I’m not sure at what age I grew into the routine of seasonal listening, probably when I became old enough that nostalgia settled in like the rot that it is, but my habit has become such that there’s certain records I can’t enjoy unless it’s the right time of year. I’m sure Jaz Coleman would say it has something to do with the vibrations of the earth. Did I mention I’m watching "The Death and Resurrection Show"? It’s up for free on YouTube now and only two and a half fucking hours.

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I’m sure I could go a "Noise Pollution" without a Killing Joke reference, but then no one would be able to complain that I repeat myself and you'd have to find something else to lob shit at me for and I’m sure that’s difficult.

Anyway, back to the springtime with all its fucking pollen and wasps. I have a lot of memories attached to records I either discovered or attached myself to, especially in '95. The year 1995 would become the first big spiritual moment in my musical life which caused (and Jesus Christ this is pretentious, so get ready for it) me to transcend my ideals of reality and self and begin the journey to where I am now, which is to say an absolute fucking mess with a lot of memories attached to records. And while there's plenty I look back on from that year which changed and molded me, the one that sticks out as possibly the most important or, at the very least, the most interesting is Danzig's IV album.

In the early '90s I was very much into what was coming out of Seattle, as well as discovering King's X in the late '80s, eventually falling into shit like Megadeth, Sepultura, and Type O Negative. While I still have a soft spot in my heart (and Spotify playlist) for many of these, I had never truly found music that connected with me on a spiritual level and caused me to change my way of approaching not only listening but eventually writing and performing music. Then one afternoon I was watching MTV after school and the video for Danzig's "Cantspeak" came on and it was like time froze for me.

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The only exposure I'd really had to Danzig was the "Mother" video that was on constant rotation, and it hadn't (yet) clicked with me. But "Cantspeak"? Holy shit. The droning instrumentation, the otherworldly feeling, the repetition that would eventually become ritual for me in practically everything artistic I would ever do? People describe hearing Venom for the first time when they were kids and being "terrified" which then turned them into obsessed fans for life. This was my experience with Danzig IV. But it wasn’t terror, just transfixion.

This caused me to beg for a ride to Acrat, a local indie record store that I would eventually work at for a spell (we'll get to that down the road) to pick it up. At the time Chuck Miller, who would gain infamy as the owner of Temperance Records, was in charge of keeping the metal and hardcore sections well stocked and, noticing my interest, turned me on to the Misfits, Samhain and the Black Aria record. In short, the Plan 9 discography. I was hooked.

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Living near the Ocean City boardwalk as the season was starting to open up meant that me and my ne'er-do-well friends had access to all kinds of bootlegs and music merch, including a German Danzig poster for the Lucifuge album I just spent half my lunch break looking for online (I also recently did this for a Secret of Mana poster, much to the same result. I now know how everyone who's ever dated me feels). By Easter of that year my room was fucking covered. Even as my interest in death and black metal grew around the same time, there was something about Danzig's music across all of these projects that was just, for lack of a better word, special. Between college radio and Miller's continued influence and assistance at Acrat I was absorbing more music and culture in a span of a few months than I felt that I had my whole life. This was it.

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A few months later, when I decided to begin my own musical "career," I had carefully studied aspects of IV, especially its atmosphere. Eventually, once I began to understand music better (about twenty years into making it) I was able to use this knowledge in more practical applications. Sitting here now thinking about it, there isn’t a single record I’ve done in my lifetime that didn’t have some element I lifted from IV. I’m nearing 44 years old and even today while I map out my next recordings I’m still using plays from a nearly thirty year old (spell)book.

We can argue incessantly about "favorite" records or "desert island" records or even fucking "memorable" records (and I will, too, as long as you keep reading) but in terms of "important" records, I don’t think there's too many higher in the category than Danzig IV. It defines the spring season for me, not only in the nostalgic remembrance of the time in which I first became obsessed with it but also in the metaphor of spring as a time of rebirth itself. IV is one of the records I can say truly and profoundly changed my life. I've even used it as an icebreaker question in interviews with other musicians. It's one of those records that when you speak to others who really get it you can find some of the deepest wells of conversation possible. I mean, Sanford Parker has one of the greatest tattoos I’ve ever seen (and will probably steal) which is the Danzig skull and underneath it simply reads "I-IV".

This would be the final time the "classic" Danzig lineup would convene and capture lightning in a bottle, similar to the lineup that created what, after a tiring inner dialogue, I can definitely say is my favorite record of all time, at least for now. See you in two.

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