Even after four decades and over a dozen albums crammed underneath his skull belt buckle, Glenn Danzig still has a lot more evil left to give. He reminded us of that last month when a photo of him dawning the black and white skull make up, a look synonymous with his early days in the Misfits, appeared on his Facebook page as a tease for the art on Skeletons, his forthcoming album of cover songs (set for release in July/Early August). Not a bad way to mark his 60th year on the planet–even though if you ask him, he'll tell you he doesn't give a shit how old he is. But the album itself finally opens a new chapter for the New Jersey native, one that he's been thinking about since early on in his career.
"I've always wanted to do a covers record and I've always had it in my head," Danzig says, a sand papery, East Coast rasp in his voice. The arrangement he used to cover the song "Devil's Angels"–the theme song for a 1967 American biker movie of the same name–was something he came up with back in 1979, two years after starting the Misfits. "It was the exact same arrangement," he says with a chuckle. "I finally said I was gonna do it around 2012 or so and I just started doing it."
Three years later, he says the album is nearly ready to come out, just as he prepares to kick off his tour at the Fox Theatre in Pomona this Saturday, July 11. Though you can obviously expect for Danzig to fill the set with classics (no Danzig show is complete without shouting "MOTHER!" at the top of your lungs), it'll be a trip if he suddenly decides to unleash the doom of Black Sabbath's "N.I.B," or the haunting soul of The Everly Brother's "Crying in the Rain," two tracks he definitely put on Skeletons along with the ZZ Top ballad "Rough Boy." Hell, he even dared to remake "Lord of the Thighs" by Aerosmith, which by punk standards seems like downright sacrilege. However, the iconic metal god is willing to give Steven Tyler and company credit where it's due.
"The second Aerosmith album is pretty cool," Danzig says. "And maybe people who listen to Danzig or other bands I've been in or other genres might not think Aerosmith has some great songs, but they do."
In attempt to make sure Danzig wasn't just going soft in his old age, we tested him by asking if there was a chance he'd cover Sugar Ray's 1995 track "Danzig Needs a Hug."
"I don't think that's gonna happen," he says. "I only do songs by good bands." Phew! Ok, Danzig you had us worried for a second there.
Despite constant comparisons to Elvis Presley throughout his career, The King's catalogue is left untouched on this album. That's because in addition to this new record and a forthcoming new Danzig album, the singer says he's also working on an release exclusively dedicated to Elvis, hopefully due out sometime in the near future. But for now, his focus is fixed on his 14-date U.S. tour where once again he'll have to do his best to narrow down a 40 year career in about two hours.
"Danzig alone has over 12 albums so I gotta pick with the guys in the band what songs we're gonna do, because everybody has their favorite Danzig song and it's not always the same," he says. "So we'll try to do a nice cross section of Danzig tracks and we'll throw in a few covers too from the new record. And hopefully everyone will go away happy and lose their minds for a night and forget about what a fucked up world we live in."
But as far as Skeletons is concerned, the album offers valuable insight into the tastes of one of the most mysterious and often misunderstood dudes in heavy metal. Including the album art which features Danzig and another woman in the skull make up everyone's freaking out over. You probably didn't realize that he actually drew inspiration from David Bowie for that cover (which would sorta make it a cover of a cover, right?).
"One of my favorite covers records is David Bowie's Pinups and I wanted to do a take on that and the record is called Skeletons so I decided I'd do the skull face," he says. But though some of the cover songs might be better than others (Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra's " target="_blank">"Some Velvet Morning" featuring Cherie Currie seems like a bit of a head scratcher), Danzig always opts to make all of his renditions original, bold, and heavy as fuck.
"Unless you're gonna make it your own, leave it alone," he says. "Because everyone has already heard the original a million times and they're always gonna judge you against the original, so if you try to do it exactly the same, people are just gonna like the original. So you always have to bring a new element to it."
Danzig performs with Cancer Bats and Saviours at the Fox Theatre in Pomona on Saturday, July 11. 7:30 p.m. $35-$39. For full details, click here.