Skip to content

Danzig Sings Elvis At The Ricardo Montalbán Theatre, Friday, February 10th, 2023


I have never seen Elvis live, and I have never seen Danzig live, that’s why this “Danzig sings Elvis” thing was a double curiosity. This was supposed to be an evening for a Valentine’s Day date, and we were treated with heart-shaped pink cupcakes at the entrance of The Ricardo Montalbán, a historic and cozy theatre in the heart of Hollywood.

 If Danzig and Elvis look like an odd combination at first, their association is not too bizarre when you think about it. Danzig’s singing style and his rich baritone have often been compared to the King’s own voice to the point of nicknaming the Misfits frontman “Evil Elvis.” At 67, his voice has kept a good range, and he can still reach high notes with powerhouse moments – even though his vocal prowess cannot truly be compared to Elvis’s famous croon. But there are a few other interesting parallels: Elvis was regarded as the Devil in the ‘60s, while Danzig has been called a Satan worshiper. Both men also have very specific clothing styles, whether we think about rhinestone white jumpsuits or head-to-toe black outfits, and they both have become beloved pop culture cartoon figures. The cult of Danzig is very alive in LA and you cannot walk to a venue without spotting a Misfits shirt.

Danzig has always loved Elvis, he has covered the King in the past, including “Trouble,” a song with that Danzig-ready line, “I’m evil, evil, evil, as can be.” For all these reasons, it makes sense that Danzig decided to record “Danzig Sings Elvis” in 2020, a collection of 14 songs, which do not necessarily include the obvious ones. Last night, the horror punk icon sang all of them, plus a few others during a sold-out performance.

When he came on stage wearing his black leather jacket, a huge Danzig iron cross around his neck, and the biggest devil-horns belt buckle I had ever seen, it was difficult to forget Tom Neely’s homoerotic comic book series “Henry and Glenn Forever.” A few years ago, I saw an exhibit of Danzig-inspired cartoons (including those of Tom Neely’s series) and the Misfits frontman looks very much like these caricatures in person: somber silhouette with white makeup and a Satan-wannabe aura that precedes him… except for the smiles he charmed his audience with during the night. After all, it was a romantic Valentine’s show, a flamboyant Elvis spectacle, and Danzig had largely abandoned his horror punk character for the evening.

Performing in front of giant red letters reading DANZIG, the Misfits frontman was only accompanied by three musicians, Jesse Dayton on guitar, Ronnie King on keyboard, and Steve Zing on drums, and he was moving on stage with ample arm effects and some real energy, not unlike Elvis used to do. The arrangements of the songs were quite faithful to the originals, and there was no attempt to transform the songs into some new metal-like anthems. Meanwhile, Danzig’s vocals were sometimes impressive, hitting Elvis’s territory, maybe half of the time. His powerful baritone was at its best during the quiet tunes, and it truly shone during the country ballad “Lonely Blue Boy,” the languid and romantic “Is It So Strange” (one of his favorite songs of the album), and the poignant “Young and Beautiful,” that he sang just accompanied by the keyboardist. In contrast, his voice was sometimes a bit buried below the loud guitar riffs and drumbeats when the music was louder, and it was then difficult to hear all the nuances of his rich baritone.

He took the stage with a triumphant “One Night” under an ecstatic crowd screaming at each one of his passionate “One night with you.” It was a theatrical way to launch a Valentine’s Day show. The mid-50s rockabilly “Baby Let’s Play House” followed and you could tell, right away, that Danzig had a thing for early Elvis. He could push the high notes quite well during “Like a Baby,” holding the mic upside down in one hand and pushing muscular screams.

I didn’t care much for the melancholic numbers like “Pocket Full of Rainbows,” as they didn’t bring much to the show. Without any doubt, the tunes delivered with bravado and excess, like the dynamic rock & roll of “When It Rains It Really Pours,” were the ones the most suited to Danzig’s style.

“If you know the songs, feel free to sing along,” he told us between two songs. “Always on My Mind” was probably one of the most famous pieces that Danzig performed, carrying the tune “without backup singers” as he proudly pointed out. “Fever” was nevertheless deprived of any sex appeal and was a little dull: here is the thing, you can never call Danzig’s delivery sensual or sexy, and it was one important Elvis dimension lacking during the night.

From the beautiful country song “She thinks I Still Care” to the dramatic “Love Me,” to a Blues number, I thought he was doing a good job until I went home and listened to Elvis Presley’s versions. To be honest, it is not fair, Elvis never passed 42 and Danzig is 67. The show ended (although I never truly saw the end of the show, more about this later) with covers that are not on the album, and I recognized a few well-known songs like “Little Sister” and “Mystery Train,” mixed with more obscure (to me) ones.

During the show, Danzig kept alluding to the fact that a lot of Elvis’s songs wouldn’t be approved by today’s cancel culture standards, and this is even how he introduced “Girl of my Best Friend,” the story of a guy hopelessly in love with his best friend’s girlfriend. For a while I thought he would start a long rant about cancel culture – this is something I would really pay for – but he stayed very restrained, just commenting a bit on the political incorrectness of some songs. I don’t know if Danzig is aware of this but Presley’s material sounds very benign today when compared to some rap songs, and I am pretty sure that the King would not be canceled because of his songs today, but because of his real-life behavior.

Regarding cancelation, I cannot miss mentioning the very strict “No photo policy” that was reinforced by the security guards as if their lives depended on it. They were simply tyrannic! I knew about Danzig’s reputation, and I even remember watching a video showing him running after a guy who dared to photograph him during an outdoor concert. There was a big sign at the entrance of the theatre saying that photos were strictly prohibited, and, before the show, they told us several times that anyone taking pictures would be asked to leave the building. It sure dissuades you from trying. However, today your phone is your ticket, so the many security guards spent the night chasing and threatening people who were trying to use their phones. How idiotic was that? How can you possibly hope for hundreds of people to put their phones away in 2023? I was even screamed at for checking my phone several minutes before the show started and I didn’t like it. I had sneaked in a small camera, and I had to give it a try during the last song. I knew it was very risky because security was everywhere, and I was soon escorted to the exit like a criminal. Anyway, it was the last song – unless he did a second encore? While walking through the door, I thought about punk and breaking the rules (especially the stupid ones since taking a photo is not a crime) and I thought about Joe Strummer: when a stranger asked him if he could take a photo of him in the subway, Strummer answered “You should take photos of whatever you want. That’s punk!” I ended the show with a punk moment. Danzig’s tyrannic decision on the other hand was not very punk. If you want to be Elvis for a night, you shouldn’t be afraid of photos. Elvis was all about look and appearance, girls screaming, crying, and trying to touch him. Danzig was constantly looking at the crowd, responding to the women who were stretching their arms and he visibly had a great time. ”You can scream as much as you want, I love it,” he said. When you sing Elvis, there are only two possibilities: either you are a bad karaoke version of the King, or you truly incarnate him. Which one do you think Danzig chose to be? So, he should go with the flow and allow photos. As Chuck D said when I saw him at the Grammy Museum, we live in very image-oriented times, that’s how people see the world today. Millions of (often unnecessary) photos are taken every second and it sounds ridiculous and hopeless to go against the zeitgeist.


One Night
Baby Let’s Play House
Lonely Blue Boy
Is It So Strange
Like a Baby
Pocket Full of Rainbows
Girl of my Best Friend
Young and Beautiful
Always on My Mind
Loving Arms
She thinks I Still Care
When It Rains It Really Pours
First in Line
Love Me
Little Sister

Mystery Train

Leave a Comment


Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at

Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – March 1986 (Volume 17, Number 7)

By Steve Crawford | March 27, 2023 |

You can definitely see Creem’s change of direction

US Top Ten Albums Tracking 3-17-23 – 3-23-23

By Iman Lababedi | March 27, 2023 |

Morgan will be pulling off singles for at least the next year

Press Releases For March, Here Are The Artists

By Alyson Camus | March 27, 2023 |

A cold and nonchalant delivery for a song that rocks hard

Rocky Kramer’s Rock & Roll Tuesdays Presents “Riding the Storm” On March 28th, 2023, 7 PM PT on Twitch

By admin | March 26, 2023 |

now available worldwide

Going Steady: New Singles 3-24-23 – 3-30-23 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | March 26, 2023 |

essence of a certain American masculinity

Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – February 1986 (Volume 17, Number 6)

By Steve Crawford | March 26, 2023 |

the perceived threat to authority is more class-based than generational

L. A. Burning, West Coast Concert Picks March 27th To April 2nd

By Alyson Camus | March 26, 2023 |

Depeche Mode are at the Kia Forum

Sneak Peaks: Upcoming Album Releases 3-31-23 – 4-6-23

By Iman Lababedi | March 26, 2023 |

he left Griselda so he has a lot to prove…

UK Top 10 Singles 3-24-23 – 3-30-23

By Iman Lababedi | March 25, 2023 |

the longest running at the top this decade with ten weeks

UK Top 10 Albums 3-24-23 – 3-30-23

By Iman Lababedi | March 25, 2023 |

the worst greatest hits ever

Scroll To Top