He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named on Vampira and Hollyweird

Photo copyright Stephen Stickler

Sunday, 8:30pm, Black Stage

The skull is omnipresent, stenciled and scrawled everywhere from Rio's favela hellscapes to Lodi, N.J.'s suburban sprawl. That grinning rictus is an eerie masterpiece of previral design, and those eyes – hooded and hinting of midnight pleasures and dirty black dreams – follow you wherever you go, Spook City, USA.

Glenn Danzig – the seething creative force behind the Misfits, Samhain, and, for the past two decades, his self-titled incarnation – offers a mordant chuckle at the notion that this Republic Pictures villain he plucked from serial oblivion to serve as mascot for the horror kids has become a global identifier rivaled only by the grim reaper.

"It's pretty funny considering I was told I would never have a career in music by every single major label in the world."

Nobody but nobody tells He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named what to do. "I began putting out records on my own label and luckily had some help from friends in New York who had already done it, like Terry Ork (who put out the Television singles), Richard Hell & the Voidoids, and some Richard Hell stuff."

That begat Plan 9 Records, and the rest, as they say, is a legacy of brutality. Speaking of grave robbers from outer space, this past year saw the passing of two of Danzig's most hallowed influences: mistress to the horror kids Maila "Vampira" Nurmi and Hollyweird, Karloffornia's legendary Forrest J Ackerman.

"Vampira didn't really influence my career," growls Danzig. "I just wrote a song with that title, which was really about what are now called goth girls. But back then there was no name for 'em, you know?"

On the other claw, "Forrest Ackerman was a very cool guy. Growing up, every kid who was into horror was into Famous Monsters magazine. And then, of course, I ended up using that classic Famous Monsters [font] for the third Misfits logo."

Danzig's one constant is the transformation of the transgressive: That early, howling Elvis-croon of Walk Among Us has grown into a full-moon, horror-born, ribcage-rattling roar.

"For me it's always been a case of 'if you don't have anything to say, don't say anything.' I do a record when I have something to say, and I want it to be better or bigger or stronger each time. Because otherwise, why do it? There's no money in music anymore, so I'm not doing it for the money."

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