GLENN DANZIG's reputation precedes him. But the notoriously difficult-to-interview Danzig was decidedly easy and pleasant to talk to, despite a couple punk-rock-soapbox digressions. He even said "take care" to me before we disconnected! Maybe Evil Elvis has left the building...
MERCURY: What was the catalyst for your interest in the morbid and macabre?
GLENN DANZIG: Uh... explain. What do you mean?
What was the beginning of your interest in evil?
Evil? Our president. It's stuff like that: how somebody in power can kill thousands of people and get away with it. If you or me even punch somebody we go to jail. These people kill people indiscriminately—thousands and thousands of people—and don't get called out for it. "I'm gonna send drone strikes here from the United States against people I think might be dangerous and I'm not even gonna try them in a court of law. I'm president. I can do it." It's pretty amazing to me how rules change for politicians and for people on the street. Most people will say to me a monster is dark, or a vampire is dark, but I see politics and society as much darker than those kinds of things.
I know you're not a Satanist, and I know you don't like organized religion at all, but are there any ideals or belief systems that you subscribe to?
Now, let's talk about Satanism since you're gonna bring it up. Is Satanism worse then Islam? Are Satanists strapping bombs to themselves and walking into marketplaces blowing up hundreds of people? Are Satanists, or even Christians, going on planes and flying them into buildings? No. So let's put it in perspective. What is everybody's problem with Satanism? You know what it is? It's the same thing that goes down with religion every day. If you don't believe what I believe, I don't like you. The people in power give it a bad rap. Somebody needs to be blamed for things when they can't find a solution. Oftentimes these killings or ritual abuses that you would blame on Satanism are actually Catholic voodoo, which is Santería. But you're not gonna blame Catholics for doing it, you're gonna blame a Satanist because it's easier and you don't wanna go up against the Catholic Church. It's all politics! It's all bullshit! They tell you what they want and if you believe it, great, but they never explain themselves anyway. They're the politicians. They don't think they need to.
Or they do, and it's all bullshit.
Yeah, like Anthony Weiner sending pictures of his dick to little girls. If that were you or me, we'd be in jail, but since he's a politician, he gets a fucking pass. "Oh, it's okay, you're a politician, go send more pictures of your dick to little kids." I'm not necessarily a political person, but I see how it impacts people.
You seem like a man that likes to be in control. Have you ever wanted to take a backseat and let someone else do all the work?
No. When you're doing a project or something, you have to be happy with it in the end. And if it comes out not like the way you wanted, the only person you can blame is yourself. That's why I make sure it comes out the way I want it. And it still might not come out how you want it, but it'll be close at least. I don't want to get mad at anybody either. It's my vision and if you have to work with somebody you have to convey your vision to them.
Seems like you have been dipping your toes into film recently. Is being involved in film as an actor or a director something you would consider putting more time into?
It's definitely something I wanna do. I'm not an actor by trade, so I can be picky. As an actor, if that's all they do they can't be so picky. So you'll see an actor in something really good then you'll see them in something terrible because they gotta eat [laughs].
I read that you were working on a film for one of your comic books, Ge Rouge.
Yeah, actually we're working on a lot of them. Once I get done with this tour, I have a bunch of meetings with a couple different studios. I've been doing so many meetings. Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don't. Hollywood. I'm probably gonna end up going the indie route. Cut out the middleman.
Have you ever thought about doing soundtracks for films? Your Black Aria records are pretty much soundtracks.
I've never been approached. Maybe if the movie were cool I would do it. I know some of the movies I'm working on scripts for, the Verotik [comics] stuff, I've already been working on soundtracks.
You did some Danzig Legacy shows and now you're doing the Danzig 25th anniversary tour. What can fans expect from this stretch?
I'm just trying to go out on the road and make sure everyone gets a chance to see, because after this I don't know when I'm gonna go back on the road. I love being onstage—it's just the other 22 hours a day when you're in a hotel room or you're in a bus driving. I have so many things going on and I'm not near my research material and stuff. I think when you're younger it's a little different. It's just a waste of time for me. I just live for those two hours on stage.
I was in the mall the other day and I saw the Misfits' Crimson Ghost on a shirt in a Forever 21 store window. Do you care that such an iconic image has been misappropriated by fashion?
No, I think back then we were trying to get everybody to change and stop wearing dorky stuff. People wearing your stuff is pretty much an honor. Of course, some people think it's trendy and they wear it, but other people know what it's about. It's cool.
Even if it's some 15-year-old girl who's never heard a Misfits song in her life?
Everybody was 15 years old at one point. What would you rather see them wearing, a Misfits skull or a Journey shirt?