On Halloween night, Glen Danzig rises out of the world's most sincere pumpkin patch and flies through the sky, bringing all kinds of presents to his true believers. If you doubt his existence, Danzig will pass right over your pumpkin patch.
Glen Danzig was born and raised in good ol' Lodi New Jersey to a pair of hard-working, God-fearing parents. He spent his time the same way many New Jersey children do: reading comic books, playing instruments...oh, and collecting skulls. Is it really that surprising little Glen was an outsider in school?
Glen Anzalone's bedroom, circa 1965.
Since it didn't take long to realize that "skull hoarder" was not the best thing to be putting on your resume, Glen became involved in the local music scene. He was a drum roadie for a guy who apparently was a complete jerk, because Danzig ended his working relationship with this musician by whipping out Little Glen and peeing all over the guy's kit. Having sufficiently marked his territory, young Danzig set out on his quest to become the Black Metal Elvis the world had so desperately been missing.
There's an old adage that many writers choose to model their work by, and it goes like this: "Write what you know." Fortunately for music fans put off by the disco craze of the mid 70's, Danzig wrote songs about psychopaths, horror movies, the living dead, and any number of campy, creepy creatures. Had young Danzig been a star quarterback, we would have gotten three albums of songs about blitzing, passing, and getting whipped by wet towels in the team shower.
The Misfits of Bizarro World.
So while the Bee Gees sang "How Deep is Your Love?", Danzig asked: "Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?" While KC and the Sunshine Band said "I'm Your Boogie Man," Danzig was telling people "I Turned Into a Martian." As The Commodores sang about a woman who was "Three Times a Lady," Danzig was telling the story of a woman who works at the "Devil's Whorehouse." Are you seeing a trend here? One of the more well-known and sing-songy Misfits songs even deals with Danzig's strange collection....in "Skulls", Danzig is a bit pushy. "I want your skulls. I need your skulls."
During their brief initial run, The Misfits gained an underground following....which is a nice way of saying that they never really made it. At least not at first. Like most things that are "cult", it took years for The Misfits to finally be recognized as an influential musical force. Meanwhile, Danzig had moved on from The Misfits crew into new musical terrain, basically giving the big "Fuck You" to all his former bandmates, especially one-time-pal Jerry Only. To this day, debate still rages among Misfits fans as to whether or not the band was better off with or without Danzig's influence. There's at least one guy out there who couldn't care either way....
Jerry Only: Flexing all the way to the bank.
Throughout the rest of the 80's and the 90's, Danzig's self-titled band released a series of self-titled albums, cranking it all the way up to Danzig 7:77: I Luciferi in 2002. The band's only mainstream hit, "Mother", allowed Danzig to warn parents about keeping their kids from walking his way, and letting them know that he would like to date their daughters. The video, which saw heavy rotation on early 90's MTV, inspired a charming tete a tete between two of the greatest thinkers of their time. During this time of his career, Danzig focused mainly on being super self-serious and remaining shirtless at all times.
Danzig 8: Fuck Shirts: Seriously
All in all, Danzig's solo records convey a sort of serious gloominess and depth that the shlock of the Misfits' "horrorpunk" never could. Danzig very purposefully sets himself up as quite the blusey crooner on a lot of his songs, and when he says he was influenced by Jim Morrison and Howlin' Wolf, you believe him. In terms of movies, one can imagine The Misfits being like a sonic "Evil Dead" film, while Danzig comes across as the audio equivalent of "Rosemary's Baby". So-called "critics" and other important "film people" will applaud the artistic merits of the latter all afternoon...but when you get right down to it, which one is more fun to watch?
Answer: The one with this guy.
The 2000's saw Danzig, now hobbling along through his 50's, break new musical ground. And by "breaking new ground" I mean "mining the back catalogue". To everyone's surprise, Danzig has reunited with Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, who has the distinction of being the only Misfit that Danzig doesn't hate. Together, they play a set full of vintage era Misfits songs, which is honestly the reason most people are continuing to see Danzig in the 2000's. Come on, he's even started wearing shirts....that's blasphemy in DanzigLand.
"This one doesn't count! You can still see my nips!" - Glen Danzig
Fortunately for us, in between managing a record label and creating his own comic books, Danzig has found time to record some pretty awesome duets.
One has to wonder...how do you say Danzig in Spanish?