Among the hundreds of musicians who exploit occult imagery, few have cultivated a more profound aura than Glenn Danzig. From the trashy sci-fi horror of the Misfits to the pagan mythology of Samhain to his current, eponymous incarnation as Danzig the dark lord, he has always aspired to artfulness through well-chosen symbology. Beyond its immediate, visceral impact, the band's eerie visual elements come with thousands of years of history and psychology. When Outtakes caught up with him a few weeks ago, Danzig was hesitant to discuss his music but instead gave us his well-studied take on religion:
Outtakes: How much exposure to religion did you have growing up?
Since I was a kid, I've read mythology from small countries. My interest just developed over the years, because religion and mythology intertwine so much. And so much of our sociology is hinged on different religions. I also like true crime, fiction, tons of stuff. I love reading. But as far as the occult, it's all occult to me. Pick your poison, you know what I mean?
But the way you use occult imagery gets at something more esoteric, suggesting that things that we might portray as demonic...
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I know what you're saying. In other words, things that have been demonized by some people may not be exactly what you think. Of course, the Satanic Church or Wicca or anything that is not Christian is portrayed by Christians and Jews as being demonic or Satanic. Evil, this and that. When, in actuality, the Christian church has killed more people than any war. And the same goes for Islam. Islam is a very violent religion but so is Christianity. [laughs] Almost all religions are violent, if you think about it.
Apart from religions¹ conflicting with each other, they also look down on any alternative practices as cultish, when it¹s interesting that Christianity itself started out as a cult.
Exactly. Well, Christianity was originally Judaism. Eventually, you had to make a choice because of the onset of Christ. Then it became, do you believe in Jesus? But all those religions are all based on other older religions. The Christ story is a story handed down from generation to generation before Christ. There's a great book, really hard to find, called Pagan Christs. It's all about how all these religions are based on other things that came way before.
Like Jungian archetypal myths and things like that?
Danzig plays on the Blackest of the Black tour with special guest Doyle, along with Chimaira, Behemoth, Himsa, Mortiis, and the Agony Scene at 5 p.m. Saturday, October 22, at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $25. Call 954-727-0950.
French-born Berliner Miss Kittin has worked overtime since electroclash's false start in 2001. The DJ/chanteuse has her producer/collaborators, including the Hacker and Felix da Housecat, to bid merci for her mercurial stardom. With their help, she crafted her signature panacea of big techno beats and dark '90s breaks, cut with enough Euro-vocal ennui to throw booties off barstools. Now she's flying solo, releasing I Com last fall and the Mixing Me EP in April. The surprisingly serene Kittin tête á tête-ed from L.A. about France vs. Berlin and why the girl-DJ question sucks:
Outtakes: Your work ethic is surprising, considering you¹re French. They¹re not exactly known for their love of labor.
That mentality didn't work for me, so it's no surprise I don't live there! In France, you have all sorts of help for young artists. When you don't work, you can get money and cheap health insurance. I preferred to eat pasta every day than play this game and put my name on some [government] list. People in art are always against everything governmental, the world is shit, blah, blah, blah. But the first thing they do is get unemployment.
Still, Berlin¹s unemployment rate is through the roof!
Because of the war and the Wall, the people there are used to the DIY thing and rebuilding and rebirth. So it's not that difficult to survive in Berlin, but it's surely not a place to make fortunes either! But because the economy is so weak, the artistic side is so strong. It's a liberal space to create.
You¹ve mixed so many other artists. Why remix yourself?
Mixing Me was a little bonus my label asked me to do. If I had known they'd love it so much, I would've mixed more! It's a very weird exercise to play my own tracks. I thought fans would like it; they always complain I never play my own records.
What¹s it like being a female in a man¹s techno world?
I don't know why people always say techno's so male-dominated. Yes, there are more male DJs, but I see more girls working in this business than guys. Close your eyes on the dancefloor and listen to the music. If you can tell me it's a girl or guy, then wow! Give me the recipe. Now it's about the person playing the music what she's wearing, how's her figure, this shit. But in rock 'n' roll, they don't really ask these questions to girls like PJ Harvey. Why don't they ask Beyoncé how it is in the supermacho hip-hop world, with girls in bikinis on MTV? Kelly Shindler
Miss Kittin plays with Otto Von Shirach at 10 p.m. Saturday, October 22, at I/O, 30 NE 14th St., Miami. Tickets cost $12 in advance, $15 the day of the show. Call 305-358-8007.
Few musicians polarize critics the way Neil Diamond does. But come November 8, when his latest album drops, they might not have the Rev. Blue Jeans to kick around anymore. Produced by Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash), Neil Diamond is being called his best work in 40 years and could finally earn him the recognition his long career deserves. Just consider how many of Diamond's songs have become standards and then, as covers, became standards again. Here are a few that Outtakes would like to hear pumping from the hi-fi:
"Kentucky Woman" by the White Stripes
Jack and Meg have covered everyone from Robert Johnson and Bob Dylan to Burt Bacharach and Dolly Parton. What's their beef with Neil? Produced almost as sparingly as a Stripes album, the countrified pop of "Kentucky Woman" is ideal for a reinterpretation by rock's most countrified duo. Plus, we already know Jack has a thing for one "Kentucky Woman" Ms. Loretta Lynn. Why not add another mama for some bluesy, three-way action?
"America" by Daddy Yankee
Raymond "Daddy Yankee" Ayala became an international reggaeton star with "Gasolina," but to establish himself as a true crossover success with nowhere to go except up, nothing says "love me" like a flag-waving Neil Diamond number.
"Captain Sunshine" by Elliot Smith
Smith 's final release, From a Basement on the Hill, was strangely optimistic despite the suicide that's associated with it. Every hipster loves irony, though, and Smith's version of "Captain Sunshine" would've been a raggedy, morose, deliciously morbid cover brought all the more to life by the pained singer/songwriter's warm, melancholic voice.
"You Don't Bring Me Flowers" by Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony
If the happily marrieds have been looking for a duet, they should realize no song would work better than Diamond's "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." In Spanish! The lyrics, about a relationship fizzling out in the bedroom, will be all the more appropriate once their romance goes south. And it will, trust us Lopez is the Elizabeth Taylor of the music biz.
"Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" by Clay Aiken
Aiken may possess a bright, soaring voice that endears him to overweight, preteenaged girls, but the Muppet hair and inability to glower pretty much neuter the kid. He could mainline some manhood with a cover of Diamond's darkly sexual tune, though Lord help us if anyone ever confuses him with the Jewish Elvis. Cole Haddon
Neil Diamond plays at 8 p.m. Friday, October 21, at the BankAtlantic Center, 1 Panther Pkwy, Sunrise. Tickets cost $44.75 to $77.25. Call 954-835-8000.
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