by Blade Mancano
The 80’s punk/goth scene had a few heroes to its own. You could find quite a few Cramps, Bahauas, Joy Division, and Cure fans. Although one could probably place Alien Sex Fiend, the Mission and even the Sisters of Mercy in a similar albeit tangent category all by itself, for my money there was only one band that crossed this line that had any balls whatsoever, and that band was Samhain. That’s not to say that I don’t own any Sisters of Mercy albums, because I own them all, but that’s not what matters here. Samhain came from pretty obscure roots (in the early 80’s, the Misfits were a beloved, but cult punk rock group that the media never understood, and never lasted long enough for their fans to truly appreciate). Glenn Danzig went a completely different direction with his second outing, and in the process redefined goth/punk/whatever darkness it was into something even more tangible and foreboding when Samhain further transformed into the better known DANZIG. Eerie Von was acting as the Misfits’s unofficial photographer in the early 80’s when he got the call to be the band’s drummer. Eerie refused the initial call, but later accepted a tour of duty as Samhain and later Danzig’s bass player. Painter, photographer, bass player, drummer, guitarist and vocalist in his own right, Eerie has five solo albums of his own, one amazing book, and a hell of a career to brag about. Mr. Von it is a total privilege, and on behalf of First Order Historians thank you so very much for allowing this fiend to interview you as my guest in 10 questions.
BM: Although you were pretty candid in your book regarding the inner-workings of Danzig, you never really threw anybody under the bus. Have you received any feedback from any your former band mates in either Samhain or Danzig regarding your book? Are you in contact with any of them at this point in your career?
EV: I’ve heard from Pete Marshall, Doyle and Jerry Only. They all liked the book. I am in contact with them, and John Christ.
BM: Again, regarding Misery Obscura, you did a superb job explaining what it must have been like to be a part of punk scene in the early 80’s. Your best friend at the time was Doyle (the most permanent Misfits guitarist). Was it surprising to see him playing again with Glenn over the past decade? Are you still in contact with Doyle?
EV: Doyle is a very nice guy. I’m not surprised he’s played with Glenn for the last 10 years. They were always friends.
BM: What got you into playing the drums at such an early age? How hard was it to transition into playing bass? Speaking of drummers, what was it like hearing Chuck Biscuits in your band for the first time?
EV: I had a very good friend from Kindergarten, thru High school who lived up the block, and he was a very good drummer, so I went to the boys club where he used to take lessons. Playing Bass is/was fun, I’m still not great at it. I never thought about it. I just did it. Hearing Chuck was amazing every day, not just the first time.
BM: With respect to Danzig 5, were there any sessions where you, Tommy Victor and Joey Castillo rehearsed before you left the band? If so, were those sessions awkward at all for you in any way?
EV: No sessions
BM: You’ve released a lot of music on your own, including an album called “Kinda Country.” Although, given your taste it can’t be considered a total curve ball, what was the reason for this stuff to come out in a country-ish fashion as opposed to say, rock or punk rock? Which solo album of yours was the most challenging for you to record?
EV: I write songs all the time, and had a bunch of Country type stuff, laying around, so I just recorded some of them. One or two date back to 1996. All the records you record should be a challenge, or you’re just wasting your time.
BM: On the Misfits collection II, there are two songs accredited to the Misfits that were recorded after the band broke up. What is the story behind “Mephisto Waltz” and the re-recorded version of “Cough Cool”? Were you involved in those recordings?
EV: I played on like 6 songs for a proposed “Walk Among Us” II album GD wanted to put out. The Cough Kool thing just happened because Glenn never liked the drums in the original.
BM: While Rick Rubin was courting you guys, did it feel like things were about to get big and professional, or was it more like a “Well, let’s see where this goes”, laid back kind of feel? Besides Def Jam (now American recordings), were there any other major labels or managers showing interest in Samhain? If so, who?
EV: Yeah, I thought it was the start of the Big Time for us. I was very excited. I don’t remember being courted by any other labels, but we might have been.
BM: Regarding the Final Descent album (which contains some of the last songs written as Samhain, but released long after the band morphed into Danzig), when was side A recorded? Glenn is credited with playing drums, except for one track. Did he use a real kit, or was he using a drum machine for songs like “The Birthing”?
EV: We used a drum machine. It was done back in Jersey around 86-87 and completed in 1990.
BM: In your book, you touch upon the fact that Glenn was a decent producer, but not very good at mixing, which I agree with. What is the deal with that? Does he just not care about instrumental separation (like being able to distinctly hear the bass and guitar as separate entities), or is his hearing kinda messed up? Is it a vision thing, like: “I hear it in my head like this, so this is what we’re gonna do”?
EV: His ears are probably damaged from the Misfits playing so loud. Mixing is something you either do well, or don’t. It’s also a matter of personal opinion.
BM: One of my favorite parts in the Danzig home video is your interview. If the Eerie Von of 2015 could talk to the Eerie Von at that time, what advice would you give yourself?
EV: I would tell myself to be more careful with the business side.
BM: Have you listened to John Christ’s solo record, Chuck’s work with Social Distortion, or even any of the subsequent Danzig releases after you left? If so, what were your thoughts?
EV: I heard it when it came out in 1999, and I saw Chuck play with Social Distortion. Heard only a few of Glenn’s records without us. Chuck was great like always, I thought John’s record was gonna have more guitar on it, and I haven’t heard anything of the Post-Danzig records that impressed me.
BM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we need to know about?
EV: Try to work on a 6th CD, get my book back in print, and put out a second one.
BM: Thank you for taking the time to do this, you’ve been an interesting artist to follow over all these years, and your insight and humor is appreciated by many of us. FANGS!
EV: No problem.
Eerie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eerievon
Eerie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/eerievon777
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