you can be at eighty-million
miles an hour.
   "I don't think a lot of people got what I was doing in the
Misfits. The guys in the band didn't even get it. They still
don't get it. I hate those guys. I can't stand them. The Misfits
didn't break up on good terms. I cut myself loose because it was
a dead end. They were holding me back. So I joined up with Eerie,
and we did Samhain. Eerie and I used to hang out together when I
was in the Misfits, because the guys in the band didn't like to
do anything. They were rich snobs. They only liked doing drugs.
   "But after I started Samhain with Eerie, the other guys in the
band left and we had to start all over. It would have been easy
just to be Samhain, but I thought it was better just to start
from the beginning with Chuck Biscuits and John Christ and just
have our own identity.
   "Rick Rubin [Def Jam cofounder and now head of Danzig's label,
Def American] came to see us at the New Music Seminar in '86 and
he came running backstage and said, 'You guys are great! The best
band I've ever seen, blah, blah, blah....' He gives me his card,
and I think he's a freak. I didn't know who the fuck he was. But
he seemed sincere.
   "So I went down to his offices, right off Houston [Street] in
New York City, and I hear this loud music blaring. And it isn't
even a fucking record company office, but a fucking loft
apartment. Records all over the place, phones ringing, people
calling, Rick screaming, 'What? What? What? Fuck you,' and
sticking the phone into the speaker and then hanging up."
   Glenn cracks the smile again when he thinks of Rick Rubin.
   "The problem with Danzig, if anyone has one, is that the image
isn't far from the person," he says. "It's a very scary thing.
When I see films and videos of us I laugh because I guess I am
kind of scary. It's weird. I don't try to analyze it, but when I
sit down and think about it, I think, yeah, very dangerous, very
violent, very...."
   The scene drifts back to the previous night when Glenn was
searching for the ultimate titty bar. He didn't find even a bad
titty bar. Just miles of corporate headquarters, fast-food
joints, and shopping malls. His search led him instead to an Osco
drugstore where he took refuge in the video section and found
This Is Elvis. As he was standing in line at the cash register a
tabloid headline snagged him.
   "Finally - Proof That Satan Exists," it read. "Never Before
Seen: Photo of Devil Leaving Victim's Body During Exorcism
   And Glenn laughed, knowing that the true evil in this world
was the killing sameness surrounding him in the supermarket, and
the headlines of fear that force the population to seek refuge in
these safe, sterile worlds. Glenn was still laughing outside the
supermarket as he walked past a green dumpster filled with
Halloween pumpkins for the kiddies and let go with his elbow into
one of the jack-o'-lanterns waiting to be adopted. Whhhhompfff!
   His laugh got even meaner and filled the half-empty parking
lot, causing young mothers to clutch their kids, and old men with
six-packs under their arms to lock their car doors and drive
away. If America shakes in its boots over a faked picture in the
Weekly World News, Geraldo's tales of devils in high places, and
backward masking on Judas Priest's records - well it hasn't seen
anything yet. And Glenn Danzig's eyes burn with an evil delight;
he knows he is just the guy to show 'em the true meaning of

(pg. 73)

   If you thought that most Kentucky bands sat on their porches
and twanged on their acoustics... well, think again. Case in
point: Kinghorse, a band from Louisville that mounts a full aural
assault with its self-titled debut album. Check out the typically
gory cover art by Pushead, and then strap yourself to a chair (or
maybe a pole, if you like it standing up) and turn it up to 11.
   Lead screamer Sean Garrison's voice gets under your skin and
makes you squirm, while the rest of the quartet (Mark Abromavage,
guitar; Kevin Brownstein, drums; and Mike Bucayu, bass) provides
a suitably thrashy maelstrom, captured well by producer Glenn
Danzig. Lyrically, these boys come off like Manson-loving
weirdos: Witness "Motherfucker, open this cage / Maybe then I'll
leave this bitch in one piece" on "Caged." Check it out, this
ain't no one-trick pony.
Lauren Spencer