During the recording of 1994's Danzig 4, Glenn Danzig and the record's producer, Rick Rubin, were paid a visit by one of the higher-ups at Def American, the label Rubin launched after leaving Def Jam in 1988. A company vice president had one simple request for the former Misfits frontman.
"He's like, 'You guys, don't do a Satanic record, OK?,' " Danzig recalled. "We just looked at each other, and we were laughing. So Rick said, 'You have to write a song and make it the most Satanic song in the world.' "
And Glenn abided. The end result was "Satan's Crucifixion Points to Hell," a track that started off as a means to stick it to the man, but one that Danzig would fall in love with over the years. It's a song that was never released, but will be available on The Lost Tracks of Danzig, a veritable goldmine of Danzig leftovers compiled in a two-CD set with a hardcover booklet featuring the musings of Glenn. An official release date has yet to be firmed up, but the set is expected later this year or early 2007.
"The song started out as a song to just drive this guy crazy," Danzig said of "Satan's Crucifixion," laughing for a second. "We sent it to him, and he said, 'This is crazy. They're destroying this record — it's totally Satanic. And you want this to be the first single?' So while it started as a joke song, it's become a really good song."
Lost collects a total of 26 tracks, including a number of covers — everything from David Bowie's "Cat People" to T. Rex's "Buick MacKane" and the Germs' "Caught in My Eye." All of the original songs were written — and most recorded in bits and pieces — between 1988's Danzig and 2004's Circle of Snakes (see "Glenn Danzig Preps 'Final' Tour, Film, Box Set And, Uh, Dolls"). Danzig did have to do some additional work on the tracks to make them just right.
"A perfect example is 'Come to Silver' [from 1996's Blackacidevil], a song I wrote for Johnny Cash that I never gave to him," Danzig said. "I showed it to him but I never gave it to him because I left [Cash's label, American Recordings]. But this one's an acoustic version, and I recorded it a while ago. When we went back in to mix it, the vocals had been wiped by the old engineer. I don't know what the reasoning was, but he did. So I had to re-sing the whole song. It's kind of a shock when you're all ready to mix and you ask, 'Where are the vocals?' "
Of the other songs resurrected for the effort, Danzig prefers "Lady Lucifera," "Warlock" and the bluesy leadoff single, "Crawl Across Your Killing Floor." Danzig shot a black-and-white video for that track last month, and describes it as "a takeoff" on the opening of 1966 spaghetti Western "Django."
"So I'm walking into town," he explained. "I have the long leather Western coat, with the shoulder things. I'm dragging this coffin behind me, and I open it up, and it's filled with all these old photos and I just start burning them — pictures of Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, Sharon Tate, Charles Manson. I even burn a photo of Rick. I put it in an urn ... and it just goes on from there."
Glenn said he intends to start writing material for a proper Danzig release in early 2007. But the man has a ton on his plate. Although he said last year that he didn't want to tour anymore, he'll be reviving his Blackest of the Black Tour this winter for a two-week West Coast run. So far, just Scandinavian black metallers Marduk have been confirmed for the bill. The trek's start date hasn't been determined.
There's also the 3 Faces of Danzig limited-edition action figures he's released. They retail for $75, and highlight the different eras of Glenn's career with a Misfits-era version, a Samhain version, and one representing Danzig in his current form. But there are two more dolls on the way which will be released on Halloween: a second Samhain toy, and a Misfits figurine which shows Glenn with the band's trademark skull logo painted over his face. Both of the toys will be glow-in-the-dark capable, and if you have to have one, grab it fast: Danzig said the manufacturer is releasing a limited run of just 666.
And then there's the October 17 release of the oft-delayed Black Aria II, the sequel to Danzig's 1993 classical album Black Aria.
"I've had it written forever, and just never had the time to sit down and record it," he said. "You have to really get into it. It's more of a classical, soundtrack-y type thing, so you have to listen back to it all, lay all the parts in and make sure they fit. I just never had the time to sit down and do it, and I made the time recently to do it. It's cool to see it's finally going to be released, because the Black Aria stuff was always a labor of love. I put out the first one, did no promotion, no advertising. I just put it out. I did it for the fans. I didn't know it would sell as much as it did. It's probably one if the biggest Danzig sellers."
And what about the recent homages that have been paid to the singer — the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis dressed up as Danzig for the band's "Dani California" clip and a picture of him will appear in Audioslave's "Original Fire" video? In typical Glenn fashion, he's indifferent about it all.
"I just don't care," he said.