Danzig – Sings Elvis
It is no secret that one of the main influences on Glenn Danzig’s vocals, musical taste and upbringing has been Elvis Presley. Glenn grew up listening to Elvis and has emulated The Kings’s crooning throughout his storied career with the Misfits, Samhain, and solo work. It’s been rumored that he was making an Elvis covers record for years and just the very thought of that was his ultimate super-fans’ wet dream. What seemed to stoke these rumors even more was when Glenn put together the “TV taping”/DVD of Danzig Legacy, which featured all three of his bands on a studio set that mirrored Elvis’ 1968 “Comeback Special.” Well, after years of waiting by patiently, Danzig Sings Elvis has suddenly materialized.
This is a true vocal album that showcases Danzig’s vocal ability, and although his voice isn’t as strong as it used to be, you could say that he’s still “got it.” The record is much like the other record of covers he made, Skeletons, where Glenn plays most of the instruments himself (piano, guitars, bass, and drums). It’s a stripped-down, raw, no frills, and real-sounding recording that’s devoid of any studio chicanery. While it is quite the minimalist concept for a cover record, that seems to help keep the vocals and the source material in focus. Listening to it you can tell the earnestness and personal passion that was poured into the project. It feels intimate, as if Danzig is somehow performing live in your living room (which would be hilarious!)
The album starts out with a dark piano version of “Is It So Strange,” which sets the tone for what’s to come. On “One Night” and “Lonely Blue Boy” you really get a feeling for Danzig’s impressive vocal range. On “Baby Let’s Play House” it almost sounds like a garage band playing a Cramps tune. Elsewhere, “First in Line” and “Love Me” are both veritable tales of heartbreak that Danzig delivers with persuasion and admiration, while “Fever” exudes a very dark, almost Gothic sexualism.
The song selection is not the most popular Elvis songs. Danzig goes for more obscure tracks and B-sides here, which is the same thing he did on Skeletons. In his liner notes he writes, “The songs on this record are probably not what would be expected. Most are not ‘Big Hits’ but if you are an Elvis fan, they are.” He goes on to say, “I tried to stay as faithful to the original tracks as I could, while also putting my own individual style or stamp on them.” Whether you’re into Danzig or not, this is unquestionably an interesting record to check out.