1. Danzig III: How The Gods Kill (1992)
Power is not always a gateway to corruption. This album is nimble in its conquering, turning volume and balance on a dime. Unbelievable we’re 20 years out from HTGK and neither the sweaty sex of “Dirty Black Summer” nor the grease-stained knuckle crack of “Left Hand Black” have become radio staples. Even greater tragedy: the dust that’s settled on “Sistinas,” Danzig’s enormously stirring and best ballad.
2. 4p (1994)
Are they parodying the concept of rock as Satanist propaganda or is this a vote of confidence? Either way, baritone bravado barrels through squalls of cyberpunk effects that brilliantly serve incredibly realized compositions. 4p is the final stand of the original Danzig lineup; they go out guns blazing.
3. Danzig (1988)
Stripped down biker rock just as foreboding as the bleached skull on the cover. And yet this record is fun, fun in ways you can’t experience when you make a concerted effort to have it—it’s a byproduct of anger, weirdness, and nerves. To wit: the band had only been together six months before they cranked this out. All the more reason to stand back slack-jawed.
4. The Lost Tracks Of… (2007)
Double album of b-sides / rarities that has no right to boast such excellence. Deserves to be recognized as Danzig canon. The only misstep: the absence of “You & Me,” that explosive blue-eyed soul throwback the band gave to the Less Than Zero soundtrack in 1987 (under the moniker Glenn Danzig & The Power & Fury Orchestra).
5. Danzig II: Lucifuge (1990)
The frenzy is a little unfocused and the production slightly tepid but this is still world class hard rock when such a concept was quickly falling out of vogue. Add the loose twang of “I’m The One” to the “hits that should have been” pile.
6. Deth Red Sabaoth (2010)
The comeback album to which no one paid any attention, proving humans take more pleasure in complaint that solution. Relaxed and in the pocket, Danzig unfolds anthems that fit comfortably between the band’s ballyhooed early ’90s construction and the modern crunching they have favored since “Biker Mice From Mars” went off the air.
7. Danzig 6:66: Satan’s Child (1999)
Not corny but Korny. The denser textures test our mercurial vocal hero; he sounds shockingly hoarse throughout. That said, the sonic broth behind him has gratifying solvency, and it draws to a close with dusty legend “Thirteen” (the merit of which was cemented by its inclusion in The Hangover).
8. Skeletons (2015)
A fierce round of thunder paying tribute to the Troggs, Aerosmith, Elvis, and numerous proto-punks who first inspired Danzig. Rollicking good times even though the world didn’t need extra renditions of Sabbath’s “N.I.B.” and ZZ Top’s “Rough Boy” (Christ, of all the Top songs!).
9. Thrall: Demonsweatlive (1993)
The EP that catapulted Danzig into the popular consciousness like never before is an uneven mix of studio and live cuts culminating in the undeniable hot sneer of “Mother.” Satisfying enough to make you buy the other albums (which everybody did) and/or wish they’d release the entirety of this concert.
10. Circle Of Snakes (2004)
They accused Glenn of going too nu metal so he doubled down; Circle of Snakes is wall-to-wall chugging, scraping, and squealing, all compressed so heavily the first emotion you feel is constipation. Solid songwriting saves the day, even when Glenn’s voice is buried alive.
11. Danzig 777: I Luciferi (2002)
One would assume the addition of Murphy’s Law guitarist Todd Youth and D Generation bassist Howie Pyro was an attempt to put Danzig back in touch with his punk rock roots. Alas, no spirit of ’77 blood rush arrives; this one meanders through stale turn of the century feculence.
12. Danzig 5: Blackacidevil (1996)
There is a sinewy charm to the industrial mechanizations that comprise Glenn Danzig’s wholesale stab at being Trent Reznor, but Blackacidevil is uniformly maligned for a reason. The sounds don’t come close to matching their techno-terror inspirations and the songwriting is largely by-the-numbers. And yet, there are a few (“Serpentia,” “Power of Darkness”) which may stick.
13. Black Aria II (2006)
Part of Danzig’s two album foray into classical music. Yes, our boy has emotions that cannot be conveyed by the conventional means of his wolfy voice and rock n’ roll accompaniment. This chapter is more rounded and complete than its predecessor. It’s also moodier (read: more Danzig). If a blacker aria exists we have not heard it.
14. Black Aria (1992)
Orchestral music that sounds almost entirely composed on a keyboard with orchestral instrument settings. Could be mistaken for the soundtrack to a 16 bit video game, incidental noise from Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, or the dulcet tones one hears in a mall or shopping plaza moments before a Spirit Halloween store suddenly materializes. Goth at any rate.
15. Live On The Black Hand Side (2001)
This double live album could have been an incredible testament to the Danzig group’s musicianship over the years. Unfortunately, in keeping with the concert releases of Glenn’s previous bands, Black Hand suffers from laughably poor quality in large stretches. Even the cover looks bootlegged. Defeat, snatched from the jaws of victory.
In case you missed it, clickity click to hear Glenn and former Runaway Cherie C. give us “Some Velvet Morning” (originally recorded by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra in 1967).
Entitled Dea.d. Alive!, recorded at B.B. King’s NYC on Halloween 2011, arriving February 5th.
– 7 songs from The Devil’s Rain
– 3 songs from American Psycho
– 3 songs from Famous Monsters
– 1 rendition of this song
– 1 Misfit on cover (Jerry, duh)
– zero songs from the Danzig era
– zero breasts
– zero aardvarking
More rigamarole involving Uncle Glenn: Danzig’s Legacy set was abbreviated Friday night at Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest after our stocky hero stalled getting on stage for an hour, arguing with organizers about the temperature of the outdoor venue. Glenn apparently rolled into town dog sick and from the get-go demanded his set be moved indoors, or canceled. He also demanded, they say, French onion soup, vitamins, and a chicken sandwich from Wendy’s.
Even if the lengthy play-by-play from the festival’s booker that’s been popping up in reports is 100% inaccurate, even if this is all part of some larger conspiracy to discredit Glenn Danzig not only as a professional but as a demon incarnate originally born upon the scorching plains of Hades, the damage has been done. Danzig’s been linked to yet another name brand consumer item. The Internet will soon be rife with Photoshopped images of Mr. Dirty Black Summer chowing down on a clutch fast food sandwich. Perhaps Glenn’s face will be seamlessly affixed atop the shoulders of Wendy herself, his brooding visage peaking out from under those frighteningly red pigtails.
Oh, the horror.
Allow me to reiterate something I’ve said several times before in both print and casual conversation—the only way Danzig can counter the mockery that arises from fans discovering his more human tendencies is by killing someone. That would shut all the jokers up real quick. No one ragged on O.J. for those stupid Naked Gun movies after June of ’94, is all I’m sayin’.
Glenn Danzig performed the first in his series of four 2011 “Legacy” concerts Friday night at Chicago’s Riot Fest, headlining the day-long event with a special set of material reaching from present Danzig day all the way back to his storied years with Samhain and the Misfits. Glenn’s strict “no camera” policy couldn’t stop one intrepid fan far in the back row from recording the majority of the performance (beginning from the Samhain chunk of songs). Check it out below.
Sounds pretty good, right? Those period-specific backdrops are sick, too. I just might have to try and weasel my way into the New York “Legacy” gig at Hammerstein later this month. Seriously, I’m a friend of Glenn’s sister, let me in.
Danzig may have put on a great show for his legions of skull-worshipping fans, but rumors are flying around the Internetz this morning about the expected backstage rigmarole. All singer Scott Reynolds hath apparently posted to the Facebook, “Had a great frickin’ weekend…I hung out with some of my favorite human beings in the history of ever! And I gained new respect for Glenn Danzig, because I never knew how much work goes into being such an egomaniacal douche nozzle.”
Hey man, if you spill Danzig’s kitty litter, be prepared to pay the price.
DANZIG “LEGACY” SET LIST 10/7/11:
Overture of the Rebel Angels
Hammer of the Gods
Twist of Cain
Her Black Wings
How the Gods kill
It’s Coming Down
All Murder, All Guts, All Fun
Let the Day Begin
To Walk the night
Mother of Mercy
Death Comes Ripping
Night of the Living Dead
Bringer of Death
Not of This World
Vocals: Glenn Danzig
Guitar: Tommy Victor
Bass: Steve Zing
Drums: Johnny Kelly
Vocals: Glenn Danzig
Guitar: Tommy Victor
Bass: London May/Steve Zing
Drums: Steve Zing/London May
Vocals: Glenn Danzig
Guitar: Tommy Victor
Bass: Steve Zing
Drums: Johnny Kelly
[UPDATE #3: CHUCK BISCUITS ALIVE? An e-mail I just received at 6:34 PM EST:
“Dear James Greene,
This note is on behalf of Bob Montgomery, who ask me (his wife) to let you know that CHUCK IS ALIVE. Bob is on his way to see him now and will send you a follow up email in the near future. Thank you for taking the time to reply to Bob’s email this morning.
Case closed? Not until I figure out who the hell was e-mailing me for six months pretending to be Chuck and his wife. A “full disclosure” post regarding my side of this whole mess is coming shortly.]
[UPDATE #2: Further e-mails have been exchanged with Chuck’s brother Bob Montgomery; after I confirmed the name of Chuck’s wife via two independent sources, Bob wrote:
“Chuck and I have been somewhat estranged for a time, but this seems fishy. I am going to his home to get to the bottom of this, I will let you know one way or the other. If this is a hoax, I will pop Chuck in his beak. I am allowed. He is my little brother.”
The investigation continues. At this point, I don’t know whom to believe.]
[UPDATE: Rumors are beginning to swirl that this is some kind of elaborate hoax. If so, I can assure you I am NOT in on it. I have previously chronicled my contact with Chuck / person(s) claiming to be Chuck(?) and never had any reason to disbelieve their claims.
Since this post went viral, however, several people (including former Danzig bassist Eerie Von and Chuck’s brother Bob Montgomery) have openly questioned his death. All I can tell you is I’ve been communicating with two people since May I was always 99.999% sure were THE Chuck Biscuits and his wife from e-mail addresses bearing their names. They never asked me to wire money to a Nigerian prince or adopt their child, so I took it all at face value.
Chuck’s wife is allegedly the one who has been sending out mass e-mails about Chuck’s condition to family and friends; I didn’t use her name below because I didn’t know if she’d be comfortable with that and it didn’t seem like a good time to bring it up, considering her husband was dying. I’m still not going to use her name on the same grounds.
Although I can’t imagine why a former member of Danzig would want to fake his own death via the Internet, I know plenty of people who severely dislike me and would take any chance they could to play on my gullibility to make me look as stupid as possible (i.e. e-mail me for six months pretending to be a dying drummer I admire). If this is all a big fat lie, I’m sorry, but I promise I was duped just as hard as you.]
Legendary hard rock drummer Chuck Biscuits, whose lengthy résumé included stints in such flagship underground acts as Black Flag and Social Distortion, died Saturday after a prolonged battle with throat cancer. He was 44.
“In response to the inquires, thank you for all the support,” an anonymous family member wrote in an e-mail sent this morning. “Chuck did not survive his battle with throat cancer. He passed surrounded by his family on 10/24/09.”
Chuck Biscuits was probably best known to the general populous for his work with Danzig. Beginning in 1988, Chuck played on that group’s first four albums, which are often hailed as Danzig’s best (thanks in no small part to Chuck’s powerful drumming style). The percussionist also appeared on 1993’s Thrall: Demonsweatlive EP; that release yielded an unexpected chart-burning hit for Danzig in “Mother,” a song the band originally included on their self-titled debut.
Yet Chuck Biscuits was not completely bound by the shackles of heavy metal / hard rock—the drummer kindly lent his talents to various tracks on Run-D.M.C.’s fourth album, 1988’s Tougher Than Leather. Leather boasted a handful of hits for the famed Hollis Crew, including “Mary, Mary” and “Beats To The Rhyme.”
Born Charles Montgomery on April 17, 1965, in British Columbia, Chuck Biscuits cut his teeth with Canadian hardcore outfit D.O.A. before relocating to California in 1982 and joining Black Flag. Biscuits left that group after five months of touring and began bouncing around from band to band, clocking time with classic punk acts such as the Circle Jerks, Fear, and the Weirdos. It wasn’t long before Chuck made a name for himself in the rock underground with his utterly ferocious yet completely accurate attack; he was rumored to be at the top of Nirvana’s drummer “wish list” in the days prior to Dave Grohl.
The last major group Chuck played with was Social Distortion, beginning in 1996. He appeared on only one of their releases, 1998’s Live At The Roxy, before promptly leaving the band a year later. It is unknown whether the drummer’s throat cancer played a part in that departure.
Outside of music, Chuck Biscuits was a known lover of art who spent some time in the late 1980s sculpting and attending college art classes. Biscuits also enjoyed vintage breakfast cereal collecting; one Danzig home video release tagged Chuck as a “Professor of Cerealogy, PhD.” in a segment wherein the drummer expounded upon his love of sugary morning delights (“It’s a very expensive habit…once you’ve had Boo Berry, there’s no turning back.”)
“Chuck was one of the best of the original wave of punk drummers,” Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson said in brief e-mail exchange with the author last year. “His style was easily recognizable, and he seemed to have just a ton of extra energy when playing drums. He is one of those people who did not have to practice a lot to play really well.”
“It came very natural to him,” Stevenson continued. “He was hugely influential without really being as ‘famous’ as drummers who were actually much less influential musically.”
It is unknown exactly who Chuck is survived by, but they will surely miss him, as will an entire generation of rock n’ roll fans.