Glenn Danzig v. The Internet

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR – PART FIVE

Everyone wants you to be what they want you to be…and they can all go fuck off.” – Glenn Danzig, TimeOut, Nov. 2, 2010

In Part One of this (apparently) ongoing series on Glenn Danzig’s singular relationship with the internet, we chronologically outlined some significant events in the timeline. Namely, the punch, the kitty litter, and those motherfucking bricks. To further emphasize the overall point that Danzig’s history with internet and its users is unlike any of his peers, we offer you another mountain of evidence.

PARODY

Certainly, as discussed in Part Three (An Introduction to Danzig Memes) parody comprises the bulk of internet content related to Glenn Danzig. Beyond memes, these types of parody include fake news stories, parody twitter accounts, and YouTube videos.

While our initial coverage on Danzig and social media was limited to Facebook, his presence is felt across multiple platforms. On Instagram Danzig’s presence consists of a few parodies and creative tributes. Notable among them @tiny_danzig that contains photos of a devilocked Danzig piñata in various scenes or @tiny_danzig_adventures that posts a variety of original Danzig memes.

danziglore

Interestingly, while Danzig has official Facebook and Instagram accounts, he does not maintain any authentic presence on Twitter. In 2009, Metal Sucks reported the existence of a now suspended @DANZIG account. Fortunately, their story retains a few highlights of this obvious parody: “heading to the nail salon to get my pinky nail sharpened, brb.” Parody twitter accounts are like pulling weeds; eventually, @danziglore appeared and offered insights like: “Danzig voted for Trump/Pence because they are more evil than his original choice of Cthulu/actual fire.” Hell, someone even made a Danzig Yelp account that envisioned a relocated to Austin, TX Danzig who gave everything 5-star ratings with quips like “I hate hipsters and vegetables.”

Danzig internet parody is indeed bountiful. Consider The Hard Times piece “RECAP: Comedy Central’s Roast of Glenn Danzig.” The Hard Times is a satirical site that often skewers members of the music community. In their “coverage” of the event they offer highlights including – “This isn’t a roast, Glenn, this is an intervention,” [Henry] Rollins said. “You’ve been abusing fishnet stockings for over 30 years and you still don’t know that they aren’t supposed to go on your arms.” The headline and article led many to believe the roast actually happened. The Hard Times has a few pieces on Danzig that are worth a laugh, such as a Craigslist Missed Connections post, Danzig suing Santa for late delivery, Glenn and Jerry’s (Only) ice-cream, and this years’ Misfits reunion at Riot Fest (1, 2).

Keith Spillett at Tyranny of Tradition has done a few Danzig parody/fake news pieces. From “Danzig to Fight All Americans Aug 1” to “Danzig to Sue Everyone on Earth” to “Danzig Gives Birth to Identical Twin Girls.” But, those are hardly the most absurd among his Danzig musings, see also “Danzig Escapes from Atlanta Zoo” and “Half Donkey, Half Zebra, Half Danzig Creature Born on Island In South Pacific.” Spillett’s self-reflective piece on parenthood and Danzig, “What if Danzig Dated My Daughter?” is also required reading.

In 2014, Noisey got in on the Danzig satire with an article that proposed “10 Ideas for TV Shows Starring Glenn Danzig.” Suggesting such mind-blowing ideas as “Glenn Danzig: Cat Whisperer,” “America’s Goth Talent,” and “Rock of Love: The Bride of Satan with Glenn Danzig.” The articles author went so far as to post the article to a Rock of Love message board using the VH1 logo as an avatar. This ignited a bit of a shit storm. While it is not parody, per se, Revolver has used Danzig mythology for unapologetic click-bait, see their piece “Top 6 Most Outrageous Facts About Glenn Danzig.” Using a similar strategy, the SF Weekly used nearly identical content for “Five Reasons to Love Glenn Danzig (Even Though He’s a Drama Queen).”

Chicago musician and cartoonist “Jimmy Two Hands” published a series of Danzig and Ziggy cartoon mash-ups (appropriately titled Danziggy) from 2011 to 2014. Using lyrics from Misfits or Danzig songs and putting them to a mundane Ziggy-type scenario, it’s creator opined in 2014 interview with Dangerous Minds,I’ll keep doing these until I get bored with it or receive a cease and desist order from Danzig or that Ziggy guy.” I’m not entirely sure what eventually ended the series run, but three years is a solid stretch of Danzig parody.

Perhaps the earliest form of Danzig satire is a 2003 article in Something Awful that recounts the Glenn Danzig American Presidency from 1988 to 1992. Titled “American Legends: Glenn Danzig,” the article recognizes that President Danzig “hastened the collapse of the Soviet empire, saw the fall of the Berlin wall, and lead our troops to victory over the much vaunted military of Saddam Hussein.

When we introduced Danzig memes in Part 3 of this series we didn’t discuss song mash-ups and video memes. Danzig’s biggest hit, “Mother,” is the typical vocal source for Danzig song mash-ups. When it’s applied properly, the results are usually pretty cool. For example, the mash-up “Bohemian Mother” puts the Danzig vocal against Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to wonderful effect. Most recently, the vocal was put against Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work” instrumental, creating Steely Danzig (of course). The results are truly amazing. Those are the most notable mash-ups, but the “Mother” vocal or instrumental track has been used with songs by Sublime, AC/DC, Lady Gaga, Gotye, Hall and Oates, DrakeThe Doors, music from the cult horror film Bubba Ho-Tep, and we can’t forget the kitty litter parody commercial.

danzigcommercial
Danzig Fresh Step Commercial Parody

Beyond song mash-ups, YouTube is great source of other Danzig video memes. Most important among them, Glenn Danzig’s Grocery Shopping List. The video, and it’s extended cut, have a strong Danzig impersonator singing his shopping list: “Box of saltines, can of sardines.” The concept even spun off Danzig’s To-Do List, to lesser effect, “Gonna organize my pills.” Music writer and Slayer historian, D.X. Ferris, did a great interview with the guy responsible for Danzig’s grocery shopping list. Greg Forrest, of Southbound Cinema, created the shopping list meme and is also a Danzig fan. Noting some of the unintended fallout from his meme, Forrest told Ferris: “There’s a world of difference between parody and character assassination. I fall into the “Weird Al” camp of parodying artists I love. People who watch my video and go, “Yeah, fuck Danzig!” are missing the point entirely.

CONSPIRACY

There are a few consequences for celebrities when living in our current world of social media and information overload. Danzig has seen it all. As previously discussed, camera phones have caught opportunistically timed photos of Danzig that have spread across the internet, not to mention embarrassing video. Last year, false internet rumors were spread when a fan in Montreal claimed that Danzig beat him up. Well, not unlike Tom Cruise on postpartum depression or Jenny McCarthy on vaccinations, Danzig’s been called out on a few conspiracy theories originating from interviews, re-posts, and shoddy “journalism.”

Headlines emerged in 2010 of Danzig’s lack of confidence in the efficacy of Western medicine, as well as political conspiracy theories. Danzig does call modern doctors “full of shit” and admits an interest in the Masonic principles that American was founded upon, but none of it is really that nutty. An example of an articles click-bait headline for a piece that’s relatively pedestrian. The site Metal Injection even has a section, “Oh, Danzig” devoted to Danzig stories they consider “insane,” often spinning headlines into something they really aren’t, “Danzig Compares Democrats to Fascists, Still Insane.” In reality, Danzig’s quote about fascists is in regards to the 1980s Parental Music Resource Committee (PMRC) who are responsible for our “Parental Advisory” stickers. Kinda agree with Glenn on this one, nevertheless, a site has to get clicks somehow and Danzig’s persona makes it low-hanging fruit.

Not exactly conspiracy, but a Danzig quote did start some controversy when he said he wouldn’t have played the part of Wolverine as “gay” as Hugh Jackman. Even when given opportunity to clarify in an interview with Village Voice, his response didn’t mince words: “FUCK YOU, FUCK YOUR SPIN, AND FUCK THE VILLAGE VOICE!” The Village Voice titled their interview “Grumpy Ole Glenn Danzig is Angry About Everything.”

OTHER SUNDRY ITEMS…

danziquinWhere George Orwell envisioned a “Big Brother” role of our government, I posit that technology has created a means to where we are all “Big Brother.” With the capacity to take photo and video on our phone and share to millions of people by way of social media, privacy and decorum have become mutually exclusive. For example, a rock and roll legend like Glenn Danzig can’t go grocery shopping without it going viral. He also doesn’t have the privacy or security of his own backstage as evidenced by the punch video. Well, the guy can’t make some cash on the side either without it spreading onto to Twitter.

In November 2015, the wife of a Boston Magazine writer Tweeted a photo of a mannequin at the H&M store wearing a Danzig t-shirt. If H&M and metal shirts ring a bell it’s probably because they’re the ones who were making band shirts for fake bands. Adding to the curiosity, after years of dragging Jerry Only under the  bus for selling Misfits tshirts at Hot Topic, now Glenn is selling Danzig shirts at H&M? What’s happening right now? Nevertheless, the original tweet and article were making a point on the oddity of this scenario. Danzig is hardly mainstream and mostly seen by the uninformed as a Satanic cult leader. Yet, here he is motherfucker, just penetrating mainstream fashion.

Finally, no discussion of Danzig’s internet history is complete without a special mention of the wonderfully odd and unexplained What’s that in Danzig’s?  The site offers unit of measure conversions for Danzig’s. For example, 666 years apparently equals 11 Danzig’s and 6,000 joules equals 5 Danzig’s. Sure, it doesn’t make any sense. But, if you’ve been to this site you’ve spent at least 5 minutes playing with the damn thing. The fact that this site even exists is a testament to both the fervor of Danzig fans and the myth generated by his dark and sinister image, albeit in this case comical and bizarre.

To wrap up this chapter in our coverage, it’s worth pointing out a couple of cases where Danzig was asked about the peculiar nature of his fans tributes that are based in parody. First, while it is not a meme, Tom Neely’s Henry and Glenn Forever comics are the progenitor of Danzig memes and parody. A journalist with Decibel Magazine tried to present Danzig with an issue of the comic to which Danzig was none too receptive. Luckily, Neely put the whole scene in comic format for our pleasure. In brief, Danzig has no interest in even laying eyes on the comic and eventually ends the interview. I think Glenn has every right to avoid seeing such parodies, however this reaction further fueled the ultra-serious and humorless image that has inspired these parodies in the first place.

A journalist with TimeOut had the balls to ask Glenn about the kitty litter photos and subsequent viral spread of the image. Glenn answered the question in not only the best way possible, but in a way that only Danzig could, “Everyone wants you to be what they want you to be…and they can all go fuck off.” Similarly, when another journalist asked about the photo, he replied “Hey, you know what, why do people even care? Why are they wasting their lives on this? [Laughs].”

Glenn Danzig’s history with the internet is unparalleled. As the internet opportunistically finds new victims to crucify, Glenn Danzig is a perpetual source of material. Danzig is a character (not a person) in the eyes of many metalheads and punks, making those moments of normality all the more shocking and hilarious when they occur. That said, without Danzig this world is far less interesting and more musically mundane.

J. Kevin Lynch

Notes – Featured image by Thom Bennett.

thombennett04
Thom Bennett, 2016

Glenn Danzig v. The Internet

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR – PART FIVE

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