Monday, April 27, 2009

The Glenn Danzig Virus

Glenn Danzig has probably always been metal's biggest asshole, at least in mainstream pop-culture consciousness. There might be worse insider or niche personalities, but he ironically looms large for the non-fan who only occasionally gets news from that world. This is no mean feat, considering he comes from a genre of music known for appealing to and being created by alcoholic white people angry at and victimized by things others can't discern and for reasons that remain mysterious. You'd think the world would know about dozens of these guys, but nope. It's just mostly Danzig.

Like most people, my knowledge of Danzig began with the sudden popularity of his song "Mother" in 1993. Over the years my education got filled in by friends who liked the Misfits — and one friend in particular, Tony, who made outstanding compilations of 1970s soul and lovemakin' music and capped them off surprisingly with a single track from either Danzig, Danzig II: Lucifuge or Danzig III: How the Gods Kill. Somehow, over this period, the only things I've learned about Danzig himself have made me think, "What a fuckhead."

He runs a godawful comic book press called "Verotik" (Violence + Erotic!), which combines the subtle comic-book understanding of gore with the even subtler comic-book understanding of fucking naked ladies. He supposedly treats his fellow musicians like garbage. Even without any testimony on that account, one way or another, it'd probably be a safe assumption to make, considering the abundance of "I met Danzig" stories that invariably seem to end with, "and he was a complete penis." Virtually any long interview with him involves his eventually answering questions by disavowing the truth of any previous interviews and implying that all journalists are prevaricating scavengers. And even without all that, there's just his appearance. He snarls and scowls even offstage, wears tight shirts that show off his muscles and generally looks like he's flexing all the time — which is silly as all hell, because he's shorter than the average grandmother.

The best place to see this in effect is in any non-concert Danzig music video. Take "Killer Wolf" for example. He spends the beginning of the video inexplicably walking around with a fucking wolf. Nevermind that the presence of a killer wolf contradicts the implication that Danzig himself is the killer wolf; the fact is that the wolf's about two-thirds his size. Then, about 2:40 in, Danzig gets down on all fours for about five seconds, for no reason. Incidentally, "Killer Wolf" inaugurated the Danzig video tradition of casting a white-trash leading lady who looks like she was "discovered" in a tattoo parlor and too drunk to say no to anything at the time.

All this might make it seem as if I'm being uncharitable to Danzig, but consider this. The day after he got punched out by a fat dude, Youtube had something like two dozen different videos of the incident, all of them netting five-star ratings, thousands of views and comments sections exploding with an orgy of schadenfreude. And that's the thing: even people who like his music (and that's not hard; it's basically classic blues with a ton of distortion and metal posturing that obscures a pretty conventional blues-rock backbone) enjoy making fun of him, because he comes off like a giant dicklord.

Which probably goes a long way to explaining how Danzig's become a minor humorous cottage industry on Youtube. Everything's funnier with Danzig in it because Danzig himself is constantly funny. You can insert Danzig into any video footage or pair him with any other piece of music or video and it will be funny, because the man himself is unintentionally hilarious even when he's doing something he means to do. Double him up with a Hall & Oates song, and it works perfectly, because this is someone who struts and poses as a lethal badass despite probably having to wear platform shoes just to be let into the line for Space Mountain. He fills his songs with "WHA-HO" and "URRRRRR" and "YEAYAH" noises at the weirdest times. A friend of mine once re-wrote "Last Caress" to be about yurts and monkey shit, and it still made about as much sense as the original. Danzig even falls off the stage because he's just singing with too much evil — or gut. (About 4:05 in.)

But enough beating up Danzig. You want to see Youtubes. Glorious Youtubes. The things you can derail a party with by bringing out a laptop, being that guy and making people watch things. The first is a re-recording of his greatest hit, "Mother." If you haven't lost it by the solo, I don't know what's wrong with you.



The second isn't as good, but it is disturbing how well the Danzig video links up with Hall & Oates' "Maneater." I wish whomever made it had spent a little more time trying to edit things together less obviously, but there's probably a whole level of comedy coming from the sloppiness just because the songs parallel each other uncannily with almost zero effort.



Finally, there's probably the best Youtube video of 2007, Shakira (Featuring Danzig) "Hips Don't Lie":


Look for the singing (killer) wolf.

There's nothing to say to any of that, other than, "WHOA HO OHHHH."

20 comments:

  1. Danzig is going to come to your house and kick your ass for trying to steal his gold. Hide the stepladders and pray.

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  2. don't forget the episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force in which Danzig purchases the house next door, because it is cursed by the dead spirits of prehistoric space elves (or something). and has a pool full of blood. even the absurdly nonsensical, robotic "Ghost of Christmas Past From the Future" can't stand Danzig, declaring him to be an intolerable roommate.

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  3. Can short dark-haired pseudo-Satanist white guys still qualify as vanilla midgets?

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  4. @catharsixThis is literally the first time anyone's told me anything about Aqua Teen Hunger Force that's made me think, "Holy shit, that's funny," instead of, "What the fuck is wrong with people that they watch that show voluntarily?" I watched it three or four times on different occasions, trying to get into it, and if you had told me that it was a culture-jamming experiment to see if people would enjoy a show that was deliberately engineered to be comprehensively terrible, I would have believed you without reservation.

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  5. You have no idea what you are trying to write about.

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  6. I read this column, then skimmed through the most recent entries....

    You know what I can't discern?

    Why the fuck should I pay your health care?

    Why the hell should I be put under strain the next time your pansy little ass gets an eyebrow cut? Because you're a nice guy? Because we occupy the same land mass? Or should I do it...for reasons that remain mysterious?

    Maybe if you didn't spend so much time deconstructing media that you hate, and falling in love with every word you write....you could do something productive.

    pro-DUC-tive (adj) - Useful to the rest of us.

    That way, you could earn enough cash to pay for your OWN boo-boos....if you're smart enough not to piss it away on nickel bags and manicures.

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  7. Nickel bags and manicures... THAT should be the Danzig/Shakira mashup band!

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  8. Heh, these morons are already paying for not only my health care, if I get so sick I have to visit the emergency room (because I can't afford it, even though I work full time), but also the health care of vagrants and other people that fall into the cracks because they were never able to get care for their debilitating psychological or physical ailments in the first place. So next time you pay your taxes, think about a transvestite prostitute getting her (his) anal abscesses drained and cauterized on your dollar and write another stupid comment about paying an extra buck a year or so in taxes (no really, my friend is an emergency room doctor and that sort of thing happens and you are paying for it bud) to cover good people, our neighbors, the woman buying dog food in the grocery line because she has to buy meds with her s.s. check, and innocent children. The problem is that all these jackasses protesting universal coverage don't realize what they are paying for already, but for the most extreme cases, and that they will pay for even more the more debilitates and marginalized our society as a whole becomes due to poor health, mentally and physically which will cripple economy.

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  9. Just an FYI, in his less than 15 minutes reading this site, my homeboy Anonymous clicked on 19 different articles, the last sixteen of which came in a batch covering the whole of September, 2009, the last article of which was this one advocating universal healthcare article, which he obviously didn't get to.

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  10. danzig = sexy-man-beast-jerseyboy. too hot for words.

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  11. Just to weigh in posthumously as a musician...Danzig deserves some puncturing for his extremely pretentious visual imagery...however, my pet peeve, no matter what the subject, is posturing by critics who twist what little they know about the structure of music into an apparent doctorate in music theory...On that note, Danzig is actually a talented song writer..."utterly conventional", my friend, could be applied to ALL music in the way you're using it. All rock and roll is standard blues and blues scales. The majority of rock songs throughout the history of rock consist of the same chords from the same scales...That being said, Danzig's arrangements are fairly spectacular for rock, which is why he has been asked in the past to write songs for Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, among others. His musical talent is recognized by almost any pro musician...his subject matter and image are laughable, but the music is not. It is the only reason he's attained the status that he has. Again, just a pet peeve. Try learning a little about music before you pop off on it again...
    Jumpin' Jack Flash---A C G D
    Pretty Vacant---A C D E G
    Splendid Isolation---C D Em G
    Fell in Love With a Girl---A B D E F#
    ...just a diverse variety of rock songs..
    and MOTHER(Danzig)---A B G
    SOUL ON FIRE(Danzig)---A B D E
    ...etc., etc.---they're all "utterly conventional". Interesting epilouge--the chords for Zevon's Splendid Isolation, (Zevon being considered one of rock's greatest writers ever) are exactly the same as..."8-6-5-3-0-9...", the cheesy eighties hit-(Em, C, G, D), and the chord progression is the same as the Stripes' "Fell In Love With a Girl", just different chords in the progression. Get the point?

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  12. my pet peeve, no matter what the subject, is posturing by critics who twist what little they know about the structure of music into an apparent doctorate in music theory
    I hate that too, man. I wish you only the best in taking someone who thinks that and someone who is doing that to task for being so annoying. I don't consider myself anything approaching doctoral-level understanding of music or anything much beyond open-minded amateur.

    Which is why I wrote a post about Danzig's persona, presentation and perception and about funny Youtube videos riffing off those, instead of writing deconstructions of chord progressions and posting tabs.

    I can only guess from what you chose to jump on and what you write that you are either a Danzig fan or fond of picking this fight — or, more likely both — because otherwise I can really see no point in making a molehill out of what is at best an ill-chosen adverb in a parenthetical aside and bears little resemblance to the supercilious malice of know-nothing musical academicians making uninformed attacks on musical structure that you obviously want to engage.

    Hell, I'm not even really sure why those two words merit such focused engagement, because it's partially a compliment. Danzig's extremely listenable because a lot of his core sound embraces roots people have dug in a dozen other venues and styles. The importance of the conventional comment isn't to say that it's not good (what the fuck's wrong with being conventional anyway?): it's that Danzig's inflated presentation of His Dark Danzigness is a little bit goofy window-dressing and a lot of marketing because, "Hey, dude, I play hard blues-rock," isn't much of a persona. But the important distinction is that this is a point made about Danzig The Dude and not Danzig the Recorded Catalogue. It's a reflection not on the worth of the music's construction but how simply hearing it without any knowledge of who Danzig is, and what he's like, would probably lead people to a very different impression of the dude.

    But this is something that can go in circles.

    Was "utterly" sloppily banged (heh, sloppily banged) out? Yeah. Was "utterly" unfair? Maybe. I'll go change it now because of that worry. But whatever it was, it was significantly less unfair than the what I can only guess is the pointy-headed Pitchfork reviewer strawman image you crafted of me to allow you to unpack a pretty huge degree of implied criticisms about an adverb. I mean, on one hand, sorry to have caused such consternation. But on the other hand, stop imagining that I am someone who upsets you and imagining that my argument is an upsetting one, and you will be a lot less upset.

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  13. Holy crap! Glen Danzig is a self serving sanctimonious jackass?? Say it ain't so!
    I think I'm going to cry.

    Glen has stated in several interviews over the years that what he does is not for the fans, and that other's perceptions of him are without relevance.

    Watch out...freedom of speech and self expression that doesn't fit into a convenient mold! Somebody ressurect Stalin and wake up the republicans quick!

    I do apologize, I just find the entire premise of this particular blog entry absolutely hillarious. Indeed yes, Captain Obvious, I am a Danzig fan. He's on permenant rotation in my stereo, right along with Johnny Clegg and Savuka, and Mussorgsky...and no, that's not a joke.

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  14. DA,

    Watch out...freedom of speech and self expression that doesn't fit into a convenient mold! Somebody ressurect Stalin and wake up the republicans quick!
    What are you addressing here? I can only guess you're inferring something I'm not trying to do, but what makes you say this?


    I do apologize, I just find the entire premise of this particular blog entry absolutely hillarious. Indeed yes, Captain Obvious, I am a Danzig fan. He's on permenant rotation in my stereo, right along with Johnny Clegg and Savuka, and Mussorgsky...and no, that's not a joke.
    Mussorgsky rules. As for the premise of this piece, it's little more than "Glen Danzig is hilarious." I can tell you why I wrote it, but I'm just as interested in what you think is the reason why I did so. Because it sounds more complex than my motivation. As for it's not really being a groundbreaking observation... well, often times amusing things aren't. They're just interesting. I don't think anything here pretends to timeless analysis.

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  15. Glenn Danzig may be a total sucker, some of his songs are still really great, many cool musicians such as Jerry Cantrell or Joey Castillo worked with him, which is a proof of his talent.
    What about the Misfits then? Was it a loser band playing shitty music because Danzig is an egocentric dumb fuck ?
    It's not my personal point of view.

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  16. I am a huge fan of the Misfits but I must say that Danzig is an ass, but so are his fellow bandmates for taking the band he created and turning it into what it is, a cash cow that creates so much merchandise it's more so a brand than a band.

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  17. Danzig is the fuckin man! It sounds like you're jealous

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  18. But if you're too ignorant to go take a look through history, find the rarest bootlegs, and so on... it's not just the musical notation, nor the recording procedures (if it's not broke, don't fix it, why did the 90z have to happen?!?! -kill-me!), but his VOCAL TALENT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The range, the range, the non-forced, well rehearsed, professionally trained (aside from yelling misguided during live performances and doing stupid things to his vocal membranes) ....he had charismatic tonal timbres unmatched by any singer, even on a bad day. BUT THAT IS ALL GONE, AS OF 1987!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ............
    If you know Danzig, post-"Mother era" ,,,,you're too ignorant to know that "Mother" came from 1987-1988 and was redone in the 90z, yo? Rick Rubin ruined Danzig, conned him, tricked him, was an enabler to him, just like any pop performers who get enabled into doing destructive things, all for the money. Even Danzig himself is mostly a money-aholic and doesn't put out decent products anymore, everything mediocre. But we never lived through this life + era, perhaps it was fun for him in the early 90z, yo?? Perhaps it was a free ride, not as much stress, and one could afford to overlook their own details and make mistakes.
    .....................
    Danzig did what all the pop icons have always done, go after the money, do whatever it takes. So if you point fingers at him one more time, you're pointing them back at yourself and whatever else you have actual respect for.
    ......................
    If you're so "perfect"... then don't be generic yourself, unless you're just another visionless clone who can't understand something weirder: Danzig, and all his associates up till about late 1986, I swear, were under-an-influence (not a substance of science) but a supernatural wave that came over them, but we're just mortals who do not understand the wrath-of-GOD nor anything else beyond scientific explanation. Why simplify what cannot be understood?? Why question what will NEVER be answered?? Why not think-in-parallel??
    ..................
    If you choose to laugh at what I said, and accuse me of being a Danzig fan, sure.... whatever! Be simple, take shortcuts, make a fool out of yourself. The truth.... I don't really care for Danzig anymore, nor any of his stupid fans, they're always so simple minded and usually very dumb. But I see a pattern, from a long time ago. Danzig was onto something, but he served his term, something happened, and he was no longer needed. Sometimes I do listen to his older material, but not for the same reason anyone else would. Not for humor, or whatever simple shortcuts the simple minded people are. I have my reasons and I care to not share them, no one here would understand.
    .......................
    Oh and I'm not racist, I'm not anything you would think I am. Might as well give up. And Danzig was very fit, he's still fairly healthy, and far superior to most average people. SO WHAT IF HE'S SHORT!!!!!! It doesn't change anything! So what if he got punched by some white trash jealous slimebag. It obviously didn't kill Danzig, and I heard the footage was cut off after a certain point anyway. Many girls want to have his baby, does he need to prove himself?? Do you??????????? I'm taller than Danzig, doesn't mean I'm better! Doesn't mean I'm worse, doesn't mean anything. I met him only once, he's not as short as people exaggerate.

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Et tu, Mr. Destructo? is a politics, sports and media blog whose purpose is to tell jokes or be really right about things. All of us have real jobs and don't need the hassle that telling jokes here might occasion, which is why some contributors find it more tasteful to pretend to be dead mass murderers.