Danzig’s “Skeletons” tour uncovers favorite songs from the past

Published on March 29th, 2021

By Jim Dail

Glenn Danzig likes to stay busy.

“I am a workaholic,” said Danzig, whose self-named band will perform July 11 at the Fox Theater in Pomona.

He has just finished a new record of cover songs, “Skeletons,” is working on another featuring Elvis songs, as well as another album of originals for 2016 and kicking off a new tour.

“I wanted to do a cover record since back in the day, and then finally about 2012 I decided I’m going to do this record before it’s too late,” he laughed during a recent telephone interview.

Don’t think the new album is a cover of only metal and punk songs though. While a song like Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B.” might be typical, the record features songs by The Troggs, The Everly Brothers and ZZ Top.

While it may seem strange to hear Danzig cover the Everly Brothers, it really isn’t.

“That’s where it all started,” he said. “Punk was taking it back to the people, and it was all about the songs. They were short and didn’t have a bunch of ‘noodley’ crap and fillers. You said what you had to say and then were done. That music was great.”

Danzig has been listening to music since he was a child in New Jersey. He was a founding member of The Misfits and Samhain, which became Danzig in the late-80s.

In truth, “Crying in the Rain,” the 1962 song by the Everly Brothers that hit Number 6, is a good fit.

“I just love the Everlys, and that’s one of my favorites,” he said. “I thought I could do something cool with it. No one has ever done that song the way we did it!”

And to Danzig, that’s the whole point of doing covers.

“My take on covering is I’m not going to do it the way the original artist did it,” he said. “Otherwise I’m just going to leave it alone. Unless I have something different to say, I am not going to do it, and that’s how I picked them. I knew I could do something with them.”

Alongside him is guitarist Tommy Victor, who, as Danzig refers to him, is a virtuoso shredder.

“He and I would exchange texts all the time in the early ‘90s and I’d go on a Danzig tour and him on a Prong tour and we had a lot of mutual friends,” he said. “Danzig was rehearsing for the first Ozzfest tour and Prong was supposed to be on tour and Prong lost its record deal and support and I wasn’t happy with my guitarist. Tommy was there and we asked him to come aboard. He said he knew all the songs and he was a perfect fit. We’ve been playing together ever since.”

Victor’s presence is, of course, all over the new record.

“I usually give him an arrangement, and I will do a lead and say you can beat that and he will tear it up,” he laughed. “I’m not a shredder and my riffs are simple, but he is a shredder and a virtuoso.”

Perhaps a more typical, classic song, “N.I.B.” is also on the record.

“I did something different with N.I.B.,” he said. “I always listened to Black Sabbath albums, the first four being my favorites. I used to think the song was heavier than it was. Then again, there was nothing like that back then so what I did was dropped out the bass in beginning and turned the drums into a half beat, half time and had tommy squealing and the bass coming with church bells. I wanted to make it different.”

He did that with the old ZZ Top song, “Rough Boy.”

“The way Billy Gibbons did it sounds unfinished, but it’s classic ZZ top,” he said. “I thought I could make it more linear, more like a traditional song with Tommy belting out the guitar.”

Part of the process is just being open about the music.

“I have no set pattern, and I just go with whatever the song means,” he said. “Sometimes you do it and you think it’s done, but  you have to be open minded to look at it and realize that maybe it’s not done. You have to be objective enough to say this needs more work. Of course, sometimes they are done and you have to let them go.”

There’s also the issue of time and place.

“Some of those songs you can come back to and magically they work at that time and place where they didn’t before,” he said. “I’m glad I’ve waited to do this record now because songs like ‘Rough Boys’ wouldn’t have been on there because my head is in a different spot now.”

So, Danzig now hits the road.

“Basically, we are just doing Danzig songs and trying to pick a good selection from the albums and the new one,” he said. “There are so many Danzig songs and everyone has favorites and hopefully we can make people happy. We are definitely going to try.”


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