Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Brief Reprieve: Indie Love for Danzig

Like an awful lot of other snarky music snob assholes on the Internet, I've had my share of fun at the expense of Mr. Glenn Danzig.

And maybe he's got it coming. The guy has a well-earned reputation for being a total knucklehead, and despite his prodigious talent, he's gone to some absolutely comical extents to foster and cultivate an image that........well, it practically begs mockery sometimes.

But then again, Glenn Danzig is also one of the greatest punk rock vocalists.....ever. And his brilliance is actually intrinsically tied to his image fixation: what are the Misfits without that amazingly awesome infatuation with the retro-1950's and 1960's scream queen horror aesthetic? And how can you say that this image isn't completely joined at the hip to his distinctive (and derivative) vocal style, which owes just as much to the East Coast corner-boy do-wop sound as it does to more- frequently sourced influences like Elvis (a fair comparison), Jim Morrison (a weak comparison) or Roy Orbison (the most apt comparison of them all)?

((Incidentally, has anyone out there ever tired to sing along with the Misfits? The vocal melodies sound straight-ahead enough, but they can actually be tricky as hell. AngelFuck, in particular, is one of those dastarly tunes that sounds wonderful when you sing it a capella in the shower, then suddenly becomes an absolute vocal Bataan Death March when you actually try to follow along in the key he wrote it in)).

Anyway, in the post-Misfits era, it's been relatively easy to separate the brilliance of the Misfits with the rest of Sir Danzig's catalog. The nearly-obscure Samhain stuff is wonderful for scaring small children, but you have to admit that the guy momentarily forgot how to construct a song during much of this era.

And the Danzig solo albums? Some of them are hard rock at its finest. But the Randy Savage stylings of the band concept gave a whole lot of small minded music snobs an opportunity to ignore all that lay beneath the leather and tattoos, where the soul of a legitimately talented songwriter lies to this day.

Which is why I was completely fucking stoked to come across this clip:

Its wonderful enough to have Mr. Danzig honored in what appears to be a mostly non-ironic cover, but to have it come at the hands of indie goddess, Melissa Auf Der Maur brings a smile to my face.

Almost nearly as pleasing is to have this particular cover coming from Danzig's somewhat ridiculous second album - a rocker, no doubt, but certainly the point at which Danzig fully embraced the transition in image from dark bad ass to goofy tough guy. The whole idea makes me wonder if perhaps while I was foolishly rocking out to "Long Way Back From Hell" in my bedroom in Rockville, MD, the lovely Ms. der Maur might have been doing something similar in Montreal.

Perhaps this music is worth hearing. Stripped of the baritone bellowing and the heavy guitar and drums (not to mention the gang-chant background vocals), there IS a legitimately dark and frightening song here - perhaps accentuated by this performance by two singers so utterly and completely feminine.

So, there: Hats off to you, Mr. Glenn Danzig. I, for one, am tickled to see you receive your well-deserved indie cred.

As for all you haters out there, I know that nothing may ever change your minds. And for you miserable fucks, I offer you the following cheap shot at "The Sweatiest Ballerina":

No comments: