Glenn Danzig Legacy of Brutality
Published May 22, 2010Of all the ways to describe Glenn Danzig, looking over his career, the one that sticks out most is "self-made man." It doesn't usually come before labels like "Evil Elvis" or "Satanist," but for the last 33 years Danzig has built his career from the ground up, founding three of punk and metal's most influential acts and the labels that released his music, starting and operating the legendary Misfits Fiend Club, and even launching an underground comics empire. He's more DIY than the latest celebrity handyman. But his reputation for being a ruthless brute has preceded his reputation as a gifted songwriter, musician, producer and stylist. From the highly influential, subgenre-spawning horror punk of the Misfits, to the criminally under-appreciated goth metal dronings of Samhain, to his unrelenting, 22-year tour of duty as leader of his blues-driven metal act Danzig, the stout man with the lycanthropic baritone and massive biceps has left behind a heroic legacy filled with ups, downs, repeated injustices and one controversy after another. As he warned us in his biggest hit to date, tell the children not to walk his way because Glenn Danzig is still willing to show us what hell is like. On June 22, the 55-year-old will attest his presence in music is still strong by releasing Deth Red Sabaoth, the first new Danzig album in six years.
1955 to 1976
Glenn Allen Anzalone is born on June 23, 1955 in Lodi, New Jersey. He takes an early interest in music, discovering Elvis Presley while he skips school. He also begins a lifelong obsession with comic books and heavy music. In the late '60s, his brother, a tour manager for many different bands, introduces him to Blue Cheer. Glenn begins to explore the life of a roadie, picking up jobs here and there at local shows. Glenn picks up a copy of Black Sabbath's self-titled album because of the witch on the cover and the record changes his life. Glenn begins experimenting with drugs and alcohol at the age of ten. He gives up drugs at the age of 15 and buys a hearse at the age of 17. Glenn forms his first band Talus in 1975; they play a few shows of mostly covers and break up. Not long after he forms another short-lived cover band called Whodat and Boojang with drummer Jim Catania ("Mr. Jim"). But Glenn catches on to the burgeoning punk scene. As he later tells Metal Edge, "I never liked any bands like Foreigner or Journey or any of that crap, that crap sucks! That's why I started a punk band ― to destroy that music." An art school student, after finishing high school, Glenn studies photography at the New York Institute Of Photography.
1977 to 1978
In January 1977, Glenn begins writing his own songs and puts together the Misfits, named after the 1961 movie starring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. Singing and playing the electric piano, Danzig is joined in the band by Jimmy Battle (guitar), Diane DiPiazza (bass) and Manny Martinez (drums). DiPiazza soon leaves and is replaced by amateur bassist Jerry Caiafa, who is recommended by Martinez. Jimmy Battle lives too far away from the band's practice space and splits. In April, the band play their first gig at CBGB in New York. The Misfits record their first single as a trio without a guitarist; Danzig's piano provides the rhythm to compensate for the lack of guitar. "Cough/Cool" is released on Danzig's own Blank Records, with the B-side "She," which is written about infamous kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst. Caiafa's name is misspelled on the single sleeve, so he assumes the name Jerry Only. The band's notoriety begins picking up thanks to Glenn's relentless work marketing, promoting and designing, imagining everything from T-shirts, to gig posters to taking photos. "I designed the covers, I took the photographs, I did it all," he'll tell Penny Blood Magazine. "I set up all the distribution with distributors, drove the records to the distributors, and to the little record stores here and there. I made it happen." Frank Licata (aka Franché Coma) joins the band on guitar, and Danzig gives up the piano to concentrate solely on singing. Martinez is kicked out and replaced by Danzig's old bandmate Mr. Jim. Glenn is offered 30 hours of studio time by Mercury Records in exchange for the trademark to the name Blank Records, for an offshoot label. Danzig changes the name to Plan 9, after Ed Wood's 1959 sci-fi flick Plan 9 From Outer Space. The band use the studio time to record a debut album, which will become Static Age. Unable to find a label interested in releasing it, the Misfits decide to shelve the album and put out four of the tracks as the Bullet single on Plan 9. The lead track makes lewd references to Jackie Kennedy and JFK's assassination, which the cover features an illustration of. The song later gives post-hardcore band Texas Is The Reason their name. The Misfits begin experimenting with their image: Danzig delves deeper into his love for B movies, sci-fi and horror, which becomes a prototype for the horror punk subgenre; Jerry Only begins styling his hair in a long point that hangs down to his chin, inspired by both Eddie Munster's widow's peak and the tidal wave style popularized by skaters ― the 'do is christened as "the devilock." Franché Coma develops touring paranoia and quits the band during a Canadian tour, while Mr. Jim follows soon after because he doesn't like the band's new horror-fixated direction; Joey Image and Bobby Steele become their replacements, respectively. During the new line-up's first show together, the band dump grape Kool-Aid on the audience as a mocking gesture towards the recent Jonestown Massacre.
1979 to 1981
The night before Sid Vicious's death, Jerry Only parties with the punk legend. The Misfits get banned from Max's Kansas City after Bobby Steele hits a spectator in the face with a glass. The band release the Horror Business single in June. Glenn designs the artwork for the single, which is the first time they will incorporate the signature skull logo that will become their mascot and help define the Misfits look; the skull is based on the one featured in a poster for the 1949 serial film, The Crimson Ghost. The band play a release party for the single with the Damned with Iggy Pop and Debbie Harry looking on. Bobby Steele pukes on John Lennon's shoes at the Mudd Club. The next month, Jerry and Glenn are arrested for trashing a room in the Chelsea Hotel occupied by Mudd Club owner Steve Mass; the NYPD notice the two throwing bottles out of a fifth-story window. Glenn uses the skull logo for the Misfits Fiend Club; he operates out of his mother's basement in Lodi, where the band assemble records, silkscreen shirts, reply to fan mail, book shows, design their merchandise and operate a mail order business. The Fiend Club is launched on Halloween, the same day they release the Night of the Living Dead EP. The band try touring the UK with the Damned, but quit after one show because they're given poor equipment and are underpaid. While in London, Glenn and Bobby try to catch a gig by the Jam at the Rainbow, but run into some skinheads across the street at Johnny Rotten's pub. Glenn later tells Revolver: "I broke a cup and grabbed a piece of glass. I was just going crazy ― kicking and punching and fucking the guys up. Then the cops showed up and arrested me and let the other guys go because they're locals and I'm an American." After discovering a razor in his pocket, the cops then began beating up Glenn, assuming he was the "ripper" in the news at the time. "I just jumped up and flung the cops off and started beating the crap out of them," Glenn adds. "All of a sudden, these sirens and lights went off inside the station and all these cops came out and beat the shit out of me. They tossed me in a cell and that was it." Glenn tries to fend them off with a piece of broken glass while Bobby runs to find the police. The two are arrested for "threatening behaviour" and thrown into a Brixton jail for two days. The experience inspires Glenn to write "London Dungeon." Image leaves the band upon returning to the U.S. and is replaced by Arthur Googy. Glenn writes a song called "Archangel" with the intention of having the Damned's Dave Vanian sing the vocals but plans are scrapped when he becomes unavailable. The band go into the studio and record 12 songs with an album in mind. Bobby is fired from the band and replaced by Jerry's younger brother Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein (aka Paul Caiafa), and the album ― which has a working title of 12 Hits From Hell ― is scrapped. A three-song EP titled 3 Hits From Hell is released instead. The Misfits begin using a new font lifted from the Famous Monsters Of Filmland magazine. While practicing one day, Jerry and Doyle blow the roof off of their garage because of the high wattage used in their amps. Doyle introduces Glenn to Eerie Von, who begins photographing the band. The Misfits record their second album, Walk Among Us, and plan to release it on Plan 9, but a deal with Ruby/Slash Records is reached and the Misfits yet again abandon the release of an album. They release the Halloween single on Halloween, 1981. The Misfits play a gig at On Broadway in San Francisco in the same building Black Flag are playing downstairs. The opening act is a screening of Plan 9 From Outer Space, and the Misfits tear through the movie screen at the end and take the stage. Henry Rollins comes upstairs and sings "We Are 138," which is recorded and later released on the Evilive album. The Misfits perform at the Ritz in NYC along with the Undead, Bobby Steele's new band. During the Undead's set, the Misfits pelt Bobby with various objects. When the Misfits take the stage, the crowd responds by throwing things at the Misfits. A pissed off Glenn can be heard on Evilive. During their performance of "Teenagers From Mars," Danzig changes some lyrics to insult Steele. Glenn releases his first solo work, a single called "Who Killed Marilyn?"; the song is also performed and recorded by the Misfits.
1982 to 1983
Walk Among Us is finally released in March and is the only legit, full-length to feature Danzig until 1996. A punk classic, the band never sounded better thanks to some major label dollars funding the recording. As a result, Glenn's horror/sci-fi imagery beams out of the teeming melodies and the band's breakneck pace. Its influence would go on to spawn countless rip-offs and tributes, most notably Jerry Only's current day bastardization of the Misfits. During a gig in San Francisco, the crowd begins throwing things at the band. One fan, in particular, targets Doyle with beer cans and Arthur Googy and roadie Rocky (Only and Doyle's brother) jump into the crowd. Doyle accidentally hits the fan and breaks his guitar over his head, which incites a riot. Glenn tells Seconds, "All night people were getting hit with bottles and beer cans. These kids had singled out Doyle and were hitting him with full beer cans. Finally, Googy jumped in the audience in the middle of a song and started a fight with one of the guys throwing beer cans at him. It was a big fight, Googy started getting his ass kicked, and Doyle saw one guy throwing beer and hit him in the head with his guitar. It just went crazy after that, a big riot basically. I remember when MaximumRockNRol1 did their story, it was one-sided that everybody wanted the Misfits gone but that's bullshit because a lot of people had come there to see the Misfits play." Before a gig at the Whisky A Go Go in L.A., Mötley Crüe's Vince Neil walks in during sound check wearing loads of make-up. The band begin making fun of him and it's later alleged that Glenn and friend Henry Rollins ― who performs with the band later that night ― chase Neil outside and down Sunset Strip.
Glenn later confirms to Seconds that it wasn't "down the street, but we ran them out of the Whiskey when the Misfits first played there. It happened and it was pretty funny. You know, Mötley Crüe got a lot from the Misfits ― so did Rick James. Up until then, Mötley Crüe was a Dolls imitation and then all of a sudden they were into 'the mark of the beast.'" Two days later, the infamous "cheeseburger incident" occurs when the band stop at McDonald's for a meal. Arthur asks for a second cheeseburger, but Glenn says no, which leads to the drummer's departure and subsequently puts their next record on ice. Eerie Von is invited to become the new drummer but stays with his band Rosemary's Babies. Robo joins the band as drummer, after hearing about the vacancy from Rollins. Doyle graduates from high school and works with Only at their father's machine shop to raise money for the band. In September the Misfits set out on a tour with the Necros. In New Orleans the two bands are arrested for grave robbing while looking for voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau's resting place in a cemetery. In an interview with Flesh and Bones, Danzig begins talking about a side-project. Not long after, he tells Henry Rollins that he's planning on leaving the Misfits. The band enter Fox Studio to record a five-song EP called Earth A.D./Wolf's Blood, but Glenn adds four more songs, including "Bloodfeast" and "Death Comes Ripping," which were written for his new project. In 2007 Glenn tells The A.V. Club, "It started getting too crazy with Earth A.D. The concepts started becoming too brutal and violent. It was less about fiction and more about the real world, the past, present, and future. I think a lot of people got freaked out by that." Not only are the band's concepts getting heavier, but the band's sound begins to accelerate into a prototype for speed metal and thrash; Metallica confirm it when they frequently cover Misfits songs. Glenn flies to DC to rehearse his side-project with Minor Threat members Brian Baker, Lyle Preslar and Jeff Nelson, as well as bassist Graham McCulloch; he christens it Samhain (pronounced sow-win), after the ancient Celtic harvest festival and precursor to Halloween. Robo quits the band and moves out of Glenn's basement after one too many fights, further convincing Glenn he should leave the Misfits himself. Glenn, Eerie Von and Craig Richardson, both of Rosemary's Babies, begin practicing as Samhain. Danzig goes back to DC but aborts the supergroup idea; he does recruit Steve Zing to play drums. After adding Brian Damage on drums, Glenn decides to do a German tour. The Misfits play a Halloween gig and Glenn announces on stage that it would be his last show; the decision is made after the band give a half-assed performance that night. They travel back to New Jersey and go their separate ways. Samhain immediately begin recording songs in Lodi for their debut album. Glenn later tells Seconds, "My image is dark and sombre. It fits my personality. The problem I always had with the people in the Misfits was that it was a put-on. You wouldn't see those guys walking around like that."
1984 to 1986
Danzig teaches Eerie to play the bass and Lyle Preslar comes up from DC to join Samhain. The band play their first show at the Ritz in New York, but it's the last time Preslar is involved. Pete "Damien" Marshall joins Samhain. A comic called Crystar Crystal Warrior #8 is published and features a demonic skull on the cover that will become the iconic logo for both Samhain and later Danzig. The band release Initium, an album that slows down the Misfits' droll horror punk and pushes it into deadly serious occult themes, heavy experimentation, metallic riffs and gothic overtones. The album's infamous cover features Glenn, Eerie and Zing drenched in blood. In an interview with Forced Exposure, Glenn explains the differences between the Misfits and Samhain: "You really see the difference between Samhain and the Misfits when you see the lyrics... If someone sat down and really looked at the lyrics to the Misfits' stuff they could see what's going on and could tie the connections. This is just a more real band." Glenn begins reviewing movies for Flipside Magazine; for his review of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter he writes: "Again lots of dumb jerks doing dumb things in order to get snuffed by Jason." The band follow up Initium with a five-song EP titled Unholy Passion. Pete Marshall plays guitar on the recording, but two years later Danzig will go in and re-record the guitar parts and remove Marshall from the EP completely in order to re-release it. Glenn buys a Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer to simulate ringing sounds like gongs and chimes, which will play a role on the next Samhain album. London "Lunch Monkey" May is added to the band on drums in time to join them in the studio. When Samhain play Toronto, May reacts to the fog machine and suffers an asthma attack early in the set. November-Coming-Fire is released, marking the final album Samhain will release as a functioning band. The album is a marked improvement from their debut, establishing a dense, haunting production style that is greatly distanced from the Misfits, despite the fact that they cover "Halloween II." The album will become highly influential in both the goth and metal circles, and even inspire a UK band's name. In an interview with Concrete Foundations, Glenn says, "We wanted to fuse punk with metal and just come out with something very heavy, so heavy that people would either hate it or love it. And then with the November-Coming-Fire record, we wanted to get a little more into songwriting." Glenn self-releases a Misfits compilation of new mixes and unreleased tracks called Legacy of Brutality. He tells Black Market that he chose to remix and overdub the guitar and bass on most tracks because that way "the stuff sounded a lot better." Samhain perform their last gig at the Ritz for the New Music Seminar in New York. In the audience is Def Jam founder Rick Rubin, who is so impressed he offers to sign them to his newly minted Def American label. Rubin suggests firing Damien, which they do, and taking on more of a metallic sound. Samhain begin working as a three-piece and audition guitarists, using Metallica's James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett (long-time Misfits fans) to rehearse. At Reel Platinum studios, Danzig and Eerie re-record some Misfits songs for future releases and record a number of songs for a new Samhain album, tentatively titled Samhain Grim.
1987 to 1989
John Christ is hired as a guitarist. Not long after London May is kicked out and replaced by Chuck Biscuits (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, D.O.A.). Glenn changes the band's name to Danzig because as he tells Faces "it wasn't Samhain anymore." He also tells Metal Mania, "This band is the first real band. In Samhain, I was playing guitar parts and drum parts, and we had a guitar player and drummer... [Danzig] are all real musicians, dedicated musicians." The band are asked to contribute their song "You & Me (Less Than Zero)" to the Less Than Zero soundtrack, the first time they work on a song together (they are actually credited as Glenn Danzig and the Power and Fury Orchestra). Also in the studio are Rick Rubin and Roy Orbison, with whom Danzig co-writes "Life Fades Away." A few months later they begin recording their debut album, taking two Samhain songs with them: "Twist of Cain" and "Possession." Danzig play their first show on April 9, 1988 in Trenton, NJ. The first record to be issued on Rubin's newly minted Def American label, Danzig is released in August and will become the band's best-selling album to date, eventually going gold in the U.S. The album carries over the intense imagery and metallic surge of Samhain, but introduces a heavy blues influence, which showcases Glenn's vocals more than ever. James Hetfield is featured on backing vocals for "Twist of Cain" and "Possession," but for contractual reasons cannot be credited in the liner notes. The album is given a Parental Advisory sticker despite there being no profane language ― a trend that continues with every Danzig album released by Rubin's label. The black and white video for "Mother" is banned by MTV because of its "controversial images" including the simulation of a chicken being sacrificed, pentagrams, upside down crosses and blood. A pissed-off Glenn tells Metal Mania, "I thought it was pretty tame. With my background, I could have done something really wild." He later discusses having three of his videos banned to RIP: "'Am I Demon' was never even serviced to MTV, because I have a girl humping a demon on a cross ― so forget that. 'Mother' was censored to hell, and then there's 'She Rides,' which is probably the tamest of the videos. I mean, if they'll play all these other videos by Aerosmith and others, which are ten times worse than the 'She Rides' video, then it just says to me that we're doing something that they don't want people to see. We're doing something that's not disposable rock music ― especially visual. They'd rather paint us as great corrupters." Danzig tour with Metallica in the UK and develop a taste for car tipping. Glenn shares with B-Side: "We tipped a luxury Fiat over. The four of us: me, Eerie, James and a friend. I mean this was a nice sporty... we threw it over on its hood, not just its side! We picked it up and flung it over. That was a lot of fun."
1990 to 1993
Danzig II: Lucifuge is released. Glenn explores his fascination with the blues even deeper, while the band fill in a lot of that space Rubin left open in his production on the debut. Glenn tells RIP, "Everybody's much more comfortable with each other now. We've toured with each other, hung with each other. The rhythm section is much tighter. It's just a much better band, and that comes through on the album. This is more Danzig. The last album had more of me in it, and while I write the lyrics and the songs, this one had more of a band stamp on it. I would say it's a step back only in as much as it's a step back to putting out a traditionally good album as opposed to a trendy, forgotten-about-soon, disposable album." In the following years, Glenn calls out Stone Temple Pilots for ripping off the riff from "Snakes of Christ," telling Seconds, "They out and out stole 'Snakes of Christ' and renamed it 'Sex Type Thing.' I did Lonn Friend's radio show and he goes, 'You know this song?' and puts on what I think is 'Snakes of Christ' and all of a sudden I hear this doofus going, 'I am, I am, I am,' and I'm going 'Who's this?' 'Oh, this is Stone Temple Pilots. This song sounds familiar, doesn't it?' We played them back to back and they were exact." Danzig begin recording their next album and are visited by blues legend Willie Dixon, who hears "Heart of the Devil" and agrees to sing vocals on the track. Unfortunately, Dixon dies two months later, before he is able to do so. The band release their third album, Danzig III: How the Gods Kill. Glenn's songwriting falls even deeper into a doom-laden abyss, bordering on gothic imagery while still maintaining a strong blues presence. More than ever, though, John Christ's seething guitar playing cements their wavering status as a metal act. H.R. Giger, the creator of the iconic alien in the film franchise, allows the band to use his painting, Meister und Margeritha, however, a feud over its use breaks out. Legend has it that during an NYC gig, a process server crowd-surfs his way on stage and subpoenas Glenn, but he denies it in an interview with Seconds. "That was a problem with his management," he adds. "After I negotiated the record deal, I thought we got T-shirt rights because it was pretty expensive. Somehow, the management didn't give us T-shirt rights and we couldn't do a T-shirt of the How The Gods Kill album cover and we started getting bootlegged like crazy, especially in Germany. They thought we were doing the shirts and we told them we weren't and some lawsuit erupted. I don't know where it stands right now." Glenn begins studying Jeet Kune Do under martial artist Jerry Poteet. He eventually earns a teaching degree in the art.
The band start the year by recording an EP, which is released in May with five live tracks under the name Thrall - Demonsweatlive. The EP contains a cover of Elvis Presley's "Trouble" and live recordings of previously released tracks. One of them is "Mother '93," which becomes a hit single, getting heavy rotation on MTV and helping the EP sell over 500,000 copies. With this notoriety, Conservative Christian groups begin labelling Glenn a Satanist. He dismisses their accusations, but issues a statement that reads: "We welcome their disdain." Glenn releases a classical solo album, Black Aria, under his own name and it tops the Billboard's Classical chart, eventually reaching Gold status. He describes it later on to Buddyhead as "just something I did and put out," but the album demonstrates the breadth of Glenn's dexterity as a musician and composer. The Toronto Sun reveals the band's alleged rider for their Toronto show at the Concert Hall to include: Guinness Stout, whiskey, ju jubes, gummi bears, Snapple iced tea, a carton of Winston cigarettes, low-fat milk, pizza and KFC chicken. It also reads: "Please provide the following: Ten girls between the age of 18 to 24. Must have high school diploma and a general knowledge of politics, religion and sports and not live more than a five-dollar cab ride from the venue." At the Rock Am Ring festival in Germany, Glenn gets into a fight with Def Leppard's Joe Elliot and Vivian Campbell. There are two sides to the story. Elliot tells RAW, "he got his ass kicked twice, once by me, once by Vivian." But in a statement, Danzig admits, "This story is a total fabrication. Anyone who knows me or my past knows that I never walk away from a fight. It's true that an altercation occurred, but we never came to blows."
1994 to 1995
Johnny Cash signs to Rubin's American and covers Danzig's "Thirteen" for his album American Recording. On the last night of Danzig's tour with Metallica, Glenn joins the band on stage in Chicago and performs three Misfits songs: "Green Hell," "Last Caress" and "London Dungeon." The band finish recording their fourth album, but Chuck Biscuits quits the band after a dispute over royalties with Glenn. Soon after, he writes Glenn a letter asking to rejoin the band. Glenn tells him that if he wants to come back he has to sign a contract regarding royalties and substance abuse. Chuck refuses the deal. He is replaced by Joey Castillo (Wasted Youth, Queens of the Stone Age, Goatsnake). Glenn launches his own comic book company called Verotik, a portmanteau of the words "violent" and "erotic." Some of the titles he will write include Satanika, G.O.T.H., Ge Rouge and Igrat. Danzig 4p is released in October and enters the Billboard Album Chart at #29. It will be the last of what is considered the "classic era" of Danzig, but is the obvious starting point for the band's decline. Glenn doesn't want to name the album, but is pressured by American to add a sticker reading "4p" in reference to the Four P movement, a Satanic cult linked to a number of ritual killings. The band's name is spelled out using Zehmic ruins. The album sleeve contains an image of a Bill Clinton look-alike shaking hands with a man carrying a sniper rifle. In an interview with KNAC.com, Glenn says that the President had the FBI investigate him. "I guess they thought I was a threat to Bill Clinton or something," he explains. "It's like, 'Go fuck yourself ― come and get me. Talk to my lawyer. Let's go to court on this.'" After the band finish their touring commitments, John Christ leaves after hearing Glenn was looking for a new guitarist, and Eerie Von follows. About their departure, Glenn tells Metal Edge, "Danzig was set up from the beginning so I wouldn't have to change the name of my band anymore when people came and went. First with Chuck Biscuits and his drug problems and then Eerie Von wanted to do some side stuff. That line-up lasted a long time but eventually it did start falling apart." After a long legal battle, Glenn agrees to a settlement with Jerry and Doyle, along with Caroline Records, on January 1. The deal allows the two to perform and record under the name the Misfits, but also discontinues the entire Samhain catalogue. The same day Plan 9 becomes defunct. After a Danzig show in New Jersey on April 26, Jerry and Doyle knock on Glenn's hotel room door and ask if he wants to rejoin the Misfits. Jerry later tells Metal Maniacs, "We went to his door and knocked and 15 minutes later security came and walked us out of the hotel. So we took that as a 'no.'" In an interview with Seconds, Glenn shares his true feelings about the new version of the Misfits. "The band you're seeing right now as the Misfits is not the Misfits. It's one guy trying to relive something and make some money because punk is fashionable again. It's not the Misfits and everyone who's seen them has called me and said, 'What the fuck is this?' Caroline plans to release the Misfits' long lost debut, Static Age, on Halloween, but the plan is postponed after Danzig threatens legal action on the grounds of wanting his Collection II released first. Danzig officially leave Rubin's label. In an interview with Buddyhead years later, Glenn explains, "At the time we left American, we were the biggest selling act on the label. So, when I confronted Rick while we were recording Danzig 4, I said, 'Hey Rick we really need to talk because we're selling lots of records and over the years we've never gotten one accounting.' And he said, 'Well you're gonna hafta sue me.' He said it matter of factly like it's no big thing. I said, 'What do you fuckin' mean?' he said, 'I have no control over that kind of stuff. It shouldn't interfere with our working relationship. You'll just have to take me to court and get it all straightened out.'"
1996 to 1998
The Misfits Box Set is released via Caroline Records in February, containing almost all of the band's recordings with the exception of Walk Among Us, which is still owned by Slash. Packaged in a coffin-shaped box, the four-disc set includes both Misfits' Collections, Legacy of Brutality, Evilive, Earth A.D./Wolf's Blood, mostly unreleased studio sessions, and the highly anticipated debut album Static Age, which was aborted back in 1978. Josh Lazie, Joey's cousin and Danzig's drum technician, and Mark Chaussee join the band. Three months later, Chaussee leaves and is replaced by Prong's Tommy Victor. Glenn lands a role as a dark angel named Samayel in horror flick The Prophecy II. A huge fan of The X-Files, Glenn contributes a new song called "Deep" to the soundtrack Songs in the Key of X: Music from and Inspired by The X-Files; the song also appears in an episode titled "Syzygy." Danzig record an EP called Bleedangel, but never release it. Danzig 5: Blackacidevil, the fifth Danzig album and first without Chuck, John and Eerie is released two days before Halloween by Hollywood Records, a Disney subsidiary company. Featuring Alice In Chains' Jerry Cantrell playing guitar on three tracks, the album marks a significant shift in the band's sound, incorporating elements of industrial music and heavy distortion, most prominently in Glenn's vocals. It sells okay, but doesn't sit well with critics. Glenn tells Metal Edge, "I wanted to fuck shit up. I wanted to do something unique. I don't follow trends, I just do what I like doing. Each record I try to shake it up a little and try and redefine what Danzig is. I don't think I've ever been accepted by any musical genre. I like to blend lots of different stuff together and make something that's original, and not imitate too many different people. What I did was, I took elements of some industrial stuff I liked or what people had been experimenting with over the years in industrial music, elements of techno and merged it with what I normally do. I did a good record. I'd be the first one to say I did a shitty record and I wouldn't put it out." Three weeks after signing the deal, Disney realizes they've signed an artist with a reputation for using violent imagery and Satanic references in his music. They cut off promotion for the album, end the deal with Danzig and delete the album (Glenn ends up reissuing it in 2000). Speaking with the Miami New Times, Glenn says: "We had religious groups protesting the signing of Danzig to Hollywood. Then we had Roy Disney [vice chairman of the board of directors for the Walt Disney Co.] protesting the signing of Danzig to Hollywood! Roy freaked out when he found out we were actually on a label that Disney owned. That was it. And after that it was a nightmare. Later on the same thing happened to Insane Clown Posse. Eventually we were able to get all our stuff back, sever our deal, and get out of there pretty clean." After the Blackacidevil tour, Lazie leaves the band due to differences with Victor, who also quits not long after to reform Prong; they are replaced a few months later by Prong's Rob Nicholson and Wasted Youth's Dave Kushner. Danzig play a special gig on Halloween for the price of $6.66 under the name Blackacidevil (though Ticketmaster advertises it as Black Acid Devil); the band play the Misfits' "Death Comes Ripping" and suitably, Samhain's "Halloween II." Dave Kushner leaves. Caroline releases Violent World, a tribute to the Misfits featuring covers by Pennywise, Snapcase, NOFX, Prong, Sick of It All and Deadguy. Jeff Chambers joins the band on guitar and Lazie comes back to fill in on bass after Nicholson leaves to join Rob Zombie's band. Glenn wins a court case against Rubin for the rights to unreleased Danzig music recorded during the American years.
1999 to 2001
Glenn is asked to read for the part of Wolverine in the X-Men movie, but turns it down. He tells TWEC.com: "The first reason I turned it down was because I wouldn't be able to do any 6:66 touring. But now I'm glad I turned it down, in retrospect. I've heard it's really awful." Chambers is asked to leave by the band and is replaced by Todd Youth. Glenn signs a deal with E-Magine Music to distribute his own label, Evilive. "I hold all the cards now," he says to EntertainmentPress.com "This album is on my own label, Evilive, which is attached to E-Magine Records. Through them we have regular distribution through WEA and we also have a means of major internet distribution too." Featuring artwork by British comics artist Simon Bisley, Danzig 6:66 Satan's Child is released in November. Like its predecessor, it's a flawed album that reflects the crunchy, electronic-heavy production of metal's contemporary scene. Glenn tells journalist David Lee Wilson, "This one is a little bit more guitar heavy. The guitar kind of got buried on the last one. I don't know; this one is kind of like all the Danzig records. I took all of the best elements out of Danzig 1 through 5 and added some new stuff, it is kind of like an overview with some new stuff added to it." The only reason to own it is for the inclusion of "Thirteen," which Glenn wrote for Johnny Cash. Lazie quits the band once again, replaced by Howie Pyro. Glenn reunites Samhain to open for Danzig's tour, but doesn't invite Eerie Von to join because of slanderous comments made towards the band members. Instead it's Glenn, London May, Steve Zing and Todd Youth, filling in for Damien, who is busy touring with Iggy Pop. In an interview with writer David Necro, Glenn says, "When we started rehearsing it was kind of, you know, a lotta fun. Then we get out on the road, it was like really fun. We just did it for that one thing and that was it. We didn't milk it, you didn't have to really pay extra ― if you were going to the Danzig show you got to see it." Evilive and E-Magine finally release the Samhain Box Set in September 2000 containing everything the band ever recorded ― Initium, Unholy Passion, November-Coming-Fire, Final Descent and a live disc ― across five CDs and a VHS tape of previously unreleased live footage. Todd Youth puts together a super-group called Son of Sam featuring Samhain's Steve Zing and London May, featuring A.F.I.'s Davey Havok on vocals. They release an album called Songs from the Earth, which features Glenn contributing to two songs. Danzig release a two-disc live album called Live On the Black Hand Side, featuring performances between 1992 and 2000. Caroline Records agrees to release 12 Hits From Hell on October 31, but Danzig and Only disagree with the album's packaging and audio; the label does manufacture the album, but ends up destroying them all, with the exception of a few promotional copies to band members and critics.
2002 to 2003
Glenn appears as himself in an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The cycle of Danzig's numerical album titles is completed with Danzig 777: I Luciferi. He tells Terrorizer, "I saw a lotta bands playing the label game, like every other band doing that nu-metal thing, starting rapping and everything, y'know what, that's bullshit. So I just wanted to do a real heavy, obnoxious, loud, crazy record that didn't do all that shit." The album is a welcome step away from the band's previous flirtations with industrial music, but it fails to recapture the glory of the heavy, blues metal of the first four Danzig albums; it is, however, heavy, obnoxious, loud and crazy. He establishes Blackest of the Black, which Glenn describes in a statement as "a tour is for extreme bands that sell out venues across the country, that sell records, but don't get radio play or get on MTV. It's anti the corporate crap nu-rap-metal that gets shoved down fans' throats at other concerts." The first tour features Danzig, Superjoint Ritual, Opeth, Nile, Lacuna Coil and Behemoth. Not long after finishing the tour, each member of the band quits to pursue other projects. Tommy Victor rejoins Glenn, along with Bevan Davies on drums and Jerry Montano on bass. They record the eighth Danzig album, Circle of Snakes, the first not to be part of the numbered series. Glenn tells Metal Edge, "Because I wasn't locked into using the seven record cycle, and each record was about a certain thing, this one, I could just put whatever I felt I wanted on a record." Like I Luciferi before it, the album is another beefy metal album that fails to appease fans or critics. Glenn gets into a highly documented altercation after one of his performances. When the gig ends abruptly after Danzig's set, Danny Marianinho, a member of support band North Side Kings, confronts Glenn backstage about why his band couldn't play. Words are exchanged and Glenn pushes Marianinho, who retaliates with a sucker punch that knocks Glenn out. Mairaninho's friends capture the incident on tape and post it online. The video becomes a viral hit, and Marianinho follows it up with a statement boasting about kicking Glenn's ass. In an interview with Revolver, Glenn explains his side of the story, stating: "You always get people who want you to hit them so they can sue you. I've seen it many times with people I know in other bands. You have to be really careful. Especially when you're being filmed. So when you're in that situation, you sometimes just have to suck it up. Anyway, that video was also creatively edited."
2005 to 2007
Doyle joins Danzig's Blackest of the Black tour and together they perform a 30-minute set of Misfits songs each night. Glenn issues a statement saying that he's done touring. "At least in the foreseeable future... this will be my last tour. It seems like I have been touring my whole life and I want to take some time for myself and do many of the things I've always wanted to do, like direct my first feature film, which I will be doing this next year. To do this right, I invited Doyle to join Danzig on stage at Blackest Of The Black for a 'special guest' Misfits set. This is the first time we will be performing on stage together in 20 years. It's the closest thing to a Misfits reunion anyone is ever going to see!" H8Graphix and Medicom design and manufacture three soft vinyl Glenn Danzig dolls called "The Three Faces of Danzig," which are modelled after his distinct looks in each of his three bands. Danzig announces he's writing a script for a "voodoo zombie" flick based on his comic Ge Rouge that he will direct. He describes it to Revolver: "It takes place in a time period in America that nobody's ever done a good movie on ― the early part of the twentieth century ― especially incorporating voodoo into it, you know? It's pretty violent. I'm trying to make it a cross between all the crazy, gory, and wild movies that I like, like the triadic mafia movies, and an epic Martin Scorsese or John Boorman film." Glenn releases his second solo classical album, Black Aria II. He tells Blabbermouth: "The first Black Aria is very Wagnerian, and also has these violent, Scottish-Celtic qualities. This one is more Eastern, because it's about Lilith. It still has a lot of the classic elements I like, but many of the sounds come from elsewhere because of this fascinating story, which has its origins in even older myths and legends." Verotik releases a porn film version of its comic Grub Girl on DVD. Speaking to AVN, Glenn says "It's crazy, erotic humour. It's pretty wild. Britney [Skye] is a corpse hooker. In the comic, pimps turn out dead hookers because they don't feel pain and can take anything. Britney/Grub Girl gets fed up with it and bites a john's dick off and eats it. She opens a brothel of corpse hookers." The long-awaited two-disc set of unreleased tracks called The Lost Tracks of Danzig is released, featuring material dating back to the first Danzig album. He tells KNAC.com, "It was cool getting all that material together and revisiting all those songs. There's some really cool stuff on there, some of the most evil shit I've done [laughs] that I think the fans will really dig. It was like putting a puzzle back together, because some of the stuff hadn't been properly mixed and some of the songs needed parts rerecorded here and there." Included is a song called "Satan's Crucifixion Points to Hell." Glenn says to MTV it was written after an American Recordings executive asked him not to "do a Satanic record." "The song started out as a song to just drive this guy crazy. We sent it to him, and he said, 'This is crazy. They're destroying this record ― it's totally Satanic. And you want this to be the first single?' So while it started as a joke song, it's become a really good song." While that song isn't controversial, a song called "White Devil Rise" is, confronting Louis Farrakhan's speech of an impending race war from the other side. Glenn defends the song to MTV, saying, "He said some inflammatory things at the time and Rick [Rubin] and I started talking and he said I should write a song about a race war. Farrakhan calls us 'The White Devil.' Well, I, personally, don't have a problem being called that. But no one wants to see a race war. It would be terrible, so the song's saying, 'Be careful what you wish for.'" Doyle releases his first album as Gorgeous Frankenstein, a project that features his wife, ex-wrestler Stephanie Bellars as a dancer. His self-titled album is produced by Glenn and released by Evilive. Glenn falls off the stage and dislocates his shoulder during a gig in Baltimore, but continues touring.
2008 to 2010
After years of speculation, in an interview for his website Glenn says there's still reason to hold out hope on his blues album with Jerry Cantrell, saying, "I actually saw Jerry at the Ministry show here in L.A. and while we were talking he said. 'We should do that blues thing,' to which I agreed. It's really just finding the time to sit down and do it. I think it will eventually happen someday." Verotik publishes Hidden Lyrics of the Left Hand, the official Danzig lyric book featuring illustrations by artist Simon Bisley. Glenn records a duet with Melissa Auf der Maur for her solo album, Out of Our Minds. The song "Father's Grace" features him singing from the perspective of a gravedigger to her, a woman who has just lost her father. Auf der Maur tells Noisecreep, "I didn't hear back for a while, and then one day an unknown number called my phone: 'Melissa, it's Danzig. I really liked your song.' And I am the luckiest girl in the world, and that's the end of the story." Glenn signs a deal with The End Records, which co-releases the first Danzig studio album in six years on June 22, 2010. Featuring Tommy Victor, Steve Zing and newcomer Johnny Kelly on drums, Deth Red Sabaoth, the ninth Danzig album, more than anything, shows how this 55-year-old legend refuses to slow down. Says Glenn about the new record, "I think that fans will really dig this new album. I've been told several times that the album has a cool vitality to it, that it sounds energized, and I got that feeling when I was recording it. I wanted to have an organic sound, bigger and thicker, so I went out and bought some 1970s Kustom tuck'n'roll bass amps to play some of the guitar parts through. You'll hear real reverb, real tremolo on this album, which sounds completely different than the stuff that's done with computer chips."