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Danzig: Wikipedia Sucks, Sabbath and Elvis Rule, and The Everly Brothers are ‘Punk Rock’

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Oh, Mother: Glenn Danzig finds inspiration for his unique brand in unexpected places—like in the music of The Everly Brothers, ZZ Top and Aerosmith.

Oh, Mother: Glenn Danzig finds inspiration for his unique brand in unexpected places—like in the music of The Everly Brothers, ZZ Top and Aerosmith.

“WIKIPEDIA is full of shit.”

I’m barely a minute-and-a-half into my interview with Glenn Danzig and I’ve already managed to set off his notorious hair trigger temper by asking a pair of misinformed questions about his upcoming covers LP, which is slated for release in late November—about a month after his upcoming show at the City National Civic.

My bunk information—namely that Skeletons is to be a six-song EP, instead of a 10-track full-length—isn’t from Wikipedia. Nonetheless, my heart rate quickens, as the Misfits-founding, horror-punk-pioneering, living legend continues his tirade against the oft-errant, crowd-sourced encyclopedia.

For the better part of a decade, I have made a living profiling musicians. I’ve battled my way through a painfully awkward phoner with delinquent Odd Future founder, Tyler, The Creator; attempted to untangle the enigmatic ramblings of oddball rapper and aspiring pro wrestler, RiFF RAFF; and been sent running to the dictionary by The Mars Volta’s defiantly dadaesque frontman, Cedric Bixler-Zavala. Never before have I been so sure I would be hung up on by an interviewee as I was during those few, tense minutes I spent speaking with punk rock’s most infamous curmudgeon.

Lucky for me, once he finishes his Wiki-rant, he settles into a calmer tone, and even gives me a verbal pat on the back, assuring me it’s really not my fault. In fact, the way he sees things, the website owes me an apology.

“Wikipedia should be apologizing to everybody, because they’re a piece of shit.”

Duly noted. Now, on to the topic at hand.

As it turns out, Danzig is actually a pretty reasonable guy—with a well-rounded musical palate, to boot.

Skeletons will feature Danzig’s take on a wide array of rock & roll, metal, psych and rockabilly classics from the likes of Black Sabbath, Elvis Presley and even The Everly Brothers—whom, Danzig insists, are punk as hell.

Reflecting on what drew him, and so many others, to the punk movement in the ’70s and ’80s, the singer and songwriter explains that he was fed up with how bloated rock & roll had become.

“We were tired of all this arena rock,” Danzig says. “We wanted to bring it back. It was more about the song, instead of proving you could do a 15 minute solo.”

The Everlys don’t mince words, they don’t beat around the bush, and they certainly don’t take extended solos. They understand the value of “telling you a story and getting the fuck out. So, actually, in effect, The Everly Brothers are a lot more punk” than plenty of other groups who have adopted the loud and fast dynamics of punk without fully understanding that punk rock isn’t about one specific sound, he reasons. “Punk is an attitude.”

Skeletons will ostensibly reveal much of the source material for Glenn Danzig’s attitude and persona.

“A skeleton can be a building foundation,” he says, explaining the title of his covers record. “A skeleton is a frame. It’s basically what some of these songs are—a framework for who I ended being, for what I do.”

The album includes Danzig’s version of “N.I.B.” by Sabbath. He says the fuzzy guitar work of Tony Iommi and the sludgy rhythms of drummer Bill Ward and bassist Geezer Butler were as important to him as a developing artist as the swaggering, early rock & roll sounds of The King—whom he covers in the form of “Let Yourself Go.”

Lesser-known, deep cuts on Skeletons include “Satan”—from the soundtrack to the 1969 cult biker film, Satan’s Sadists—and “With a Girl Like You,” by the English garage quartet, The Troggs. And then there are a few choices that might raise some eyebrows, including ZZ Top’s fluffy, synth-heavy “Rough Boy,” and Aerosmith’s ode to legs, “Lord of the Thighs.”

Then again, no one should be surprised with these picks. After all, Danzig has built a career out of constantly cutting against the grain.

“I’m not ashamed of them,” he says of songs he chose for Skeletons. “I think I’m pretty happy with the selection that I made.” 

Danzig plays the City National Civic with support from the Phil Anselmo-fronted Superjoint, Veil of Maya, Prong and Witch Mountain.

Danzig plays the City National Civic on Oct. 29. More info.

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