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Faces Magazine   August 1991

It Ain't Easy Being Danzig
By Lee Sherman

   When Axl Rose and Vince Neil can get front-page coverage by
slinging juvenile threats at each other but a band like Danzig
remains largely unknown, the world doesn't seem at all a fair
place. Glenn Danzig himself sums it up in one word: prejudice.
   "Some people will say 'Danzig, that's that satanic band'," he
notes, "which is not a moniker we created, it's a moniker some
other moron created. And they'll hear a record by Danzig not
knowing it's by Danzig and think it's really good. Somebody will
tell them it's by Danzig and they go 'it is?'
   "There's a lady at the New York Times who said she won't do a
piece on Danzig because she thinks I'm Satan. This is a person
that works at the biggest newspaper in the world - she's supposed
to be sane."
   "And she doesn't even know him!" adds guitarist John Christ.
"That's the type of judgmental thing that's going on."
   For the band Danzig, there's only one way to break down this
resistance: through constant touring. The tour for their Lucifuge
album, which put the band's mesmerizing show in front of more
people than ever before, saw Danzig breaking out of its cult
status. One reason it's taken so long is that Danzig refuses to
play the music industry's game. "People either like us or they
don't," says Glenn, "If you do, welcome aboard. If you don't,
it's your loss."
   "Of course it would be nice if they would come around, but the
way we look at it is we're not going anywhere except up and
they're going to have to come around eventually," says John.
   It isn't just the press who've been frightened by Danzig's
aggressive approach. Radio programmers have refused to play their
records, and record company personnel have refused to give their
full attention to promoting them. For a band as straightforward
about what they do as Danzig, these sycophants must make them
   "Here's this m*ther****er standing backstage telling you how
the great he thinks your band is now. The band's still the same
band, you know what I mean?" Glenn bristles. "If it wasn't
backstage, we'd be kicking his head in.
   "You can't get too upset with the music industry because it is
what it is and it's not going to change but that doesn't mean we
have to change either. Either it goes the way we want it to or I
can go get a job that pays more than doing this. I won't
compromise something I like just to make money. There's tons of
ways to make money."
   You might expect the church to come down hard on Danzig but so
far the religious right has confined its attacks to the likes of
King Diamond, Ozzy, and Slayer. As the band becomes bigger, this
may change. "I don't think you should undersell the intelligence
of the organized religion factions in this country," says Glenn.
"They know when they can make headlines work for them and they
know when it can hurt them and I think in our case it would
definitely hurt them. They don't want people thinking about the
scriptures, really. I have no reason to go after them but if they
think they have a reason to go after me, then I'll have a reason.
If they try to destroy my livelihood, I can just as easily
destroy theirs. I'm sure there's some newspapers who'd like to
hear some dirt about the church. The church has enough dirt as it
is, they don't need me slinging more dirt on them. They have
enough housecleaning to do. A lot of other bands wouldn't care.
They wouldn't take the money out of their own pockets to fight
these people. I would. I could form a political party if I wanted
to. They're not dealing with someone who's just gonna roll over."
   A few days after this interview, Danzig left for the European
leg of their Lucifuge tour. As in America, Danzig's popularity
has steadily increased to the point where the band is able to
schedule shows at small theatres and even a few festival gigs. "I
was shocked at the size of the places we were playing (overseas)
back December and when these offers came in to do these festivals
this summer, our booking agent in Europe was floored," explains
Glenn. "We were told by the record company over there 'nobody
wants to see you, don't come over.' We went over there and played
to 2,000-3,000 people every night and practically every show was
sold out. Even in England, where I had a big fight with Phonogram
(European distributors for Def American Records) because they had
really dropped the ball and they wouldn't promote the show or
anything. We're finally getting off the label."
   In Europe, Danzig performed essentially the same set as in
America, with the addition of a new song called "Heart of the
Devil" and the occasional inclusion of "I'm The One." The
songwriting for their next album has gone so well that Danzig
cancelled plans for some late summer East Coast shows, instead
going straight into pre-prodution. Fans will be thrilled to hear
that the album is set for a February, 1992, release date. A few
more songs to watch for: "Livin' Doll," "Do You Wear the Mark?"
and one tentatively titled "Bodies."
   "The new stuff is definitely electric. It's definitely heavy.
It's still got a firm blues base happening, with the classic
Danzig edge to it," explains John. "It's still in the beginning
stages - so much of the creative process is going to happen in
the studio. On the last record, 'Her Black Wings' just popped
(snaps his fingers) together in the studio. We weren't even going
to record it and we fixed a chorus and changed some lyrics and
all of a sudden it was our favorite song."
   "I write the songs but when we go into the studio they take on
their own life," says Glenn. "Something different than what I
envisioned in my head when I first wrote [them] emerges."
   In the studio, Glenn and John are like tag-team wrestlers,
working in tandem to get the best performances out of each other.
According to John, "I'll come up with something good that's in
there but my mind is spinning around and I haven't focused in on
what it is. He can hear what it is I'm going after."
   When we make him do it over and over, it just starts coming
out of his soul and that's the best stuff. You can hear it. It
comes right over the speakers," says Glenn. "It actually happens
with the vocals, too. I'm doing a million takes on one line and
they're in there telling me when I've got it right. I don't want
to sound egotistical, but I like singing it anyway. As long as it
sounds good and it's in key and it's got soul in it."
   Headlines or no headlines, in the end, it's Danzig's music
that will ultimately win people over, and on that score, there's
no contest.