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A Lone Wolf Far Ahead Of The Pack
By Lee Sherman

   The mystique that has surrounded Glenn Danzig is largely of his own 
making. That's not to say he has intentionally set himself up as aloof. 
It's obvious from his encounters with the fans on his recent tour that 
he doesn't consider himself to be above his audience. But he doesn't 
give anything away easily. Glenn Danzig expects that want to know more 
about him to do their homework. The man is not an open book--but he's 
not a locked vault either.
   "If someone asks me for an explanation because they're seriously 
interested, I will tell them but I don't explain away something," says 
Glenn forcefully. "I'm not here to explain myself. I need no explanation. 
Nobody even deserves an explanation. I do what I do. If you like it, 
great. If you don't, then get the fuck out of my face. If you've got a 
vendetta against me, show up and I'll put my fist down your throat and 
yank out your fucking liver. A lot of these people hide behind a piece 
of paper and a pen and they don't confront you. I'm the kind of person 
where if someone says something to me that I don't like or it's very 
antagonistic, I won't just say 'oh, ok.' I'll punch their face in and 
if I can't beat 'em up, I'll hit 'em with a baseball bat."
   Understand that Glenn's relationship with the press, both underground 
and otherwise, has always involved a strange combination of hero worship 
and slagging.
   "They don't understand it, they don't know , they don't care to read 
to find out so they just make an assumption. That's fine with me because 
it gives them no credibility when they show their ignorance. I'm not 
going to lose sleep over anybody not getting it. We just do what we do, 
we don't listen to anyone, it doesn't have any influence on us what people 
say. We don't care."
   Taken at face value, it'd be easy to assume that Glenn Danzig doesn't 
care about anything. But it would also be a grave mistake. He believes 
passionately in standing up for one's beliefs, in taking responsibility 
for one's actions. And that's something he finds lacking in most people 
that he encounters.
   "I had somebody attacking me because I work out," he says. "This was 
their review of the album! They're not reviewing the album, they're 
giving their opinion of the band because they're intimidated by us or 
something. It had nothing to do with what really matters And when it comes
down to it, who really cares what this asshole thinks? I personally like 
it when reviewers don't like our album because then I know we're doing 
something right."
   Satanism, a subject that Glenn delves into with an academic passion, 
has been connected with music since the early blues. There are those who 
would claim it goes back even earlier. It's a tradition that has been 
perverted by heavy metal bands ever since. And it is precisely that sense 
of evil which pervades the earliest blues recordings that appeals to Glenn.
   "I don't like to listen to standard one, four, five blues," he says. "I 
like to listen to Howlin' Wolf, some Muddy Waters, some Robert Johnson. 
There's some Robert Johnson I don't like. Matter of fact, this is really 
funny: Some reviewer was trying to get us--he wasn't reviewing the song so
much as he was reviewing the band. He said 'I'm The One' was ripped off 
from a Robert Johnson song. If this guy knew anything about the blues he'd 
know it was John Lee Hooker and not Robert Johnson. Again, here's a guy 
who's supposed to be a journalist just showing his ignorance by talking 
about something he doesn't know."
   Among heavy metal singers, Glenn is in the minority with his basso 
voice. There isn't a hint of Robert Plant or Steven Tyler. One of his 
biggest influences are the early Elvis Presley records but he also admits 
to being a big fan of Bill Medley, the bass singer in the Righteous Brothers.
   "I've been singing like this since the beginning of my career, even 
before any of the recorded bands, so it's not something that I'm just 
doing now. I put the years in singing in blues bands, bar bands, and the 
other bands I was in which everyone knows." His voice, like everything 
else about Danzig, is deeper, darker, and more powerful.
   "I saw this blues guy on television and he was singing just like Elvis 
but it was this who wrote songs for Elvis," Glenn recalls. "I mean, Elvis 
pretty much just took what these old blues guys were doing and did it his 
way. It still sounded like these guys though, sometimes note for note,
but Elvis is Elvis. Jim Morrison listened to lots of old blues records 
and Elvis records. At times, you swear you're listening to Elvis. The 
[Doors'] lyrics are a little different but it's pretty much the same--
the blues is the blues. I get that shit now too."
   Whether or not Glenn will be the subject of a black velvet painting 
like both Elvis and Jesus before him remains to be seen but it wouldn't be 
entirely inappropriate. "If you have a soulful voice and you're not 
screaming like a heavy metal ball-less wonder, you're automatically going 
to get lumped in with those people and I have no problem with it because 
they're great singers. I'd rather be associated with them. That's my 
personal view. I'm sure there's lots of guys that are creaming their 
jeans if they get compared to Dio."
   Further proof, if any were needed, that Glenn was no ordinary heavy 
metal musician came when he had the honor of writing a song for Roy 
Orbison to sing on the LESS THAN ZERO soundtrack.
   The musical link between Danzig and Orbison is apparent to anyone that 
listens and it was a much appropriate pairing than Orbison's recording of 
songs by the likes of U2 and Elvis Costello.  "If somebody that I like 
wants me to write 'em a song I'll do it," says Glenn. "I won't do it for 
just anybody. A lot of times, I hate giving away a song. The Roy Orbison 
one ("Life Fades Away," which proved to be eerily prophetic), after it 
was done, I didn't want to give it to him."
   Elements of the 1950s have crept into Glenn's work in the past, most 
notably in the Tales From The Crypt-influenced horror stories of the 
Misfits, but never more so than on LUCIFUGE.  Somehow, songs like "Killer 
Wolf" and "I'm The One" manage to recall a certain era without sounding 
like the Stray Cats. It's the same sense of rebellion that brought forth 
the first Danzig album's echo of the Doors.
   "I'm not trying to relive an era, I'm not trying to bring back the 
'50s. We're not a revival band," says Glenn. "If I want an oldies record, 
I'll buy the original. My view on doing covers, and we don't do very many, 
is if you can't bring a new element to it then leave it alone. Like 'The 
Hunter.' I wrote new lyrics for that and gave it a new arrangement. All the 
blues guys did it, everybody did 'Crawling Kingsnake,' 'Backdoor Man'."
   Much of Glenn's compelling imagery actually comes straight from the 
bible, an amusing irony considering that there are those who consider him 
the devil incarnate.
   "I think the church needs somebody to get new members so they use 
music. People keep leaving and they need more people. I don't understand 
why we don't get money from them, that's what I don't understand," he muses 
sardonically. "Our name is in stuff all the time--they should cut us in
for a piece of the pie."
   Christianity, due to its prevalence throughout the world, naturally 
bears the brunt of Glenn's criticism but any organized religion which 
perverts historical teachings to its own end is equally open to attack.
   "We could talk about religion forever but Christianity is the only 
religion. You just handed me this book and we were talking about the 
apocalypse. It mentions the Islamic nation. What is the Islamic nation? 
Across one-third of the world? [Yet] it's not even a recognized form of 
religion as far Catholics and Protestants are concerned. It's very big."
   Santeris's another one, I offer.
   "Santeria is actually a Catholic voodoo religion, you know that? These 
are very religious people too, the Santeria. I just think that the 
Catholics feel they are much more important than they really are."
   Like the man said, we could talk about religion forever. Just about 
how long Glenn Danzig could probably write and sing about it too.

Also from FACES, 1/91

Favorite Band '90
1. Faith No Mo5re
2. Slaughter
3. Motley Crue
4. Danzig
5. Queensryche / Poison
1989: Skid Row

Favorite Vocalist '90
1. Mike Patton
2. Mark Slaughter
3. Glenn Danzig
4. Steven Tyler / Bret Michaels
5. Geoff Tate
1989: Sebastian Bach

The Voivod/Soundgarden/Faith No More tour
Metallica's remake of "Stone Cold Crazy"
Ginger Baker joining Masters Of Reality
The Seattle music scene
Bill Ward's first solo project
Danzig performing Elvis's "T-R-O-U-B-L-E"
Dirty White Boy's innovative "Lazy Crazy" video clip