Aftermath: Danzig at House of Blues

An Open Letter to Glenn Danzig

Dear Sir,

Photos by Craig Hlavaty

First, I would love to extend my most bountiful praise on you for starting the Misfits, then Samhain. Both were really kick-ass bands, and made good T-shirts that scared countless school administrators. I, like many others thoroughly enjoyed the first two Danzig albums. Especially the self-titled one and the one that came after whose name escapes me. You know the one I mean - the one about nude she-demons and snakes. That one.

But Tuesday, I was troubled and saddened by your performance at the House of Blues. To use the baser terms of our troubled times, this show “blew nuts.” No, I’m not speaking about the opener, the venerable Dimmu Borgir. Their wall of sound and grotesque keyboards won over this dirty indie soul, even if they looked like they stepped out of a 1999 copy of Hit Parade.

Dimmu lead singer Shagrath even talks the way he sings, in that utterly metal-tastic “Cookie Monster” voice. As I watched those Norwegian warhorses blaze through each slab of symphonic death metal like so many churches in their homeland, I began to get excited for your upcoming set.

Would you play your 1988 self-titled debut in its entirety to celebrate its 20th anniversary? Maybe even do the Misfits’” Halloween” for the reverent crowd, all decked out in sweaty, beer-soaked Crimson Ghost T-shirts?

No. No, you did not.

Instead, you proceeded to almost make a mockery of us, bellowing from the stage like some sort of third-rate tribute band frontman. Were you sick? Like, fever-sick, with a runny nose, cough and itchy throat? Or were you “sick,” as in “I’m gonna wake up out of the chihuahua purse I sleep in and make these people wish they never came here tonight” sick? For shame, good sir.

What’s worse is that you further sullied us by not allowing any sort of photography, including common cameraphones. One young man was kicked out of the venue for merely opening up his phone to text a friend.

What is that you were so scared of, o “Evil” Elvis? That your fans would document temper tantrum after temper tantrum, haughtily throwing your thinning hair back and wildly flailing your pale beefy arms like some sort enraged personal trainer? Don’t take your technical problems out on us. I mean all we did was show up and give you money, right?

Yes, you did “Twist of Cain”; thanks for the consideration. But it doesn’t make up for not allowing any of the HOB staff to go near your backstage area, like you were Christina Aguilera auditioning for the Broadway version of “Mommie Dearest.” By the time you launched into “Tired of Being Alive,” you had already slammed down a mic at least twice and gotten sassy with the sound crew. Which made the smoking section, outside behind the front door, seem a better vantage point to catch the show.

By the time “Mother” came around, I couldn’t stop laughing and miming each one of your stage moves with my friend Maggie. Each knee-up howl, pelvic thrusting and Danzig-style embellished movement became hilarity. You stopped being that morbid cat who toured with Black Flag and wrote songs for Roy Orbison, and became instead a gum-smacking goombah from a softcore Cinemax sex thriller, where some stripper with a heart of gold steals your diamonds.

I don’t know if performing just doesn’t do it for you anymore, or if maybe you're just fundamentally insecure. Maybe both? A lot was written this week about Led Zeppelin looking for a new singer. Have you ever thought about looking for a new Danzig? Give your gig to some kid who still loves the material.

Do us a favor and get right with the metal gods and find that sinister spark again because we miss that. Or maybe you’d rather just tie your jet-black mane back into a sensible ponytail and start selling your own line of fitness equipment shaped like skulls and gargoyles on late-night infomercials after Showtime at the Apollo.


Craig Hlavaty

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray