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Danzig refers to the piece as a "ballad," but anyone expecting prettiness will get a shock: It's just a slow, moody slice of nihilism that could have come from the dark days of the Cure.
"'Cold Eternal'?" muses Danzig regarding the song's origins. "Well, it's about of course, you know death, you know."
The album ends with "13," a tune Danzig penned for Johnny Cash, which originally appeared on Cash's 1994 album American Recordings. The dusty country-and-western undercurrent remains, but back in Danzig's hands, the song becomes a pulverizing dirge.
EMagine Entertainment is also responsible for hosting www.danzigverotik.com, a Website devoted to the band's music, and Verotik, the comic book side of the Danzig equation. Verotik, which Danzig began in 1998, is a hobby/business that allows him to manage a stable of artists producing colorful comic books devoted to -- what else? -- sexually charged, violent imagery.
Verotik's comic book agenda is hot for busty, scantily clad über-vixens (check out Satanika) battling foes for conquest of the planet. Some of the artists Verotik employs have been noticeably influenced by the Frank Franzetta/Heavy Metal school of cartoon art.
"It has an underground sensibility," Danzig says, "but with the best artists and stories. It's for people who don't want to buy superhero crap." However, with the edgy titillation and demonic imagery found in Verotik's comic line, there's been some resistance finding distribution. "Some people have tried to steer retailers away from our books, telling them they'd be arrested if they carry them," he complains. Start talking about these enemies of art, and Danzig practically spits out, "Fuck everybody."
The burgeoning comic book empire is but one project in a year that has turned out to be the fortysomething rocker's most productive yet. He's also set to crank out a complete collection of Danzig B-sides as well as a double live album chronicling the band's recent tours with Korn, Soundgarden, Marilyn Manson, and Type O Negative. He'll also release a second installment of Black Aria, his 1992 solo record of self-penned instrumental classical pieces designed to parallel Milton's Paradise Lost. Black Aria's follow-up, he says, will be in a similar vein, with nods to the "awesome" group Dead Can Dance and newfound instruments like Japanese kodo drums. Evilive will also reissue the Danzig back catalog and release a comprehensive Samhain boxed set later this year. In conjunction with that project, Samhain will temporarily re-form and open shows for Danzig on its upcoming U.S. tour.
With all this activity, it's no wonder Danzig doesn't have a lot of time to pontificate about the Dark Prince, Good vs. Evil, or fundamentalist preachers. He altogether refrains from entering into debates of religious philosophy with antagonists or evangelists.
"None of those guys want anything to do with me. They only want to get into conversations with people they can make look dumb. So anyone with a modicum of intelligence they're not really going to want to talk to. They want really stupid people to come on and say, 'I'm a Satanist!'"
And cagey Danzig ain't about to give anyone that pleasure. Guarded when it comes to his opinions, he's not given to outlining his each and every belief. What he will say -- and emphatically -- is that he's not catering to heavy metal's lowest common denominator. He scoffs at the notion that all metal fans are Beavis and Butthead clones.
"Any group of people can be a very dumb group" is how he sees it. "I'm kind of lucky in that Danzig fans are pretty intelligent. They're pretty smart, or at least they want to be -- they want to expand their horizons. That's one of the things I like about my fans. There's always stupid people in every group, but that's not anything I'm interested in."
Contact Jeff Stratton at his e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org