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Metal Maniacs, 12/90

By Marina Zogbi

   Glenn Danzig's sounding pretty content on this early summer evening, 
and with good reason: his band's self-titled home video is selling briskly, 
surpassing many expectations; MTV has just accepted the video for new single
"Her Black Wings" in its uncensored entirety(!); and most importantly, 
DANZIG II-LUCIFUGE, the excellent new LP that spawned that single, is about 
to be unleashed.
   The record will probably surprise those who were expecting a continuation 
of Danzig's debut LP. In comparison, the new one has a fuller, meatier sound, 
something the band definitely had in mind, going into the studio. Glenn: "We 
talked about the stuff we didn't like on the first record; Rick [Rubin, 
producer] knows where the band is coming from a little more. Also, the band 
got a lot tighter and everyone's used to playing in the same unit together; 
we all know more about each other." Vibe-wise, LUCIFUGE feels almost more 
human, earthy and warmer, where its predecessor was chilling, somewhat 
distant. "Sure," says Glenn, "Where the last record was more autobiographical,
I think this is more between the audience and the band, more of a talking 
with the people...that first one had to set the stage, it had to be what it 
was. Everyone knows what we're about now and the people who feel comfortable 
with it, great. I think this one will show a lot more people that there's 
nothing to be afraid of," he laughs.
   Whoa! Lest anyone get the alarming idea that ole' GD's mellowed out, fear
not. The violent image, the brutal riff, the dark lyric--they're all alive 
and well on LUCIFUGE (ckeck out "Devil's Plaything" and "Pain In The World"). 
But there's such variety, a wealth of textures and moods on this album, it's 
bound to appeal to a wider audience than the previous record. For instance, 
"I'm The One" and "Killer Wolf" are straight out blues (Glenn: "That's my 
background, all the stuff I've ever liked musically.") while "Blood & Tears" 
is the serious ballad you just know he's always wanted to do (though powerful 
as hell, it ain't no "power ballad"). "The band has grown," says Glenn by way 
of explanation, "and I've grown as a songwriter. This band can do pretty much
anything I write; there are no limits to what we can do and as long as it 
sounds like Danzig, we'll do it." That's "we" as in Danzig the band. Glenn 
may write all the material, but this is no backing band situation. The last 
two years have seen guitarist John Christ, bassist Eerie Von and drummer
Chuck Biscuits evolve with him into a solid unit, tight and mighty.
   As there hadn't been new music from Danzig for a while before this album, 
last year's release of the home video was like manna from heaven 
(figuratively speaking) for starving fans. Featuring uncensored clips that 
never made it to MTV plus interview footage and backstage vignettes, it
was (and still is) a big hit. "The home video was always something I had 
wanted to do," says Glenn, "and it was just getting everyone [at Geffen] to 
realize it was the thing to do, that MTV is not the end-all as evidenced by 
all the local TV stations that have been playing our videos. It just shows 
that it's nice to have MTV, but you can go around that route. That's the 
background I'm from: if someone's not playing your stuff, just bring it to 
the people."
   Interestingly enough, MTV recently accepted the new "Her Black Wings" 
video "without them saying, 'Gee, we like it, but we want this shot out and 
that shot out,'" says a somewhat surprised Glenn. "Shocking, right? It's 
really no different from any Danzig video, very dark and very moody. I 
directed it with Vinnie Giordano, who worked on the home video. We 
controlled everything, production, direction, all the shots." Clearly, 
Glenn's happy with the clip. MTV's sudden approval? "I think it's partly 
due to the success of the home video; it's also basically not giving in, 
knowing your audience and what people want to see. The last two videos--"Am 
I Demon," we didn't even submit to MTV and we submitted "She Rides" in an 
altered version and they still wanted us to cut something out. I just said 
forget it, you don't even get the clip; we went straight to home video and 
I'm glad everybody showed their appreciation."
   Danzig fans have always been a demonstrative bunch, obvious to anyone 
who's seen Danzig live. "They're really supportive, we have great fans," 
notes Glenn. "They're very enthusiastic and I like that. It's not like we're 
just trendy or anything, you can tell people are really into it, they're not
just along for the ride." Do they ever get overenthusiastic? "We have 
everything from violence to girls trying to rip your clothes off," he laughs, 
"but that's just part of the deal. If you don't want it, don't get involved 
with it. Our shows are experiences and that brings out everything in 
everybody, not just the good but the bad, like life." Does he get nice 
gifts? "Oh yeah," he laughs again, "everything from animal heads, bloody 
and bleeding, skulls, roses, you name it, but that's just people showing 
their enthusiasm, which is great." Where can fans send their, uh, offerings?
"We have a fan club now," Glenn provides. "It's called Angels Of The Seventh 
Dawn--that's a song that didn't make it to the record, actually it's the 
seventh angel that comes and destroys the world on the seventh dawn," he 
muses. "Anyway, there will be special t-shirts for people just in the fan
club, can't get it at live shows, can't get it anywhere else." (Interested 
parties should write to Angels Of The Seventh Dawn, P.O. Box 3608, Los 
Angeles, CA 91407. There's also a hotline to call for current Danzig info:
(213) 285-8064.) No doubt this will be a well-run operation. "We're letting 
Eerie run the fan club and hotline," says Mr. D., "He loves that stuff."
   As any fan will attest, there's nothing like Danzig in the flesh. The 
band's LUCIFUGE tour (with Soundgarden) started at the end of July. It'll 
hit "major cities across America," followed by first-time dates in Japan 
and Australia. Set-wise, Glenn predicts, "It'll be mainly new album, but a
lot off the first record too." Does this mean no Misfits classics? "Maybe for 
encores. The band and I have always felt that it wasn't fair to them--the 
guys in Danzig. Last time around we didn't mind doing it, it was fun, people 
wanted to hear the stuff, but it's time to move on."
   Glenn's obvious fascination with things spiritual and sepulchral along 
with the provocative nature of his lyrics and videos, has guaranteed his 
wild rumor status. The wildest thing he's ever heard of about himself? "Oh 
God," he chuckles, "pick one!...everything from sacrificing women to
sacrificing animals, just pick anything sick like that, or satanic. Just 
totally off-the-wall stuff, unfounded. It's really silly; whereas a lot 
of magazines try and portray us the way we really are, a lot want to 
portray us as the devil's emissaries on earth."
   If this is characteristic of music mags, imagine what groups like the 
PMRC might do. Does Glenn find the recent developments in record 
stickering alarming? "If they do that with us, I'm going to try and get 
them to legislate stickering the bible." he says, dead serious. "If that 
doesn't get stickered, then our record shouldn't either. I'll take it to 
court and if they try to throw it out, I'll fight them with whatever I can.
Also, maybe we'll try and get them to put lock boxes on TVs and have them 
keep the news away from young kids...the people that are doing this 
[stickering] have nothing better to do with their time; they're the wives 
of senators who don't know what to do with themselves because their 
husbands are out doing the dirty deals." So far, the PMRC and their ilk 
have been too busy persecuting Ozzy Osbourne to go after Danzig. But, if 
LUCIFUGE is as successful as it deserves to be and attracts the notice it's 
bound to get, Glenn may find himself with a fight on his hands. It would be 
a great pity if anyone were prevented from hearing this LP because of 
asinine legislation.
   On record, on stage and on video, Danzig continues to offer a real 
alternative to most everything else out there. (Fans should also check out 
Glenn's first production job on the debut LP from Louisville, KY's Kinghorse.
"It's a very heavy record," he promises of the project, due for late summer 
release on Caroline Records.)
   "We come from a different vibe than a lot of bands," says Mr. D. in a 
mild understatement.
   Nothing else even comes close.