CIRCUS, July 1997 ----------------- Just Your Average Guys THE MISFITS BY VINNIE PENN "We're your average guys. We try not to screw up. We work real hard and we love our music. When people come to our shows, we'll be lifting weights out in the parking lot before the gig. We get fans out there lifting with us and spotting us on the bench; it's real funny. This is a common atmosphere we bring" You may not expect a comment like that to come from a band named Misfits, but head Misfit, Jerry Only is probably as normal a Joe as you could ever come to meet. "Misfits are a totally positive energy level of excitement. When you're in it you would rather be nowhere else than enjoying it," he brags. "We get theses giant mosh pits going and we tell everybody, 'look, get everybody moving, but if somebody falls you gotta pick 'em up.' We don't want anybody hurt." The mosh pits aren't so much the problem at a Misfits show. It's the fact that you could very well wind up in the dark one. "Yeah, we black places out," the main Misfit laughs. "We can blow the power. We pull too much noise. And Doyle [Jerry's younger brother] has these amps that have glow-in-the-dark skulls on them. The place gets full of screams in a second, because everybody's in the dark and can't see anything except Doyle's Amps!" Fitting for a band that formed exactly two decades ago with the hulking Glenn Danzig at the helm. Danzig, along with Jerry and then-drummer Manny, named their band after Marilyn Monroe's final movie, and while their presence in the powerful punk underbelly was immediately noticed, it was short-lived. Ironically enough, the band broke up after a Halloween show in 1983, and singer Danzig ventured out onto his own. Though largely ignored by the music industry and critics alike, Misfits have been mainstay in most rocker wannabe's libraries since the release of their first fist-in-the-face, 1978's Static Age. They continue to be cited as an influence by each and every neo-punk band on today's scene, as well as covered by the likes of Guns 'n Roses and Metallica. Here it is, 1997, and Jerry, Doyle, vocalist Michale Graves, and drummer Dr. Chud are threatening airwaves with their first assault of original music in years, American Psycho (Geffen). "The artwork has a lot to do with the title of the record," Jerry explains. "We're trying to portray the horror image that we had, with the old, black and white B-films. When you really think about it, 'Psycho' is probaly the most famous the most famous black and white horror film out there. You have the connection, but you also have the connection that 'American Psycho' says it all. This is just outta control American music." The title-track comes equipped with gang vocals and sturdy punk pounding sure to please those intent on mayhem at a Misfits show. Most of the record plays that way, quick and furious, with no song three minutes long, and most under two. "I had a problem when we signed the contract with Geffen," laughs Only, "because they said they would only be counting songs that were over three minutes in length or over. And I said, 'well in that case, you guys won't have to pay me for any records because every song we got is under three minutes!" So, they actually had to make a clause in our contract saying any song over one minute would be counted as a song. We even have things that are less than a minute, so I told them, 'you gotta really bear with us on this. This is not your normal animal that comes into a corral, if you know what I mean.'" There are 17 "tracks" on American Psycho, many of which carry the horror movie theme, such as "Mars Attacks" and "Shining." "I actually wrote 'Mars Attacks' when I heard that Tim Burton was putting out the movie. The only problem was, we got it to him way too late for him to use. He wrote us a really nice letter, saying how he was a big fan, and that it was just too short a notice to try to get it in. 'Shining' is actually about the movie 'Poltergeist.' Michale wrote that one, and it's my favorite one on the record," he admits" "Shining" makes no bones about it's origins, with a relentless chorus that repeats "Carol-Ann, the beast is coming from inside your T.V." The final cut on American Psycho just may be the best representation of the Misfits' mentality: "Don't Open 'Till Doomsday" is a rousing sing-along that hangs mystery in the air and demonstrates the band's flair for what newcomers like Offspring are continually trying to emulate. Misfits may hit the road immediately upon the May 13 release of "American Psycho" and Only would love to see the record return his band to the arenas. "I don't think that we have any limits," the outspoken bassist boasts. "I think that we could bring back the stadium atmosphere to music. I don't know if you noticed but there aren't many stadium shows going on. Some bands are playing Roseland two and three nights. You're not seeing many shows at Madison Square Garden. You're not seeing an entire booking throughout the winter at Nassau Coliseum. It's just not happening, and I don't know why to be honest with you because I was kinda looking forward to it!" That being the case, it still won't dampen Only's enthusiasm when it comes to taking American Psycho on the road for the rest of the year. As a matter a fact, he's got even more tricks up his sleeve. "I'm trying to put together an EP for Halloween," he says, indicating that he and the rest of the Misfits have not come to hate the holiday that saw the last of their first incarnation. "This past Halloween we were in Baltimore doing a show and I said 'hey, you guys wanna learn the Monster Mash for tonight?' So we did it there and the place went wild. So, we've since recorded it." Any true Misfits fan won't feel that the "Monster Mash" is out of the band's element. The biggest curve comes on the new record, in the form of a song called "Day of the Dead." While the title surely screams Misfits, the song's got an undeniable rockabilly groove, and an ending so reminiscent of the King that some fans may stop "dead" in their tracks. To this Only responds, "It always pays to have a little bit of Elvis on your album."