Glenn Danzig on the Early Influence of Elvis and David Bowie's Pin Ups
Glenn Danzig holds a unique place in the history of modern music. As frontman for the Misfits from the late '70s through the early '80s, Danzig helped create one of the iconic sounds in punk rock with a visual aesthetic (the band looked like it came right out of a horror movie) to bolster a combination of deep, melodic, melodramatic vocals. After he parted company with the Misfits, Danzig further developed that idea in his band Samhain, which also reflected his love for the heaviness of Black Sabbath.
In 1987, he changed the name Samhain to his stage surname, Danzig (he was born with the last name Anzalone), but kept the lineup. Since then, Danzig has established himself as an innovative and adventurous artist in the realm of hard rock and heavy metal, blurring the line between those styles of music as well as blues and industrial.
From the start, though, Danzig has always wanted to do a covers album. In 1979, he did an arrangement on "Devil's Angels” from the soundtrack to the film of the same name; the original was written and performed by Dave Allan & the Arrows. On his latest release, 2015's Skeletons, Danzig also included intriguing selections of songs by the artists who influenced him, like ZZ Top, Black Sabbath, the Troggs and, of course, Elvis Presley. In fact, it was Elvis who set Danzig on his path to becoming a musician.
“I was cutting school just because I wanted to stay home and pretend I'm sick so I could watch old movies and just relax,” recalls Danzig. “I was watching TV once and Jailhouse Rock comes on, and I'm like, 'What is this?' I started watching it, and at the end I thought, 'This is what I want to do. That's what I want to be. That's for me. That's it!'”
The inspiration behind the covers album came in part from Danzig's appreciation of David Bowie's classic 1973 covers album Pin Ups. Rather than offer a straight imitation of the originals, Bowie transformed each song in a way that put his personal stamp on it. Danzig did the same with his own selections for this album. But as a nod to Bowie, he decided to do a take on the Pin Ups cover as well — but in a way only Danzig could.
“I was trying to decide if I was going to do a painted cover or a photo cover,” reveals Danzig. “I hadn't done a photo cover in a while, and I decided to do a take on the Pin Ups cover, but do it in skull face and have the girl in skull face. People seem to dig it.”
Danzig is traveling in support of Skeletons as part of his Blackest of the Black tour with Superjoint, Veil of Maya, Prong and Witch Mountain. But the Denver date on Tuesday, October 27, at Boulder Theater was just canceled. For more information, visit the Boulder Theater website.
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