Danzig’s cozy home interview with Thrasher Magazine, 1986

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Punk rock’s favorite baritone revealed it all in this interview by Pushead in an issue of Thrasher Magazine from June 1986. Glenn Danzig of the Misfits and Samhain  (this interview was conducted before Danzig as a band was a thing) really gets down to business in this article in which he discussing comic books, punk gossip, Catholicism… and of course cats! The most resonating item, though, is Glenn’s collection of memorabilia and his presentation of it, much like a deathrock Better Homes and Gardens special edition feature.

A mysterious figure stands in the shadows of the doorway, his stocky frame reflecting light from a flickering candle in the distance. Long, pitch black hair shrouds his face from view, hanging down to a tight point meeting the chin. Eyeing through strands of hair, he looks across the room with a menacing glare. His arm reaches up and points at my presence. A deep voice echoes against the murky walls, “What do you want?” I tremble as I stand alone in this cold crypt of an atmosphere, staring at this human dressed entirely in black. “U, u, u, uh, uh, uh, G, G, Gl, Glenn?” I stuttered as small dribbles of sweat bead down on my forehead. “Yeah?” he quietly asks. The lights suddenly flash on, making me jump and illuminating a room full of movie paraphernalia, comic books, skulls, horror related items and hundreds of Japanese toys standing at my attention. I am stunned for a moment by the collection that fills the room. “Oh, it’s you,” he shouts outward. “Welcome.”

You may not know that Glenn is an avid collector of comic books (especially Golden Age comics), Japanese toys, books and videos which (amongst his favorites are Astro Boy, Captain Harlock, Devilman, Black Jack and many more), horror related article like B-movie posters and videos, and vintage figure model kits, are just a few more of the items in his mass wall to wall collection. These things have been a major influence on Glenn and his approach to both the Misfits and Samhain.

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On violence and horror…

How long before you came into the conceptual aspect of Misfits? On Cough/Cool you guys are just standing there, there’s o guitar and it has this real kind of sound, but the concept didn’t appear until Night of the Living Dead, which showed you were into the horror stuff.

Well, the horror Business came before that. Our records were basically what you go to see, the Bullet 45 showed the violent side, the death, accepting death, maybe even the political side, but more on the violent side. That was the side of us that was shown.

Why did you want to show the violent side?

I like violence. I think it’s part of the world. It’s only normal to write about things that you see a lot of and that you experience a lot of, so that’s what I like to do.

So is your stuff pro-violence or aware of violence?

Yeah, like that. What I am is a survivalist, and a realist. I basically just come up with an idea. If I want to write about it I do. Usually I’ll just start writing lyrics and they’ll take me where I want to go or where they want to go.

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On style and devil locks…

Did you have the whole stage presence [during the Bullet and Horror Business era], and the image?

Yeah, I was wearing the Bone shirt. Jerry used to spike his hair but it kept falling down, so I said why don’t you just stick it up… and he kinda had this cockatoo haircut, right in the middle and it came down into a small, small devil lock right under the ear. And I was already doing my hair into a point to be kind of like Eddie Munsteiner-ish, and it was getting longer and longer. It was down to about the bridge of my nose, that was like ’78.

Where did you come up with the name devil lock?

Somebody’s mother actually came up with it. She said, ‘Oh, these are those guys that, that band with the devil locks on their heads.’ We thought that was pretty funny. Actually it turns out that there was some African tribe that wore their hair like that, and they called it a devil lock.

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On his toy collection… 

How did you get into all this Japanese stuff?

First, with animation when I was a kid… I was at this show and there was a guy selling Japanese books and toys, but basically paperback books. There’s this character called Captain Harlock. He had a skull and crossbones, shirt, a bit massive scar down his face, an eyepatch, hair hanging down his face just the way I was wearing my hair at the time. I immediately identified with all these heroes… While the American animation companies were getting worse, the Japanese were getting better. The Japanese had a sense of honor, sense of pride, bravery was shown in ever cartoon, a moral, emotion… Things you could use in your daily life. Like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons had, a sense of realism.

That started what you have here, this giant collection of toys…?

The toys, I just really got into the toys. It started with the books and then, ‘Wow, look at this, a toy of such and such. I’m gonna pick this up.’ I love this old animation stuff, Cyborg 009, Astro Boy, Gigantor, Mazinger Z, Gelto Roboto, Captain Harlock, Captain Future… what else…

Devil Man?

Devil man is my favorite character, again that’s all good versus evil. I can relate to him on a personal basis, it’s on a parallel to something I’m doing.

Toys are big again, like in the 60’s.

I think it’s good. I’d rather see kids buying toys than drugs. That’s just my opinion, basically I think drugs are for jerks. I don’t care, if someone wants to go out and kill themselves with drugs, fine, go do it. Toys are happening, if you want to get ’em, get ’em. If you don’t you don’t.

The big question is, aren’t you a little old for this?

I don’t think in terms of age. If I want to buy something I don’t care what someone says to me. I’m buying it for me not for them. If I cared what they thought, I would say to them before I bought it, ‘Do you think I should buy this?’ and in that case I’d be a moron.

I don’t care about other people. Basically I give two shits about people. I’d just as soon kill the whole human race right now.

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On death and suicide… 

This is a question I’m asked a lot, but I’ll ask you, what’s the fascination with skulls?

I just think they look cool.

People say to me, ‘But it’s a death symbol, do you believe in death?’

I believe in death, death is a part of life. Without death, there is no life.

Are you afraid of death?

No, actually I’m kind of looking forward to it. I’ll wait til the time comes but I don’t see anything wrong with suicide, though. I don’t think suicide should be illegal. I think if someone wants to kill themselves, if someone really hates life that much then they should be able to die.

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And, finally, proof as to why we all love Danzig…

So now that you’re petting your cat, do you like animals more than you like people?

Sure, you can learn a lot from animals. Especially dogs, as far as the violence thing is concerned. Like being gentle one second but if someone tries to screw you snapping into your animal instinct immediately. That’s what I’ve come to learn and understand about my personality and my being. So in some instances, when I get in fights, I’m in a better position than a lot of other people.

Do you try to avoid a fight, or when the violence occurs does it take over?

I try to stay away from fights now because my fights will be a fight to the death.

Why is that?

Because that’s what a fight is to me. If it’s a no contest for me it obviously won’t be, you know what I mean. Usually I don’t get in a lot of fights because people know that I’m not somebody to screw with, even though I’m not as big as a lot of people.

About The Author

Andi Harriman is the author of Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace: The Worldwide Compendium of Postpunk and Goth in the 1980s. She resides in Brooklyn, New York where she writes, DJs and lectures on all things dark and gloomy.