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Danzig In-Store and Live in NYC

By Mick Stingley, Contributor
Tuesday, July 9, 2002 @ 2:20 PM


Danzig In-Store at Virgin and

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Part 1

I have to admit: at 34, I am little old to be gathering autographs from my favorite musicians. And further, I am not always sure that it is a good idea to meet your heroes.

It can be disappointing.

I picture Glenn Danzig as a nefarious evil-doer, sitting around his poorly-lit gothic mansion, conjuring ghosts and goblins like a psychotic Kenny Kingston -- “Hello Evil Spirits!” I would hate to meet the Dark One himself and have my vision shattered by overhearing a bit of a conversation with his label rep, talking about, say, his golf game. “I can only play 9 holes tomorrow then I have an appointment with my chiropractor…”

Although, if Glenn Danzig ever becomes part of the group of rock musicians being sought out for television, I hope that he opts to do a sitcom, spoofing the idea of who he is. Like Three’s Company, but with Glenn and a couple of buxom blonde Swedish babes as ditzy au-pairs, who are always accidentally thwarting his plans to summon the Prince Of Darkness to wreak havoc on Earth. “Anneli! Where did you put my Necronomicon?” Glenn would idle away the hours obsessively polishing his Medieval furniture and listening to The Doors, while the girls run amok in short shorts and tube-tops… “Damn it, Ingela! How many times have I told you to use A COASTER?”

So, with some swallowing of integrity, and an intense desire to actually see him UP CLOSE AND STUFF, I rode the subway over to the Virgin Record Store in Union Square to shake hands with the Devil at The Gates of Hell.

It goes down like this:

I am standing outside of Virgin with some serious die-hards and more than a few girls, when Glenn Danzig pushes open the door and comes strutting out. “We’re doin’ it out here!” he announces to no one and everyone, and I think we are all shaken up and surprised. Suddenly, Danzig has turned the tables on the well-wishers and fans by going to them for whatever reason, and his large posse of handlers and camera-wielding assistants come rushing out, trying to keep up… He is dressed all in black and has on silver-mirrored Aviators, with hair flowing and he is totally smiling, which I suppose I didn’t expect. He is down-to-Earth and charming; shaking hands, hearing everyone’s stories, and I think of John Travolta in Primary Colors, nodding and listening and affirming with a Clintonesque “I feel your pain” look on his face. I am speechless as he comes through the line with a black Sharpie. “Hey, man, you goin’ to the show tonight?’ “Yeah…” I manage, and hand him my copy of Danzig 7. “Cool, alright!” he smiles as he signs my CD booklet. I hadn’t really thought this through, and really had nothing to say other than “Hi.”

I am a little overwhelmed by his happy-go-lucky manner, and I think of the scene in Winnie The Pooh when Pooh first meets Tigger. Tigger is bouncing around all hopped up on life, and Pooh just sighs and shakes his head, forever mired in a depression about his girlfriend leaving him. “Oh, bother…” Glenn Danzig hands my booklet to his band members who are following him through the receiving line, and he shakes my hand, “Hey, man, see you at the show!” He’s so happy. “Okay,” I reply. And he says, “Take care!” The band signs my booklet, and I stand there for a moment wondering what the heck had just happened. Glenn Danzig just told me to “Take care!” I am analyzing this as I walk away. (Shouldn’t he have said something like, “See you in HELL fucker!”?)

Part 2

In Which Pooh Tries To Get A Date For The Evil Prom, And Tigger Rocks The World!

Prologue to EVIL:
Mary Huhn is a columnist for The New York Post, who writes about alternative-style music, the likes of which you wouldn’t hear on KNAC.COM. She is into Lou Reed and Luna and Camper Van Beethoven, and that’s her thing. She also started dating a good friend of mine, and when we would see each other socially, I would rag on The Post for not covering hard rock or metal shows, and liking The Strokes way, way too much. She would smile weakly, mildly amused with my sarcasm. We started emailing each other, and after a period of time, she admitted it had been “a while” since she had seen a hard rock show live. With all the shows coming up, I insisted she see Danzig. I had already gotten a ticket to see this show like the Demon MF that I like to think I am, but I really started bugging her about Danzig. “He’s a legend! Metallica covers his songs, not the other way around! He wrote songs for Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison! You don’t know what you’re missing! For Chissakes, this guy is awesome! You need to do a piece about him!”

Intrigued by the Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash credits, she agreed to secure a pass. Just to see some rock, and not to review the show. She encourages me like a sister helping a younger brother, and said, “You do it. I’ll read it.” She later emailed me saying that she “got us passes,” and I suddenly realized that meant I had an extra ticket. I had arranged with my buddy Mike to take the ticket, but at the last minute, he had to bail. So, there I am, at 7:30PM in Times Square with an extra Danzig ticket, and trying to think who I should call at more or less the last minute on a Friday night to see some “Evil Live.”

Naturally, I’m thinking I should take a girl. The only girl I know who isn’t already involved works in Midtown, but I only just met her recently. I wonder if she would go? I know she likes rock. I found myself walking towards her place of employment, and minutes later, I am face to face with her. Well, sort of. She’s 6’2”, and looks like a Goth Anna Nicole Smith. I hastily explained my extra ticket situation, and asked her, if she was out of work in time, would she like to go, and meet up for a drink… she looks down at me with a big smile, violet eyes blazing, and says, “Yes!” Well, that wasn’t so hard was it? The first girl I have asked out in the six months since my ex left me, and she said “Yes!”

Out Comes The EVIL:
Mary has another engagement before the show, so I have to miss Prong. I have seen Prong before, and enjoy their music, but I am willing to take it on the chin. Mary shows up just after 9PM, and she picks up our tickets, but they come with an added bonus I wasn’t aware of. She has PRESS PASSES. This means we get to stand in THE COOL VIP SECTION. I can’t believe it. I am blown away. I figured we’d go hang by the bar, and I would tell her things about Danzig between songs, and I would watch her watching the crowd surge and say things like, “Bet they don’t mosh like this at LUNA.” The PR Director of The World (now no longer The “WWF” World, just “THE WORLD”) gets us a couple of beers (!!) and leads us down through the ocean of Rockers and Goths (it is “Goth Girl A-Go-Go” here tonight) to the Press area which is opposite the main stage, and left of the soundboard. The club is state-of-the-art, and fully digital, with plasma digital widescreen monitors all over the place so you can really see, even if you can’t see.

I am given a “Press Pass” sticker, which I wear on my shirt, proudly. Mary is quiet, taking it all in: I have told her about the Goth Anna Nicole Smith, and we look for her, but so far, can’t spot her. I realize that she knows what I look like, and given where we are standing in the club, figure I would be difficult to miss. So I will wait for her to come and grab me. In the meantime, I fill in Mary on some Danzig stuff, and we look at the colorful crowd. The stage is set for EVIL, as the sound-checking winds down. Joey C.’s drum kit is about four feet off the stage, flanked by bosomy winged gargoyles and surrounded by upturned spears. The drum kit (Tama) has the new Danzig logo on the bass.

At stage left and right are silkscreened Danzig skulls- the “5” skull on stage left, and the Danzig “1” skull on stage right. Stage left is a guitar rig set-up for Todd Youth, a local ex-hardcore guy who used to be in Agnostic Front and Murphy’s Law. He’s got a three by two stack of Randall amps. Stage right is the bass rig for “Howie.” I see three bass cabinets and some cool looking digital gear on the heads. They blink, and that’s all I can tell you about his gear. There are two skull stage props that are fashioned after the skull and bones logo on the back of the CD booklet for Danzig 7; they flank the stage, and look about 5 feet high.

Then…are you ready? “Unendlich,” the creepy instrumental opener from the new disc opens up as we are plunged into darkness. The band comes out, and then -- I can’t believe this -- is the same smiling Tigger that romped around outside Virgin: DANZIG! Shirtless, black vest, black jeans, that Texas Devil Longhorn belt-buckle of his, those weird shiny black rubber gloves on the new CD cover… and he careens into “Black Mass”… as FIVE STRIPPERS WEARING THONGS AND NUNS’ HABITS, WITH BLACK ELECTRICAL TAPE OVER THEIR NIPPLES GET UP AND START GYRATING RIGHT AT THE FRONT OF THE VIP STAGE!!! The tape over their nipples is like an upside-down cross. They are wearing upside-down crosses around their necks. I am just ever-so lucky enough to be right behind one of the tables they are standing on, and must contend with a face-full of stripper ass for the duration of the show. “Oh, bother…” I can’t decide which is more interesting, but my friend Mary is laughing at my conundrum, because I am to be laughed at. I keep staring at this girl’s thong and trying to peek through her legs to see Danzig onstage. And, oh yeah, I don’t want to look like too much of a pervert, because I am awaiting my Goth Anna Nicole Smith. Todd Youth, whom I can spot on alternate glimpses between thighs, is “tearing shit up” and extremely animated on stage. Though all decked out in whatever gear from Lip Service (black vinyl pants, vinyl shirt with an Iron Cross on it), he is totally doing the old-school New Yawk Hahd-Co-AH thing.

The audience is thrashing like socks in a spin-cycle, and the next new song comes in, “Without Light” as Glenn wails, the audience picks up “Down, Down, Down…” Guys are trying to tip the stripper in front of me, and I notice that this girl smells like one of those glycerine soaps you get from Body Shop. Glenn likes his girls evil, but clean. I am all for that.

The opening notes of “Twist Of Cain” ring in, and I can see Todd Youth looks like he is in love with his guitar, which looks like a Les Paul. I am beside myself with evil glee. Then comes “Dead Inside.” Danzig’s tenor is as full and rich as Lucianno Pavoratti, Jose Carreras or Placido Domingo. I think Danzig should do a “Three Tenors Of Evil” with Ian Astbury and Peter Steele, but I digress. “Under Her Black Wings” and I am still looking for my Gothic Anna; I want this to be “our song,” but it ain’t happening. Danzig is going absolutely nuts, banging his head, he almost looks as if he is going to attack the crowd with his lunging forward. People are desperately reaching toward the stage to high-five the Dark One, and I think how lucky I was to meet him this afternoon. Glenn wails and the room, which is looking like a scene from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome sings along. “WHOA-OH...” Very cool.

In comes, “Kiss the Skull.” This song rocks live. I said it. I was right, I knew it would, and my neck will be sore for days as a result. “Unspeakable” from Danzig 6. There is a pixie-like girl with tinted specs next to Mary and I who has Glenn Danzig’s autograph tattoed on her left arm. She gyrates slowly and seems to be dancing only for Glenn. “Angel Blake,” the “Sistinas” of D7, comes in. I don’t think people know it yet, but Danzig could be singing “Oops, I Did It Again!” and I don’t think anyone here would care. “Snakes Of Christ” -- another sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

“Wicked Pussycat”… ah, now this is sweet. The stripper nuns are making weird “cat moves” and clearly everyone here knows this one as well. “Until You Call On The Dark.” Howie’s bass has a red pentagram, by the way… “What Have I done?” I don’t know this one, and search desperately in my frazzled, distracted head for the correct title. Mary doesn’t know it; the stripper in front of me is busy, and the little pixie-girl is still dancing in a trance. I just look at the stripper’s ass and sigh. I kind of miss my ex-girlfriend.

“Am I Demon?” I think the answer to this question, by the way, is “Yes!” Most assuredly, you, sir, are “Demon.” “Mother.” Ever seen the live video for this? Well, that’s exactly what you have here. Everyone is going nuts, singing, yelling. Glenn doesn’t even have to sing this, as the audience will carry the load for him, but he blows it out beautifully. They leave the stage quickly, but clearly not for long, and come back for two more songs. I happen to know that on Friday nights at “The World” -- there is a Latin Hip-Hop Party that starts at 11:30PM. Glenn won’t be milking any encores tonight, and gets right to it. “You wanna hear some Danzig 3?”
This is the sound of the audience in response to his question:
‘AAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHH!”

This means “Yes” in rock-concert speak. I needle Mary a bit, “Bet they don’t scream like this at The Strokes!” She shakes her head. “Dirty Black Summer” rips open as Todd snaps and contorts his body with each note, and Howie and Joey C. bang heads and bass and skins. “I got a feeling…” Glenn announces that it’s Howie’s Birthday, and that they come from the same era and used to play around in different band -- they go way back. And then comes “Hollywood Babylon.” A little Misfits for the misfits. Cool. Glenn thanks the crowd, drumsticks are tossed, and the evil that is DANZIG leaves the stage. Lights come up and I am still shaking my head in disbelief.

-Finale-

Mary Huhn said she had a good time at the show; she liked “Dirty Black Summer.” God knows I had a great time. I had a face full of lavender-scented stripper-ass all night, and got to see Danzig rock out and drank free beer. But what about my Gothic Anna? My cell phone rang later in the evening, when I was hanging out having a few beers with MH. Gothic Anna blew off the show in favor of drinks with co-workers at a THEME RESTAURANT. This is such a crushing blow to me that I may never date again. I think I am going to give my life over to EVIL, like Danzig. Mary laughs. “Maybe it was too last minute for her…” I look at her. “Mary…it was DANZIG! She clearly wants nothing to do with me.” She sips on her wine. “There’ll be other shows. And other girls.” I consider this. Yes, there will be other shows. And maybe other girls. And I was lucky to have what I had today. Still, I write, “WWDD?” on the back of my hand. Mary asks what it means. I look at her, wondering myself: “What Would Danzig Do?” She looks at me. “Well, this guy Danzig seems pretty cool. Although not as scary as I thought. I bet he wouldn’t get stood up, though…” She laughs. Oh, bother…



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