Friday 5: What Do You Think When You Think Of Glenn Danzig?
Happy Friday, MetalSucks reader! Welcome to MetalSucks Friday 5, our awesome series that appears every Friday (duh) on MetalSucks (duhh) and involves the quantity of five (duhhh).
Here’s how it works: A list of best/worst/weirdest/whatever five somethings is posted by one of your beloved MetalSucks contributors or by one of our buds (like you?). Then you, our cherished reader, checks it out, has a chuckle, then chimes in with a list of the same. No sweat, just whatever springs to mind, k? (Just like that movie about those losers working at a Chicago record store!) After all, it’s Friday — the day dedicated by the gods to mindless, fun time-wasting.
Today, let’s talk about a man both influential and invisible, both undefinable and transparent, both universal and paranoid!
What are your five most memorable Glenn Danzig music moments?
Anso DF, MetalSucks senior editor
1. “Astro Zombies” | The Misfits
from Walk Among Us
1982 | Plan 9
Glenn Danzig turned 60 years old on Tuesday. He’s fascinating to consider: Both a cypher and an inventor, Glenn’s impact is spiritual and seldom material. That is, his music reaches many but it’s so rare that their music directly references his — his music that so openly flaunts its own influences. This should not be, but it’s ultimately a compliment, something greater than a call to acknowledgement or foundation-building. His vibe is singular so as to be hermetic. Like Warhol. He made his art great by making himself singular and expressing freely. He used punk rock not to speak uncomfortable socio-political truths, but to express the loneliness of an angry American seduced by pulpy, sexual violence at the edge of sanity. Jim Morrison, Elvis, Hollywood suicides, anti-social fantasy, Black Sabbath, speed, brutal youth, gore, muscle, and frowns. America.
2. “Human Pony Girl” | Samhain
from Samhain III: November Coming Fire
1986 | Plan 9
In the ’80s, we could hardly comprehend Glenn’s vibe but his expressions of it made our skin crawl. Fuck music that scared our parents — Glenn’s shit scared us. And then it flummoxed us to find that his study wasn’t just of Ellroy-style scum and ungraspable technicolor mutant chaos — he had also committed to his consciousness the dynamics of pop songwriting (above). Maybe he thought that his message would be lost if The Misfits’ music was obscure. Then, by the time of their demise, Glenn was approaching 30 years of age and a new planet of weirdness with his new band Samhain. Now we weren’t even distantly acquainted with whatever the fuck he was talking about.
3. “Thirteen” | Johnny Cash
from American Recordings
1994 | American
Among rockist cognoscenti, Johnny Cash got popular again starting in the mid-’90s via a left-field semi-hit “Delia’s Gone.” To metal people, though, it was interesting because the comeback’s facilitator, producer and exec Rick Rubin, had the wild idea to link Cash to the music of another of his charges, Glenn Danzig. Thus Cash recorded the Danzig composition “Thirteen” for American Recordings, which would see four more volumes that each bore similarly bold cover songs. But “Thirteen” was the first and most profound. It was meant to be.
4. “Life Fades Away” | Roy Orbison
from Less Than Zero soundtrack
1987 | Columbia
It must’ve blown Glenn’s mind to hear his words and melodies sung by an era’s sweetest, most heart-breaking voice. Even though it was tucked away on a pretty successful soundtrack. From that moment on, he was immortal.
5. “Tired Of Being Alive” | Danzig
from Danzig II: Lucifuge
1990 | American
Heavy metal was big music in the late ’80s. To wit, producer Bob Rock’s blockbusters in those few years leant toward the colossal: The Cult’s Sonic Temple, Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood, David Lee Roth’s A Little Ain’t Enough. But Glenn wasn’t playing along, duh; his mostly new band Danzig was plainly life-sized, not arena-sized, and continued to address the diametric opposite of partying and release. Glenn dove deeper into blackness and the quest for control of the intangible — but still earned his first big hit. Even his expressions were plainer, unobscured by horror imagery or ornament. He dealt in threats, not spooks. But his villainy might’ve outgrown his power to defend it, for so often did he reassert his might, his role as the dark shadow in your room, the blinking light in your nightmares. Happy Birthday Glenn Danzig, you fucking rule.
Your turn! Have a great wknd!