I think I first heard about the Misfits when I picked up my first copy of Flipside magazine which had to be in 1981 or early 1982.Although hailing from Lodi New Jersey – they had recently completed a west coast tour and Jerry Only had smashed his bass over some kids head. All the letters in that issue were people like “What a bunch of dicks that was my friend he did nothing wrong” or the polar opposite “I was there that kid was totally asking for it” By this time I already had a pretty decent network of pen friends in the USA and some one hooked me up with a cassette tape of side A of “The Misfits walk among us” Not sure why it was only side A but I definitely was impressed with what I heard.
Like I mentioned in an early post the general consensus with punks and skins from Australia at the time was Americans (other than the Ramones – they got a free pass) couldn’t play punk rock.The Misfits proved them wrong again. In case you had been living under a rock for the last 30 years the Misfits formed by Glenn Danzig started off as a weird little art band in 1977 with Glenn playing this little keyboard and selling parts of his comic book collection to help fund his recordings. They were definitely one of the leaders of the Horror Punk genre if not the leader (the Damned did touch on goth/horror topics on their first album ) but no one else quite combined the right elements of 1950s B movies and music like the Misfits did.
Their Crimson Ghost image is synonymous of the band and I reckon there has to be a million people walking around this earth rocking a Misfits shirt without even knowing its a band.
I never had a chance to see the band back in the day since they disbanded in 1983 but I did catch the reformed Misfits at Roseland ballroom in like 2000? or 2001? Someone hooked me up with passes and I asked naively “Who is singing these days?” When I heard it was Jerry Only I was like “uhh boy…” Note: I just remembered I did actually see the band in the mid 90s at Bradford Rios with Mikey Greaves singing for them – he didn’t do a bad job but they played all their songs at 100mphs and the sound system sucked balls so I went away pretty disappointed. So anyways I went to see them play and ..guess what – they were really really good.
So the next year rolls around and they are playing the WWF World (venue in Times Sq) and I tell everyone “Jerry’s singing but don’t worry he is really good” yeah well spoke to soon, 2 songs in he loses his voice and of course they are playing all their songs at 100mphs an hr which kind of loses the charm of their songs since they are so damn melodic and catchy.
The very next Halloween they played WWF again but this time Dez from Black Flag was singing , better than Jerry but still playing their songs way too fast.
Couple of years later Danzig was on tour and announced that Doyle was going to come on stage and play a medley of Misfit songs with Glenn .Tommy Victor of Prong had been Glenn’s main guitarist (for his Danzig stuff) for the last few years and is an amazing guitarist – so they play the set of Danzig tunes and then Doyle strides out onto the stage and they rip the roof off the club!! Although the misfits songs are way simpler than the Danzig material Doyle was trashing a guitar per songs he was hitting the strings so hard. Amazing and probably the closest I will ever get to experiencing the Misfits live. If they ever do that again make sure you get to go cuz it is well worth it.
Here is one of my favorite Misfit songs.