Interview Outtakes: Glenn Danzig, Part One

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In this week’s section, D.X. Ferris interviews Glenn Danzig, whose Blackest of the Black tour hits the Pageant on Sunday, October 26. Tickets are $27.50 in advance and $30 day of show, which starts at 7 p.m. Ferris talked to the former Misfits/Samhain mastermind’s life in and out of metal – he wrote songs for Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison and scored a number-one album on Billboard’s classical chart, in between putting together an impressive string of power ballads.

Below, find part one of the interview outtakes -- which find Danzig talking about why he hand-picked the bands on this tour, the Danzig lyric book and the martial arts. Part two – covering the Misfits reunion, and future Danzig musical projects – will be on this blog tomorrow.

Band: Dimmu Borgir Homeland: Norway. Label: Nuclear Blast. Weapon of choice: Elaborate black metal – the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra backed the band on 2003’s Death Cult Armageddon LP – with a stage show to match. Danzig says: “We’ve been trying to get Dimmu for a long time. There’s singing, and there’s the growling, and it’s melodic and heavy at the same time. And [the presentation], I love it. It’s a band I really like.”

Band: Moonspell Homeland: Portugal Label: SPV. Weapon of choice: Driving midtempo double-bass drum kicks in slower tunes and guttural-yet-melodic vocals. Danzig says: “It brings a different element to the Blackest of the Black. It’s [whether] you’re dark enough and cool enough to be on. It doesn’t have to be traditional metal or thrash or black metal. As long as it fits in that genre.”

Band: Winds of Plague Hometown: Los Angeles. Label: Century Media. Weapon of Choice: Modern-metal mélange with black-metal keyboards and death-metal’s growls and hyper-percussion. Danzig says: “I really don’t know that much. They were submitted, I listened to the CD, I said ‘This is cool.’”

Band: Skeletonwitch Hometown: Columbus, OH. Label: Prosthetic. Weapon of choice: Old-school, rip-yer-face-off shred-er-ation Danzig says: "I love them. That's a band I championed for this bill. I call them black thrash. There's a lot of black metal and American thrash in there."

D.X. Ferris: When will the lyric book be out? [Danzig’s publishing company, Verotik, has announced a book of Danzig’s lyrics, to be accompanied with new illustrations by Simon Bisley, the visual artist known for Danzig covers, in addition to Doom Patrol and other comics.] Glenn Danzig: When Bisley’s done with the drawings. If you know the history of Simon Bisley, he’s a very talented artist. I can’t say he’s lazy, ‘cuz he works hard. But I think he likes drinking and riding his bike, you know what I mean? He’s an artist. In a lot of ways, he’s really similar to Frazetta [the famous fantasy artist whose images were used for Molly Hatchet covers, among others], who would rather be golfing than painting or drawing. Simon, he loves drawing, but he’d rather take a break and go here and there. But the work is incredible, though, so what are you gonna do? So he’s late, and that’s why it hasn’t come out.

Is the plan to include every one of your songs? Not every one. Maybe eventually, but this will jut be a first volume in possibly a two- or three-volume thing. And it’s only the songs that haven’t had their lyrics reprinted. So he does an illustration, and we print their lyrics.

Color? No. Black and white illustrations.

Hardback? No. Maybe eventually hardback. But it’ll probably be softbound.

Any kind of special edition, or will the book itself be the special edition? The book in itself is pretty special. But if we do a hardcover later on, we’ll make it special. We’ll see where that goes.

Do you pay attention to dudes like Trent Reznor that— No. No.

Not even from a marketing perspective? No. I don’t care. That’s so removed from what I do.

Not even with the numbered, hand-signed editions of his records? No. We do limited stuff, but more… we just did Lost Tracks on double vinyl, with a nice 12” by 12” booklet. I guess it’s already sold out. When Bisley was in San Diego, I did this book that he illustrated. It was the first time I ever did my free verse, printed it. It was based on Countess Bathory. He and I signed a bunch of copies in Sand Diego, and we sell them on the Verotik site. You’re not going to be able to get me in the same place.

Do you see that distinction between metal and punk as superficial? It depends. There are metal bands that are metal. Back in the day, you could listen to Venom if you were a punker or Motörhead, and nobody would think anything of it. But if you said you listened to this band or that band, people would say, “What? ” There was stuff that was accepted and that wasn’t.

You’ve studied martial arts, including Jeet Kune Do [Bruce Lee’s tradition-shattering style of martial arts, which freely drew on eclectic traditions], correct? Yeah, a lot of stuff.

Do you see a parallel between that and traditional martial arts as a parallel with your music? Like how traditional arts focus on the forms and doing everything the same way every time? Jeet Kun Do is form with no form: You react to your situation, pretty much. I don’t really know that it has anything to do with that?

Is that what you do with your music? Not really, no. It’s much different.