Nothing says Mother’s Day like Danzig. (This is not true even a little bit, but just go with it.) And since Sunday is Mother’s Day, and we like to promote any opportunity to post Danzig-related content, this felt like as good a chance as any.
First, an explanation: I frequent karaoke bars on occasion. I have a roster of songs I typically go to depending on the mood of the crowd and my mood and whether or not there are other external factors in play. Some days it’s great to dip into the 90s pool, other times you’ve got a crowd that really would go for some R&B, and there’s always the classic rock vibe you run into at any given moment
All this said, nothing topped the time I heard a dude at Alice’s in Chicago do his cover of “Mother.” He owned it. To the point where I was supposed to sing something (I dunno probably a really bad idea like “Walking On Broken Glass” or some Backstreet Boys song which was totally not even the right place for it), and I lost my composure because I was still so excited for the last guy who just crushed Danzig.
So I thought in honor of Mother’s Day, and Glenn Danzig, and Glenn Danzig’s mother, it was only right to run through a list of five pretty okay covers of “Mother.”
The singer-songwriter who has released albums on Columbia and Fat Possum pretty much took the song and made it her own, and this is something she seems to do well, as she also has done covers of “Bad Romance” and Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit Of Happiness.” I’m actually surprised we haven’t seen more female artists cover “Mother” in the first place, as a vocalist with a little bit of grit and a higher register could really bring a new dimension to the song.
Speaking of a higher register, here comes CeeLo. This cover comes from Lollapalooza in 2011, thanks to YouTuber Allen K. I’m of the mindset that I’d enjoy Green covering most songs, and the Gnarls Barkley version of the Violent Femmes “Gone Daddy Gone” is super good, so seeing CeeLo in one of his crazy outfits playing rock star brings me great joy, even if the majority of the sun-drenched crowd looks confused as heck.
The A.V. Club’s “Undercover” series is brilliant. And GWAR’s take on Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls” is equal parts spectacular and hilarious, as was their Kansas cover. So seeing Wye Oak’s haunting, slowed-down take on Danzig is another fun approach even if I find myself thinking I’m about to wake up in some sort of Wild Things sequel. Jenn Washer’s vocals just work so well here.
The Florida part-emo, part-Christian rock band is poppy as all heck, and I’d be lying if I said I’ve never listened to them while I run (hey, we already ran through our guilty pleasures and embarrassing admissions a few weeks ago). So maybe I should’ve left them off the list and saved myself some headache. That said, the acoustic take on “Mother” isn’t so bad, and singer Stephen Christian’s voice is just so different from Danzig’s that the contrast somehow works.
The best part of this whole video is the dude who hears the first couple chords and just says out loud, “Mother…Mother!…Danzig!” He knows he’s in for a treat, and he wants the rest of the people around him to know too. When Adams starts singing, he gets a few more hoots and cheers, but it isn’t until he really gets into the meat of the song that people start buying in. Ryan Adams always chooses his covers with care, and he never takes them too seriously. He’s realizes he’s up there playing somebody else’s song, so he has fun with it. This is a cover he has performed often, including on World Cafe, and one time with Johnny Depp (Sure!)
So Happy Mother’s Day everybody. Call your moms, whether you want them to help you find hell with you or not.