On July 14, 1986, Samhain performed at The Ritz in New York in what was to be their final show. In attendance was Rick Rubin, who was scouting for potential bands to sign to his record label, Def Jam Recordings. Rubin at first wished only to sign Danzig himself, with the intent of making him the vocalist for a hard rock supergroup that Rubin envisioned. However, Danzig refused to sign to Rubin's label without Samhain's bassist Eerie Von. In 1987, he added John Christ on guitar and Chuck Biscuits (ex-Black Flag) on drums. To reflect the change in musical direction and avoid having to start anew after future lineup changes, Glenn, on Rubin's advice, changed the name of Samhain to his surname, Danzig. The first release from the band, minus Eerie Von, was the song "You And Me (Less Than Zero)" from the Less Than Zero soundtrack and credited as Glenn Danzig & The Power and Fury Orchestra.
"Classic" original lineup-era (1988–1994)
In 1988, the band released its first album on Def American (later renamed to American Recordings).
In 1990, Danzig released its second album, Danzig II: Lucifuge. By 1992, Rubin's involvement with the band had waned. Danzig himself took credit for co-producing the third album, Danzig III: How the Gods Kill. In the following year, the band released the Thrall: Demonsweatlive EP, which contained several live tracks from the band's 1992 Halloween show as well as three new studio tracks. The live version of "Mother," a song from the first album, became popular on hard rock radio stations. A new version of the "Mother" music video was created using live footage, and the video became a hit on MTV as well.
On October 4, 1994, Danzig 4 was released. The album sold well, but did not contain a hit on par with the "Mother" single. The album's second single, "Cantspeak", was also a staple in MTV's rotation, but unlike "Mother" failed to appear on the Billboard Hot 100. "Cantspeak" is the band's only single other than "Mother" to chart on Billboard. Amid accusations of unpaid royalties and broken promises, Danzig's relationship with Rubin deteriorated, and the band left the record label.
Around this time, the band's lineup began to dissolve as well. First, Chuck Biscuits left the band in the summer of 1994 due to royalty disagreements. According to a special issue of Kerrang!, former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl turned down an approach by the band. Biscuits was replaced by Joey Castillo, who made his first public appearance as a member of Danzig at an in-store signing the day of the fourth album's release. Coincidentally, Castillo would later replace Grohl in Queens of the Stone Age. Although the band had toured successfully with its new drummer during the fall and winter of 1994-95, by the spring of 1995 Danzig was actively seeking a new guitarist, with Pepper Keenan and Dez Cadena considered possible replacements. John Christ and Eerie Von resigned on July 5, 1995.
Post-original lineup-era (1995–1999)
In October 1996, Danzig 5: Blackacidevil was released. The album was mostly a solo effort by Danzig, although Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains played lead guitar on three of the album's tracks. Joey Castillo played drums, the sole member still in the band from the 4p Tour. Castillo would record on two more Danzig albums, making him the longest-standing member outside of the original lineup.
For the next few years, Danzig was tied up in a legal battle with Rubin over the rights to unreleased material the band recorded for American Recordings. In November 1999, Danzig 6:66 Satan's Child was released. A long-planned Samhain box set was also released, followed by a Samhain reunion tour. Samhain opened for Danzig for six weeks during the tour and consisted of Steve Zing and London May switching between bass and drums.
Later years (2000–2005)
By 2000, Danzig's line up had stabilized with the addition of guitarist Todd Youth and bassist Howie Pyro, both veterans of the New York City punk scene. In 2002, this line up released the album Danzig 777: I Luciferi. In 2004, Danzig released their eighth studio album, Circle of Snakes, with the line up featuring Tommy Victor of Prong on guitar, who had toured as a member of Danzig years earlier.
Soon after the album's release, Danzig undertook the Blackest of the Black tour across the United States, replacing Circle of Snakes drummer Bevan Davies with Johnny Kelly (of Type O Negative).
Throughout 2006, Glenn Danzig stated in several interviews that he had grown tired of the touring cycle, and did not expect to partake in any more large-scale tours. Instead, Danzig would go on small, localized tours, such as the ten west coast dates they played for the 2006 Blackest of the Black tour. This tour debuted Kenny Hickey (of Type O Negative) as the band's new guitarist, while the East Coast dates saw the addition of former Samhain member, Steve Zing on bass.
In October 2006, Glenn Danzig released Black Aria II, the follow-up to his solo classical album, Black Aria. Black Aria was re-released by Evilive in May 2007. He spent the rest of the year completing the production and packaging of The Lost Tracks of Danzig, a double CD containing twenty-six unreleased songs that span the entire Danzig catalog, which was released on July 10, 2007. Danzig has also stated that he plans to record a dark blues album with either Jerry Cantrell or Hank Williams III.
In August 2008, Glenn Danzig announced that Danzig (the band) would do a 20th anniversary tour, celebrating the release of their self-titled debut album. This was the band's first full US tour in three years, which also included stops in Canada and Mexico. Also asked in August 2008 if the ninth Danzig album was planned, Glenn Danzig replied:
I have been in the studio here and there working on new songs but don't know when they will come out. I was thinking of putting one up on the Danzig site so the fans could check it out. Even thought about doing one on this tour.
— Glenn Danzig, August 2008
On December 26, 2009, Danzig performed at the Starland Ballroom in New Jersey. The show was notable for featuring a special appearance by Michale Graves who, along with Doyle and Dr. Chud, performed several songs by the reformed version of the Misfits.
Recent activity (2010–present)
On March 10, 2010, a Danzig lyric book was released, titled Hidden Lyrics of the Left Hand. The book contains unreleased song lyrics combined with illustrations by Simon Bisley.
Danzig released Deth Red Sabaoth, their ninth studio album, on June 22, 2010. It is the band's first proper studio album in six years, since 2004's Circle of Snakes. Both Tommy Victor and Johnny Kelly appeared on the record.
In 2009, movie director Todd Phillips chose Danzig's song "Thirteen" to open his film The Hangover. Danzig later recorded a new song, "Black Hell", to appear in the 2011 sequel, The Hangover: Part II.
In January 2011, Danzig were announced for the 2011 Download Festival at Donington Park, England, alongside bands including Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, and System of a Down. On the first day of the festival, Danzig headlined the Pepsi Max stage. On June 12, 2011, Danzig played at the Nova Rock Festival.
On October 25, 2011, a greatest hits album entitled The Essential Danzig was to be released through Sony BMG. However, as of 2017, this has yet to happen, nor have details of the release been given.
October 2011 also saw a rare string of reunion shows called the "Danzig Legacy" tour. The shows consisted of a Danzig mini set, followed by a Samhain mini set, a set of Danzig and Doyle performing Misfits songs, and then ending with three Danzig songs and the performance of "Skulls".
In May 2012, Danzig released the song "Devil's Angels", the theme from the 1967 film of the same name, from Skeletons. “I've wanted to record this song since 1979 and this is exactly the same arrangement I had for it back then, so it pretty much sounds like that late 70s style of mine. I'm really happy with the way it turned out, it actually came out much better than I had hoped it would. We're going to be playing it live on these upcoming shows.”
In April 2013, Glenn Danzig told Full Metal Jackie that he would begin work on new Danzig material with Tommy Victor and Johnny Kelly after the 25th anniversary tour. In February 2014, the band began recording three new songs for their tenth studio album. On March 20, 2017, it was announced that the album, titled Black Laden Crown, will be released in mid-May of that year.
On September 4, 2015, Danzig released a 7" vinyl single, limited to 500 copies, of "Devil's Angels" to promote the covers album, Skeletons.
On October 7, 2015, Glenn Danzig appeared on Sirius XM to debut the band's cover of "Always on My Mind" from the tentatively titled Danzig Sings Elvis album. On July 29, 2016, the official Danzig Facebook page confirmed that the Danzig Sings Elvis album is finished and ready for release.
On May 26, 2017, Danzig released their first studio album in seven years titled Black Laden Crown on Nuclear Blast & AFM Records.