Instead of entering the studio to work on a full-length follow-up to 2004's Circle of Snakes, dark-metal godfather Glenn Danzig decided to work on a career-spanning double-disc set of songs that had never been released. More than a B-sides or outtakes collection though, The Lost Tracks of Danzig is more like a new record constructed from past data. And it might well be his best release since 1994's Danzig IV.
"These are definitely not throwaway songs," Danzig said. "A lot of them were supposed to be released as B-sides or singles, but it didn't happen. Other tracks were supposed to be included on older records but didn't get finished in time. And then some songs were good but just didn't fit the vibe of where a particular record was going."
The earliest songs on The Lost Tracks of Danzig, "Pain Is Like an Animal" and "When Death Had No Name," were written toward the tail end of Glenn Danzig's tenure in Samhain, the group he formed after leaving the Misfits in 1983 and dismantled in 1990. "I included two versions of 'When Death Has No Name' because I wanted to show how it developed," he said. "The first recording was really broad and very produced and the other one is more raw. I think we recorded that song at every Danzig session up until [1992's] Danzig III: How the Gods Kill."
Other standouts include the lumbering, distortion-drenched "Lady Lucifera," which was originally recorded for Circle of Snakes; the murky, mesmeric "Warlok," written for 1996's Blackacidevil; and the bluesy, moody "Crawl Across the Killing Floor," penned for 1999's 6:66 Satan's Child.
"I already shot a video for that one," Danzig said. "It would have been great if it could have been on the original album, but it wasn't done in time. You start working on a record and you get involved with some songs more intensely and the earlier stuff just gets left behind."
Danzig, who has never shied away from controversy, had no hesitation about including "White Devil Rise," a song he wrote about Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. "He said some inflammatory things at the time and Rick [Rubin] and I started talking and he said I should write a song about a race war. Farrakhan calls us 'The White Devil.' Well, I, personally, don't have a problem being called that. But no one wants to see a race war. It would be terrible, so the song's saying, 'Be careful what you wish for.' "
In addition to the many newly released originals, there are also three cover songs: T. Rex's "Buick McKane" ("I'm a big T. Rex fan, and most of their songs lend themselves to being Danzig-ized"); the Germs' "Caught in My Eye" ("I wanted to make it creepier and darker"); and David Bowie's "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" ("It's a great song. I made it a little more rocker-heavy").
While Danzig says he's happy with the end result, The Lost Tracks of Danzig was a lot more work than he thought it would be. Many of the tracks required additional parts, and when he got to an acoustic version of "Come to Silver" — which was written in 1995 for Johnny Cash — he discovered that his old engineer had erased the vocals.
"This whole record was a real pain in the butt," he said. "There were a lot of surprises along the way and a lot of work. I originally thought a lot of the songs were more finished, and [that they weren't] made everything harder."
Even after unearthing and resurrecting the 26 songs for the album, Danzig said he still has "a ton" of additional tracks that might surface in the future. For now, though, he's happy that his first round of nearly lost classics is on the shelves. "I think Danzig fans will really dig this stuff," he said. "A lot of them have already heard really bad demo versions of 20th generation copies, so for them to have a nice, mastered version of the songs is a lot better."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Of course, you all know that this summer's Ozzfest will be free to fans — and a lot of them are taking advantage of Sharon and Ozzy's "generosity." Since tickets were made available this weekend, passes for all 24 stops on the trek have been distributed to more than 428,000 metalheads — making this the largest number of free concert tickets ever distributed in the U.S. This summer's installment — which features Ozzy Osbourne, Hatebreed, Lamb of God and more — kicks off July 12 in Seattle and wraps August 30 in West Palm Beach, Florida. ... No one knows for sure what's going on with the Dillinger Escape Plan. Rumors suggest drummer Chris Pennie has left the band permanently to join Coheed and Cambria, and similar rumors have Stolen Babies' Gil Sharone taking his place. But the boys do plan on making a "major announcement" on Friday night (June 15) "concerning our band, its members and our future." Dillinger have been working on material for the follow-up to 2004's Miss Machine, which could be out before year's end. At least we hope it will. ...
Between the Buried and Me have set Colors as the title of their new album, which will be in stores September 18. ... Killswitch Engage's engaging cover of Dio's "Holy Diver" will be transformed into a medieval-themed video this weekend in California. Brian Thompson (Misdirection, Angels and Airwaves) is set to direct the clip, which will be included on the DVD portion of the upcoming re-release of the band's 2006's offering, As Daylight Dies. ... High on Fire will headline an upcoming North American run in support of their forthcoming LP, Death Is This Communion, due September 18. The trek will kick off September 20 in San Diego and crisscross the continent for five weeks, ending October 29 in San Francisco. Mono, Panthers and Coliseum have been tapped to open all dates. ...
Strapping Young Lad guitarist Jed Simon and his wife, Susanna, are proud parents after the May 29 birth of their son, Edward Malcolm. "Little Eddie is fine and healthy," Simon said in a statement. "You should see how long his fingers are. Maybe he and [SYL frontman Devin Townsend's] baby can start a band sometime." Metal File thinks that would be kind of awesome. ... The latest from thrash titans Dekapitator, The Storm Before the Calm, is set to drop July 24 and feature nine tracks, including "Toxic Sanctuary," "Deathstrike Command" and "Run With the Pack." You can catch Dekapitator on the road later this month, as they've booked gigs in Portland, Oregon (June 22); San Francisco (July 16); and Berkeley, California (July 21). ...
The Red Death, Diskreet, Whitechapel and the Partisan Turbine will hit the road this summer for a 24-date trek that launches June 29 in Rochester, New York, and is booked through July 21 in Mount Clemens, Michigan. ... Leng Tch'e have lost drummer and founding member Svencho, who is leaving the group to concentrate on his other band, Aborted. In a statement, the band thanked him "for the years [he'd] invested in Leng Tch'e and wish him luck in his future endeavors. This will definitely not be the end of the band." The remaining members are currently seeking a replacement for Svencho, and those interested in giving it a whirl should contact the band via its MySpace page. ... Into Eternity, Edguy and Light This City will join forces for a 20-gig North American jaunt set to get under way September 11 in Hartford, Connecticut. The bands will be on the road through October 8 in Detroit. ...
Two years of relative silence have been broken, as Columbus, Ohio, metallers Further Lo will soon return with both a brand-new video and LP. The album is titled Unresolved and being eyed for release later this summer. "The new material is a lot darker and faster than the last," the band said in a statement. "We are very proud of the material on this CD and can't wait for everyone to hear it." ... Try as they might, DevilDriver could not convince the folks over at the "Guinness Book of World Records" to recognize their proposal for "Largest Circle Pit" record, which they attempted over the weekend when they took the stage for this year's Download Festival in England. What's the big idea? Apparently, Guinness claims, "There is no way you can physically define where any circle/ mosh pit starts and ends." Fair enough. In the meantime, DevilDriver's third studio offering, The Last Kind Words, is set to hit stores July 31. ...
Cannae have been working on material for their fourth LP, the yet-untitled follow-up to 2005's Gold Becomes Sacrifice. Alas, they haven't a drummer to assist in the process. Those interested in trying out for the band should contact Cannae at email@example.com. ... Tapping the Vein are all set to enter Rax Trax Recording studio in Chicago on July 14, at which point they'll begin mixing the follow-up to 2002's The Damage with producer Neil Kernon (Cannibal Corpse, Nevermore). According to singer Heather Thompson, the band "took a new approach to the writing of this album, and I am really pleased with the result. I think we've managed to streamline and 'pump it up,' so to speak, without sacrificing any of the emotional impact that we insist on." ... Emperor fans take note: On August 21, Candlelight will re-release some of the band's classic LPs in the form of limited-edition box sets. The sets will feature a digipak CD with CD-ROM extras, a double-sided poster boasting previously unseen photos and an interview booklet. Bad news is, only 5,000 copies of each will be pressed.