But what about a strictly musical level? Let’s face it, if it weren’t for his success, we’d perhaps not have anyone ranging from CHUCK BERRY to THE BEATLES...and without them? The sheer level of butterfly effect is barely comprehendible! But, let’s not fall into any genre trappings here, let’s put to one side the general evolution of rock ‘n’ roll and focus on Elvis’ himself for now. He was very distinct for his almost baritone crooning and vocal drawl as much as he was for his hip-swinging swagger. Artists from all walks of life emulate him to a degree, take Jyrki from THE 69 EYES for example: he very much channels a gothic Elvis vibe for THE 69 CATS side-project and it works rather well. However, a name I wasn’t really expecting...was DANZIG. Yes, the original vocalist of pioneering horror-punks THE MISFITS and Sigourney Weaver’s long-lost steroidal twin has this year released his OWN album of select Elvis covers via CLEOPATRA RECORDS, talk about a fucking hybrid moment! With that said, this suspicious mind needs to check this out...
Now I’ll preface this by stating that I myself am not a massive Elvis fan, and most of the songs I DO know of, aren’t here which is incredibly helpful in the most sarcastic sense possible....so what DO I know? Let’s start with the single “Always On My Mind”...a classic you’ll all agree? Well to be fair here, he stays true to the slow-jam, sombre piano ballad and vocally does his best to retain the original sentiment of the track, delivering a somewhat morose, emotional croon, albeit a touch more gravelled. This isn’t some harsh punk-goth project...he’s actually, seemingly taking this rather seriously. Whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen. Additional single “One Night” which had its initial success in 1957 gets similar treatment here...the tempo remains the same generally and he does his best to honour the kings crooning, but we have more prominent, grittier guitar fuelling the track instead of the classic, now innocent sense of early rock ‘n’ roll.
Another classic track “Fever” (Although one of many that aren’t necessarily Elvis originals) has been covered countless times. Ranging from PEGGY LEE to MICHAEL BUBLE, the tracks always had a certain, sultry mystique. The minimalist yet captivating lounge jazz piece is again here done traditionally and is arguably the albums highlight. Another would be the cover of ARTHUR GUNTER’s “Baby Let’s Play House” and here we at least have more of that original up-beat greaser-gang rockabilly vibe and it’s a fun little inclusion. The rest of the album, sadly, drags more than a slug's knackers.
Glenn Danzig may very well be a huge fan of Elvis and other classic artists such as THE DOORS for example, and by all means he has every right to express that adoration via a respectful cover's album, but not everyone IS a big a fan of Elvis as he is, and the die-hard ones are likely to give this about as much attention as Elvis did his dietitian. Sure, the deeper cuts show you know your stuff and you may want to be highlighting certain favourites, but a larger audience could have possibly found more enjoyment and appreciation in more of the well-known hits. Your target audience is fucking niche at best already mate! The thought was there, as was the passion, but this was ironically, a miss-fit. Glenn...please listen...and if I may paraphrase; a little less covering Elvis and a little more punk rock please.