Kerrang! Spring 1994 ---------------------- BLACK GOLD! By Steffan Chirazi Hell's teeth! DANZIG, the gloomiest Hard Rockers on the planet, are the hottest Metal act in America! They're all over MTV! Their albums are goin' Gold! And all because of a six-year-old song! It's been a long time coming, but finally Glenn Danzig has received his first Gold albums, for Danzig's 1988 eponymous Def American debut album and for last year's live EP, 'Thrall-Demonsweatlive'. It was the latter which saw Danzig finally break America. A live version of the classic first album cut 'Mother' was released as a single and video which MTV picked up on. In the States, heavy video rotation is a clear cut path to success, and 'Mother' became the number one most requested video. With the help of famous photographer-cum-director Anton Corbijn, Danzig has produced many complex and involved videos for such songs as 'Her Black Wings'. Yet it was a live performance clip of 'Mother', shot at Irvine Meadows, California in 1992, which finally got the MTV nod of approval. American Recordings chief Mark Didia had longed for the opportunity to get Danzig on MTV, having seen most of the band's videos rejected due to the often graphic nature of the content. Indeed, a video shot for the studio track 'It's Coming Down' included footage of amputees and dwarves in an LA sex club called F**K! From his New Jersey beginnings as the leader of cult Punk heroes Misfits, Danzig has always possessed a gloomy and violent approach to music and life, which won him an army of underground fans. The Misfits themselves toured the UK in '79, opening for The Damned. It proved to be a disastrous tour, with Danzig's mob walking off the jaunt after a mere three dates due to financial wrangles with The Damned's management at the time. Danzig's fiery reputation was further enhanced when he found himself carted off to jail following a fracas with a group of skinheads at a Jam gig at London's Rainbow theatre. The arrest and imprisonment reportedly inspired Glenn to pen the Misfits' classic 'London Dungeon' cut! In the mid-'80s, the singer formed a still more sinister outfit, Samhain. Commenting on those bands, Danzig stated: "We didn't have a genre in the Misfits. We had to have a class of our own because nobody was doing what we were doing. Then with Samhain, the same thing - people didn't know what to call us! They'd call us Metal-Punk-horror-Doom... They had 18 different titles for us because it was music all its own." Former Metallica bassist, the late Cliff Burton, was one of the earliest fans of the Misfits and Samhain. Cliff even had the 'Fits' skull logo tattooed on his arm. Cliff's old bandmate James Hetfield and Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan are among the current superstars hailing the Misfits as a major influence. Indeed, Metallica's cover of 'Last Caress/Green Hell' on the '$5.98 Garage Days Re-Revisited' EP (released in 1987) saw the Misfits enjoy an enormous surge in popularity for a whole new generation of fans, something which Glenn himself has enjoyed particularly, as both bands' back catalogues are on his own Plan 9 label. The apparition of numerous Misfits and Samhain T-shirts sporting graphic designs by their original art guru, Pushead - a man who has since gone on to provide Metallica, Aerosmith, Queensryche and even the Big K! with logos and designs - have also added to the fuelling of the 'Fits myth. American Recordings supremo Rick Rubin signed Danzig in 1987, when the label was still dubbed Def American. The band's line-up - Danzig on vocals, John Christ on guitar, Eerie Von on bass and ex-Black Flag man Chuck Biscuits on drums - remains solid to this day. Their first UK appearances were as the ill-fated support act on Metallica's 'And Justice For All...' tour in '89. Amazingly enough, fate struck again as Glenn endured problems with the weather, the food and the UK label that had licensed the Danzig debut album. The fact that the company in question did not release the album until two months after the tour meant that Glenn and his less-than-merry men arrived in the UK to play a set of unknown songs to Metallica's partisan audience. The band's profile was so low that most of the hostile Metalli-throng had no idea that the man bellowing his way through cuts like 'Twist Of Cain' was the very same man who had once fronted The Misfits! Following the band's debut were 'Danzig II: Lucifuge' in 1990 and 'How The Gods Kill' in 1992, all of which were co-produced by Rubin with the band. Glenn Danzig has always been single-minded in his approach to the band, espousing a strong dislike of bands who 'change' for success. Danzig music has stuck close to its original roots. "If you do good music, people will like it. If you don't do good music, you'll come off as a poser band and be here today, gone tomorrow. My only concern is to go into the studio, put out a new record, go out on the road and give people a good show." With regard to those who have knocked Danzig over the years, he had this to say: "You've got to have the guts and tenacity to stick behind what you're doing, and you've also gotta know that what you're doing isn't bullshit either... That's why I know most of my detractors are so full of shit that they don't know what the f**k they are talking about. Everything's already gone through my personal standards and regulations." Danzig are currently putting the finishing touches to a new studio album in Los Angeles, with Rick Rubin once again fulfilling production duties. More details soon!