NEW YORK, NY—Glenn Danzig’s first real record, Static Age, recorded in 1978 with his band The Misfits, helped spike horror imagery into the vein of American music. Danzig then built a bridge between punk and metal with his transcending band Samhain, while at the same time adding a layer of serious exploration in his love for the blues. Finally, the band that carries his name brought Danzig success in the mainstream that solidified his place in the history of music.
He has said recently that the rigors of touring wear upon him. That the finances associated with recording are less than kind. So perhaps this is why Danzig came into the Hammerstein Ballroom on Halloween weekend as part of the Danzig Legacy Tour, a 90-minute set of music integrating 30 years of uncompromising menace and mayhem; first a set of Danzig material, followed by a Samhain set, and lastly a coveted performance of Misfits material with original guitarist Jerry Only.
The opening set started with three tracks from Danzig’s most recent efforts—first “Skincarver,” then the pounding “Hammer of the Gods,” from the most recent Deth Red Sabaoth, and “Rebel Spirits,” also from the same release. From there came the classics, the fan-favorite sing-alongs like “Twist Of Cain” and “Her Black Wings,” then two prime cuts back-to-back from Danzig III: “How The Gods Kill” and “Dirty Black Summer.” Danzig was energized and fed off the crowd’s energy, which was off the charts, but said little between songs, except to pay tribute to New York City, and to also reconfirm that we were “no fucking hippies” here in New York City. “Don’t tell me that’s what’s happening here, New York, alright?”
While Samhain is generally the lesser known of Danzig’s bands, its importance as the vehicle that helped Glenn Danzig fully realize his musical ambitions is beyond evident. A Samhain banner replaced the devil-horn Danzig logo behind the drum riser, and the band proceeded to blast through Samhain staples like “All Murder, All Guts, All Fun” and “Horror Business.” But it was tracks such as “Unholy Passion” and “Mother Of Mercy” that helped illustrate how Samhain was the bridge that linked the past of The Misfits with the future that was to be Danzig.
The Misfits set exploded like a blitzkrieg attack. Within five minutes the band had whipped through classics such as “Death Comes Ripping,” “Vampira,” “Bullet,” “I Turned Into A Martian” and “Night Of The Living Dead” like it was nothing. Jerry Only stalked the stage like a beast, still in incredible physical shape and with his devil-lock hairdo still hanging in front of his face, indeed looking like a zombie punk from Mars.
Danzig led the crown singing through the signature wails that serve as the hooks for some of The Misfits’ catchiest material. After finishing with the seminal “Last Caress,” the band took a short break before returning to encore with the slasher “Bringer of Death” from Danzig 4P, “Not Of This World,” from the first album, and the ‘90s mega-hit “Mother,” before finally ending the night with the Misfits’ “Skulls.”