Glenn Danzig is an iconic figure in punk and metal. He pioneered horror punk with his band, The Misfits, in the mid-‘70s, then went on to form Samhain. Once signed, Samhain became Danzig, with the original plan to change the line-up for every album. Danzig gained much popularity, and Glenn became a hot commodity, writing songs for others (such as Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash), composing Black Aria and Black Aria II, forming his darkly erotic comic book company, Verotik, and acting in TV and film. He later began the Danzig Legacy tour, where Danzig would perform, followed by a Samhain set, then sometimes even a Misifts set with Doyle Von Frankenstein. These shows were documented, and Danzig Legacy can be found on Vimeo. Danzig is currently touring the U.S. on the “Blackest of the Black” tour, but was able to take some time to chat about his current and upcoming projects.
The topic of the moment is the impending release of your EP of covers, Skeletons. What are some of the songs on the album, and how did you decide on the tracks that made the cut?
Well, there are a lot of songs that I’d love to cover. Eventually, I just started recording a bunch, if I thought I could do something cool with it or do a different take on it. So that’s how most of these songs ended up on the CD. Of course, there’s an Elvis cover, there’s a Black Sabbath cover… But then there are a lot of covers people probably wouldn’t necessarily think I would do, like The Troggs, or The Rascals, or ZZ Top especially, or Aerosmith.
The album cover that you posted on Facebook is an ode to David Bowie’s Pinups, although it features you and a model in skullface. Why pay homage to that album in particular?
First off, it was probably one of the best covers records that was ever done, I think. Secondly, I was coming up with ideas for what to do and I thought it was a cool idea to do a take on the Bowie Pinups album cover, but with me in skullface and the girl in a more “model-y” kind of skullface. Yeah… I just thought it was a cool idea! [Laughs] People seem to like it. We thought it was a great idea, so we did it. It came out pretty good.
You’ve already released “Devil’s Angels.” What was it about that song that made you feel like this is the song that’s going to herald the release of the album?
In reality, I just picked a song and put it out. I didn’t really give two shits. It’s obviously not a radio song. [Laughs] So, I just thought, “This is cool,” and it was done before a lot of the other ones. We actually streamed it for free a long time ago on the Danzig site. So when we heard it, we figured we would just have that be the first single. We had already globetrotted Europe with it and what we brought back to the States is a very limited number of copies.
What are you most looking forward to about sharing this collection with your fans?
I think it’s just a different take on what I do in Danzig, you know? I think for so long I’ve just done my own music. Occasionally, I’ll do a cover here or there as a B-side or for some “lost tracks” record. But, I think it’s just a way for people to see another side of Danzig, not just always releasing my own stuff. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and finally got around to doing it, so I got that out of my system, too.
Are you still planning to release an album of Elvis covers?
Yeah. That’s a little different, though. It’s a little more organic, kind of. Just piano, guitar, and occasional drums, very simple kind of drums. It’s definitely a little creepier, too. It’s done, so we’re just going to find the time to put it out. I have to decide whether I’m putting that out between the next Danzig record, or after the next Danzig record of all original stuff.
How close are you to putting either one of those out?
The Elvis record’s done. A couple of songs just need to be mixed but it’s all done being recorded. I don’t have any cover art or anything for it, yet, so I’ll have to think of a direction for that. The Danzig record is probably about [three- quarters] done. And when I get off the road here, I’ll probably start working on it again.
Stylistically, how does the new original Danzig album compare so far to some of your recent previous releases?
That’s a good question. There’s a lot of different kind of stuff on it. It all sounds like Danzig, but I guess everyone will have to hear it and make their own decision. It’s definitely heavy.
What’s new in the world of Verotik, your comic book company?
I know that when we’re in New Orleans we have a day off, and me and the producer that I’m working with (who was one of the producers of the Underworld series), we’re going to be scouting locations for the GeRouge movie while we’re there. So, that’s kinda cool. We’re trying to bring a lot more of the Verotik projects to film, so we have a couple of other things planned. And, we have a new comic coming out right around Halloween. So, yeah. We’ve got a lot going on there. We’re continuing the story of this character I created, called Pumkyl. There’s this crazy witch. But she’s not an ugly witch, because you know everyone thinks witches are all ugly. So, she’s this witch who grew this crazy sort of pumpkin creature with some necromantic working. You get to see now what he does in the second issue of this comic. And then we also have another story with this face-ripper girl. She goes around, cuts off other girls’ faces and wears them. It’s pretty creepy.
Are there still plans to release the Danzig Legacy video on DVD?
Yeah, a lot of people have asked that, and I guess eventually we will. Maybe we’ll put some extra material on it, cuz there’s a ton of extra material. And I think possibly in the new year, we might do a couple of those “in the round” shows. There’s a section in Legacy where we just sit on the stage in the rounds with like 300 to 400 people, and kinda like just talk and tell stories and play music. You know, it’s based on the whole Elvis “In the Round” thing. So, there are plans on doing just a few of those shows around the country, so we’ll see if that actually happens.
Catch Danzig’s “Blackest of the Black” tour Friday, October 9th at the Civic Theatre, with Superjoint, Veil of Maya, Prong, and Witch Mountain. For more info, check out www.danzig-verotik.com