Glenn Danzig Has A Few Things To Say About Cancel Culture
Glenn Danzig was interviewed by Rolling Stone last week and if he mostly spoke about his movie career and his new horror film, ‘Death Rider in the House of Vampires,’ he had a few things to say about cancel culture and this is the part that got most people interested.
When asked about the Misfits’ song ‘Last Caress,’ Danzig said that ‘It’s just a crazy-ass song. We would do things just to piss people off.’ But the journalist visibly wanted more and continued on the topic, visibly eager to trigger some reaction. After all, ‘Last Caress’ starts with the very offensive lyrics: ‘I got somethin’ to say, I killed a baby today/And it doesn’t matter much to me as long as it’s dead/Well, I got somethin’ to say, I raped your mother today/And it doesn’t matter much to me as long as she’s spread.’
Danzig acknowledged that it was just a ‘Fuck everybody. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck the world’ song.’ ‘And that was pretty much the attitude. It was just like, Fuck your system, fuck all this bullshit,’ he added. ‘It was something else. I don’t think people will ever see anything like it again. There won’t be any new bands coming out like that. Now, they will immediately get canceled.’
Once again the journalist asked him to elaborate and he got what he wanted: ‘People don’t understand, because everything’s so cancel-culture, woke bullshit nowadays, but you could never have the punk explosion nowadays, because of cancel culture and woke bullshit. You could never have it. It would never have happened. We’re lucky it happened when it did because it’ll never happen again. You won’t have any of those kinds of bands ever again. Everyone’s so uptight and P.C., it’s just like, ‘OK, whatever.’
Danzig is obviously right that cancel culture is out of control… but ‘a punk explosion would never happen today?’ makes him very short-sighted and not in touch with what’s going on. Honestly, he is a bit of a cartoon character these days, he only sees his own provocative-for-the-sake-of-being-provocative lyrics (they have never impressed me) while pretending that dangerous art doesn’t exist anymore. Well, this is only because he is a big egocentric who has never looked around.
If kids of today can’t handle the Misfits, how did they handle Odd Future? Tyler the Creator and his band wrote some really disturbing stuff and the lyrics are much clever than anything Danzig ever wrote. Just look at the lyrics of French! : ‘I’m opening a church to sell coke and Led Zeppelin/And fuck Mary in her ass’? If I want to read about murder and rape, I want at least the lyrics to be clever and entertaining. The funny thing is that Odd Future as a collective never made it into the mainstream culture, contrarily to Tyler or Frank Ocean, and I am pretty sure that the multicolor GOLF or OFWGKTA shirts consumed by many kids escaped many adults’ radar as they had no clue these were the colors of the wild collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. I saw that at my school for years: had the principal known about the offensive lyrics, would he have tolerated the shirts? The tee-shirts probably worked the same way as the Misfits’ skull shirts in the early ‘80s.
And if you want offensive mainstream, look at the videos recently released by Lil Nas X or Cardi B, you cannot go more impertinent than that for a certain part of America. Without any doubt, subversive art still exists but I see many more artists being canceled because of personal behavior than some offensive art they have produced.
Then, I would also say to Danzig that punk rockers are not the ones being canceled. To get cancel you first need a large platform and a lot of exposure in the mainstream press and these punk bands never had any of this. They were playing underground shows at CBGB way before social media, and even with social media they rarely are part of the mainstream culture. Cancel culture has no use of them. Look at NOFX’s Fat Mike who offended plenty of people in Las Vegas during Punk Rock Bowling in 2018 when he joked about the previous year’s shooting. Yes, NOFX was sort of canceled for a year, but they are back this year, headlining one of the 3 days of this same punk festival. I guess punk still has an audience and this audience could not care less about cancel culture
There’s no need to be nostalgic of the past when a lot of the so-called rebellious punks of the good old days have turned into the worst right-wing idiots? I am looking at you Johnny Rotten.
Danzig and his band have always been more about shock values than anything else, he grossly overestimates the significance of his songs, his political views are quite ridiculous and he is not really in touch with the current culture. Without any doubt cancel culture exists but it has little to do with Danzig’s view of the world.