Glenn Danzig celebrates his legacy
"When I started Danzig, there were a lot of big, poofy, poseury hair bands," vocalist Glenn Danzig says of his eponymous band's late-'80s halcyon days. "Meanwhile, we had no poofy hair. We had T-shirts with cut-off sleeves, and we played loud...I guess you'd call it 'metal-punk.' People said we'd be gone in a week, and here I am 25 years later. It's great." Then, the usually solemn-faced rocker lets out a disarming laugh. "All the hair bands are pretty much a joke now, so that's great."
Although he doesn't seem like the sort to indulge in petty human trifles like nostalgia, Danzig has been celebrating his legacy in recent years, incorporating into his sets music he wrote with his first band, New Jersey punks Misfits, as well as his oft-overlooked mid-'80s goth-punk group, Samhain. Now it's time to celebrate Danzig, the straight-ahead heavy-metal band that released its self-titled debut in 1988. When the band visits Myth on Saturday, it will be part of Danzig's 25th Anniversary Tour, and, to boot, it will feature a set of the singer's punk classics with onetime Misfits guitarist Doyle.
It helps, of course, that for Danzig, looking back isn't a painful thing. "I've never really gotten tired of singing any of my songs," he says. "When I'm onstage, it's much different. The energy from the audience changes a lot of it. I just take their energy and send it back fiftyfold." The singer is also quick to mention that he fondly remembers many of the shows he's played in the Twin Cities, including one with Samhain at 7th St. Entry. That was during a time when seeing Glenn Danzig live could be a dangerous thing.
"In the beginning of Samhain, there was no barricade," he recalls. "You had to deal with anyone who got out of line yourself. I remember having to elbow people in the face and take people down while I was singing." He laughs. "There was a lot of cool stuff, too, such as when everyone would just come in and you'd put the mic out and everybody would just sing along. It was much different later on."
Now the metal baritone keeps his cool, and it helps that his band is a group of seasoned pros, including current and former members of Prong, Ministry, and Type O Negative. The group has recently recorded Danzig's next record, tentatively due this fall, which will contain a diverse set of covers, ranging from Black Sabbath's ode to Lucifer, "N.I.B.," to Evil Elvis's take on Lee Hazlewood's moody duet with Nancy Sinatra, "Some Velvet Morning," which he recorded with former Runaways frontwoman Cherie Currie.
"These managers that I fired wanted me to use some hip, new dorky chick," he says. "And of course, they were wrong and I was so right. It worked out really good. She's got a great voice and she's really easy to work with. I'm excited."
But until then, Danzig is happy to reflect on his band's salad days, and hindsight has allowed him to laugh at things that angered him in the past. One thing that still stands out is how 1988's Danzig — containing the anti-PMRC hit "Mother" — was among the first albums to get a "Parental Advisory" label. "What they didn't realize was that by giving it that sticker, they approved it for kids who hate everything," he says, punctuating the sentence with another laugh. "So they'd see Danzig and Slayer records with stickers on them and go, 'Oh, it's got to be good.' You're not gonna see that sticker on a fucking Bon Jovi record."
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