Danzig. The man, the myth, the memes. But what about the music? Love him or hate him it’s hard to name a single individual more influential to the look, sound and feel of modern punk, hard rock and heavy metal. But what were the sounds that shaped his dark, abrasive but sometimes vulnerable sonic worldview? Skeletons gives us a glimpse at just that, the musical “skeletons” in the horror rock icon’s closet, and the results are fascinating to say the least.
Things get off to a rollicking start with “Devil’s Angels”, the theme song to a Roger Corman produced 1967 biker-sploitation flick of the same name. Danzig’s been saying in interviews that he’s had the arrangement for this one in his back pocket since 1979 and the proof is right there on the record, this being just a couple of “woah-oh-ohs” shy of a lost Misfits classic. The album continues apace with metallic takes on deep cuts from Aerosmith, ZZ Top and personal Danzig hero Elvis Presley, but the record shines most when things lean towards the punkier side.
Credited to 70’s US garage rockers The Litter, “Action Woman” sounds like it could’ve come from the pen of the man himself, in the vein of charmingly misogynistic, slinky sleaze metal favorites like “She Rides” and “The Hunter”. “With a Girl Like You” has the same quality, originally recorded by 60’s UK proto-punkers The Troggs (they of “Wild Thing” fame), Danzig adds just enough fuzz and distortion (courtesy of guitarist Tommy Victor) to make it sound like late 70’s era Ramones. The record’s absolute highlight though, has to be Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B”. I was frothing at the mouth to hear this ever since Glenn first announced it’d be on the record and was mesmerized by his slowed down, hulking stoner/doom take when we caught him live last month. The recorded version loses none of the badass stomp and swagger.
Rumor has it that Danzig may be done with touring after last month’s tumultuous trek, but that he also has a highly anticipated new album of original material on the way. It’ll be sad not to see Glenn in the flesh around Halloween here in Philly as we have for the past couple of years, but if the strength of Skeletons is any indication those new songs will be worth the wait indeed. He may be painted like a corpse on the cover of this record but Glenn Danzig is still far from dead and buried.