by David Necro
photo by: David Necro
Whether he gives a fuck about it or not, Glenn Danzig is a misunderstood individual. As you may or may not know, there's been a lot of bullshit accusations, rumours, and other nonsense over the years about a man who, as this interview shows, is actually quite modest about what he has accomplished. Let's be honest here, the vast majority of bands who explore the dark side of life who've popped out of the womb over the last 25 plus years owe a debt of gratitude to this man and his work in 1 way or another. He truly is the "missing link" between the originals such as Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath and latter-day faves like Marilyn Manson, Type O Negative, Cradle of Filth, and the Gothic and Black Metal hordes. With his absolute refusal to compromise, Glenn Danzig has persevered where others would have called it quits. Every recording, from that scratchy old 45 released in 1977 to his latest album, 'Circle of Snakes,' has been a powerful statement about such topics as (but not limited to) sexuality, death, and the nature of man. Getting back to the dark side of life and what could possibly be beyond it, there's few who understand it more fully. As well as realize these thoughts into emotion. That obviously is what Glenn Danzig feels music is about; not a quick burst of sales, the big houses, and the fancy cars. That is the gravy, and gravy is nothing without the meat. If what Glenn Danzig is saying in this interview doesn't come accross as the true punk attitude or the true rebellious nature of rock n' roll, then I don't know what does. True, the music has changed over the decades, but a true aficionado grows along with the artist and understands (or at least tries to understand) what they are doing. Besides, it's very boring and ridiculous to want to hear the same album year after year after year. Glenn Danzig's not about that either. He's more than a "rebel without a cause," he's a rebel with a cause. Long may he run...
David Necro: In the 25+ years as a singer, songwriter, performer, actor,
artist; what have you learned from the experience (of your endeavors) and
the world of entertainment in general?
Glenn Danzig: Well, I've had a lot of experiences; a lot of good ones and a
lot of bad ones. So, I don't know what to say; you meet a lot of good
people, you meet a lot of bad people.
D. Necro: So, what have you learned as an artist?
G. Danzig: You meet a lot of good people, you meet a lot of bad people.
D. Necro: (laughs) In following your career, I am under the impression that
you are possibly misunderstood as an artist as well as a person. Is that
G. Danzig: I dunno, I understand myself pretty well. Most people I meet
really understand what I'm doing and what I'm about. Usually the people that
misunderstand me are people that going into it, don't wanna understand
anyway. You know what I mean?
D. Necro: Yes I do...
G. Danzig: They have something against me for whatever reason, and whatever
that reason is, that's their problem, not my problem, you know? A lot of
people for whatever reason don't like to be told to go "fuck off." (laughs)
D. Necro: So, they just don't want to, ah...
G. Danzig: They maybe percieve that they're gonna be told to "fuck off" if
they ask a stupid question or something, and they don't wanna think of
themselves as maybe asking a stupid question or something fucked up. Or
whatever, whatever a person's problem is. Usually when people meet me, I
take people on an individual basis. If someone's cool to me, I'm usually
cool to them. If somone's an asshole to me, I usually either ignore them or
treat them like the asshole that they are. So, if people have a problem with
that, they can go fuckin' kill themselves, I don't give 2 fucks.
D. Necro: That pretty much sums it up...
G. Danzig: Yep, pretty much.
D. Necro: What is your essence? What makes Glenn Danzig who he is?
G. Danzig: Uh, I dunno (laughs), I'm Glenn Danzig. I don't have a problem
with myself or the way I am. A lot of people may have, but then that's their
problem, that's not my problem.
D. Necro: What is your motivation for what you do? In addition, has it
changed over the years, or has it remained the same?
G. Danzig: What is my motivation...Usually my motivation starts with when
I'm writing a song, to write a great song. To then convey something on lots
of different levels; musically, lyrically, vocally, lots of different ways.
But my motivation after that usually is; hate, anger, frustration, love;
every kind of emotion you can imagine. For me, a lot of times anger and
frustration really help me a lot because it never ceases to amaze me how
fucked-up the music industry is, and how you can work so hard to try and
change stuff like radio. It's a circle that keeps going around and around,
you know? You're always gonna have like these pop crap bands, and you're
gonna always have these bands that really are into music for music. Who
don't get any kind of airplay or respect from the music media at all. The
established music media, excuse me. So, you'll see just sell-out magazines
like 'Rolling Stone' only doing stuff on trendy poppy shit becuase they
wanna just sell magazines...
D. Necro: and advertising revenue...
G. Danzig: Of course. They'll never write and expose on somebody like Rick
Rubin or other people who've ripped off bands for a million years becuase,
there goes their advertising! (laughs) You don't see an honest expose in
'Rolling Stone' about the music industry, ever.
D. Necro: Hmm...No, no you don't.
G. Danzig: No, you never will. You might have back when they first came out
like, in the 60's, or something. But, that's so far removed from what it is
now. You'll never see it (an expose), never.
D. Necro: In you view, how have you contributed to the cultural landscape in
G. Danzig: I wouldn't even suggest how I have. I let other people do that. I
wouldn't say "oh, I've done this," you know? Pretty much what I have done in
my career is there for everybody to look at. So, I'll let everybody else
decide what I've done and whether I've influenced lots of artists and you
know, music in general, whatever. You know what I mean?
D. Necro: So, you just observe it just like an aficionado would. You're
observing what is going on, and you're not going to put forth (an opinion)
that "yeah, I did this and that."
G. Danzig: I mean, I could, but it would be stupid.
D. Necro: I agree.
G. Danzig: Yeah. Look man, I write songs and I definitely do it from a
different perspective than a lot of other people. I don't do it so that I
can line my walls with gold and platinum records and buy mansions and all
this other crap; I don't do it for that reason. If some of that stuff
happens, fantastic. But, the reason I do it is because it's the (same)
reason I started a punk band back in the day. Because I hated where music
was and where it was going, along with a lot of other people. Also, my
general frustration a lot of time is with the music industry, with life in
general, and just with stupid people. What can I say?
D. Necro: Now it is well known that you have helped the careers of many
contemporary artists. Do you see yourself as a musical "godfather" a la Bob
Dylan, Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop? If so, why? If not, why not?
G. Danzig: Again, if other people see me that way then that's cool. As far
as helping bands, you do that becuase you wanna. Like with bands such as
Korn or White Zombie or whoever, it basically comes down to me saying "I
think people should see what these artists are doing or hear what they're
D. Necro: Well, yeah, but that (taking them out on tour) was a big boost for
G. Danzig: I mean, dude, you might have an idea that these bands are gonna
go on to do something, but you never really know.
D. Necro: Hmm...that's true...
G. Danzig: I think that they're good bands, and then I think "yeah, these
bands could definitely have a career and they're serious about what they're
doing." You know what I mean? That's usually what happens, but you know...
D. Necro: Do they stand the test of time?
G. Danzig: Yeah, that's the kind of bands I like to take out (on tour).
D. Necro: Do you feel that your aficionados truly understand your music and
music in general?
G. Danzig: Well, that's a generalization becuase they're all different. You
know, some people get it, and some people don't. They're all supposedly
music critics. But, music critics in general, are just the same as people
who buy records who aren't music critics.
D. Necro: I agree...
G. Danzig: Everyone's a music critic and everyone has an opinion. some of my
biggest selling records were slammed by the critics. So, if you go by
critics, then it's not a success. But, if you go by what the people like,
then usually...you know what I mean? First, you go by me. I go by what I
like to do and then if the record's a success once I'm done recording it,
then it's a success whether it sells or it doesn't, it doesn't matter. Then,
if it is a critical success, that doesn't always necessarily mean that
you're gonna sell a lot of records. It's the people (that decide) See,
because record critics don't buy records, they get 'em for free.
D. Necro: (laughs) Well...
G. Danzig: It's true.
D. Necro: (begrudgingly) Yeah, and I'm guilty of that as well...(sighs)
G. Danzig: Yeah, so I would appreciate someone who bought it and said to me
"wow, I really like this record" more than somebody who really didn't pay
for it. You know what I mean?
D. Necro: Yeah, that makes sense, that's all in common sense, I agree.
Here's an interesting question, when you brought back Samhain on the
'Satan's Child' tour, what were you feeling in particular? Did it bring back
memories, that sort of thing?
G. Danzig: When we started rehearsing it was kind of, you know, a lotta fun.
Then we get out on the road, it was like really (laughs) fun. The box set
was coming out, it was something we've been trying to put out for a long
time, and it had gone through a lot of different places where it was
supposed to come out and didn't. So it was cool that it finally did come out
and so we planned doing something like that (the tour) It was a lotta fun,
and we just did it for that one thing and that was it. We didn't milk it,
you didn't have to really pay extra, if you were going to the Danzig show
you got to see it (Samhain).
D. Necro: You project strong and intense images as well as other artistic
phenomenon in your work. Are these images that you have created, and have
yet to create, come to you naturally and immediately; in other words,
G. Danzig: The songs are just about what inspired me to write songs.
Especially after this long doing it, I constantly have to find reasons for
writing a song that's gonna be exciting to me. As far as the record covers
and stuff, yeah that's part of the stuff that I really like doing, is just
doing crazy record covers. Usually the more crazy, the better...(snickers)
D. Necro: Yeah, sure, why not?
G. Danzig: Well, I've always done it, and I'm not gonna stop, you know?
That's one of the things I've always demanded was record cover control.
D. Necro: Is that something (album cover artwork) you give more thought to
and plan out and such?
G. Danzig: Nah, it all starts just coming together. A lotta times, the way
the songs come out on the record will dictate what I wanna do with the
record cover, you know?
D. Necro: So, it could come to you immediately (snaps fingers)?
G. Danzig: Yeah, there's no set pattern for what I do. Basically, like when
I'm writing a song; sometimes I have lyrics first, sometimes I have the song
first, sometimes it's just a drum beat. Same thing with the record covers.
Sometimes I have a record cover already planned, and photos that I wanna do.
It's different, it never is the same...
For more on Glenn Danzig visit: http://www.danzig-verotik.com and http://www.the7thouse.com
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