Danzig's new album, "Dethred Sabaoth"
This past Saturday, June 19, 2010, was officially to be known as "Double Dose of Danzig Day", on my calendar at least. Glenn "Danzig" Anzalone was doing an in-store appearance/signing of his new album "Dethred Sabaoth" at Fords, New Jersey's Vintage Vinyl. I had heard about the signing a few weeks prior and knew I wanted to buy the CD, so figured I might as well pick it up at Vintage and meet the old Evil Elvis himself while doing so. Aside from the Jersey signing that was going down earlier in the day, Danzig was playing the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia at night. I've made it a point to catch Danzig on just about all of his area appearances over the past 10 years, so hitting up the Troc show was a no-brainer. I bought my tickets for the show, pre-ordered my CD from Vintage and patiently waited for this oh-so-black day to come.
I made plans to meet up with my friend/Livewire Records head honcho, Ed McKirdy at Vintage, Saturday around 12:30. Ed ended up arriving at 12:00 and I ended up arriving at 1:30 (got there an hour late to due circumstances out of my control, but that's a whole different story). Glenn was due to arrive at 2:30, but we were advised to get there earlier in the event that a long line piled up. Pre-ordering the new Danzig CD insured you a place in line and an autograph.
When I arrived there were about 20 people already in line ahead of Ed and me. We took our place in line and the wait began. I can assure you that the majority of rapscallions surrounding us in this line were definite dregs of society. Some of these people looked like they were frozen in time from a Lollapalooza fest circa 1993, plucked and dropped to surround us for our entertainment. As if the heat, humidity and direct sunlight blaring on us wasn't enough, everyone around us smoked and cigarette smoke blew in our faces the entire wait. Fun stuff I can assure you. Vintage Vinyl employees would randomly pop out, check out the line and sometimes give us an update on Glenn's arrival. By 2:30 we were told Glenn was stuck in traffic and would be late, but would be there. By this point, the line grew pretty large, exactly how large I couldn't tell you. I know people were going down the back of the building, wrapping up along the side and apparently continuing to the front of the building. I only know that from what others were saying because neither Ed or I left the line.
A line of rapscallions awaiting Danzig's arival, Photo: Ed McKirdy
Finally, two hours late at around 4:30, we get word that Glenn is in the building. We're told it's going to be a quick signing, he's only signing the new CD, no Misfits and no Samhain stuff and there will be no photos taken (time was of the essence considering he had to get back to Philadelphia for a 7:00 show). I'm fine with whatever, I'd handed off a handful of Misfits and Danzig records to Glenn a couple years ago after a show and he signed them all up nice and swell, so I was good with having him just sign the new CD.
Ed on the other hand had just ordered one of the limited edition Eerie Von prints that Generation Records was selling and was hoping and praying he could have Glenn sign it. It really was a great print of Glenn kneeling down overlooking Elvis's grave, early Danzig-era. When the line filed into the store, Vintage Vinyl employees were instructed to grab anyones Misfits and Samhain records so that time would not be wasted once those people got up to Glenn. Of course anyone holding Misfits and Samhain stuff was super bummed and bitching at everyone and anyone that would listen, but honestly, all promo advertising leading up to this told people that Glenn would only be signing the new record, so what did they really expect?
Now with Glenn arriving late (due to traffic issues), it was vital that everyone stuck to the rules. Ed was hoping that since his print was technically Danzig-era Glenn, he'd get away with it. It did appear that Glenn was signing anything that was being handed to him, Danzig "Lucifuge" cassettes, ticket stubs, the latest Decibel magazine cover (which of course has a cartoon Danzig drawing on it), Danzig posters, etc., so I told Ed it looked good for him.
A Danzig poster covered wall at Vintage Vinyl, Photo: Ed McKirdy
The line moved super quick, Ed nervously pulled out his print and desperately said to Glenn, "It would mean the world to me if you'd sign this, buddy." Glenn said "No problem," grabbed a black sharpie and did his thing. Ed was also holding the new CD, and Glenn asked if he wanted that signed as well, Ed happily handed it over and had that signed. I was next in line and had nothing but two copies of the new CD (one for me and one for my cousin who is also a huge Danzig fan) and a copy of the new Danzig "On A Wicked Night" 7". I handed all three items to Glenn, he smiled and signed away, I thanked him, shook his hand and told him I'd see him tonight in Philly. Glenn got a laugh out of me telling him I'd see him in Philly and said, "You'll probably get there before we do." Considering the reason he was late was due to traffic on his ride from Philly to Jersey, I guess he assumed he'd get stuck in more traffic returning to Philly. I guess you could say I had a miniscule hybrid moment with the original Devillocked one.
After Ed and I got our 'graphs and moved out of line, we stood around for a few minutes, looking through the CD racks and watching the Pint Sized Prince in Black continue on with the rest of the crowd. From what we could tell, the guy seemed relatively happy and pleasant, but 2 minutes later Ed and I run into the guy was standing in line in front of us. Ed tells the guy, "Well hell, I guess that was worth the wait hah?" But the guy replies, "Fuck no, fuck Danzig, he's a fuckin' asshole and I'm done with him!" Ed asks what happened and the guy goes on to tell us that Glenn was unfriendly to someone he knew that worked at the store. This guy was completely a wreck from whatever his friend told him and basically said that it was like being a little kid and someone telling you that Santa Clause was not real. See, what I failed to mention was that this guy telling us all of this looked like a dead ringer for Glenn himself. Dude had the long black flowing Danzig hair, aviator sunglasses on, his arms were completely covered with Misfits, Samhain and Danzig tattoos. This guy was an obvious mega-fan, who claimed to have torn up his ticket for the night's show and stepped out of line before getting anything signed. Well shit, sucks to have all those tattoos now I guess.
Before I go any further, let me just take a second to say this…people either LOVE Glenn Danzig or HATE Glenn Danzig, there are very few in-betweeners. Personally I think over the past 10 years or so it's become cool and funny to knock on Glenn and speak at volume on how much hatred one has for the guy. Glenn Danzig has become a target and everyone seems to get a real kick out of taking shots. To me it's sort of entertaining, I mean honestly, how many of us REALLY know Glenn at all? All I know of the guy is what I read in interviews and what I hear from his music and I can assure you, Danzig I through IV are flawless in my book. As for the guy himself, he's been friendly enough any time I've been around him, but really I don't the guy personally any better than I know the guy that pumps my gas. Sure he got punched in the head by some behemoth he was mouthing off to and it got captured on video for all the world to see, but how many of us were there to really witness that whole thing go down? Who really cares anyway?
August 2010 issue of Decibel Magazine featuring Glenn Danzig, Photo: Ed McKirdy
I mean, we're talking about the genius behind the all glorious Misfits, the guy who penned "London Dungeon", "Skulls", "Hybrid Moments", "Bullet", "Last Caress", "Cough/Cool" and about 60 other incredible Misfts songs, not to mention all the Samhain material and the Danzig solo material. To say that Glenn is not at least a unique and talented motherfucker who has maintained his relevance over the past 33 years is just plain silly. Of course for those that don't like him, they probably feel that Glenn has zero relevance today, but I can assure you that every time I've seen him over these past 10 years, if the show is not sold out, the place is well packed (rapscallions or not). Aside from all of that, you gotta respect the fact that the guy has changed very little over his 33 year musical career.
As cliche as it sounds, the dude has remained true to himself, did things the way he wanted to do them, for the most part he's managed his business himself and he's maintained a pretty die-hard fan base. But hey, if you already have your mind made up about the guy and you WANT to hate him, be my guest, it doesn't affect me and it surely isn't going to affect Glenn.
So back to the story… Ed and I wrap up at Vintage and head off to Chipotle for a burrito filled dinner and for me to meet up with my wife and kids. Chipotle was great as always, I've really come to dig this place in a big way. Toss me some guacamole and black beans and I'm a happy man. By this time it was probably close to 6:00 and we still had to stop back at my house which is in-between where we were in north Jersey and Philadelphia and of course we had to get ourselves to the show, so time was closing in on us. We moved as fast as we could and managed to get to the Troc in Philly sometime between 7:30 and 8:00.
Doyle with Gorgeous Frankenstein, Photo: Joey Von
We get in the venue and Doyle's band Gorgeous Frankenstein is on stage. I hit the bathroom upon arrival and come up upon a small line waiting to get in. The guy in front of me looks blitzed beyond belief and tells me that I can go ahead of him, he says, "I just have to throw up and I'm waiting for a toilet, so that urinal is all yours bro!"…nice, at least he's a polite inebriated gent.
After quick use of the bathroom, I'm off to see what's going down on the stage. Like I said, ex-Misfit Doyle's band Gorgeous Frankenstein is playing. I'd seen them before and I'm not much of a fan, but I watched and had some laughs baring witness to the shenanigans going down on the dance floor. How can I put it politely, ummm, these people watched one too many Pantera videos and looked really "special" on that dance floor. Lots of beer muscles, shoving and pushing, little to no attention being paid to the band. Typical "hoss" shit, dudes just wanted to get on the floor and "fuck some people up," like I said, real "special."
As soon as Gorgeous Frankenstein was done, I pushed my way up into the crowd to secure a front row spot for Danzig. I knew I had some time to blow and that Danzig probably wouldn't be hitting the stage any time real soon, but I've been to enough of these kinds of shows to know that if I don't get up there now, I'm fucked and stuck watching from the outside of the pit or back of the club. I've never been much of a "back of the club" type of guy, just doesn't feel very fulfilling to me, at least not when it comes to a band I really like.
Classic era Danzig destroying, Photo courtesy of: 7th House
I find myself surrounded by mostly trashy girls and shaved head, goateed dudes. Eventually Ed finds his way up into the crowd as well. Maybe ten minutes before Danzig hits the stage some short girl donning a Phillies t-shirt pops up in front of me. I have no idea how she found space between me and the dude in front of me, but she weaseled her way in and considering she was so short, I figured she really wouldn't be in my way, so I didn't worry too much. Within a few minutes this same girl tries pulling her boyfriend up in front of me with her, which I wasn't having. Dude knew it wasn't going to happen, so he hung back. The girl kept holding his hand and wrapping her arm around me to do so, which was a tad annoying, but still, I didn't care all that much.
Then the girl starts introducing herself to everyone standing around us, "Hi I'm Amy, what's your name?" Most people took it as a friendly gesture and responded, and I quickly noticed that this girl was 3 sheets to the wind. She also started offering everyone gum, which everyone seemed to eagerly take. Eventually this girl turns around and says, "Hi, I'm Amy, what's your name?" I tell her my name is Tim and I ask if she had just come from the Phillies game, to which she excitedly replies, "Yes!!! I sat in the club seats and had 4 beers!!!" I think it was probably more like 8 beers, but hey whatever, if that's your thing, good for you. Of course I didn't say that, but was definitely thinking it.
She then asked if I wanted any gum, which I happily accepted, as did Ed, who she hadn't even asked yet. She hands Ed a piece of gum and asks him what his name is, and Ed responds, "Floyd, my name is Floyd," she says, "Nice to meet you Floyd, are you ready for some rock-n-roll?" Ed says "Why certainly." We both laugh, but again it's all harmless drunken fun going on here. While waiting for Danzig to take the stage, people start screaming "DANZIG!!!" Ed being the goofball he is, starts screaming "ANZALONE!!!" and "LODI!!!" (which is of course is where Glenn is from, Lodi NJ). Amy, our drunken, gum giving friend turns around and says, "Lodi???? are you from Lodi, New Jersey???" Ed says, "Yeah, Lodi, that's my hometown." This girl obviously has no idea Glenn Danzig is from Lodi and never makes the connection. She says, "My family is from Lodi, my grandfather has lived there all his life!!!" Ed says, "Oh yeah, what's his name?" She responds with, "Al Delabate." Ed freaks out and says "Your grandfather is Al Delabate??? as in THE Al Delabate???" She says, "Yeah, you know him?" Ed says, "Oh yeah, everyone knows Al!… wait a minute, doesn't Al have a granddaughter named Amy?" The girl then flips, "That's me, that's me, I'm Amy!!!" Ed says, "You're not the Amy that likes mint watermelon bubble gum are you?" (mint watermelon bubble gum was the gum that she was handing out to everyone). She replies, "Yeah, I love mint watermelon bubblegum!!!" She totally has no idea that Ed is just fucking with her. Alcohol will really do some interesting things to the human mind.
Current era Danzig belting it out, Photo: Erika Kristen
Thanks to Amy, we were entertained until Danzig took the stage, but eventually the curtains would drop and the massive Danzig skull logo would be displayed at the back of the stage and the lights would go out. The crowd erupted into a screaming frenzy and the "Wotan's Procession" intro started blasting. In case you're unfamiliar with any of Danzig's post IV material or any of his material in general, "Wotan's Procession" is an intro that goes into "Skincarver," the first track off Danzig's last full length album, "Circle Of Snakes" (which I actually happen to like quite a bit). That first track, "Skincarver," is usually quite the crowd pleaser and evokes plenty of sing alongs.
From "Skincarver", Danzig went into the classic, "Twist Of Cain" off of Danzig I and of course the crowd went even more insane. As for the band backing Danzig at this point, it consists of Type O Negative drummer, Johnny Kelly, Prong guitarist, Tommy Victor and ex-Samhain drummer/now bass player, Steve Zing. Pretty solid line up, definitely not scrubs, but of course we'd all love to see the OG lineup of Chuck Biscuits on drums, Eerie Von on bass and John Christ on guitar. But truthfully there's probably a better chance of seeing Glenn turn into a real live werewolf on stage, than seeing that original line up back together again, so I'll take what I can get.
The set continued with the opening track off Danzig's brand new album, "Dethred Sabaoth," "Hammer Of The Gods," which honestly sounds like it could have come right off Danzig's second LP, "Lucifuge," and to me almost has a slight Misfits sounding chorus. Next up was "Her Black WIngs" and "Tired Of Being Alive," both stellar classics off Danzig II and both total crowd pleasers. Glenn took a break to mention that the last time Danzig had played the Troc was on the "Lucifuge" tour in '89-'90 and that back then, the crowd tore the club apart, destroyed the barrier and that bodies were flying all over the place. Glenn laughed and said he was surprised they were asked to come back, even all these years later. Hearing that almost set the mood for the rest of the night.
More classic Danzig, God Don't Like It style, Photo courtesy of: 7th House
There was a definite feeling of a more intimate Danzig show going on than most I had seen previously. The Troc is one of these old, classic, theater type venues that although it is pretty big, it's not nearly as big as most of the other venues I've seen him play in years past. Another throw back to Danzig shows of old was Danzig's actual voice, dude was totally on target. I've seen him in recent years and he clearly had some issues vocally going on, but tonight he was back in his prime and screaming as well as he did 20 something years ago. Numerous times during the set Ed and I would look over at each other and give the nod of approval over what we both just witnessed. For a 55 year old guy, he's still got it. Maybe he needed a little time for the voice to recoup, maybe he has to tour less, but whatever it is, it's working and I felt like I was seeing a Danzig show in 1989.
Set list-wise, after "Tired Of Being Alive," it went something like this: "How The Gods Kill," "Do You Wear The Mark," "On A Wicked Night," "It's Coming Down," "Thirteen" ( which is a rare one that he wrote for Johnny Cash), "Unspeakable," "Bringer Of Death," "Black Angel, White Angel," "Mother" and then the encore, "Dirty Black Summer" and "Am I Demon." I was hoping to hear the Danzig II "Lucifuge" opener/rager, "Long Way Back From Hell" as part of the encore, but it didn't happen. Ed was hoping for a Samhain tune to be thrown in the mix, which of course didn't happen either, although he has been know to throw "To Walk The Night" into the set once in a while.
All in all though, out of the 6 times or so that I've seen him, this was probably the best. The band sounded great, Glenn's voice was impeccable, the energy was there, the venue had that more intimate feeling, it was just an all around great set. Had I seen him throw together slightly better set lists and were there some songs I would have liked to hear? Sure, but although I've seen him play some great songs in the past that he didn't play this time around, I'm not sure they sounded quite as good as he was sounding tonight, so it all evens out.
Danzig, Circle Of Snakes tour 2005, Photo courtesy of: 7th House
Oh yeah and one thing I forgot to mention, remember our drunken friend Amy? At some point in the middle of the set, Amy's boyfriend disappeared into the shuffle of the crowd. Amy eventually found herself right up against the barrier, in front of a rather beefy, rotund, bald headed, fancy-facial-haired gent. Between songs, towards the end of the set, I see Amy turn around and start talking face to face with this beefy, bearded gent. I see them getting super close, than BAM, next thing I know the two are locking lips and swapping spit in front of my eyes! Amy then drops down beneath the crowd (yeah trust me, I was thinking exactly what you're thinking) and disappears. The beefy, bearded bro looks over at his boy, gives the old thumbs up and has a giant shit eating grin on his face. Dude just made out with some 4 foot drunken girl in the front row a Danzig show, apparently he was pretty excited about it.
Next time I saw Amy she was being grabbed off the top of the crowd and ushered out by security behind the barrier. Good for her, I wonder what she's remembering 24 hours later?
Also, two quotes that were born on this day that are worth mentioning; when referring to the new Danzig album, "Ya know, it's starting to grow on me like a bottle of scotch at a pajama party," and when referring to having the need to relieve one's self in the bathroom of the Troc, "I gotta crack off a fragment." -Tim DCXX
05 Danzig, Photo courtesy of: 7th House