Devilution

Glenn Danzig reveals his Lost Tracks
By JAMES PARKER  |  July 9, 2007

070713_danzig_main
INCORRECT: “I’m not part of the politically correct generation, nor do I want to be.”

Danzig through the years (via YouTube)

The Misfits, "Die, Die My Darling" (live in Boston)

Samhain, "All Hell" (live in San Diego)

Danzig, "Twist of Cain" (live in Germany)

There’s an interesting moment in Save Me from Myself (HarperCollins), the new memoir by former Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, when the author finds himself on tour with Danzig and Marilyn Manson. It’s the summer of 1995, and Welch is in the process of trading a speed problem for a cocaine problem, in preparation for his later meth problem. Nonetheless, in certain matters he is still a blinking naïf. “On that tour,” he writes, “things on the road got a lot darker. . . . There were a lot of really young, trippy-looking Goth girls hanging around backstage all the time. And some of the guys from the other bands were into all this kinky domination group sex with whips and leather. They invited us to watch them in action in their dressing rooms a couple of times, where there would be weird, freaky, kinky, off-the-wall things going on that I’d never seen before in my life.”

Quite right, too, thinks the gratified reader: a Manson/Danzig dressing room not ankle-deep in absinthe and candlewax, and groaning with the bodies of discarded groupies, is no Manson/Danzig dressing room at all. In the context of Welch’s book, which recounts with painful honesty his long floundering through addiction toward Jesus Christ, the moment has a particular weight: this is one of the hellish waystations on the road to his rebirth. And hellish is the word — those Manson boys were inventively orgiastic no doubt, but it is the presence of Glenn Danzig, tour guide to the dark side, that gives the scene its eye-stinging whiff of genuine brimstone.

From the seminal lo-fi splatterings of the Misfits, through Samhain’s awkward, embryonic goth-metal, and on to the full-on diabolic power blues of the band he named after himself, Danzig has always been, shall we say, single-minded. As a writer, he maintains himself in a netherworld of dark pomp and occult imagery. As a rock-and-roller, he is of the hunter-gatherer school: the women in his songs are either temptresses or fawning supplicants, leather gauntlets are worn, and his own phallic might is regularly extolled. His voice is a rich instrument: now a wolfman yelp, now a gang-boss war cry, now a bluesy invocation, wavering over the depths. As the Muse dictates, he will write a symphony (1993’s Black Aria) or go briefly “industrial” (1996’s Blackacidevil). “There’s no limit, really,” he says over the phone from his home in California. “If I wanna do it, I do it. I’m not politically correct. I’m not part of the politically correct generation, nor do I want to be. I say what I wanna say, and if I somebody doesn’t like it, go fuck yourself.”

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