This is my favorite music interview. I spoke to Glenn Danzig in 2005.
Dark, Deep, Hypnotic,
Aloof, Intense, Erotic,
These words describe the man and the music that is Danzig. Glenn Danzig is the man and his newest CD, Circle of Snakes, is the music. You are all familiar with Glenn’s colorful twenty-five plus year history in the music business. We take it from here into the future with this exclusive interview.
Cindi Loftus: Hi Glenn. I love Circle Of Snakes. How did you prepare to write all these songs? Do you have a ritual you do or a place you go?
Glenn Danzig: Nope. I write them riding in the car or sitting at my desk. Or just laying in bed or where ever. There was never really a set way to do it.
CL: You don’t have to get into a certain mindset? It’s just there
GD: No. At least for me I don’t have to do that.
CL: How long did it take you to write all the songs on this CD?
GD: Uh. I start writing songs as soon as I am done with the last record. And actually even when all the stuff is recorded for a record I’m writing songs, ya know. I just bring ‘em down and show ‘em to everybody.
CL: Do you struggle with lyrics or does it come pouring out of you?
GD: Nothing comes pouring out of me. Sometimes writing a song can be a pain in the ass and sometimes it comes real easy. Sometimes I get the ideas and write it down in five minutes and it’s done. Other times it takes weeks from the time you initiate the arrangement and write the lyrics and rearranging it
CL: I think when people hear the words to a song they tend to apply it to their experience and how it fits their lives.
GD: That’s great. I love when people do that with my stuff. That’s great.
CL: My favorite song on this record is When We Were Dead and when I hear the words, it makes me think of someone trapped in an addiction. Now I have no idea what you were actually thinking when you wrote it…
GD: I wasn’t thinking that. But that’s good that you were. Ya know, of course I am writing a song and you can take it all different ways, you can take it the way I wrote it or you can apply it to yourself and I think it’s great. I love talking to people that buy my records and they tell me what a certain thing means to them. They make it more personal to themselves. That’s the best compliment you can get.
CL: I would love to know what you were thinking about when you wrote it.
GD: Oh God, a million things.
CL: Was it about zombies?
GD: No, no, no, no, no.
CL: It’s not about Purgatory?
GD: Well, in some ways, some of the lines in there are metaphors for Purgatory.
CL: I have to ask this very naïve questions, but how do you make it sound like the instruments are saying When We Were Dead?
GD: I don’t know. (laughs)
CL: Fine. (laughs) In the song Black Angel White Angel are you writing about the classic struggle between good and evil or is there a lot deeper story to it?
GD: It’s a little deeper then that. It’s not so much a struggle as a co-existence. There are a lot of questions in there. Which people can either listen to or not, ya know, you can just listen to the melody and dig it, or they can hear what is actually being said.
CL: I think your words are so amazing. I can’t imagine anyone not listening to them, and I am so glad that you put the words in the liner notes.
GD: We always try to put the words in there. And if we occasionally leave one out, people just go nuts.
CL: You hear about it. For the CD Circle Of Snakes and the tour you have changed one member. Bevin Davies played drums on the CD, but for the tour…
GD: We replaced him.
CL: So Johnny Kelly will be the drummer on the tour.
GD: Johnny has played with Danzig before so it’s kinda like we are bringing him back.
CL: Tommy Victor plays on the CD and on the tour.
GD: That’s correct.
CL: And Jerry Montano plays on the CD and on the tour.
GD: That’s correct.
CL: You are touring for a month in the US, then you are going to Europe?
GD: We take off a couple weeks (between the two) and then we go to Europe. I didn’t really want to go out on tour. But I pushed my other tour back, The Blackest of the Black until next fall. The label wanted me to do a tour for the new record because we hadn’t done one yet. Although I didn’t want to commit to a long tour, I said okay I said I would do a month in American and we will just hit a few of the major cities and that’s it.
CL: Well I’m in Miami, and unfortunately I’m not on your tour.
GD: It’s not really a major city for us anymore, it’s more disco and rap and that kind of shit.
CL: So you are not going to extend your US tour at all? There are a lot of fans that want to see you.
GD: No. Ya know, I don’t know what to tell you.
CL: Can you do a live DVD of this concert? Then we could all see it.
GD: I don’t know.
CL: Who is the hot naked blonde chick in the CD liner?
GD: That’s a model.
CL: I was hoping it was someone’s love interest…
GD: Why were you hoping that?
CL: Just to get some juicy gossip.
GD: Oh (laughs)
CL: So I guess you wouldn’t tell me if it was.
GD: That’s right.
CL: What are the best and worst things about being on tour.
GD: The best thing is the hour and a half, two hours up on stage. The worst part is bouncing around on the bus and not being home.
CL: Do you like all the traveling?
GD: I’m over it. I’ve been doing it my whole life. I see other people who are not sick of it. I’m really over it.
CL: How was it to perform with Doyle?
GD: When he came up for the shows it was really great. Doyle is a really nice guy.
CL: So is he is going to do some of your tour with you?
GD: No, he’s not scheduled to. He might next year in Blackest of the Black. And maybe we’ll come to Miami then, who knows.
CL: Great! Will I offend you if I talk about sex?
CL: The pervert that I am, when I listened to the song Circle of Snakes, there is a line that says, “ writhe around your face like a circle of snakes.” The imagery I was getting was not snakes…
GD: What was it?
CL: It was like a girl sitting on the floor and a bunch of guys around her doing like a bukkake.
GD: (cracks up) Wow, you are telling me a lot about yourself.
CL: Uh oh.
GD: That’s one of the other things I like when people tell me what a song meant to them. I don’t usually do a psychological profile of them. (laughs)
CL: Thank God.
GD: That’s cool cause I never would of thought of that. You can ask your readers if they would have thought of that and let me know. It’s your interpretation. It’s America. You are allowed to do that.
CL: Luckily I am also the one that types the interview, so I don’t have to put any stupid things I say in it! Anyway, you have so many other things going on, so the big question is- Is this officially the last tour for Danzig?
GD: I don’t know. I know that I will do Blackest of the Black this fall. But I don’t know if I’ll do it next year. They want to have it as a yearly thing, and I don’t know if I will do it next year. I do know that I want a break. I finally took a little break and I was able to do Black Aria Part 2. Now I am finishing up the screenplay for this movie I’m going to direct, so it does help finding time to do all this kind of stuff, by taking little breaks.
CL: I think you deserve one after all this hard work.
GD: Yeah I deserve one, I think so too.
CL: Black Aria 2 is classical music?
GD: The first one was like a classical horror sound track style. This one is along the same vein.
CL: When is it coming out?
GD: It’s supposed to come out early summer.
CL: Do you like working without your band?
GD: Yeah. (laughs)
CL: So you are not touring with Black Aria 2?
GD: No, I’d have to get a whole orchestra and I don’t think that’s feasible.
CL: Can I talk you into doing a live DVD for Black Aria 2? You’d just have to get the orchestra for one day.
GD: Oh no. I don’t know about that.
CL: I’m having no influence here.
GD: Actually I might do a music video for one of the songs on Black Aria 2. It is about Lilith, the first wife of Adam so it would have girls being dark and seductive.
CL: Well I know some girls who like to be naked and dark and seductive. If you’d like any of them let me know.
GD: Yeah sure, send me the pictures! (laughs)
CL: The name of your comic book company, I want to make sure I am saying this correctly VER-O-TIK? Like erotic with a “V”
GD: Yes, “very erotic” is what it is short for.
CL: So you write all the stories for your Verotik comic book line?
GD: In the beginning I had lots of different writers writing with me. Like they would they would do their stories I would do mine. Eventually we honed it down. Pretty much we just publish how we want to now. When ever we have a story to tell. So I write all the stuff now.
CL: And you are also writing the screenplay for Gerouge. You are adapting it from a comic book you wrote?
GD: Yeah. I wrote this story along time ago about turn of the Century in New Orleans in 1904. I adapted it into comic book form around 1997 or so. And we were talking to a production company who really dug our stuff and wanted to produce some of our stuff. So we gave them the books. And we decided this was something we really wanted to do and it was Gerouge.
CL: Does Gerouge mean something in French?
GD: The Angry Red Eye. So I’ve been adapting the screenplay for it and it’s almost done.
CL: Is the movie going to be done with computer animation or real people?
GD: Real people doing real crazy things.
CL: Is it going to be a full-length feature film?
CL: And you have to write the sound track for it?
GD: I’m pretty sure I’ll write the sound track.
CL: I know there are so many things about you that fans want to know. Can I ask some crazy questions?
GD: Yeah. Whether I answer them or not is a totally different story.
CL: Who did you vote for President?
GD: I don’t vote.
CL: How do you feel about the war in Iraq.
GD: War is war. I think if you are going to go to war you should kill everybody; otherwise don’t go to war. I don’t like when people pretend that war is like this little game and there are rules and everything. There are no rules. It’s war. You are sending people over to kill and don’t complain when they kill.
CL: How do you feel about organized religion?
GD: Usually that’s what fucks up religion. I guess religion in itself is for people that are weaker and they need something to bolster them and make them feel like it’s all worth something. I guess (for them) religion is a good thing. But when people come in and make it like a business, which is organizing it, that’s usually when it gets all fucked up.
CL: What is your philosophy on life?
GD: Have fun before you die! Accomplish the things you want to accomplish. Be creative and enjoy everything in life that there is to enjoy.
CL: What is the worst thing that anyone ever said about you?
GD: I don’t know, but I am sure there are tons of them. But people can say whatever the fuck they want. I don’t give two shits.
CL: Do you have any pets?
GD: Yeah, I have a bunch of cats.
GD: Yeah. Meow, cats.
CL: Of course I picture you having snakes.
GD: No I don’t like snakes. I mean as pets. When I was a kid I had snakes. But a big snake like a boa, even though you think it’s your friend, it would never be your friend. And if it could it would eat you.
CL: Aren’t there a lot of people like that too?
GD: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying and I don’t have them staying at my house. I mean I know a lot of people who like snakes. I don’t hate snakes. They actually taste good. (laughs) But a snake is not an animal like a wolf or a cat that will bond to you. The only reason a snake comes near you is for your body warmth.
CL: No love.
GD: It’s not going to love you. It possibly could eat you if you are small enough and if it gets big enough it will eat you. So I don’t hate them. I just wouldn’t have them as a pet.
CL: Okay for your ten-bonus point question…
GD: What do I get for the bonus points?
CL: What ever you want! Tell me where this quote comes from“ Artists are very sensitive not like journalists who have elephant skin.”
GD: Well it’s not from me….
CL: No. It’s from a movie I watched today in your honor. I know you love the movies directed by Dario Argento and I found one of them called Deep Red.
GD: Oh Deep Red. Yeah. I have it. Another really good one if you like those kind of movies is Bird with Crystal Plummage.
CL: I’ll check it out. I know you like horror movies.
GD: I don’t like all horror movies. I like good horror movies.
CL: What’s your favorite horror movie of all time?
GD: I don’t know because horror is defined differently by different people. So it could be anything.
CL: Have you watched any recent horror movies that you thought were good?
GD: I like a lot Japanese horror movies because they are much scarier then American horror movies. The last cool American horror I saw was Darkness Falls.
CL: I didn’t see that
GD: They take the legend of the tooth fairy and make her this evil being that scares children.
CL: That sounds cool. Speaking of Evil, how is Evil Live, your indie label going?
GD: It’s going good.
CL: Have you signed anyone yet?
GD: No, I’d like to, but the label that distributes us says they are only interested in established talent. So if I do it I have to find another distributor to do it. There are a couple bands that I want to sign.
CL: So do you think you will just do your own thing and sign some bands?
GD: Yeah, I think I might go somewhere else to do distribution for those that I sign on my own.
CL: I went on the Internet and found some of your fans. I asked them to send me the one question that they would ask you if they could. I got a lot of responses. Do you want to hear a couple?
GD: Not really. (laughs) Fans that are on the internet are out of their minds. They are not normal fans.
CL: Okay how about just two- Here let me read you what one guy said, “Glenn Danzig will die never getting the credit he deserves. He’s a genius, far ahead of his time. Ask him about his blues project he’s trying to launch with Jerry Cantrell.”
GD: Jerry and I worked together on Danzig 5 and he’s a really great guitar player. He’d be perfect for this project so we’ve been talking about doing it and trying to make room in our schedules to make it happen.
CL: Next one- “Ask him about his best groupie experience?”
GD: My best groupie experience. Oh wow. I don’t know really.
CL: There’s too many?
GD: Yeah that could be.
CL: You are so non-committal! Is there anything we didn’t talk about that you want to publicize?
GD: No not really. I hate talking about myself.
CL: But you have so much experience in the music world you have no choice!
GD: I guess.
CL: Alex Zander, the Publisher of MK Magazine, says that he’s been to the AVN awards and conventions for the last two years and he’s been surprised he hasn’t seen you there. You don’t attend?
GD: No I don’t attend. Is he the guy whose uncle is Anton LeVay?
CL: Sorry I don’t know. Do you have friends within the adult industry?
GD: I do. Yes.
GD: A whole lot of them. Of course I know a lot of those people.
CL: Your not naming names. One last question. One song on Circle of Snakes is called Night, BeSodom. What does BeSodom mean? Is it the girl’s name?
GD: (laughs) I’ll just leave it for you to figure out.
CL: Come on!
GD: (laughs) You’ve got a pretty active imagination.
CL: Well I can break it apart and kinda figure out what it might mean. But is it her name?
CL: Is it something you are doing to her?
GD: It’s something that gets done.
CL: Okay. Well, we’ll get this done, with one more question. Do you have a message for your fans?
GD: Yeah. Thanks! I appreciate the support. Hopefully you like the stuff I do. I’m not going to change.