Glenn Danzig Talks Touring, Legacy, Covers Album + More
Glenn Danzig was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show. During the interview, the iconic vocalist opens up about touring, his legacy, his covers album + more. Check out the interview below:
There is so much going on. There is the Danzig tour with Pennywise and Cancer Bats, which runs through the end of the month and there's a covers album coming out this fall. Glenn, you always seem to have a lot of projects going on. What makes being so busy so fulfilling?
While I am here, I want to maximize my time on this planet, you know [laughs]. That is what I am doing.
It always seems like you've got something whether it's music, or comics, a TV project, anything. It seems like you never really have any downtime.
I like to stay busy. I am a workaholic and I like to be creative. It keeps me excited about being here.
You've go this tour happening with Pennywise and Cancer Bats. What makes performing worth the grind of being on the road?
I like being out onstage in front of everybody, getting that energy and giving that energy. Hopefully I am making them forget about all their problems in the world. For however many hours they are at our show, hopefully they are going to have a great time and it makes life a little more bearable for everybody involved.
Well the shows are always enjoyable and it definitely looks like it's a sort of release for people at your shows, which I think must be a cool thing for you to see.
I dig it. I love the energy and I just love watching people lose their minds and be happy and exhilarated. There is nothing like it. And if I could do that and they help me do the same thing, it’s a great relationship.
Talking about this covers album, which is coming out in the fall. You've recorded covers before but never a whole album of them. What criteria determined the songs you chose and how they can fit together within the cohesiveness of an album?
Well first off it has got to be a song I really dig and it has to be a song that I think I could bring a new element to. Give it a new dimension. Otherwise I just leave it alone. As I judge it against the original. So that is my only criteria. Usually it starts with me digging the song.
Elvis Presley has been a continual influence on your music, so doing an EP of his covers seems natural. What makes his music so important to you?
You know I don’t have a high voice. I have a deeper voice. So the singers I like a lot of the times are singers with a voice similar to mine and Elvis fits in there. Also the reason why I am doing what I am doing is because of Elvis, pretty much. You know once I saw Elvis up on TV and so on, I said, I want to do that [laughs]. That is what I want to do.
Was Elvis the first artist that got you thinking this was the direction that you wanted to go in in your life?
Yeah, I mean I remember I used to cut school all the time and pretend I was sick. I used to love staying home and watching old movies. I remember watching Jailhouse Rock and going, 'What is this?' And there’s Elvis and it is kind of this whole career rise from nowhere to big superstar and I’m thinking like this is cool, I want to do this. And, you know, that is how it all started for me.
The recent photo of you wearing skull makeup got lots of attention. A lot of people made a Misfits connection. How does it make you feel that what you did with that band still resonates with people?
That is great. I mean the reason I started the Misfits was because I wanted to change stuff. Back then we were all young punkers. We were all frustrated with FM radio music. It sucked, it was the worst and bands were putting out some of the worst records of their careers. It was terrible and I just remember that whole time period and I thought I have all these songs and I am gonna do my own stuff and I am going to make a difference. And at the end of the day it turns out that me and a lot of other bands ended up and made a difference.
How does it feel today when you still see people bringing it up? It must be awesome for you to have this legacy with all the work that you've done.
It's nice. I'm glad people are still going back to all these old records, whether it's the Misfits of Samhain or Danzig. It's one of the reasons I ended up signing with Rick [Rubin], because he and I saw the band the same way, that it would be an album band and we'd do a record we'd go out and tour on and hopefully people would be listening to 10-20-30 years down the line. He saw it that way, and that's how I saw it. At the time it was already starting to happen with the Misfits and Samhain, it was great. Hopefully I've accomplished that. Seems like I have.
You've always experimented and incorporated different elements into your music. What typically gets your attention and makes you interested in a new style or sound?
Something that's innovative and you're like, 'Wow, that's interesting!' As long as it fits in with what I'm doing. I love doing new stuff and adding new dimensions to the stuff I already do. Sometimes it means going back and doing something you haven't done in a long time, and incorporating that into what you do now. So, I'm open to lots of different stuff. I think as long as it fits into what I'm doing, I can make it work. As long as it doesn't radically change it detrimentally, I think it's fine.
The word “Legacy” has been used more recently to describe some of what you've been doing. What do you hope stands out the most about the whole body of music and non-music things you've done?
That's a tough one. I hope that everyone realizes that you can do it. You don't need a big label, you can do it on your own. If you go to a label and they tell you that you suck, blah blah. I had to get that door closed in my face a million times back in the day. You just be true and honest with yourself. If you're writing a terrible song, throw it in the bin and write a better song. Stick to your guns, get out there and take it to the people. That's what I've tried to do.
The covers album is going to be coming out in the fall. I was reading that a new Danzig album of original material probably would be more like 2016?
Yeah, that's correct.
Cool, is anything written? Any ideas, or are you waiting until after the covers album?
It's almost done. I have a couple of more tracks I want to record, so when I get done with this summer run and I get back here hopefully my engineer will be out there and we can cut some more tracks. Then just it'll need to be mixed.
Many thanks to Glenn Danzig for the interview. He is out on the road with Pennywise and Cancer Bats. Check out all their tour dates here. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.