Celebrity Interviews

Glenn Danzig Explains How He Ended Up Writing Songs for 1987’s Less Than Zero [Exclusive]



Glenn Danzig is greatest often known as the singer and bandleader for the seminal horror punks The Misfits, his eponymously monikered exhausting rock band, Danzig, and his hit tune “Mother.” However a deeper look into his discography reveals a connection to Hollywood, one which pre-dates the ’90s rumor that he was supplied the position of Wolverine in X-Males; his music’s inclusion in an episode of The X-Recordsdata and The Hangover motion pictures; and his eventual debut as a author/director with final 12 months’s gory anthology, Verotika. Launched in 1987, the tune “You and Me (Less Than Zero)” on the Much less Than Zero soundtrack is credited to “Glenn Danzig and the Energy and Fury Orchestra.” And alongside tracks by LL Cool J, The Bangles, and Slayer, lurked one other Danzig contribution, as effectively: “Life Fades Away,” co-written with late ’50s icon Roy Orbison, who carried out vocals and guitar.

On this just lately unearthed interview, performed 30 years later, Danzig informed the story behind his involvement with the soundtrack to the basic ’80s film and The Energy and Fury Orchestra.

Lower than a 12 months after his small position as a romantic rival to one of many heroes in Bizarre Science, Robert Downey Jr. turned in a memorable supporting efficiency within the Rodney Dangerfield car Again to Faculty, which shared the younger actor’s charisma with the world in the summertime of 1986. Across the identical time Again to Faculty was in theaters, multiplatinum producer Rick Rubin went to see Glenn Danzig carry out with Samhain at New York’s New Music Seminar, reportedly inspired to take action by Metallica bassist (and main Misfits fan) Cliff Burton.

Rubin was on the heart of a cultural revolution with Def Jam Data, the label chargeable for huge albums by Run-D.M.C., Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and Slayer. Danzig started Samhain instantly following the October 1983 breakup of the Misfits, along with longtime Misfits good friend and photographer Eerie Von. Samhain explored related themes however was a lot darker and menacing in picture and tone. After that New Music Seminar gig, Rubin signed Samhain.

Rubin advised Glenn change the band’s identify to easily “Danzig” after the doorway of latest guitarist John Christ. It was someplace on this interval that Rubin agreed to supply the soundtrack for the newest “Brat Pack” movie, Much less Than Zero, loosely based mostly on the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the identical identify. Andrew McCarthy performed a university freshman who returns dwelling to Los Angeles for Christmas break to find his highschool girlfriend (Jami Gertz) and greatest good friend (Downey) aren’t solely sleeping collectively however are hopelessly hooked on medicine. Years earlier than he squared off in opposition to Iron Man as Ultron, James Spader (who co-starred in Fairly in Pink with McCarthy) performed a drug vendor menacing Downey’s troubled Much less Than Zero character.

In a lot the identical means he would later revive the profession of Johnny Money by pairing the nation icon with modern rock songwriters, Rubin put Glenn Danzig and Orbison in a room collectively. The ensuing tune, “Life Fades Away,” was certainly one of two Danzig co-writes for Much less Than Zero. The opposite, which turned the title observe, is a ’50s fashion ballad, on which Rubin shares credit score. The melody is harking back to the 1967 hit “To Sir with Love” by Scottish singer Lulu, which appeared on the soundtrack of the movie by the identical identify starring display screen legend Sidney Poitier.

The recording options drummer Chuck Biscuits who, previous to his four-album stint with Danzig, was a member of essential punk bands D.O.A., Black Flag, and Circle Jerks. (His work will also be heard on the Rick Rubin-produced Run-D.M.C. album Harder Than Leather-based, launched in 1988).

John Christ performs guitar and Danzig, after all, sings. Bass was carried out by George Drakoulias, who later produced albums by The Black Crowes, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Loudermilk, amongst others. (In more moderen years, Drakoulias was music supervisor on a number of motion pictures, together with Faculty of Rock, Tropic Thunder, and the 2009 Star Trek reboot. Beastie Boys dropped his identify on Paul’s Boutique; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Useless Man named characters after him; and Star Trek even named an alien creature, the drakouilias, in his honor.)

Copies of the soundtrack album misspelled the singer’s identify as “Glen” slightly than Glenn. On this interview performed across the launch of Danzig’s 2015 cowl album, Skeletons, the singer/songwriter and Los Angeles resident pulled again the curtain on his Much less Than Zero music.

Your enthusiasm for this materials actually comes out in your efficiency. The manufacturing fashion actually captures that vitality too. It appears like a band in a room.

Glenn Danzig: Yeah most of it is recorded reside, after which we do overdubs afterwards, however I nonetheless document analog, ya’ know? [Laughs]. It goes right into a tape machine, it goes into the board, after which it will get dumped into the Professional Instruments system. I nonetheless do actual drums. I nonetheless document by an actual recording board. So, there you go. 

 

Individuals making data on laptops could not perceive the heat and electrical energy that comes from a reel-to-reel or a Neve console. Analog is turning into a misplaced artwork.

Glenn Danzig: Yeah it’s. I really simply began working again on the previous studio [Hollywood Sound Recorders] I used to work in with Rick [Rubin] in Hollywood. It is one of many solely actual recording studios left in Hollywood. 

 

These sorts of studios are having hassle preserving their doorways open.

Glenn Danzig: Nicely this place is booked so much as a result of it is one of many solely video games on the town and it is an ideal recording studio. 

 

Your songs have been lined many instances, by Metallica and others. You have additionally written for different artists, just like the late Roy Orbison and Johnny Money. The tune “You and Me (Less Than Zero)” from the Much less Than Zero soundtrack was first supposed for a feminine vocalist, proper?

Glenn Danzig: Sure. Rick wished me to jot down the tune. He informed me the premise and what he wished it to sound like. So, I wrote the tune and I needed to do a demo vocal on it. So, we recorded all the tracks. I am fairly certain I performed all the Hammond B-3 [organ]. Rick did not know what a Hammond B-3 or a Leslie was on the time, I needed to inform him what it was. He wished to have a woman sing it. On the time, he was pondering of signing a woman, as a result of he at all times wished a extremely good woman singer on his label. Rick was having a tough time discovering a woman that he wished to sing the tune. [Def Jam] was nonetheless with CBS [Records Group, through Columbia Records] on the time. They heard the tune they usually had been like, “Well, this guy is doing a great job. We should use this!” Rick requested me if they may use it and I stated, “Sure. I don’t care.” Ya’ know? That is actually the story. 

 

So, is that the demo vocal that is on the ultimate album or did you recut it?

Glenn Danzig: No that is the [original] vocal. If I am doing a vocal for a woman to return in and redo it, it needed to be precisely [as if] it was going for use. 

 

Rick Rubin signed Samhain which turned Danzig whilst you had been making the album. The place did “You and Me (Less Than Zero)” fall into that timeline?

 

Glenn Danzig: Later. And through. As a result of it took us some time to document the primary Danzig document. We did the primary Danzig document at three totally different studios. Throughout that point interval [Rubin] was additionally engaged on the Much less Than Zero soundtrack. 

 

Was there any explicit purpose you selected to credit score the tune to Glenn Danzig And The Energy And Fury Orchestra slightly than Danzig or Samhain?

Glenn Danzig: No that was Rick’s concept. Rick was going to be calling all of his orchestra stuff that he did The Energy And Fury Orchestra. 

 

I like that it is credited that means, as a result of it provides to the distinctive vibe of the tune. Type of like how “Who Killed Marilyn?” was launched as a Glenn Danzig tune in 1983.

Glenn Danzig: “Who Killed Marilyn?” was my first solo single, yeah. 

 

What is the standing of the Samhain catalog?

Glenn Danzig: It is not in print anyplace. In the event you see something on the market it is most likely a bootleg. Hopefully we’ll have the ability to re-release it someday sooner or later. We have now plans to place every little thing again out on vinyl and CD. We’ll most likely make quite a lot of stuff out there digitally, too. 

The total unedited audio of this interview is out there through the Communicate N’ Destroy podcast.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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