31 Years Ago: SAMHAIN live at the Ritz (final show) opening for Celtic Frost


Live at New York's only Rock Hotel at the Ritz. Admission only $10. Adv. Doors open 8pm for a 9pm start.

SAMHAIN played the Ritz towards the end of April, then returned on this day in 1986 for their last ever show!*

Glenn Danzig (vocals), Eerie Von (bass), Damien (guitar), London May (drums)

London May

SAMHAIN didn't end immediately. After this last gig Pete (Damien) Marshall left. Auditions resulted in John Christ joining in February 1987. At the same time London May was asked to leave and replaced by Chuck Biscuits (D.O.A., BLACK FLAG) on drums.

Chuck's recruitment was organised by former HOSE guitarist and Def Jam Records founder Rick Rubin who was in attendance at this show. Rubin was in the process of forming Def American Records and promised to sign the band.

James Hetfield and Cliff Burton from Metallica were the ones who told me about Glenn Danzig's previous band, Samhain. I'd seen the Misfits earlier in the punk days, but they said, "You've got to check out Samhain. They're the coolest band now."
I loved Glenn Danzig's songwriting. I sat in on a rehearsal with Samhain, and I realized the guys couldn't really play. It felt like it would be hard to record them and make it all it could be. So I asked Glenn who his two favorite drummers were, and he said Phil [Taylor] from Motörhead and Chuck Biscuits. So we called both, and Chuck wanted to do it. So we got Glenn's favorite drummer, but when he played with the other members of Samhain, it became more apparent that we needed more than a new drummer. So we held auditions and ended up finding John Christ, the guitar player. This became Danzig.
Glenn wrote all the songs, including the majority of the parts, other than maybe the guitar solos. Although sometimes he even wrote those. He had a very clear picture of the songwriting. I remember Glenn being really excited about the song "Mother" and telling me that, content-wise, it's one that he'd been wanting to do for years and just never really found the way to do it. For him, it was a breakthrough in writing. I remember when we were recording, Glenn had laser-beam focus on all the parts. It was so much fun hearing him sing it. It was a trip. That song has got such a great vibe, and he's such a great singer.
- Rick Rubin: My Life in 21 Songs, Rolling Stone

By March of 1987 DANZIG was officially formed and the lineup remained for the first 4 classic albums.
The first Def American release was SLAYER's Reign in Blood, although it had the Def Jam logo on its sleeve. The first release to feature the Def American logo was Danzig.

CELTIC FROST headlined this night. It was their last US date in 1986, a special extra show following the final date of their June/July American tour with VOIVOD and RUNNING WILD.

The poster advertised this gig as "An international awakening" for The New Music Seminar. The full lineup was: CHEETAH CHROME MOTHERFUCKERS, ROGUE MALE, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, SAMHAIN, M.D.C., D.O.A. and CELTIC FROST.

Live at New York's only Rock Hotel at the Ritz. Admission only $10. Adv. Doors open 8pm for a 9pm start.

* not including the brief Samhain/Danzig tour in '99.