Glenn Danzig -
Finally Some Words About 'The Misfits', Movies and Dolls
Rock Brigade Magazine
by Chris Alo
The mighty Glenn Danzig has been a true hard rock icon for a longer time than he hasn't been. Starting out as the frontman for the horror punk based Misfits in the late seventies; he has been a visionary of unmatched proportions. Out of the ashes of Misfits, Glenn re-emerged in the darker goth rock Samhain for several years before that band morphed into the original guitar driven incarnation of Danzig. The most recent version of Danzig have just released their 8th album, 'Circle of Snakes', and is setting out on tour. This tour is particularly bittersweet as Glenn will reunite with former Misfits guitarist Doyle for the US outing while also announcing that this road jaunt may be his last. Notoriously adverse to answering questions about his former punk band, he was surprisingly gracious and spoke about the Misfits as well as the myriad of other projects he has lined up when the tour bus grinds to a halt.
Rock Brigade - I know you never really liked the term heavy metal, but this seems to be the heaviest and most metallic album of your career.
Glenn Danzig - I don't mind, heavy metal, but there are lots of misconceptions with heavy metal. Its different things to different people. To some people heavy metal is Motorhead and to others it's Judas Priest. But for this, that could be due to Tommy [Victor, guitar player]. We worked really hard on to get the guitar sounds for this record. His guitar work on the record is probably I think the best of his career.
RB - How did Tommy Victor wind up back in the band?
GD - On 'I Luciferi' we took Prong out on the road with us. At the end of the tour Todd Youth was gone and I had kept in touch with Tommy. I told him I was starting a new record, do you want to work on it? He said yeah and it worked out. A couple of the guys that were in Danzig before that Tommy had a problem with were gone now and so it worked out good.
RB - He always seemed like an odd choice for Danzig given his guitar style and the fact that he fronts his own band. Aren't there ever scheduling conflicts between Danzig and Prong?
GD - I don't want to speak for him but I think Tommy's got his focus on his career more now a days. I think his options are only limited as to what he puts on himself. I think he wants to do as much as he wants to do now. I'm pretty easy going as far as him being in Danzig and Prong, and I've always tried to encourage the guys in my band to outside stuff. Tommy's got his thing.
RB - On 'Circle of Snakes', outside of Tommy, you also have a new bassist and guitarist. The Danzig lineup changed yet again.
GD - Actually when I signed with Def Jam and Rick (Rubin) and I put the band together that was the original concept, to play with different guys for every record. That was the original concept. It ended up being where it was the same players for the first four records. I think it was not good. I think some of those records would have come out a little differently and had a little more of my vision in them. I'm not unhappy with them I just think they could have been a little different. I think in the end it's better to change it up and keep it fresh and exciting. That's what I think.
RB - 'Circle of Snakes' is not subtitled Danzig 8, is there a reason for that?
GD - Yeah, of course. It's not part of that whole cycle. For me this was a much freer experience to do this record, but that's something I did to myself. I wanted to follow a self imposed cycle for those previous records. I wasn't limited at all with this record in anyway. For this one it's much freer and the record just sort of bursts out as soon as you throw it on.
RB - It's being touted as the darkest Danzig record yet. But for your entire career, none of your work can exactly be referred to as light.
GD - Yeah (laughs). Usually I'm just like yeah whatever, but this album is pretty dark, especially lyrically.
RB - You are on the road now in Europe, how are the shows going? How is the new material being received?
GD - We did Slovenia for the first time. Last night we did the Summer Breeze Festival. Which was really good, the fans were great to us. We're doing "Circle of Snakes", we open up with "Skin Carver" and we are throwing in "Skull Forrest" later on.
RB - When you tour the US, it will be as part of The Blackest of the Black tour which is your own festival tour with Mayhem, Death Angel, Devil Driver and Eyes of Fire. How is work progressing on that?
GD - We've had a lot of agencies try and sabotage our tour. It's not an easy battle to try and bring this kind of thing out. We're not giving up (laughs). Europe is not going to get it, it's just for America. They have these great festivals all the time over here and that's why I started this in America. We don't have that. I don't think that's something we would bring to Europe because of that. Our bus driver told us that was over 150 festivals in Germany alone.
RB - They do have many festivals in Europe. But what makes this & Blackest of the Black festival/tour so exciting is that you will be reunited with former Misfits guitarist Doyle each night.
GD - Yeah it's going to be history. Doyle and I have remained friends over the years. We were always cordial of course. We talked about doing something over the years and now it's actually going to happen. I might even produce his solo record. I don't know when it's going to come out, but when he comes out to rehearse for the tour we're gonna go over it. He sent me a demo and it's pretty cool. We're going to hash it over and put a band together for him and take it from there.
RB - How much of a Misfits set will you be doing together?
GD - About 2/3 into the Danzig set we'll come out and do 6 songs together. We'll go over it all when he comes out here.
RB - Is Jerry Only angry at the fact that Doyle and yourself are reuniting?
GD - I don't know whether he is or not, I don't speak to Jerry. I know I've heard he said he was asked to join this thing this year and no one asked him. I don't know. You have to ask him and you would have to ask Doyle about that sort of stuff.
RB - It was announced that this might be your last tour?
GD - It will be the last for a couple of years, that's for sure.
RB - So is this not your & farewell tour?
GD - It might be my last tour, who knows? I'm just saying that at least for the foreseeable future there won't be any more touring. There are so many things I've been neglecting and not doing but wanted to do. Things like Black Aria 2, I also want to do a really dark, dark blues record plus trying to put together these unreleased Danzig tracks that the fans have been waiting forever for.
RB - All the left over material from the previous Danzig albums will finally be coming out?
GD - Yeah, but they have to be mixed and that takes time. I have to take all the tapes and sometimes the tapes are really old so they have to be baked in oven and transferred to another tape or pro-tools before the originals crumble and this all has to be done. Some of them are done but I never finished the vocals. Some of them are mixed and some aren't. Fans have been waiting for that and that's something I want to get out before I don't have the time to do it again. Plus getting caught in the whole album-tour, album-tour cycle and so I have to put the breaks on.
RB - Will these unreleased tracks be part of a Danzig box set?
GD - I know they are going to be doing a box set in Europe of Danzig 5 and 6 and some other stuff. But the Danzig unreleased stuff will be either a single or a double CD. And it's going to be called Lost Tracks of Danzig or something along those lines. Sort of like the Lost Books of the Bible or something like that. I'll try and do some sort of special package for it, but it won't be part of a box set for whatever box set we do.
RB - The blues album that you want to do, there was a rumor that you might work on that with former Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell?
GD - Yeah we might work together on that, we've been talking about. It's not definite but we've been talking about doing it, so that would be a cool thing. And 'Black Aria 2' which I really want to do (laughs). It's not that I forgot about it, it's just that there is so much to do and so little time. Plus the festival has been taking up a lot of my time.
RB - There was talk about you working on a film project as well?
GD - I'm also going to direct this movie. It's a turn of the century piece called 'GeRouge'. It's got zombies with some early New Orleans voodoo. It looks like it's really going to happen. This is another thing that I want to do. I'm going to shoot the movie and adapt the screenplay. I'm going to do everything, including being there for the editing. I might even do the editing myself. There's a lot of work, but its all stuff I really want to do. There's a production company involved, we're just waiting for the final contracts and then it's a go. It's pretty much a go as it is now, but you know how Hollywood is. Until the contract is signed, nothing is real. That's how I feel, but I'm pessimistic.
RB - It's not the first time you worked on a Hollywood feature. You were in Prophecy 2, but why didn't other roles materialize?
GD - After that I got offered a lot of stuff. Some stuff you are interested in doing and some stuff you are not. Usually its stuff you are not.
RB - What about your involvement in the role of Wolverine for the X-Men movie?
GD - I went down and talked to them a couple of times. The last time it was with director Brian Singer and all of his people. I don't know if I would have got the part of not. They told me the schedule and I said I can't do it. We were just about to go out on the road in support of 'Satan's Child'. The band had been off the road for so long because of all the legal lawsuits with Rick and with Disney and this tour was booked already. The European Satan's Child and the American tour with Samhain were both ready to go. Basically I said you would have to pay me a shit load of money because I would have to pay my guys to stay home and do nothing. So it just was not possible.
RB - Besides 'GeRouge' wasn't there going to be an adult version of one your Verotik characters?
GD - It switched from a couple different companies. It's not a character that I wrote; it's a character that Ed Lee wrote called 'Grub Girl'. It still might actually happen when I get back. Originally Hustler was going to do it.
RB - There is also a set of Glenn Danzig action figures coming out, one version of Glenn for each one of your three bands by Medicom toys. They are quite well known for some of their anime figures amongst others.
GD - These are going to be bigger figures. They are going to release all three of them and then we are going to do some Verotik stuff too. You have to order it from Japan but you can get it from their website. They had done some Misfits ones and asked us if we wanted to do some. Now I know who Medicom is because I used to collect toys a lot.
RB - Do you still collect toys?
GD - Occasionally if I see something really cool I will grab it. But very rarely these days. I have so many toys (laughs). Usually these days it's not so much American stuff anymore I think they glutted the market. I think it's just at the saturation level there's too much stuff.
RB - A very collectible CD and one of the most notorious CDs that never actually got released was the Misfits '12 Hits From Hell'. Promo copies were sent out, but the CD never made it to store shelves.
GD - That was not a real CD. That was just something that Bobby (Steele, former Misfits member) went in and did on his own. He went in and re-recorded stuff. Bobby and somebody at Caroline [Records] did that. Actually that is one of the only times that Jerry (Only) and I got together and agreed on something. That was not a real Misfits release (laughs). That was re-recorded and re-mixed without our permission. That's why that did not come out, because that's not a real Misfits record. It was like some sort of posthumous thing that they tried to pass off as the real artifact.
RB - Will there be anymore unreleased Misfits releases surfacing then?
GD - I don't know. We sold everything to Caroline a long time ago. With a thing like that they violated their contract with us. Immediately the lawyers were just on them.
RB - Your career has spread across three highly influential bands and four decades. Will we ever see the Glenn Danzig biography?
GD - I don't know. I don't know when it would actually get done (laughs). I would have to have time to sit down and talk to somebody and I don't know if I have the time to sit down and talk to somebody for that long (laughs).
RB - There are so many details that fans would love to know, besides clearing up some misconceptions about you.
GD - There's a lot of bullshit out there, I know. Maybe clearing up some of it would be cool. As far as when the band started, and the different lineups and things like that. It might be cool. You can't trust anything on the internet.
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