Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Waiting On The Samhain Of My Soul: Day Three - Danzig Catch All

Label: Bootleg
Year: 1978, 1981, 1984, 1987

During my years as a newspaper reporter, a staple of beat coverage was the catch-all story. Rarely sexy and almost never on the front page, the catch-all was an essential collection of a few paragraphs on this, a few paragraphs on that which tied up loose ends and reported the notable news bits from one’s area of coverage.

For today I threw together a Danzig-ized catch-all—a handful of recordings that aren’t weighty enough for their own entry but still fill in some of the necessary gaps in our story.

First, we have the Static Age mixdown tapes.  These are the pre-mixed, slower versions of the songs that would have made up the Static Age album in 1978, and finally saw official release in 1996 as part of the Misfits Box Set (and then as its own release).  The eight shared here were allegedly booted on tape in 1986 by Curtis Casella from Taang! Records. I don’t listen to these versions of these songs often, but they are historically significant.

Second, the June 1981 Newfound Sound Studios recordings. The Misfits recorded eight songs here, six of which were never officially released. The unreleased six (shared here) are slower versions of songs that were later re-recorded for Walk Among Us. The other two (officially released) songs from this session were “Hate Breeders,” later appearing on the Sessions disc from the Misfits Box Set, and “American Nightmare,” which would have been on the original Plan 9 Records version of Walk Among Us (that never happened) and ultimately found a home on Legacy of Brutality.

Our third set of songs today bridges the gap between the Misfits and Samhain. The first track of these Initium rough mixes, as I’ve called them, is “Archangel,” the Initium album closer I referred to yesterday. Glenn recorded this version of the song with Al Pike of Reagan Youth while the Misfits were still together. The second Initium rough mix is “Black Dream.” This is the pre-mixed version of the song that Danzig and Steve Zing played on WNYU in March of 1984, when they appeared to promote the first Samhain show. Found most notably on the Black Dream bootleg CD, this version lacks the trademark Samhain chimes. If you listen closely too, you’ll notice some of Lyle Preslar’s guitar work that was eventually mixed out.

Finally, the Samhain “random tracks” are all from the murky 1987-ish period when Samhain, at the behest of Def Jam head Rick Rubin, was morphing into the band that would be known as Danzig. This incarnation of the band(s) recorded “Twist of Cain,” the album-opener of Danzig I and a staple of (I would guess) probably every live show the band has ever played. I think it was this recording of the song, along with a few other demos, that were tacked onto the end of later versions of the posthumously released Samhain Final Descent CD. (The first press of the CD had Glenn Danzig’s remixed version of the Unholy Passion EP as bonus tracks.)

This version of “Twist of Cain” isn’t particularly good, but as noted, it also comes from a significant time in GD’s career. The second song, “Die For the Demon” (also known online as “Night of Hate”) is an up-tempo rocker that was never released. I’ve always liked the track.

The final “random track” is the demo version of “When Death Had No Name,” another favorite of mine. This slowly building song bounced around for years in the Danzig camp before finally being included in the Lost Tracks double LP in 2007. As mentioned in the Lost Tracks liner notes, the band recorded it at almost every session they did between the late-Samhain era and Danzig III, but never included it on an album.

I first heard this song on the Fresh Flesh live bootleg 7”, which—come to think of it—may have been another Mighty Quinn pickup.

The band regularly played this song live for at least the first several Danzig tours, bringing me to today’s memory—a short and sad one.

Danzig played an old club called Baity’s in Winston-Salem at least twice, maybe more, during its first few tours, when this song would have been included in the setlist. I was 16 at the time (Gray would have been 15) and I had a car, but … we didn’t go*. I really don’t know why. As Gray will tell anyone who asks to this day, we missed several critically important shows that were within driving distance around this time because I, for some reason, didn’t want to drive.

I honestly don’t recall my reasoning but I certainly regret it. My car wasn’t particularly reliable (it had a top speed of about 45 miles per hour), which likely kept me off major highways, but within the confines of Winston-Salem—I have no excuse. I would guess that I was probably intimidated by the type of crowd we might have run into at a “metal” show in 1989. I wasn’t the toughest, or most confident, 16-year-old on the block, but I truly don’t remember.

As it was, I would not see Danzig live until 1997, when the Von/Christ/Biscuits-less band played Winston-Salem on the Blackacidevil tour. The show, ironically, was at a club called Ziggy’s, just down the road from Baity’s.
-Jeff Simms
* just to set the historical record straight, ONE of us actually did go see Danzig in 1989. A legendary show that was briefly interrupted when Glenn hauled off on a dude up front who had been shouting Misfits requests all show. He was dealt with pretty quickly, one punch to the jaw and a bunch of shouting ("come up here pussy"..."I'll fucking kill you"...etc.), but it left quite an impact on me, as it was one of the first instances I'd ever seen where the performer broke the proverbial "third wall" to knock somebody in the face. Good shit 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all of this. So fun, and fun to read.

and you might wanna know the new Danzig covers album ("Skeletons") is now pre-orderable on iTunes, and you can buy/DL just its version of Sabbath's "N.I.B." now. It's good. Not mind-blowing but fun enough.

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