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Faces Magazine   June 1991

By Lee Sherman

   The necessary evil known as a music video can be dealt with in
a few different ways. You can give up and play the game - like
Warrant and Poison. You can refuse to do them entirely - like
most hardcore rock groups. Or you can subvert the medium to your
own ends.
   On their new longform video, Lucifuge - The Video, Danzig take
the latter course, interspersing raw live footage with their own
idiosyncratic music videos, and new material designed to tie it
all together. This home video, even more than the band's previous
effort, shows that Danzig is not the group of one-dimensional
devil worshippers that their detractors would have you believe.
>From drummer Chuck Biscuits' informed discussion of breakfast
cereals (yes, breakfast cereals) to Glenn Danzig himself reading
a passage from Milton's Paradise Lost, there's a wide latitude to
consider. "There's another side to Chuck, too," comments Glenns.
"He reads a lot, but he's also a character."
   Unlike their first video compilation, this isn't a
documentary. And rather than attempting to paint a portrait of
the charismatic Glenn Danzig alone, Lucifuge - The Video reflects
the entire band.
   As with everything else he does, Glenn plays a personal role
in the production of the band's videos, suggesting ideas,
composing incidental music to flesh them out, and even directing
them himself. "When I hear the directors talking and they want
John (Christ, guitarist) or Chuck to do something that'll look
stupid, I tell them that they're not going to do that. It's just
not in character with the band. Sometimes when a band does
something that's not expected of them it looks cool but it should
be in character, it shouldn't be fake because that comes right
across on the screen."
   Danzig worked with producer Vincent Giordano and famed
photographer Anton Corbijn to achieve a quality unlike that of
any video shown on MTV. The "Killer Wolf" clip, shot on film in
black & white, is particularly effective.
   "The good thing about Anton is he won't work with a band
unless he likes the music they do and he happened to like Danzig
so it worked out well," according to Glenn. "I liked a lot of his
ideas. He takes chances and he's very experimental."
   Surprisingly, though it hasn't gone into regular rotation on
MTV, "Killer Wolf" has received a few plays on "Headbangers Ball"
and 120 Minutes." Surprising, because about the only thing this
video has in common with the other clips shown on the station is
a sexy blonde. For once though, the girl is there for a reason.
   "With Danzig, they don't want girls in the video because it's
almost like a perversion," explains Glenn. "'Killer Wolf' is
about the seduction of youth. I don't think the girls in our
videos are fluff and I don't think that girls shouldn't be in
videos. It's how you use them. I know a lot of metal people don't
want girls in their videos but that's because no girls go to
their shows. I have nothing against women. They're a very
integral part of life and I think they should be there."
   Unlike other groups, who are intimidated into creating generic
videos, Danzig work hard to maintain a certain integrity. "If
you're going for the commercial thing, MTV is the way to go,"
says John Christ. "But we're not about that. We want to do videos
because they are a form of visual expression but for us, the
records and the live show are more important."
   Despite the lack of MTV airplay, the band's first home video
went gold and this second one is likely to do even better. "It
shows how much people want to see them because they have to buy
them to see them," notes Glenn.
   "The fans want to see our videos the way we want to do them,"
adds John. "They don't want to see some hopped up, edited down
MTV version that's made for every little schoolboy and Catholic
   Danzig's lack of compromise has brought the wrath of the
censors down upon the group. But as usual there are double
standards at work.
   "We've never done anything that was higher than a PG rating
anyway," says Glenn. "I've seen worse on T.V. In one video, 'Like
A Prayer,' Madonna got away with rape, murder, fornication on a
church pew, the interracial thing, and the burning crosses.
(Danzig's) 'Her Black Wings' wasn't shown because the girl's
clothes were wrinkled and it looked like her nipple was
   Glenn (who has three cats) demonstrates his rapport with
animals in the new video package, wrestling a 600-pound
alligator, and accompanying a pack of wolves on their travels
atop a mountain. Although he prefers the company of wolves to
certain humans, the alligator was definitely not Glenn's idea.
"Originally Rick Rubin said we should have an alligator scene in
('I'm The One'). Vinnie (Giordano) said, yeah, that'd be pretty
cool. And then I said, 'oh, we should film one of those Indian
guys who wrestles an alligator like three times a day.' And then
Rick said, 'no, you should wrestle the alligator' and Vinnie
said, 'yeah, that'd be a great idea!' I was like 'uh...'"
   In the end, Glenn was convinced, but it wasn't the easiest of
shots to get.
   "I said if it's like 5 or 6-foot alligator, I'll do it, and it
has to be drugged. What happened was, we got this 10 or 12-foot
alligator, it was 650 pounds, it wasn't drugged. It was supposed
to have a rubber thing that goes over the mouth so that it can't
bite you, but it just had masking tape which was wearing off.
   "I was on there 7 or 8 minutes wrestling this guy and I felt
like I'd played full-court basketball for a night. I was beat,"
says Glenn. "The wolves were another matter entirely.
   "The wolves were cool," he says. "I just treated 'em like
dogs. I know a few things about how to handle them so it was
easier. You let 'em smell you, let 'em get aquainted with you.
You don't do stupid things around them, like make sharp moves and
jump. You can't be afraid of them."
   One problem with videos is they lock you into a certain
interpretation of a song, whereas with music in the past, you'd
make your own movies in your mind. "We haven't had that problem
with our fans," explains Glenn. "Despite the video, most people
have their own ideas about what the song's about. I'll talk to a
hundred different kids and none of them have the same idea. It's
still a very personal thing."
   Personally, I'd recommend Danzig Lucifuge - The Video to the
adventurous of heart fed up with having their video viewing
dictated by MTV.