The Not-so Dark World of Danzig
by Michelle J. Mills 

Fearsome rocker Glenn Danzig has never left the scene. Despite setbacks, such as label disputes and band member changes, he has persisted and even flourished.

Danzig's latest effort, "Danzig 6:66 Satan's Child," hit #1 on metal charts this past December and was followed by the successful video, "Five Finger Crawl," a global tour and the release of "The Crow: Salvation" soundtrack featuring a remix of "Underbelly of the Beast." Danzig keeps a firm grip over all his ventures, shunning the constraints of the music industry and doing what HE wants. His legendary punk bands, Misfits and Samhain, his label, Evilive, and his comic book company, Verotik, are all projects that attest to Danzig's ability to make it on his own. The only variant is his exclusive five-year licensing agreement with the Internet centric magazine company, E-Magazine Entertainment. I managed to snag a little of the "Dark Lord's" precious time while he was in the studio mixing tracks for an upcoming b-sides collection release. Danzig is very quiet about his personal life. As a child, he had clarinet, saxophone and piano lessons and later taught himself guitar. Like every American kid, he had large dreams, such as becoming a brain surgeon, a fighter pilot or a comic book artist, but finally settled down at a photography school in Manhattan, New York. Music was never far away from Danzig and he managed to weave it into his life. Danzig supported himself by selling comic books and collectible toys and records and also worked as a roadie. Even then, his attitude and strength showed itself.

During a stint as a drum tech/roadie for a local band, Danzig was responsible for polishing, setting up and tearing down the drums each show. The drummer treated him poorly, but Danzig kept quiet. Finally the day of retribution arrived. On his last night, Danzig showed his displeasure with the percussionist by urinating all over the drum set before he left.

Those days may be all but gone, as Danzig has made an effort to change. He has taken a solid anti-alcohol-and-drugs stance and claims twenty years of being clean. He also watches his diet, avoiding pork and starches like bread, rice and pasta. He lifts weights and practices the martial art of jeet kundo three to four time a week, if there's time, and a minimum of one to two days a week if that's all he can squeeze in. Danzig complains that it's not enough.

"I'd rather have more time to work out," he says.

But as every musician, Danzig is not out of the danger of bad influences.

"My vices are candy and cake," he claims with a chuckle.

His quest for the clean life affects others as well. Danzig related to me how he was unhappy with the models for his latest CD cover. "One of them kept falling asleep," he complained. Danzig felt that she must have had a drug problem and that, to him, is unacceptable behavior. Danzig takes care of his instrument as well. He has never had any vocal training and doesn't warm up before taking the spotlight, but his voice is still important.

"I take care of my voice," explains Danzig. "I am conscious of what I eat and drink before I go on stage. Soda is a no no. Hot tea is good with lemon, but not honey. Many people believe tea with honey is good for your voice, but it just clogs you up."

Danzig is looking toward the future with a "wait and see" attitude. The comic book industry is making things tough for his company, Verotik.

"There's a movement in comics to bring back kiddies comics and to get rid of adult comics," states Danzig.

He usually avoids comic book conventions, as he doesn't care for the way independents are treated by mainstream publishers. Fans may still want to keep an eye on his web site for updates, as Danzig did mention he may attend the San Diego comic book convention later this year. He also has some strong opinions when it comes to the Internet.

"The Internet has the potential to be fantastic and terrible," states Danzig. "This big revolution has changed music and the record companies are scared. Main labels continue to buy up smaller labels until the market dries up and then, the cycle starts over. As soon as a record company loses control, they freak out."

Danzig seems pleased with the changes in his band's lineup. Bassist Josh Lazie left the group in order to spend more time with his son. After a week of try-outs, Danzig selected Howie Pyro (DGeneration, Blessed) to fill the space. Pyro and Danzig hung out together during the New York punk scene and Pyro also played bass with Danzig's current guitarist, Todd Youth.

The other thing that truly makes Danzig happy is his fans. He makes a point to try to be accessible to as many of his devotees as possible. I witnessed his unique bond with his supporters several years ago during a concert at Universal Amphitheater. The buff vocalist stepped down from the stage and into the audience, but to my amazement, the crowd parted to let him move about freely. I had never seen anything like this before- the fans were not afraid of this "metal god," they were in awe. Danzig shrugs off my memory, saying, "I have some pretty cool fans. I meet with them and talk with them after my shows and they appreciate it."

This may be true, but it doesn't happen as easily as he states. After this interview, I had made arrangements to meet with Danzig again at his concert at The Sun Theatre in Anaheim, California. I am still not sure whether it was the venue's error or Danzig's road manager's mistake, but somehow I got lost in the shuffle. Originally, I was to speak to him prior to the concert, then it got moved to after the concert and finally I was told that I wouldn't get to see Danzig at all. It was a Sunday night and security had kept me waiting for an answer for over one hour after the show. I hope that this is not the norm for how Danzig, his road crew and the venue treat fans let alone the press when they have an appointment. Perhaps some day in the future, I will be able to bring you the rest of the story. Until then, try to catch Danzig live and pick up "Satan's Child," you'll find that his persistence has paid off with a winning performance.

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