Setlist: Warm up, Dirty Black Summer (Danzig song), Twist of Cain (Danzig song), Mother (Danzig Song), Working Man (Rush cover), Fairies Wear Boots (Black Sabbath cover), Hotel California (Eagles cover)
John Christ is a local Maryland boy and for that reason alone Maryland rock fans are treated to rare onstage performances by John every so often. On the night of Friday, August 12, 2022 John joined the Maryland band Pillbox for a six song set which opened with an interesting warm up that included snippets of “Stairway to Heaven” (Led Zeppelin), “Cocaine” (Eric Clapton), “Stangle Hold” (Ted Nugent), “Godless” (Danzig), “Long Way Back” (Danzig), “Her Black Wings” (Danzig), and towards the middle of the set John noodled off riffs from “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix and “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns N Roses.
I spoke to John just before he took the stage and asked him about former Danzig drummer Chuck Biscuits. John confirmed that Chuck is alive and well, that he no longer does music and is living a normal life raising his kid. I asked John about a possible Danzig reunion and he said, “You never know.” I told him that we are all getting older and that now is the time to really do it and he alluded to it being Glenn’s decision, not his. I mentioned that I was a fan of the Danzig 4 record and he commented that it was the record he was never totally sure of when it came out. He said he’s grown to like it and I commented that the song “Can’t Speak” was an amazing track. John told me that “Can’t Speak” is the guitar part from “Let It Be Captured” played backwards and that when it came time to perform that song live it took him about 2 weeks to figure out how to make it work because he had to play it backwards and find a way to achieve the “slaps” live. He commented that they performed it live on the John Stewart show and I interjected that they also did “It’s Coming Down” on the same show. John was in good spirits, walked through the room thanking friends for coming out to see him play and when he took the stage it was as if time stood still because John Christ was the same performer onstage; his tone, his stance, his performance….it was all spot on!
Opening with “Dirty Black Summer” which was a choice from the backing band Pillbox, John and the boys sounded amazing and this led into the song “Twist of Cain” which opened with John hitting that long opening bend with tons of sustain. John sounded absolutely amazing and his style is what defined the Danzig sound.
“Mother” ended the Danzig portion of the set and everyone in the room were on their feet as John and the boys jammed hard on his biggest hit. John ended “Mother” on his knees making his guitar feedback via his small Laney amp.
John told me prior to the set that he was jamming several covers just for fun, that they had picked some random stuff. The next three songs displayed that. “Working Man” by Rush rocked hard and before going into an extended Black Sabbath jam John told the crowd that Tony Iommi was his musical idol and he joked that he was probably more metal than anyone in the room because he has metal in his fingers from a serious accident he was involved in several years ago which caused him to nearly lose the ability to play guitar.
“Fairies Wear Boots” was a shred fest and this one was clearly a favorite of John’s. The final song in the set was a random one that the band seemed to add on the spot, a cover of The Eagles classic “Hotel California” which featured John not only playing guitar but also adding backing vocals.
This six song set was a rare event because John Christ does not take the stage as often as he should. Those in attendance were treated to an excellent performance and hopefully John will grace us all with more live shows in the near future!