The History of Danzig’s “Mother” Video

This Mother’s Day, skip the flowers. Show your mom what hell is like.

The video for Danzig’s doom rock classic “Mother” is essential Mother’s Day viewing. The slow burning howl from Danzig’s classic debut sparked controversy upon release. After three decades, it remains a singular vision and continues to attract morbid curiosity from all the dark corners of the world.

After The Misfits there was Samhain, and after Samhain came Danzig, a punk rock supergroup combining the brutality and force of the Misfits and Black Flag. By the mid ‘80s, Glenn Danzig was done with the high speed theatrics of “Walk Among Us”-era Misfits. With the help of visionary producer Rick Rubin, he slowed the beat to a crawl and boiled up a witch’s brew of blues, metal and the occult.

“Mother” was born in 1988. It instantly became one of the most controversial videos of the year. When the production crew sent the video to MTV, the channel demanded severe edits to the original production, stripping it of its macabre essence. They hated  the video so much, they threatened to ban not just the “Mother” video, but all future Danzig videos as well.

It wasn’t a promising commercial start for a brand new band. But what’s more punk rock than corporate censorship?

In 1989, Danzig told Metal Mania he was confused by MTV’s standards. “It really pisses me off because they’ll show Freddy Krueger, his bones, and the dog comes over and pisses on his bones and all of a sudden, his skin comes back and his guts,” Danzig tells Zogbi. “I thought it [Mother] was pretty tame—with my background, I could have done something really wild.”

The weird thing is that despite its objections to the video’s content, MTV mistakenly aired the unedited version for an entire week.

Vincent Giordano writes that Danzig producer Rick Rubin was overjoyed by MTV’s mix-up. “I knew Monday morning was going to be hell and even before I got to the office there was a frantic message to call MTV,” Rubin told Giordano. The accidental airing caused great publicity for the group. Rubin got over one hundred people to call MTV asking for the video where they “sacrifice the chicken.”

And, yeah. It’s the video where they sacrifice a chicken. While the video’s look was inspired by 1930s German, black-and-white, expressionistic films, it was seasoned with ‘80s horror gore.  Danzig seems to rip apart a live chicken causing dark blood to splatter everywhere before he smears that blood onto a scantily dressed model lying across an altar.

In case you were wondering, that model is often scantily clad to this day. Jill, the model in the video, today goes by “The Mother Chick” on social media, including her YouTube channel where she posts tribute dance videos to her favorite musicians (many, of course, to Danzig) and videos of head banging metal workouts. Sadly, the Mother Chick has been off the grid for at least nine months and didn’t answer BTRtodays inquiries but told on Metal Inquisition that the video was a method acting ordeal.

“The video I made, I am acting; I am playing a role, where I am washed out and exhausted, on purpose,” she said. “Like, I’d been literally through hell. Get it?”

In a 2010 video “postcard” she said she didn’t know she was playing a “sacrifice” in a satanic ritual for the video. “I’ve gotten a lot of flack for it, and I’ve been trying to explain that to people, if my eyes had been open…” she trailed off. “In any case…I have no hard feelings for anything.” In many of her videos, she stresses that she’s actually a very spiritual person and that she was Danzig’s “favorite girl” on the shoot.

After MTV replaced the unedited version with the censored version, and eventually replaced the cleaned up video with a live performance of the song, the song resurfaced in 1992 thanks to Beavis & Butthead. In 1993, a remixed version of Danzig’s “Mother” entitled “Mother 93,” hit the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts.

“Mother” remains Danzig’s highest chart topping single.  The original, uncensored version has been viewed on YouTube over 28 million times and counting. Danzig is still metal as ever, with their next album Black Laden Crown coming out May 26.

So this Mother’s Day, give mom what she really wants: satanic rituals, bloody chickens and sultry babes.

 

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