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The Spin Interview: Glenn Danzig

"The Misfits helped form what American punk is," Danzig says. "It was like holding an atom bomb in your hand." With bonus video!

Tight black T-shirt. Straight black hair. Talons for fingernails. Pale, corpselike skin. Skull tattoo on pumped left bicep. Glenn Danzig relishes his image as hard rock’s dark lord, even in the serene confines of Anarkali, his favorite Indian restaurant in Hollywood. Yet when the former Glenn Anzalone speaks, he sounds like the street-corner Jersey kid he once was. “This is a cool place, nice low lights,” he says. “Maybe I’m mellowing in my old age.” Danzig has never courted the mainstream, despite a major hit with the live version of his oedipal projectile “Mother” in 1993. But his impact is undeniable: My Chemical Romance and AFI might not exist if it weren’t for his three ghoulish bands: punk pioneers the Misfits, the goth-metal Samhain, and the eponymous Danzig. And for a guy often considered prickly and combative, he seems anything but, as he generously offers up a bite of his chicken jalfrezi. GREG BURK

Watch Spin deputy editor Steve Kandell, design director Devin Pedzwater, and photo director Michelle Egiziano talk about the Danzig interview and photoshoot:

Highlights from the Danzig interview:

On My Chem and AFI taking Danzig’s aesthetic to mainstream success: “It’s cool, because both of those bands have said in print, ‘We love Danzig.’ We took AFI out on tour. And they’ve both covered Misfits songs. What irritates me are bands that pretend they’ve never heard of the Misfits or Danzig, but they’ve got the skeleton shirt.”

On splitting his professional connection with Rick Rubin: “[D]uring the Danzig 4 sessions, I said, ‘Rick, we gotta talk about this. We’re selling a lot of records, and we’re not gettin’ paid.’ We never got royalty statements for all those years. And there was an issue about publishing [rights], too. Rick told me he had nothing to do with it, and that I had to sue him — that I shouldn’t take it personally, that was the way business was. And I was like, ‘What?’ Because I felt we were also friends.”

On Satanism: “There’s all kinds of schisms in Satanism, but the thing I like about it is the quest for knowledge. Other religions are more like, ‘No, you’re not allowed to learn any of this. Only the select few are allowed.’ … I don’t see any holy wars being fought in the name of Satan.”