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
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,
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.