Glenn Danzig – misunderstood genius?

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Just look at that self-important rock star.

He couldn’t possibly be a nice guy. Or a good musician. Or possess any degree of self-irony. His history speaks for itself: self-absorbed iconic rock star starts out with a couple of nice bands, and then goes on to alienate himself from every band that doesn’t have his name in its title. Likes to present himself as a tough guy, and puts out artistic material that many find disturbingly offensive. Acts the primadonna onstage, and has been recorded on camera getting cold-cocked by the lead singer of a warm-up band that wouldn’t take his shit.

And yet.

And yet, Glenn Danzig has consistently put out noteworthy albums. Glenn Danzig has consistently written lyrics and music that are evocative, haunting and nothing short of genius. Glenn Danzig has consistently stayed in character on stage and in the public eye, never apologizing for being self-absorbed, pretentious or arrogant.

Is this, in itself, sufficient to earn your respect? In a public climate where celebrities are forgiven for their transgressions by crying on TV, maybe not. Let’s reserve judgement for a bit. Let’s consider his product. His product is a package consisting of his body of work and his stage persona. His stage persona is a product that should be copyrighted in itself, and for all I know, it is. People don’t root for stage personas like that, but oh, they would like to be like that. Isn’t it funny how he has kept up that persona for decades? Uncompromisingly? Unapologetically?

The music. It sounds like a Satanic Elvis with a sore throat, doesn’t it? Maybe, if Elvis had the self-confidence and the artistic courage to push his particular envelope as far as it went. Danzig has stuck to his guns, and yet never let his product become stale. If you knew some people might find your sound a little bit funny, and make parodies of it to disseminate online, wouldn’t it make you a little sensitive? Wouldn’t you take steps to avoid those pitfalls?

Glenn Danzig has never changed the things people have ridiculed. He has welcomed the free publicity and laughed all the way to the bank. Because it didn’t need to be fixed.

He has been picked on for not being in shape anymore. For not singing the way he could. For not being as badass as he has claimed. For not crying live on TV. For not apologizing for being a primadonna. For staying in persona for decades. For being arrogant. Because being “real” is such a fucking boon to your career in a world of reality TV porn voyeurism.

Respect.

I don’t care if it’s an act, or if he really is that way. I don’t care if it’s conceited or artificial to the point of parody. Either way, he has done what he set out to do, and done it well. In fact, his body of work speaks for itself, and for his audience to focus this hard on his image is an offense to the quality of said work. Art is artifice. You use all means at your disposal to evoke a response from your audience, and Glenn Danzig has evoked exactly what he wanted to evoke.

Check out this video for a taste of his work, and feel free to browse his other videos too.

If you still think it matters whether Glenn Danzig is an act or not, I urge you to reconsider your priorities.

Glenn Danzig is a genius. I, for one, can’t wait for his next album.

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