Glenn Danzig Talks 25th Anniversary of Debut Danzig Album, Upcoming Covers Disc + More
Glenn Danzig, legendary singer of both Danzig and the Misfits, was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Glenn spoke all about celebrating 25 years of music with the band’s self-titled disc as well as his years with Samhain and the Misfits. The vocalist also talked about working on his covers album, as well as his pet peeves while driving. If you missed Full Metal Jackie’s show, check out her interview with Glenn Danzig below:
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the self-titled classic Danzig album, so there’s these anniversary shows; there’s a covers album that’s going to be released this year; Danzig ‘Legacy’ TV specials; so a lot in the works. Glenn, you’ve always seemed to be a ‘here and now’ kind of guy so what appeals to you about looking back by doing an anniversary tour and a ‘Legacy’ TV special?
The ‘Legacy’ TV special was an idea that was brought to me and it was an idea that Mark Brooks had, he does ‘Metalocalypse.’ It was basically to do like a Danzig ‘Legacy’ TV show loosely based on the Elvis ’68 Comeback special, it revisited a lot of his past and a lot of stuff. So we did that with the ‘Legacy’ TV show which is almost done now, it was performance pieces that I do, then there’s the band playing live, we do Danzig, Samhain.
Then for the Misfits thing we did what Elvis did when he sat down with Scotty Moore and the Memphis Mafia and we just did them all right there live – sitting and everyone’s around us, there’s no backstage, we’re just on a little podium in from of everybody and so we did a bunch of Misfit songs and Steve [Zing] was just playing on a cylinder or something, it was pretty cool. We were doing the ‘Legacy’ shows anyway around that same time period so we just thought we’d put it on film while everybody was there.
The special, like you said, is shot similar to the ’68 Comeback show. Filming that special had an enormous impact on Elvis, how did filming your own special affect how you might think about your music going forward?
Well especially when we were doing the shows and then going and doing the TV special with the very intimate audience, it was really cool just seeing how much the music affected all of the people that are really into it. It’s so many different generations of fans, it put a really cool perspective on it and I think everyone’s going to enjoy it. I know the people that were there really enjoyed it – I think I’m playing one of the songs and my tooth falls out, like a cap or whatever it is like in the middle when I’m about to sing. I’m like “Hey my f—ing teeth fell out” so it’s just stuff like that that’s just happening spur of the moment because it’s live.
Did you save your tooth for later?
Yeah I saved it to show my dentist about a year later and she’s like “I can’t do anything with that.” [Laughs] It cracked right off of the post so I either have to get a new post and a new tooth or just yank it, so I don’t know, still deciding.
Glenn, being a singer with a long career, what’s different now about the things you liked about bands you’re covering on your next album like Sabbath, Elvis, ZZ Top as compared when you first heard them as a kid?
Elvis of course I heard when I was a kid and Sabbath when I was a young teenager but the ZZ Top song is a song I heard later on because it’s a song that no one would ever think I would cover because it’s not one of their earlier songs. It’s a song I always liked and thought that they didn’t do a good job with. I mean it’s terrible to say that but – it’s a really good song and so I wanted to cover it and give it the respect it deserved, maybe they didn’t think about it the way I did, maybe when they were doing it they had a certain thing in mind.
My idea of covers is that you should never cover a song and do it exactly like the artist because everyone’s always going to compare it to the way the original artists did it and they’re just going to go “Oh I like the original better.” I wanted to make it my own and take it in a different direction, maybe a different direction they didn’t really think of at the time or would never think of because I have a much different background than they do.
There’s a ton of other cool covers on there, I did a lot of covers people wouldn’t think I would do like ‘Biker’ soundtrack theme song that I made crazy, there’s a Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra cover on there and I had Cherie Currie come down and sing the Nancy Sinatra part.
She’s really cool and has a great voice and it was just awesome and I wanted to keep that cool, older, ’70s vibe because the Misfits came on the tail end of the ‘70s and I wanted to keep that vibe. The managers and lots of other people suggested the new alternative girls and I was like, “That’s not what I want and here’s who I’m thinking of” and they were like “What?” and it’s fantastic, she did such a great job.
Music from all of your bands have stood the test of time really well. When were you first conscious of that timeless quality?
I always wanted that, when I started only doing my own stuff I said, “I wanted my stuff to be just like bands that I liked.” Ten years from the time they put out a record, people are still listening to that stuff. When I first met Rick Rubin, that’s one of the things we talked about and I said that’s exactly what I want he said, “I see you guys not as some hit band, I see you as an artist who’s going to put out a record, go on tour, put out another record and tour and ten, twenty years down the line, people are still going to be listening to your stuff.”
At the time people were listening to the Misfits and all those songs I wrote and catching up with Samhain so when Danzig came out it’s kind of nice, here I am 25 years later from Danzig and people are still listening and coming to the shows. It’s a great feeling.
Did you ever imagine that 25 years later you’d be celebrating this and still doing this?
No I thought I’d be dead. [Laughs] I didn’t even plan for it. Yeah, I’m looking at it going “I can’t believe this”– it’s 25 years, it goes by so quick but it’s pretty amazing.
Do you still feel that same enjoyment and energy and excitement as you did 25 years ago?
Yeah we just did a song because we’re at rehearsal right now and so we did a song we haven’t done in a long time in the room just now and it was great. I’m sure by the end of this year I’ll hate singing it [laughs] but right now it’s really cool.
Glenn, there’s a mystique that surrounds you in terms of how you’re perceived. What’s the most normal thing about Glenn Danzig that would surprise people the most?
I don’t know that I’m not normal because usually when I tell people the things I do either their jaw drops or they look at me shocked but I’m sure I do normal things – everyone eats, that kind of stuff. I don’t know really, I drive a car, I probably don’t drive a car like everybody else drives a car. [Laughs]
You still drive like an East Coast driver?
Yes I still do, you can never take that out, yelling and swearing at people – that’s the way it is, it’s the way you’re brought up and you go with what you know. It really annoys me when the light turns green and you’re behind somebody and they’re just sitting there looking at the light for about 15, 20 seconds. It’s annoying when someone’s in front of you driving ten miles an hour and you’re like “Okay, today” and someone else is on the side of you so you can’t pass them and when you finally do pass them and they are texting, the laser canons just come out and disintegrate that car.
Can you tell us anything in regards to new Danzig music?
Actually Tommy [Victor] and I just cut a new track the other day, it was a song I had written for somebody else and I just decided I would do it on my own and that came out really heavy. I think at the end of this run, Me, Tommy and Johnny [Kelly] are going to go in and cut some other songs.
This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will welcome the Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted to her show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.