Index Misfits Samhain Danzig Misfits '95 Undead Biographies Related Bands Appendices Lyrics/Tab Forum

METAL MANIA, p.59-60 1988

  By Christine Natanael

    As I was on my way to the Geffen
 Records offices to do this interview
 with the charismatic lead singer of
 the group Danzig, (the notorious
 Glenn Danzig himself), I was a bit
 apprehensive as to what we would
 talk about.  I didn't want to do the
 usual rehash of his Misfits/Samhain
 career since that was in the past.  I
 wanted to try to get into this guy's
 pemonality and give you readers
 something that you didn't know.  So
 I'm reading the prepared bio that the
 company sends along with the tape
 and pictures of the group to try and
 get an idea of which direction the
 questions should turn.  I come to the
 sentence, 'Glenn speaks through his
 songs and what he doesn't say
 through his music he doesn't wish to
 share' - so what the hell do I ask this
 guy now?  Is he going to play cat and
 mouse with me or what?
   What I found was a guy that was
 passionate and opinionated and
 honest in his intentions and crea-
 tions.  He is sitting in the conference
 room drinking a bottle of orange
 juice, and his aural vibrations are ex-
 tending into every crevice of the
 room.  As one who isn't easily intimi-
 dated, I found myself feeling a little
 off guard.  There is a primitive sex-
 lness about the man and a predatory
 sense of Intellect.  He immediately put
 me off by telling me his views on the
    "I don't like the press much," says
 Glenn with a stern intent gaze meant
 to bore directly into my soul.  "I don't
 think that any press is good press.  I
 don't think that way and a lot of peo-
 ple do.  I don't care whether I get inter-
 viewed or not.  It's not like my main
 goal n life is telling everybody what I
 thlnk and feel.  If someone's inter-
 ested, genuinely, then great."
   So here I was sitting in front of this
 man who could care less about the
 press and wondering what the f**k I
 was martyr playing for, when I realiz-
 ed it was because I was genuinely in-
 terested in the dude and wanted to
 find out what his action was.  Now the
 Interview was going to be done by my
 rules.  I decided to go against the
 grain and ask him about everything
 that he hates to talk about.  I began
 with his childhood.  What type of
 background produces a man like
 Glenn Danzig?  I found out that he
 grew up In New Jersey, just far
 enough out to be suburbia and close
 enough to New York to feel the beat of
 the city.
    "I had a lot of friends and I was a
 loner," he tells me, and I begin to
 wonder if this is more perpetual dou-
 ble talk or just a complicated smoke-
 screen meant to keep me at an arm's
 length.  "Me and my friends always
 got in a lot of trouble.  We used to
 build forts, but then anyone who
 came by, we would attack and tie
 them up.  We were always getting in
 trouble for tons of other stuff.  Like
 when I was about eleven I got ar-
 rested for breaking and entering this
 department store.  I've been talking to
 people and talking about getting into
 trouble when we were kids and
 everyone was like, 'no, I never did
 that.' So I'm thinking that maybe I'm
 more f**ked up than I thought I was."
    With that comment he breaks into
 a warm peeling laughter and I knew
 then and there that I shouldn't have
 been so apprehensive.  After all, it's
 not every day that you've known
 somebody for two minutes and
 they're telling you all about how they
 were a juvenile delinquent.
    So I asked him how he knew that
 music was the thing that he wanted to
 do with his life.  The answer came
 easily and without hesitation.
    "At an early age I became a road
 manager for a band," says Glenn.
 "Basically I was cleaning drums and
 stuff.  Then I became a singer.  It only
 took me about two or three months.  I
 didn't like road managing at all."
    From them his progression in the
 music Industry has been legendary.
 There aren't too many people who
 don't know the name Glenn Danzig.
 The reason why is because he is total-
 ly committed to his craft, and will play
 anywhere as long as It Is a job that
    "We've done stupid tours all over
 everywhere;" he says with a smile.
 "You'd be surprised at the places
 we've played.  We do those on the off
 nights as we're going though the
 towns.  It's like a paid rehearsal and
 we do it.  We used to have, with
 Samhain especially, we had certain
 towns we would just play because we
 always had a good time.  We did it
 once on like an off night just to play
 and pick up some money and we had
 a lot of fun, so on the next tours we
 would just book it as kind of a fun gig
 that we could have a lot of fun playing
 and have fun with the people there."
    "I've always been firm in the belief
 that if we go out and do a show then
 we should get paid for it," he con-
 tinues.  "It's my job.  Besides being a
 lot of fun and the thing I want to do, it
 is also my living.  I want to be paid for
 it. People don't realize that, and then
 they wonder why their favorite band
 broke up.  The reality is that you have
 to have money to eat and you have to
 have money to have a place to stay.  If
 you are devoting all your time to your
 band then your band may not be mak-
 ing any money.  Reality sets in and the
 band breaks up because everybody
 has to got jobs."
    There is no half stepping when it
 comes to dealing with Glenn Danzig.
 He is a strong individual with a direct
 sense of the things that he wants to
 do. His personal philosophies are
 simple and to the point.
    "The people that are gonna burn
 out will burn out anyway, no matter
 what and no matter where they are.
 You either want to do it or you don't
 want to do it.  The things you can
 change you can change, the things
 you can't, like going from town to
 town and being in a different city
 every night and all that stuff, that's
 part of it, and if you can't handle that,
 don't do it.  Don't whine about it.  I
 hate people that whine.  I hate people
 that complain.  And I hate people that
 don't pull their end.  I hate all that.  I
 hate weak people.  I just want to walk
 away from them.  I don't want to be
 bothered by them."
    That may be part of the reason that
 Mr. Danzig is so successful.  It may
 also be part of the reason why he is
 working with the notoriously demand-
 ing Rick Rubin and his stronger than
 thou company, Def Jam Records.  The
 first contact that Danzig had with
 Rubin was in July of 1987 at the New
 Music Seminar in New York City.  It is
 the ultimate industry schmooz event
 of the year and deals are done in such
 unlikely public places as the hotel
 bar.  Danzig didn't know who he was,
 which may be a little unbelievable
 knowing the reputation of Rubin, and
 had to make a few calls to a few peo-
 ple to find out who he was and what
 he was doing.
    "We started talking about what he
 wanted to do if we decided to go with
 Def Jam.  A lot of his ideas and my
 ideas were the same.  What he saw in
 the band is exactly the same things I
 saw in the band; the aggressiveness,
 the attitude, the whole deal, so it
 worked out very well.  He's to the
 point.  I don't like people who beat
 around the bush.  He tells you exactly
 right up front.  You don't have to mince
    In putting together his band he had
 certain qualifications for the musi-
 cians to meet, which were basically
 that they should be able to fit in and
 believe in the same things that he
 believes in as a musician.  He definite-
 ly wanted the dedication to be there
 and the sturdiness of character.  A
 natural choice for bassist was Eerie
 Von, whose great stage presence in
 Samhain had earned him the respect
 necessary from Glenn to be included
 in this project.  John Christ was the
 only guitar player who passed the
 audition that was held when Danzig
 decided to take the deal with Def Jam.
 His searing six string work doesn't
 "sacrifice the passion for the techni-
 que." Chuck Biscuits was the only
 choice that Danzig had for a drum-
 mer, there was no other, period.  His
 work with Black Flag and the Circle
 Jerks was the natural basis for this
 opinion.  Glenn feels that this is the
 ultimate music machine and the best
 vehicle for the expression of what it is
 that he is trying to say at this time in
 his career.
    The topic then came up about the
 commerciality quotient of this album.
 Many of the people I know who have
 heard it have said that it is very corn-
 mercial and that it is not a natural pro-
 gression from the earlier Misfits/
 Samhain ideologies.  Glenn just kind
 of laughed that off in a nonchalant
 manner and told me how he deals
 with the concept of himself as a com-
 poser and performer.
    "It's not 1981, It's not 1983, it's not
 1985, it's 1988, and things don't stay
 the same," he points out to me in a
 tone of certainty.  "As much as I like to
 retain certain things from the other
 stuff I've done, like the aggressive-
 ness, the brutainess, that kind of
 stuff, the songwriting is gonna have
 to change eventually or you become
 the Ramones.  There's just other
 things.  As long as you keep the basic
 stuff that everybody liked from what
 you were doing before, whatever you
 do after that will always be attractive."
    "It's different all the time," he con-
 tinues.  "Sometimes the lyrics come
 first, sometimes the music comes
 first.  Like I've said before, for every
 song that made it to the record there
 were ten that I threw out, didn't even
 bring down to rehearsal; that I just
 wrote and played the next day that
 sucked so bad I just threw them away.
 I don't keep them.  After this record is
 done I don't even care about it
 anymore-it's done-next.  I'm gonna
 have to play this shit for fucking years,
 you know?  I know a lot of people that
 live in the past and live off the past.
 I'm not one of them, and I don't deal
 with those people."