Tag Archive | Devil’s Angels

Unsolicited Review of Skeletons (a.k.a. Danzig The Tenth)

Danzig
Skeletons
Evilive / Nuclear Blast
2015

Fiends who still clamor for Glenn Danzig to endow a true Misfits reunion should be sated with Skeletons, the pugnacious headliner’s all covers album. Danzig and his band apply a murky growl to bygone gems from the likes of Aerosmith, the Young Rascals, the Troggs, the Litter, the Arrows, and even the Everly Brothers. The aural result is a punchy broth which evokes that legendary Misfits Rosetta Stone Static Age (right down to the production gaffes). Thematically this is the straightest Glenn’s been in ages; half of Skeletons is love songs, actualizing a naked romantic ambition no one expects from this barbarian. Yes Virginia, Danzig has a heart, and you will believe it is breaking into icy chunks when you reach the woeful Spectory wash of “Crying In The Rain.”

Whatever heathen incantation Glenn recited before recording Skeletons worked—his vocals are robust, substantial, convincing. Absent is the dry fatigue that’s hampered many of his latter day efforts. With the songwriting pressure off, Danzig can just relax in the pocket. Still, he refuses to make it easy for himself. On the audacious opening track, a run through of obscure biker anthem “Devil’s Angels,” the singer is nearly eaten by his own guitar chaw. And yet he triumphs; by the ascending middle eight Glenn’s got his hooks in you, and the final refrain of “MOTHERFUCKER!” feels like true exaltation. The song concludes with thirty seconds of ringing feedback, offering you pause to decide if you’re really on board for this exercise.

If you persist you will discover Skeletons is by no means a flawless victory. The jagged interpretation of ZZ Top ballad “Rough Boy” comes across like the result of a dare, the f-bombs dropped throughout like rewrites from a petulant tween. “Action Woman” is commanding to a fault (never thought I’d endorse Naz Nomad over Danzig, but here we are). Guitarist Tommy Victor is apparently paid by the pinch harmonic. These grievances, however, could be applied in varying measure to any post-1994 Danzig. Skeletons contains no gruesome revelation, unless it’s astounding to you that Glenn could make the honky tonk of Elvis Presley (“Let Yourself Go”) and Aerosmith (“Lord Of The Thighs”) boil with newfound heavy metal danger.

Can an album comprised entirely of covers have a “most personal” track? If so, here it’s the rendition of the Satan’s Sadists theme, an impassioned and bloodshot saunter in which our outlier laments he was “born mean…by the time I was two, they were callin’ me, callin’ me Satan.” And yet this doomed howl is also a celebration, an acceptance that pervades the whole project.

Skeletons is who Danzig is. Take it or leave it.

FINAL SCORE: Three point seven five sadistic devil thigh lords (out of four).

Too Much Misfits Business

Misfits news lying on a table of filth, Misfits news to which I’ve not yet replied.

Although an exact reason for his departure was not given when Dez Cadena left the current incarnation of the Misfits back in June, it turns out the guitarist is battling throat cancer. You may contribute to the “Help Dez Beat Cancer’s Ass” GoFundMe page here. Bassist and vocalist Jerry Only’s adult son Jerry Junior has been christened as Dez’s replacement; Jr.’s crazy if he doesn’t adopt the stage name Jerry Also (first suggested by Misfits Central message boarder “Mega Man”). In September the Misfits will embark on a U.S. tour wherein, at each stop, they will perform Static Age in its entirety. Why not? Gotta do something to commemorate the album’s 37th anniversary.

By the way, Dez Cadena played with the Misfits for fourteen years (2001-2015), approximately four times longer than his legendary stint in Black Flag. Does that mean he’ll go into the Punk Rock Hall of Fame with corpse paint? Can you even imagine a Punk Rock Hall of Fame? That’s what they should do with that abandoned Burger King on Governors Island in New York. Refurbish it as a shrine to everything Lou Reed wrought.

In July, Jerry Only told Metal Hammer he is in the midst of writing a book about his life. Now I don’t feel so bad about Jer never responding to any of my invitations to lend his voice to This Music Leaves Stains. Jerry’s book will include “a lot of the tragedies,” he says. You’re expecting me to make a Devil’s Rain joke here but I refuse to give you the satisfaction.

On the other side of the tomb: this Friday, Danzig (the band) will release single the first from their long-awaited covers EP Skeletons. Unfortunately, said single, a rousing rendition of the Devil’s Angels theme backed with a version of the Nightriders’ “Satan,” is confined to the European market via a limited edition vinyl run of 500 copies from AFM Records. If there’s a plan for digital release it remains secret for now. There is also no street date in place for the entirety of Skeletons, which shall find Danzig barreling through hits made famous by Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, and ZZ Top. Guys, we wanna buy your stuff. Why make it so challenging? Is that how Lucifer dictates it in the blood oath? I’d have your lawyer renegotiate that parchment.

Meanwhile, Danzig (the man) recently filmed a guest shot for the Peabody Award-winning comedy show “Portlandia.” Details are scarce, but somehow Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen convinced our Hellhound to unbutton his shirt and hit the beach. A vaguely iconic photo was produced, if only because it suggests Glenn has reached a new level of self-comfort.

Coincidentally, this pic popped up the same day “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” co-creator Dave Willis appeared on Tom Scharpling’s “The Best Show” to talk about the “Aqua Teen” series finale…and, at the behest of Scharpling, Danzig. Glenn voiced an animated version of himself on Willis’s cult cartoon in 2002 and famously caused a rigamarole before he could even step in the recording booth. Given final say on his two dimensional likeness, Danzig kept rejecting what the animators drew for not having the correct musculature.

“I’m way more cut than that,” was the Danzig money quote relayed from Willis to “Best Show” listeners. In order to circumvent any squabbling about the singer’s height (or lack thereof), “Aqua Teen” simply made him six feet tall from the start. Strategic move.

Now, on “Portlandia,” Danzig has no qualms about his physical definition (or lack thereof) and even told one news outlet he “had a blast.” Thirteen years can sure change a man. Who knows, maybe the people at “Portlandia” are just that much more charming and/or convincing.

And what of Joey Image? Over the Summer the percussionist who plays on the original storied “Horror Business” recorded a new version of that song—plus “Teenagers From Mars” and a couple originals—with Orlando-based punks Awesome & The Asskickers for their free release AAK. Download it here. Sounds like Joey can still rip it the hell up. Adrenalin O.D. drummer Dave Scott provides backup vox on the Misfits tracks (as well as drums on two A.O.D. revivals: “Nice Song” and “White Hassle”).

Speaking of the post-Static Age pre-Walk Among Us Misfits, Bobby Steele’s band the Undead continue to live up to their name: the group has scheduled an appearance at this year’s Chiller Theater convention in Parsippany, New Jersey. October 23-25 with a special performance on the 24th. For more info creep over to their website, TheUndead.com. Also appearing at Chiller 2015: Julie Newmar, Burt Ward, Adam West, and Antonio “Huggy Bear” Fargas!

Having authored a book about the Misfits you’d think I’d write about them here with more regularity. What stops me is concern over becoming trapped as “the Misfits guy” and also a perception that fiend-dom is shrinking as time goes on. Then I see viral stuff like the photo above, a Misfits t-shirt at Wal-Mart, coupled with endless “thumbs down” emojis from disillusioned ghouls of all stripes, and I realize the committed may actually be growing. So I rekindle my own flame. Once again, bonfire burnin’ bright.

Until the next batch of macabre happenings, consider this: the ex-Misfit Doyle is, as of last year, a vegan. No longer is the man who played on “Brain Eaters” a brain eater. Do they make soy brains? If so they must taste terrible.

Hear Danzig’s Awesome Cover Of “Devil’s Angels”

From the forthcoming album of cover songs Glenn and his Get Fresh Crew have been working on. This song was originally performed by Davie Allan & the Arrows for the 1967 John Cassavetes film of the same name. On a scale of one to ten, I give this song a twenty-seven. As one YouTube commenter put it, “It’s like hearing some long lost song´╗┐ by the Misfits. It gives me that feeling that I never thought I’d experience again.”