How are you? I am fine. I have been a very good boy this year and all I want for Halloween is for the Samhain back catalog to be reissued. I promise I will do all of my chores and… and… fuck it.
Look, as the trees sort of lose some leaves and it’s in the low to mid-’80s in most of the country I’m nostalgic for a different time, a time when there used to be seasons and from the last week or so in September until October 31st Danzig reigned supreme either in my Walkman or in my room, which was adorned with several Danzig and Misfits posters. As a side note, I didn’t have a girlfriend until I was much older.
When I was 15, a dude at my local record shop noted my interest in Danzig and introduced me to Samhain via November-Coming Fire, which was unlike anything I’d ever heard at the time. Sure, there was some familiarity thanks to the reworking of “Halloween” but this wasn’t the ghoulish soda fountain punk vibes of the Misfits but something that was fucking unnerving. I used to read a lot of the older crowd talk about the first time they heard Venom and how it terrified them. That wasn’t my reaction (not to take anything away from Venom, of course) but Samhain genuinely sparked something in me that resembled fear. It was something special, uneasy listening that challenged me, sort of like how parts of Danzig IV would as well (you can see a theme). Considering this was 1994 it wasn’t difficult to track down the entire discography on CD and so, within a few months, I was fully immersed with everything the band had publicly released. It was one of those moments in time where, when you look back, you can see who you became being slowly molded by either events or culture around you.
A few years went by, and I was able to find Initium and November Coming-Fire on vinyl at Philadelphia’s legendary Noise Pollution, one of those late, great side-street stores off South Street that contained a fucking treasure trove of excellent music. I eventually had to sell both records at a time where money was fucked. Those are probably the two I regret letting go of the most out of anything. I think I justified it because I still had the CDs. I still do, after close to 30 years and half a dozen moves across various states, but they’re in sad fucking shape.
If my extensive (read: quick Wikipedia search) research is correct, there hasn’t been any kind of Samhain reissue since 2001—20 years ago. And I don’t understand this. My story isn’t uncommon, there’s probably thousands out there like me who want to replace their fucked up and fading originals instead of going on YouTube or buying shitty bootlegs. And it’s not just old fucks like me who are exploring the weird October depths of these records. Most recently you can look towards the Ifernach/Damghar split where both sides are Samhain covers or the dozens of bands that have either put their own spin on these classics or, at the very least, borrow heavily from the sound and aesthetic of the band. It’s a fucking goldmine waiting to be opened.
I conducted a radio interview with Glenn around the release of the 6:66 Satan’s Child album and, despite being warned otherwise, found him to be incredibly easy to talk to and open to all subject matter, even the one that his PR person at the time told me not to bring up—the Misfits. Right after that record was released he went on tour as both Danzig and Samhain and I caught the performance at the Electric Factory in Philly, one of the few good memories I have of that place. It was fucking amazing and helped scratch an itch that had been festering since I saw “the Misfits” fronted by noted idiot Michael Graves a few years earlier. It proved that a bit over 20 years ago Danzig still had the motivation to keep the Samhain legacy burning away. About 15 years later, I was on tour on the west coast and stopped at the Hollywood Amoeba as was tradition every time I was out there and standing in line at the counter was Glenn fucking Danzig. The urge to pester this man was excessive but I decided not to, though I probably would have asked about Samhain amongst other things he would’ve probably told me to fuck off halfway through asking. It’s a regret I still carry. I have a lot of Danzig related regrets.
And here we are, a couple weeks before Halloween, and I’ve taken you through nearly 30 years of my life. My Samhain CDs are all in tatters, my vinyl is in the hands of someone who’ll probably only take pictures of them for Instagram and never listen to them, and Danzig almost ran me over when he sped out of the Amoeba parking lot. I have a lot of memories, some regrets, but mostly just a simple question: Why the fuck aren’t these albums being reissued? Jesus fucking Christ, if Black Aria received a (well deserved) reissue and you see companies shitting out reissues every Record Store Day like another pressing of Rumours (this time on dick-skin colored vinyl) is what the world is clamoring for then I don’t see what the fucking hold up is.
So, this Halloween, please, Glenn, I’ve been good. Please reissue these fucking records. Pretty please with some skulls on top? I know you want those.