Kerrang! 4/22/89 ---------------- Ask A Stupid Question... ...and GLENN DANZIG will hang, draw and quarter you, or at least hang up on you. Fearsome and blunt, the 'learned, warm individual' touches on tender topics while STEFFAN CHIRAZI endeavours to get his facts right. Open your evil, satan-encrusted minds and read on... Black shirt, black jeans and muscles relaxed, Glenn Danzig talks with a calm that many of his peers would do well to observe: "You can't worry about what people say because if someone's out to get ya, they're gonna get you whatever you do." Glenn Danzig should know about that. Image has often stood in the way of fact, and whilst Glenn Danzig hasn't been totally innocent regarding image taking a strong place, he is certainly a victim of the stupid question. The legacy. The nasty innuendo. Rather than taking what's on offer and searching for more, people are all too happy to take one look at Danzig's pointed nails, the skulls on his LP sleeves and throw evil and satan at him like some brick that won't stop hitting. Some would lash out; however, Glenn Danzig doesn't bruise easily. Maybe the only thing I could say about Glenn Danzig and the above is that he is slightly intolerant of stupidity, but that's a crime that 99 per cent of us are guilty of without always really knowing it. If you have something to say to Glenn Danzig, hit him hard and true with it, don't try a cheap sucker punch. Because truth stands firm: Glenn Danzig is a learned, warm individual who will willingly discuss a variety of topics. Not just ghosts, ghouls, comic books and horror-fare - the reason that's all you hear about from Danzig in print is because the topic's bled to death time after time. "I now have a rule that I think is fair," says Glenn quietly. "I tell the interviewer that I don't like to do stupid interviews or answer stupid questions and that if they are gonna do a stupid interview, be honest, tell me and I'll hang up." Blunt of course, but honest. Because there is more to Glenn Danzig than scary, Misfits and Samhain. There are strong views, beliefs, observations, a motivation to look at the darker side of life and see what really exists out the window. As well as the brighter. Glenn Danzig talks as freely of love as hate, although judging by the things you hear reported that seems strange. Of course, with Glenn Danzig you won't always agree; there are times when you'll sigh, challenge a point, but a real conversation with Glenn Danzig is intriguing and very enjoyable. And Glenn Danzig knows his facts; if you argue without knowing yours, a brick wall of nothing flattens your argument dead. Danzig's music too has taken a turn truer to his real roots than previous projects. The Danzig album was a hard, brutal and inspired piece of work, songs hard and true, lyrics real and applicable. The live shows were nothing short of amazing. Crisp, lean firecrackers whipping and lashing the audiences, warm and electric in their pristine, razored execution. The songs really wriggled into the mind, daring you to forget, daring you not to writhe with the beat. It got primal, sound and fists becoming the only things binding the club together, no speech necessary. I'm sure it was good when you saw it but it's a whole lot better now. With Danzig in a rest-period right now, he and I are seated on a black leather couch in the Soho district of Manhattan with a tape recorder ready for action. Something which some say Glenn Danzig isn't too tolerant of, stupid question or otherwise. "It really depends on who you're talking to. There's a handful of people I find really good because they're people who are actually interested in conversation with you. I don't really like to do too many interviews and so I am picky. And to explain a point I made earlier, a question, any question, in the wrong context is stupid. "A typically stupid question though? 'What was it like being in the Misfits?' Typical questions that anyone could ask and probably anyone could answer, whereas if I was asking the questions I would wanna try and get a different dimension on the person instead of all the usual shit." One thing you realise is that Glenn Danzig really favours that direct approach. "Yeah, that's right, I do like a direct approach, I don't like bullshit. But being direct when it's not immediately necessary is dumb. If someone for example comes up to me and tells me that they thought my show sucked, then I'd ask what they were doing there. That person who tells you that you sucked isn't being necessarily direct, they're just trying to take you down. Whereas if I don't like something I don't go outta my way to tell someone or be there. I'd rather avoid the whole thing." Direct has always been a hallmark of Glenn Danzig. Earlier work never left much room for misinterpretation and if the Danzig LP and songs leave some a touch behind, Glenn is nothing less than direct in explaining the concepts behind songs and lyrics he writes. "My songs are somewhat autobiographical, and 'somewhat' is the exact term. My songs can go anywhere, they capture my thoughts and experiences... they don't always relate to something that physically happened to me but they all come from me somewhere, either practically or mentally. "A song like 'Am I Demon' isn't just about me or just about people, it's about everything. It's focusing on people, all of us, getting us to look at ourselves. And a lot of people don't like seeing things about themselves, they don't recognise basic facts. They don't like to recognise a common lie; they don't think of some of the things they say as lies. "Example: if someone says, 'OK I'll call you tomorrow and let's get together', and they don't call... to me that's a lie! They said they were gonna and they didn't! "Of course they don't see it as a lie, and that's just one example. But people like to hide from truths. I think you get what I'm saying." People's inability to face the emotions connected with love and evil particularly hold interest for Glenn; a lot of his material focuses on relationships; the good, bad and ugly. "Love and evil can be very close together, especially when you get into possession, jealosy and betrayal. There's so much to work with when you deal with those emotions, write about them, whatever. People will relate to them because they're human experiences that everyone has felt. "Now, the evil? I don't know how many people admit to that, people never like to recognise how close the two can be. Evil in any situation gives people problems and the two are very emotional topics. I think it's too stupid and boring to write 'party party party, good time r'n'r'. "A song like 'Mother' deals with parent/child relationships and how fucked up they can be." But are these songs products of emotion or aggression? "Emotion or aggression? Both, I feel there's definite aggression. I don't like to waste a lot of time getting things across, which is I suppose a result of being a fairly straightforward person with my emotions. There will always be people who don't wanna recognise you or try not to, and as I've said if people wanna take you down they'll do it whatever. You can't talk to them because they won't hear you. "I suppose there are a lotta dumb people who don't understand and a lotta people who listen to the press all the time. Very often I've encountered really bad journalists." Many would accuse Glenn of creating his own tough and black exterior, which conspires to make people believe the songs and man are of one dimension. "The problem I have is that whatever you do, someone has tried to do it before but done it stupidly. Stupidly and without any real conviction which immediately screws it up for you. When you go out and do it, people just lump you in with the others. "Basically I don't think of other bands when I do what I do, and I hope other people don't think of other bands when they see us." What you see with Glenn Danzig is what there is, no image these days other than of being himself. And being himself means being direct, which in turn leads to those strong, honest opinions. "A lotta people talk a lotta shit, they aren't prepared to put their body where their mouth is and that is a very weak thing. If you talk about it you should be perpared to do it. I find that attitude lacking all over but particularly in left-wingers." As I said, you don't always agree with Glenn Danzig, and even though I don't think the left is any guiltier than any other faction of being negligent to 'action', I'll hear Glenn Danzig out and see where the opinion comes from. "I actully don't dislike the left any more or less than I dislike pretty much everyone, but the fact remains that the left usually don't act as much, and actions speak louder than words. You are not gonna say, 'Excuse me can we talk?' if your opposition has a gun, you just can't do that or you'll get shot. And very often all the talk without action achieves nothing. "I would be prepared to fight in a war I believed in, not necessarily economic or otherwise, I mean personal-type wars, the stuff that happens in the street. If I was fighting over something I believed in I would have no doubts at all about shooting someone if that's what it took. I don't have a problem with killing people if it's to defend your beliefs and/or you're under threat." Continuing with opinions on tender topics, does Glenn feel that religion too is evil? "I don't think religion itself is evil, I think the people that run the religions and countries are evil. Not just America but in every country there is corruption in government. We're not really wonderin' if that's a fact, it's a question of how corrupt it actually is." Does the concept of people worshipping a God seem stupid to you? "I don't look at people who follow a religion and a God and say they're stupid, no, because I don't know what is up there. I don't know if there is or isn't a God, I could tell you what I think and that's all. Which is pretty much all anyone can do. That's why I think atheists are as stupid as, say, Catholics, they're all just as stupid as each other. "My opinion is that everything should be read and everything should be taken into consideration, that helps you build up an understanding. I don't think people should live their lives by something they don't actually know about." As in attending church? "Church? Now we're dealing with a totally different area altogether because a God didn't actually say you have to go to church on Sundays and give to a collection plate, that's just somebody else who's decided to tell you that's what you do. "All religions have been tampered with and things changed within them to suit individuals." Now you know that Glenn Danzig has an open mind to all matters religious, that there's more to him than simple darkness. Shifting gears somewhat, we get on to the topic of the 'Mother' video that has caused so much controversy. It seems that the sacrificing of the chicken over the woman has really raised pulses, to the extent that MTV avoid the uncut version like the plague and I don't even know if anyone's been brave enough to screen it in Europe. Of course the cry was that Danzig was being both gratuitously violent and sexist, something Glenn Danzig sighs about before getting into. "I told somebody, and I'm gonna tell Rick (Sales, manager) that I want the cut and uncut 'Mother' pulled. 'Twist Of Cain' live I have no problem with and now they have that I don't want them showing 'Mother' because it was butchered and I'm not very happy about it. "MTV had a problem with just about everything in 'Mother'. The girl, the upside-down crosses, regular crosses, shadows on walls, chicken, blood... you name it." Past reputations haunting maybe? "Not really, I think it comes down to business and figures much more than reputation. They sit down, see how many units you sell and work out if they should take a risk, show the video and get shit for it. If it's Madonna or something like that, of course they'll show it or they damn well know someone else will, the record will sell a shitload and they'll look stupid." And what about cries of sexism? "I heard that only a few times, but in the video the woman is actually in a position of power! I think if you come from a macho position then you'll have a problem because you won't feel women should have a strong role in videos or be in them at all other than in stupid parts. "I personally don't see why a woman shouldn't be a sex object. Men are sex objects so why shouldn't women be? As far as what that entails, there are no rules that say, 'This is a sex object, this isn't'. If you find someone sexy you go for it! "People see sexual things in people that you won't see. What is sexy to you might not be to me. People miss that, and when people don't understand what's goin' on they get kinda scared and, well, I dunno..." Glenn Danzig takes a pause before starting up again quickly, sharply. "What do you do? The video where the people are goin' crazy at a concert and they're tryin' to hold the crowds back outside the show and stuff, anybody can do that, that's so stupid and face value. I wanted to try and do something a little more dynamic, powerful and (sighs again) I dunno, you get it." Just how different are things for Glenn Danzig these days, musically and business-wise, having been an indie artist for so long? "I started to get in a rut in Samhain, because the band, Eerie excluded of course, was never good enough. Same with the Misfits, half of that stuff could've been much slower, such as the whole 'Earth AD' album which just ended up fast. "I'm not knocking it because things were very different then and you only had money to go in, do it and take it as it came out. But with this band I spent a lot of time getting it together to avoid those problems of the past." Indeed, something that many don't know is that before drummer Chuck Biscuits became available, Philthy Animal Taylor was considered at length as a possible drummer. "We never actually got in touch with him in the end, but when he was still out of Motorhead we gave it some consideration." Despite a respectable yet uneventful selling figure for the 'Danzig' LP, Glenn Danzig is more than happy with his career these days. "When I signed with Rick (Rubin, Def American) it was because he understood that this was a long-term project and I was really into that whole attitude of development. A big deal with most majors is actually not that great, and a lotta people forget that when you get that big advance you become totally responsible for paying every penny back; you will always owe it. If your LP doesn't sell and you haven't paid it back, you'll probably be dropped from the label. "Rick and I both know how important long-term is. You look at how long it took a lotta great bands like AC/DC, they didn't have a huge debut record, it took them a few to be huge in the US." Which leaves one natural question that no-one seems to ask Glenn Danzig. How he feels about love; the melancholy of most love songs..? "A lotta people find it really depressing when a relationship comes to an end, when they shouldn't be bummed out 'cause some people go through their whole lives without feeling those emotions. Especially when you've been in a real heavy relationship. When it's real heavy you've just gotta think of the really great things that were in it and get on with life. "I'm not just talkin' about those relationships that are a few months, I mean being real intense. And in those relationships you should have that full range of emotions (mentioned earlier; love, hate, betrayal, gool, evil) or else you didn't have a real relationship." Glenn Danzig sighs for a moment. "People who imagine things are gonna be happy and 'that way' for ever and ever... Look, there is no for ever and ever and ever. Everything dies sooner or later, I'll die when I'm ready to die, that's an undeniable fact." Just as it's an undeniable fact that love him or hate him, Glenn Danzig has strong opinions, reasons to back them up with and a greater depth than a ghoul, a devil and a skull, and I'm plenty sure there's a whole lot more where these words, opinions and thoughts came from. With Glenn Danzig the muscle is mental as well as physical, a fact that some people may not want to recognise, but should.