Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Glenn Danzig turned 60 this week. If you want to get some real perspective on ageing punkers, consider this: Alan Vega just turned 77 this week! I had no idea until fairly recently that he was that old. So when he saw his life-changing Stooges shows circa 1969/'70, the guy was already in his 30s. Doesn't make him any less awesome. However, what does make Danzig slightly less awesome is the ridiculous figure he has devolved into the past 25 years or more. Friends of mine really dug those early Danzig records. God knows I heard them enough at the dawn of the '90s at various parties where bongs were passed and vast amounts of alcohol was consumed, but they didn't mean much of anything to me. Fact is, the Misfits never meant much of anything to me either, even when I was Hardcore Joe Kokomo as a young gent. Sure, I heard the records and knew all about the band (no great stretch: they remain one of the obvious entry points for young rockers globally), but they came across like a bunch of artless lunkheads and not really my cup o' tea.
Naturally, I own all the obvious Misfits (ca. 1976 - '83: not the circus which has been parading as the Misfits in the post-Danzig universe) LPs now, but big deal - I own a lot of records, and not all of 'em good. Still, I can crank up some primo 'fits on occasion and dig the shit out of it in my paunched middle age, and that's not a bad thing. Their story is an interesting one - a band basically considered a joke in the NY punk rock circuit until various midwestern teens (Necros, Meatmen, etc.), DC baldies and west coast aggros (mainly the 'Flag guys) sung their praises and word began to spread. I could be wrong here, but the impression I get is that they couldn't get arrested in their hometown but obviously turned a lot of heads when The Kids took notice throughout the land.
Samhain were a more peculiar proposition: Danzig's outfit from 1983 - 1987, one which slowed down the tempo and went for a more metallic, goth/death-rock angle. I don't own any of their records and never have. Right now they're out of print, even in the digital realm. I've heard 'em, though - there was a nice box set released in 1999 which I remember selling many copies of when I worked at Missing Link - and they certainly have their charm, even if they suffer from the most staggeringly fuckawful production just about ever heard on record (and if you think I'm out of line, listen to the studio version of 'Archangel'). Anyway, this live clip, at least for me, nails how good Danzig and co. could be when everything's nailed down tight. The live version of 'Archangel' above is it. Pure rock & roll weirdness delivered with a hostile snarl. It really is terrific. Watch. Learn.