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Eye Magazine, 5/13/93   

Is Glenn Danzig rock's rebel angel or...
By Chris O'Conner

   Am I Beast,
   Am I Human,
   Am I Just Like You?
   --Danzig,  Am I Demon?'
   He'll always raise the question, extend tha bait on barbed trident, 
and God-or Satan-knows he's been doing it for nigh on 15 years now.
   Fifteen years and three bands spent walking down the left-hand path of 
rock'n'roll, exploring a lyrical hellscape of fallen angels, black-winged 
seductresses and crawling snakes of Christ, of constructing albums titled 
LUCIFUGE and HOW THE GODS KILL and his own iconography-a devil's skull 
leering from the centre of an inverted cross-and Glenn Danzig's still 
taunting the Inquistion. Still raising the question-is he demon?
   Well? A former teenage gore freak from Hellhole, N.J., who'd form the 
Misfits, put "Astro-Zombies" to something that sounded like the Ramones 
being pulled limb from limb by opposing hearses, and then side with the 
monsters: "Exterminate the whole fuckin' race"? Who'd name his second band 
in honour of the day druids took their sickles to the virgin faithful, 
who'd drench himself in blood for an album cover that the art department 
was sickened to print? A guy with the barbarian physique normally found 
airbrushed on the sides of  70s custom vans, and known to do the Conan 
stomp on any gig-goers dumb enough to mess with him?
   Glenn Danzig, the Devil you say? Well, they say the Devil hath powers 
to assume a pleasing shape, and they don't come much more disarming than 
Glenn's phone manner-a kind of animated ramble-rant, part Brooklyn 
cabdriver, part Mets-freak-at-the-ballpark, delivered not in the 
basso-profundo Elvis rumble you'd imagine, but this Joe Rolling Rock 
Joisey drawl. He laughs easily, says  Y'knowhatImean' a lot. He could be 
any be-tatted hipkid scouring the Silver Snail for HAUNT OF FEAR back 
   And in fact he'd much rather talk about comics; how he digs NEW GODS, 
SPAWN and HELLSTORM, how he met art gods Frank Frazetta and Jack Kirby, 
how he's working on his own comic with FAUST's Tim Vigil.
   And politics-Great American Frontier, Rugged Individual politics. He 
distrusts Clinton ("MTV had the Rock the Vote things, and they had Clinton 
on, and Al Gore on, but nobody mentioned anything about Tipper Gore"). 
He'd rather see Ross Perot running the Great Satan ("He's an individual 
who can't be bought, who wanted the country back on track and had exact 
plans on how to do it"). His five-minute rant on gun control, can be 
summed up as "They don't want honest people to have guns when they decide 
to pull a fascist coup. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd rather be wrong than 
right and not have a gun to protect myself. How's that?"
   Fine with me, Glenn: you're the one with the sidearm.
   But what I really want to talk about is theology-God, Lucifer, the 
PARIDISE LOST parallels you drew with LUCIFUGE...
   "There's nothing about the Devil on LUCIFUGE."
   He says it with choirboy innocence, amused I'd even ask such a thing: 
"Did you drink the communion wine, Glenn?" "Did you name your CD after 
the Father of Lies?"
   "The name Lucifuge means 'sleep of light,'" he says, trace of a laugh 
creeping in, "so I dunno what you got out of it. So here we go,  Devil's 
Plaything' is about love."
   He stops the tour short, decides I've been sufficiently stymied. 
Relents: "The one song that's the most about the Devil is  Pain in the 
World' and that's just a dab here and there."
   Understand: Glenn Danzig is never certain of the Devil, certainly not 
on the latest HOW THE GODS KILL album. The being that stalks "Bodies" and 
"Anything," a dark stranger with unholy sweets in one hand, final damnation 
in the other, is never identified. "All this world/And its glories/And its 
sins/I will give it all/To you/Take my hand."
   Is it Lucifer? Jesus? Danzig himself?
   "That's fantastic!" he laughs, happy with the reading. "You shouldn't 
know: it should be left to your imagination. Some things don't have to be 
so cut and dried, especially a song, and just because something like 
'Godless' is clear cut-organized religion burns a lot of people-doesn't
mean everything has to be. Let the music take you places it wants to take 
you. Close off those avenues and it's not gonna take you anywhere but one 
little place."
   So it's not about choosing sides, the dark or the light, the left or 
the right?
   "Is there one side or the other? Only if you make it out to be that 
way, and whoever said that? I never did."
   All the little tin popes and wind-up fanatics...
   "Yeah, but that's them. So? That doesn't mean that's the way it is. 
You just don't play their game. You subscribe to what they say, you play 
their game, ant they're gonna win. Because it's their rules."
   Don't misunderstand: the legions of the damned are pretty pissed at 
him, too, mainly because of his mercenary status. See, they'd love to 
enlist him, if self-appointed commander Glen Benton of Deicide is anything 
to go by: some months ago he rumbled at me about how "Glenn Danzig should 
just declare himself a Satanist."
   Which makes Glenn Danzig mad. Mad as all hell...
   "Look, the only thing I know about Deicide is the guy burns upside-down 
crosses into his empty head. Who is this guy? He's nobody, and anyone who's 
an individual isn't gonna listen to him. I tell people to think for 
themselves, to find their own way in life.  I wish Glenn Danzig would do 
this.' Fuck him! I have to say something to vindicate him?!"
   His fire and brimstone cool suddenly. Then, wearily, "It's not just 
that. They finally printed something in our new bio, which talks about 
Baudelaire and his interpretation of Satan, how he's basically just a 
   If Danzig believed in a Devil, it'd be this one, the rebel angel of 
Baudelaire and Milton. Not Deicide's, not a goat-headed cartoon magic-
markered on some adolescent zitfarm's Math text, but a proud individualist 
tired of divine dictatorships, who just got some bad PR from his former
boss. If Danzig believed in a Devil...
   "Yeah, exactly. Everything's conjecture: life, death, everything. I 
have no problem with religion, it's just when it tries to dictate people, 
y'know? To put it in another perspective, this could be a world that fits 
on the end of a pin in some bigger world. Can you tell me it isn't? You 
don't know, and because you don't you should keep your mind open. Who 
are you? Did you become God while I was sleeping? And what is God, anyway?"
   And what is Glenn Danzig, then? A free-thinker, obviously; an 
individualist, most importantly. But is he demon?
   To the dogmatists, the fundamentalists, the comic-book satanists-to 
anyone who'd condemn his work to a prefab heaven or hell-he's the their 
worst nightmare: Do what thou wilt is the whole of his law.

A Brief History Of Danzig

Glenn Danzig has always been the dark star of the underground/alternative 
universe, maybe never burning as brightly as Jello Biafra, Henry Rollins 
or his other contemporaries, but there all the same, a guiding light for 
those drawn to the darker side. And across three bands and 15 years,
following nothing but his own will and...ah...peculiar interests, Danzig's 
exuded an influence that probably outshines any other band's from that era: 
the Misfits, Samhain, Danzig...everything Glenn does has a distinct 
atmosphere, imagery and identity, not so much bands as living, breathing
entities. So herewith follows a brief guide to the beast, along with 
recommended exhumations from the crypt: come step inside his nightmare.

THE MISFITS: Formed in the late  70s, the Misfits were the bad seed planted 
in the decaying rathole of Lodi, N.J., nurtured on JFK conspiracy theories 
and TALES FROM THE CRYPT.  They were the horrible consequences of being 
adolescent, antisocial, and having too many rotting zombies in their reading 
material, and they rocked out like the Ramones fronted by Ed Gein. Their
depraved genius in songs like "Hatebreeders" Mommy, Can I Go Out And Kill 
Tonight?" was to lure unsuspecting innocents in the with speed and catchy 
melodies and then, come chorus time, have them singing along to tales of 
murder and dismemberment (like on "Skulls" and Glenn's cheerfully barked 
"hack the heads off little girls..."). This was bubblegum from the mouth 
of a week-old corpse. Later, they'd more or less mutate into a hardcore 
band and lose the sick fun for more serious devilry ("Demonomamia," 

   Recommended: WALK AMONG US for the best initiation, LEGACY OF BRUTALITY 
for previously unreleased/re-recorded songs. EARTH A.D./WOLFSBLOOD for 
the devil-in-a-blender stuff.

SAMHAIN: Don't know what happened to Glenn in the mid-'80s, but his music 
grew darker, moodier and more atmospheric. The singalong slayfests and 
cheerful goriness were replaced by aggressive dirges and pagan imagery: 
even the Misfits' goofy-grinning skull mascot grew fangs and evil-looking 
horns. Funtime was over, and Glenn seemed to drive the stake thru the old  
Fits legacy with brooding remakes of "Horror Business" and "Halloween." 
(Side note: everyone, including Danzig himself, calls the band "sam-HANE" 
but if you want to druidic about it, it's pronounced "SAU-wun".)

DANZIG: Here's where it gets really scary-Glenn forms a metal band and 
names it after himself. Fears of a new Dio were battered into tiny 
fragments, though, with their  88 debut, a thing of hypnotic, snake-hipped 
evil that showed up all other metal attempts at Beelzebubbery for the 
Marvel Comics satanism it really was. Baudelaire and Milton helped; so 
did the unholy power of their line-up: Eerie Von from Samhain on bass, 
legendary hardcore drummer Chuck Biscuits (ex-Black Flag, Circle Jerks 
and DOA) and guitarist John Christ, origins unknown but sounds like he
has an encyclopedic knowledge of SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH. Which can only 
be a good thing...