DANZIG - On Wings Of Leather And Rage

November 1, 2010, 9 years ago

By Aaron Small

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Currently headlining the Blackest Of The Black tour alongside POSSESSED, MARDUK, TOXIC HOLOCAUST and WITHERED, DANZIG is on the road for only the second time since the June 22nd release of his new album - the first in over six years - Deth Red Sabaoth. To celebrate the album’s launch, Danzig played a mere nine shows, spanning June 15th to June 27th. “We did five on the east coast and four on the west coast; that was it,” confirms Danzig patriarch Glenn Danzig. Since then, the warm summer sunshine has given way to a cool and blustery fall. What exactly was Glenn doing during all of July, August and September? “Working.”

When pressed to elaborate upon his stone cold, one word answer, Danzig offers the following. “Some of it’s just daily day to day stuff. I’ve been doing a lot of interviews, trying to get the tour put together, designing stuff. I’ve started Black Aria III. I’m thinking about doing a cover record also. There’s a lot of different things.” Black Aria II was released in 2006, with the initial installment dating back to 1992. What direction will the third classical opus take? “I just started it so I can’t really say exactly, but it’s definitely somber,” laughs Glenn. “It’s powerful too, at least the two tracks I’ve been working on. We’ll see as it starts telling me where it wants to go. I have all the songs written down and on micro-cassette recorder. As I start getting into them, going song by song, we’ll see where it ends up. It’s always a pretty unique journey when I start a Black Aria.”

Curious as to which artists Glenn is considering paying tribute to via the aforementioned covers album? Danzig provides a hint. “I’ve been wanting to do a cover record since back in THE MISFITS (1977 – 1983); that’s how long it’s been in the back of my brain. It’s going to be a whole wide gamut of stuff; everything from ELVIS to pre-psychedelic garage stuff to early ‘70s metal to some punk stuff. I’m going to put my stamp on it for sure. I don’t like doing a note for note cover; a lot of people know that already. I’m going to make it my own.” Will Black Aria III and the covers album both be released in 2011? “I don’t know. Black Aria might not come out for a while. I might be working on it for a long time. I like to do some tracks, sit back and listen to them, do some more tracks, sit back and listen. I would imagine the covers record might come out before Black Aria III, but you never know.”

Refocusing on Danzig’s new album, Deth Red Sabaoth, the opening track is ‘Hammer Of The Gods’. That’s also the title of a very famous LED ZEPPELIN biography by Stephen Davis, published in 1985. When asked if that crossed his mind while writing and recording the song, Glenn chuckles, “Nope. The title of that book, I guess is based on an old mythos, whatever you want to call it.”The song itself refers to that with the line, “Cults of death and ragnarok calling down the end.” Ragnarok being a great battle in Norse mythology during which the gods Odin, Thor and Tyr all die, and the world is completely flooded. “The whole record is a very doomsday, bleak, kind of dire essay I think,” laughs Danzig. Speaking of doomsday, 2012 is just around the corner and according to the Mayan calendar, that’s the year the world will come to an end via cataclysmic disaster. “The Mayan calendar says lots of stuff that didn’t happen. I’ve been hearing that the end of the world is coming since I was a little kid. There have been Christian groups and different other groups that have said, ‘next year.’ People have sold all their stuff and huddled in a shelter – the end of the world didn’t come. I’m a person who doesn’t believe that’s actually going to happen. Are we living in fucked up perilous times? Yes. We definitely are.”

Although Sabaoth is a Hebrew word meaning host or army, don’t be fooled into thinking that the title of Danzig’s new disc, Deth Red Sabaoth, translates directly to Deth Red Army. According to Glenn, “That word pre-dates Hebrew. You have to go back. Sabaoth is the original pronunciation for Sabbath. You need to go back before Hebrew, back my friend – back, back, back – before it all got fucked up.”

The phrase Deth Red appears to hold special significance as not only does it appear in the album’s title, but in the name of a song, ‘Deth Red Moon’. Glenn continues his revelatory ways, “The cover’s all red; bleak, dead, red landscape.” Said cover is brought to life in the video for ‘On A Wicked Night’, filmed on location at The Bronson Canyon Bat Cave in Hollywood, CA where much of the original 1960s Batman television series was filmed. “There’s a lot of stuff from inside the cave that people didn’t get to see in the final edit. I think I’m going to do a fan edit where as soon as the song kicks into high gear, it’s going to be all the skull girl and me in the cave. Maybe I’ll do it for a DVD or just stream it on my website. It was a pain in the ass to shoot that video. The Bronson Caves are up in the mountains, the wind was whipping up. What you see at the beginning was all shot at the mouth of the cave.”

A second video from Deth Red Sabaoth isn’t far off. “I think we’re getting ready to shoot a video for ‘Ju Ju Bone’. I can’t tell you right now who’s going to be working on it with me, besides my normal crew, but it’s really cool! It’s going to be green screen for sure. It’s going to be very ‘70s looking.”

Deth Red Sabaoth is unique in the fact that Glenn plays drums on ‘Black Candy’, which reportedly marks the first time he’s been behind a kit since SAMHAIN’s November Coming Fire in 1986. “I don’t know if that’s accurate. I might have played on some of the other stuff here and there, but it wasn’t like a whole record.” Johnny (Kelly, of TYPE O NEGATIVE and SEVENTH VOID, who plays drums on the rest of the album) wasn’t in town. I was trying to teach a bunch of studio guys – one after another – and none of ‘em could play it, so I just did it.”

The Internet is laden with rumor about a song called ‘Long Dark Road’ that was apparently supposed to be included on Deth Red Sabaoth, yet didn’t make the final cut. “That’s bullshit! I recorded a song ‘Long Dark Road’ that I had written ages ago and never got around to recording, but it was never written for Deth Red Sabaoth. One guy tells another guy something and by the time it gets down the line; it’s bullshit. That’s what that is. The Internet is good, but it’s also really bad. So I finally got around to recording it, but it was never meant to be on Deth Red Sabaoth. It wouldn’t fit. It’s a totally different kind of song. It’s very oldies-ish, very creepy. I don’t know what it’ll fit so I might just give it away for free on my website. I don’t know who started that retarded rumor. Obviously it’s on Wikipedia or some fucking faggot-ass crap shit that’s not accurate either. You can go on Wikipedia and write down that President Obama has big ears and it’ll be on there. There you go – that’s what’s fucked up about the Internet.”

Perhaps writing an official Glenn Danzig biography would set the record straight. “No. It doesn’t matter. Maybe somebody would go in and fix Wikipedia then, but any other Internet terrorist can go on there and write whatever the fuck they want about anybody. You fix it and then it gets unfixed. That’s the way Wikipedia is. Anyone who goes to Wikipedia is a moron anyway. They don’t want to do their research or homework, so they go to this easy little thing, which is almost like a Cliff Notes, except it’s written by every fucking Internet terrorist kid in the world. It’s not accurate, it’s bullshit.”

Given the unfortunate but undeniable continued decline of CD sales, could Deth Red Sabaoth be the final Danzig album? “I don’t even know. I’ve thought about maybe just doing four or five song EPs instead of full albums. Maybe that’s the way to go? I never get to play all the songs live anyway.” Surprisingly, that isn’t as frustrating as it may seem. “No. Some songs you don’t want to play live. Some songs translate well live and some don’t. It’s up to the band to figure out which ones do. But you’re limited to the amount of time, especially nowadays with so many venues being union. They don’t want you to play over a certain amount of time. Sometimes the fans think we’re leaving because we don’t want to play anymore, especially when they’re calling for more encores. But it’s the venue telling us, ‘you’ve got to go or else we’re going to start charging you $5,000 a minute.’ You can thank the unions for that.”

Remaining dates on Danzig’s Blackest Of The Black tour are as follows:


2 - Knoxville, TN - Valarium
3 - Louisville, KY - Expo Five
4 - Buffalo, NY - Town Ballroom
6 - Royal Oak, MI - Royal Oak Music Theater
7 - Chicago, IL - Congress Theater
9 - Minneapolis, MN - The Cabooze
10 - Fargo, ND - The Venue
12 - Denver, CO - Gothic Theater
14 - Spokane, WA - Knitting Factory Concert House
15 - Seattle, WA - Showbox SODO
16 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theater
17 - Chico, CA - Senator Theatre
20 - Anaheim, CA - The Grove

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