DEFENDING DANZIG, DAY ONE OF FOUR: MISFORTUNE
Glenn Danzig gets a lot of shit.
The singer-songwriter is probably the most diverse talent to emerge from the old-school hardcore scene. He wrote the lyrics and music to practically all the awesome songs from the Misfits, Samhain and Danzig. And when his backing bands weren’t executing his vision in the studio, Danzig would step in and perform plenty of the tracks.
Think about that: Could Greg Ginn have put together an entire Black Flag album himself? Could guitar prodigy Brian Baker have recorded an entire Minor Threat record? Ian MacKaye and Roger Miret are legendary frontmen, but just listen to Misfits songs like “Vampira” and “Death Comes Ripping” — as a hardcore singer, Danzig was without peer. And look what he did after his salad days.
Both of Danzig’s Black Aria albums crashed the Billboard Classical Music top ten (the first took the No. 1 spot). He wrote tunes for Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. He penned two of the last four truly mandatory Metallica songs. Guns N’ Roses covered one of his many classics.
And what does that get him? A lifetime’s deluge of haterade.
Danzig is an icon to some. But over the last decade, he’s become a punchline for former fans and keyboard warriors with no life experience, who have never accomplished anything. And the h8rz are wrong. Usually.
Anybody who’s actually done something in this life has made some questionable judgment calls. Nobody bats .1000. And nobody’s always wrong. So now, 35 years into an unparalleled career, should Danzig be the object of ridicule, scorn, or awe? Let’s settle it once and for all.
In honor of the Samhain season, MetalSucks is taking a fresh look at Danzig’s eleven most dubious distinctions. And we’re rendering judgment. Over the course of four days, we’ll look at the biggest bumps in Danzig’s long, dark road. Let’s start with a look at some misfortunes from the last decade. Danzig has suffered his share.
Incident #1: Danzig Gets Knocked the F*ck Out
Charge: Danzig, a Reported Tough Guy, Cannot Fight.
The Case: In July 2002, Danzig made a prophetic statement to Metal Hammer: “I don’t really get in many fights. And when I do, they don’t last long.”
To wit, Danzig went viral in 2004. A perfectly framed video surfaced, in which a backstage confrontation between Danzig and North Side Kings bandleader Danny Marianinho rapidly escalated into a shoving match. Marianinho hit Danzig with a giant haymaker and dropped the singer, who has a background in martial arts and amateur (read: real) wrestling.
This is the moment when Danzig bashing became a major indoor sport. When the video broke, Cleveland radio programme The Metal Show posted the clip and reported a server-crashing 112,000 downloads in seven hours — a number, at the time, nearly three times greater than the sales of Danzig’s previous album, 2002’s Danzig 777 I Luciferi.
Internet commenters still get a kick out of the incident, and they can’t help but mention it whenever Danzig’s name comes up.
But anybody who’s been in an actual fight or two — as opposed to talking shit from the safety of your computer — knows it’s easy to get your ass handed to you in a real brawl with a bigger dude. Anybody who never lost a fight hasn’t been in many. Laughing at someone losing a fight is like saying an outfielder who strikes out seven times out of ten is a shitty ball player.
Danzig has repeatedly claimed the entire incident was a setup, and that sounds right. If my behind-the-scenes knowledge of America’s Funniest Home Videos has taught me anything, it’s this: When the camera perfectly captures the shot, it’s probably staged.
Verdict: You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About.
Incident #2: Danzig Gets Older
Charge: Danzig Is Fat.
The Case: Over the ‘90s, Danzig became well-known as a fiend… for fitness! But since the mid ‘90s, detractors claim the Jersey icon has looked like a tubby John Travolta. But try to name one skinny dude with a voice that big. In fact, when he was still ripped, he delivered a tune truly worth of Fat Elvis, the oldies-style ballad “Blood and Tears.”
Verdict: Let’s See How You Look When You’re 56.
Incident #3: Danzig Falls Off Stage
The Case: In 2007, footage surfaced of Danzig allegedly falling off stage in Baltimore. After performing a show in a shoulder sling — you try it, badass — he wound up canceling a concert due to a injury sustained in the tumble. And internet nerds snickered about it for weeks.
But nobody considered another distinct possibility: Maybe he didn’t fall. Maybe the sinister power of “How the Gods Kill” created a vortex that suddenly SUCKED DANZIG DOWN INTO HELL.
Verdict: It Only Looks Funny.
(OK, the shout and sudden disappearance sound funny, too.) [This is funny because physical slapstick is funny, not because it’s happening to Danzig.]
Should Danzig have been more careful when he fell off the stage? Would you have ducked that punch and totally laid out the guy from North Side Kings? Let us know in the comment section!
D.X. Ferris is the author of 33 1/3: Reign in Blood, the first English-language book about Slayer, which is available cheap in hard copies and for the Kindle machines. (He’s been know to send bonus swag in exchange for a proof of purchase.) You can friend it on the Facebook, or follow his bullshit daily on the Tweeters: @dxferris and @SlayerBook.