Glenn Danzig is a hard man to get face time with, so we were extremely psyched to meet up with him at his management company's Wilshire Blvd. office. The veteran metalhead cut an imposing figure: compact and muscular frame, long dark hair, sunglasses, leather jacket and intense demeanor. Adding to the scene was a creepy life-sized Clown from Slipknot doll staring at us from the corner of the room. You can see it below.
To our surprise, he turned out to be polite and forthcoming, talking about his Danzig Legacy Tour, on which he and his band will be performing songs from the Misfits, Samhain and Danzig, in similar fashion to his Halloween show at Gibson. (It hits SoCal tomorrow night, May 26 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.) It was a thrill talking to him, and topics discussed included his feelings about the current Misfits, folks he talks to (Rick Rubin), folks he doesn't (Jerry Only), his fighting background, how he would have played Wolverine in X-Men and how our story about a guy who stalked him was wrong.
You have been performing for over 35 years. How has your songwriting process changed over time?
It's become more streamlined, I think. I come to conclusions much more quickly about what works and what doesn't. I hear exactly what I want to hear, like the finished product way ahead of time. So the guys in my band say, “I don't see it yet, I don't see it.” Then finally when they come in and hear the whole thing after we have added all the different layers, they say, “Wow, I would never have pictured that.”
Do you approach Misfits, Samhain and Danzig songs differently onstage for the Danzig Legacy tour?
No. [Laughs.] If you've seen the Legacy thing, it's pretty intense and it's pretty much the way I've always done it. I get to the front of the stage and I look at everybody and go crazy and hopefully they go crazy. I try to get them to become part of it. I want them to experience what I'm experiencing.
How do you feel about people producing music under the Misfits' name without you?
Well, obviously, it's not the Misfits. If you ask Doyle [Wolfgang von Frankenstein], he'll tell you the same thing. I see it like a crutch. To use the Misfits name as a crutch instead of doing your own thing afterward is kind of sad. It means that you don't have any confidence in yourself and you have to rely on that name. Of course, we are talking about Jerry [Only]. If he wanted my respect, he would go out there and do some kind of thing called the Jerry Only Band or whatever.
Have you talked to Jerry Only recently?
No. Why would I talk to him? [Laughs.]
You worked closely with Rick Rubin for a couple of years, but you had a falling out over money in the latter half of the '90s. Are you two on better terms now?
Rick and I still talk. We might be doing stuff together, I'm not sure. It wasn't ever a malicious thing. There were things that had to be solved. It ended kind of amicably once we met up, talked and settled it. We never went to trial or anything. We both looked at each other and said, “Why are we even doing this? This is retarded.” And that's how it ended.
You explore some very dark themes in your lyrics. Why do you think you focus on this side of the human experience?
I don't see it as darker. I just see it as the stuff I've always been interested in. A long time ago, I felt like [a member of] a part of society that was disenfranchised, hence the name “the Misfits.” I feel like my audience is the same. An unrecognized, disenfranchised part of society that never gets any kind of say in government, TV, media or anything.
Do you feel like an outsider?
I always have. I still do.
You're set to release a covers album later this year. Why did you want to record a covers album, and how did you choose which songs would be on it?
I just always wanted to. I haven't chosen all the songs that will be on it yet. It's definitely an eclectic blend of music. Of course, there will be a Sabbath cover and an Elvis cover on there. There will be other weird stuff, like one or two duets. But on some of the other stuff, people are going to be totally shocked. It actually turned out much better than I had planned. Now I can start writing and recording the Black Aria III record and the next Danzig record right after that.
You appeared as yourself on Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and a Danzig-like character featured on an episode of Metalocalypse. Is there something about the aesthetic of animation that appeals to you?
I never appeared on Metalocalypse.
No, a character that was supposed to be you appeared on the show.
I didn't know. I heard there was a Danzig-like character on there. But the Aqua Teen thing — well, they called me up and said, “We have this great idea and we really want you to do it.” At first I was like “Uh… I don't know.” They kept bugging me, and I eventually did it. I'm glad I did. I got to poke fun at myself.
Early in the film's pre-production, you were in talks to play Wolverine in X-Men. How would you have played Logan/Wolverine differently than Hugh Jackman?
It wouldn't have been as gay. Actually, he wasn't the first choice. They hired Dougray Scott. He had a falling out with the director, and then they hired Hugh Jackman. I'm glad I didn't do it. It was terrible.
You collect action figures of yourself. What do you actually do with them?
I don't collect action figures of myself.
I read in one interview that you did.
I never said that [Laughs.] They put out action figures of me.
But you don't collect them?
No one makes them except a Japanese company called Medicom. I mean I have three, but how would I be collecting them?
So you do have the action figures.
They aren't really action figures. They are this big [makes hand gestures larger than action figure size].
You know, people write a lot of weird stuff about me. Sometimes people didn't even interview me but pretended they did, because that is where the Internet is. There is no journalistic integrity on the Internet. At least not that I have seen.
Do you find that journalists misquote you a lot?
Yeah. Even back in the magazine days, you would read an interview and say, “I never said this.” People just take “artistic license” and decide they want an interview to go a certain direction and make it go that direction.
Do you appear in any of your Verotik comic books and, if not, would you ever consider being a character?
No, I'm not in my comics [Laughs.] I have no intention of putting myself in them. I think that's silly. I don't have a gigantic ego and have to put myself in everything that I do.
I've read that you are planning on adapting Ge Rouge, one of your comics, for the big screen. Are you moving forward with those plans?
Yeah, we are talking to a lot of different people about it. We're also talking about Jaguar God and Drukija, which is my take on the Countess Bathory. I would love to do some filming and directing before I'm gone out the door. I mean dead. [Laughs.]
Do you think you are going to die soon?
Who knows? The world could come to an end before you know it. I would at least like to get some of my madness on film before I'm out of here.
I trained in Muay Thai for a few years. What attracted you to this martial art form?
Oh, where did you train?
With real Thai people or white people?
[Laughs.] I've done Muay Thai for a long time. That's where I met my Jeet Kune Do teacher and friend Jerry [Poteet], who just passed away. His girlfriend was there training for a movie, and he saw that I was training after everybody left and I was asking my teacher to teach me some crazy stuff that no one else knows. My first meeting with Jerry became my first lesson. The first three weeks I was there, I was kicking a pole with my bare shins to see if I would go home or not. I didn't go home.
I'm sorry to hear that your Jeet Kune Do master Jerry Poteet passed away. Are you still practicing that form as well?
You get to a certain point where you want to go on your own. When he certified me as an associate instructor, I didn't really do any lessons anymore. I still train at home. I'm still punching and kicking stuff. I trained with sticks and knives, too.
Do you feel like someone is after you?
You should always be prepared. You never know, the world is a crazy place.
You were punched in the face by North Side Kings singer Danny Marianinho after a gig in 2004. What led to this altercation?
That was him trying to get me on camera punching him so he could sue me or some shit. I forget what it was. When everyone was breaking it up, he coldcocked me. What are you going to do?
So he had planned to hit you?
Yeah, those were his guys with the camera. No one knows that. Well, back then they did. It was a setup.
Did it hurt?
You had a pretty crazy stalker incident on Halloween a few years ago. Have there been any other incidents when you have felt threatened by a “fan?”
Well, that was kind of weird — the entire LA Weekly thing. It was blown out of proportion. I always have crazy people that I have to deal with, you know? I don't even know if these people are fans. They are just weird, disassociated people.
Is that not what happened?
No, it was all a miscommunication. It was an amalgam of a bunch of different things made into one incident.
Did you actually find photos of your head pasted onto naked bodies in porno magazines in the stalker's backpack?
No, that did not happen. The pictures were of naked people and he would cross their faces out.
Did he write in his diary that he was going to kill you?
Well, one of them, yes. He didn't say he was going to kill us. I forget what he was calling it. It wasn't just me. It was David Byrne and all these different people.
Lastly, are there any other musicians with whom you'd like to throw down in the ring? You can call out anybody.
No. The best fight is the fight that you don't get in. If I want to fuck somebody up, I will just walk behind them and slice their throat. Why waste time fighting?
Have you sliced someone's throat?
Why would I tell you that?
Glenn Danzig will perform at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre tomorrow, May 26