Danzig: Skeletons

This long-awaited covers collection from the venerable vocalist features some surprising (and not-so-surprising) choices.
Evillive / Nuclear Blast

Glenn Danzig has always been at his best when he’s been fun. We wouldn’t all be wearing those Misfit t-shirts and listening to our umpteenth copy of Walk Among Us if there weren’t something about it that made us smile, even through the last strands of our devilock. The choruses on those songs and many of the best ones he’s recorded with Danzig were catchy as E. coli at a Michigan swimming hole. He’s never been a slouch as a singer and even in those moments when he seemed curt, annoyed, angry at the thought of being anywhere but in the deepest, darkest corners of his lair, we’ve kept on watching. Is that charisma? Maybe so.

It’s that good will and charm that’s front and center on this long-awaited covers collection. Yeah, there have been rumors or its imminent release in various forms, some track listings that were bandied about here and there by fans on this site or that and some suggestion from the man himself that this thing was going to go deeper than the deep end of the Horned One’s swimming pool.

Danzig. Glenn Danzig. Glenn Danzig, the man who has fronted some of your favorite bands since before you were born or could write on unlined paper, has failed to disappoint. This is the record many of you have been hoping for, a record that one or two fans probably feel like he should have made a long time ago. But then Danzig will serve no music before its time.

What about the list that’s he put together? It ranges from ZZ Top to the Everly Brothers, from Aerosmith to Black Sabbath, and touches on a handful of records that Danzig probably loved more than life itself in his formative years. The selection is both surprising and yet no surprise at all.

Anyone with ears and eyes is already aware of Danzig’s fondness for the King of Kings, Elvis, and so a righteously dark and wicked take on “Let Yourself Go”; Sabbath is a no-brainer for anyone of Glenn’s vintage who loved heavy rock at all and his take on “N.I.B.” is both faithful to the original and capable of teaching the old demon new tricks. But “Lord Of The Thighs”? That didn’t seem likely before this collection and that the man who brought Samhain to the vocabulary of Midwestern middle school kids more than 20 years ago would think of working it up here is one of those surprises that music lovers live for.

But the man also digs and introduces us to a series of songs we’ve either forgotten or never heard before. The maestro reverts to his punk past for the Dave Allan & the Arrows gem “Devils Angels” (look up the original; you won’t regret it) goes to the garage for a track by the mighty Minneapolis outfit the Litter (“Action Woman” is so much his you’d swear he wrote it) and goes to the Bowery (or some place like it) for a go at The Troggs’ “Girl Like You”. And his take of “Find Somebody” (from the Young Rascals) finds all the eerie evilness that’s always been lurking beneath the bright-eyed optimism of the 1960s.

In truth, Danzig probably could have gotten away with a full album of songs like the ones mentioned above, the deep, the obscure, the less familiar, but that wouldn’t do. The balance he strikes between stuff you should have heard by now and stuff you’ll want to hear from this moment forward is perfect.

After an extended wait for new Danzig material this is certainly a welcome return and maybe a sign that Danzig is ready to dig in and really have some fun at this phase of his career.

RATING 7 / 10