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GOLDMINE, p.32-38, April 17, 1992


Fiends Forever

by Keith Huening

     Punk records are becoming more collectible all the time, but what is
surprising is that the most sought-after band by collectors today is not a
big-name punk band such as the Sex Pistols or the Clash.  Even stranger is
that the group doesn't look like most punk bands or sing about the same
subjects.  The band is the Misfits, a group that wallowed in modern American
horror mixed with punk music to create an eerie sound which even today
attracts one of the most devoted cult followings around.
     The nightmare began in Lodi, New Jersey in 1977 during the first punk
explosion.  The band began as a trio, with frontman Glenn Danzig on vocals
and keyboard, Manny on drums and Jerry Caifa on bass.  Their first gig was
at the legendary CBGB club in New York.  The same year they released a
single, "Cough/Cool," on their own Blank label.  The A-side was a slow,
atmospheric tune, but the flip side was more uptemp and provided a glimpse of
the direction the group was taking.  Shortly after its release, Cliff
Bernstein of PolyGram Records bought Blank from the group in exchange for 30
hours of studio time at Mercury Records.
     There is a mysterious rumor surrounding that first single.  Reportedly,
when the 500 copies were pressed, 700 covers were made.  As the story goes,
Danzig wanted to print an additional 200, but the others refused so he put
them out himself on thinner vinyl.  Another story claims that a West Coast-
based label was responsible for the bootlg.  Since then, many of the group's
records have been bootlegge several times.
     Now needing a new label, Danzig a B-movie afficionado, came up with the
label Plan 9, from the movie Plan 9 From Outer Space.  On the new label, the
"Bullet" four-song maxi-single was release.  The single set the standard for
what would make the Misfits' style popular: melodic power-chording,
sihg-along choruses, outstanding lyrical imagery and Danzig's spellbinding
voice.  Vocal influences would seem to be Elvis, Roy Orbison and Jim
     The band, for the second single, had grown into a four-piece.  Danzig
remained on vocals but had dropped the keyboards, Jerry had changed his last
name to Only, Mr. Jim was the new drummer and Franche Coma played guitar.
     Using the studio time from Mercury, the seven-inch single "Teenagers
From Mars" was recorded.  However, after pressing only five acetates, the
project was dropped.  About the same time a "Horror Business" one-sided
12-inch was also planned, but only four copies were made.  These two items
are the most sought-after Misfits records in existence.
     In 1979, the "Horror Business" three-song seven-inch was released.  Some
copies include a flyer detailing eerie events which occurred while making the
record.  For the cover, the band utilized an old movie serial character known
as the "Crimson Ghost."  Henceforth, the ghost became a sort of mascot for
the group.  Two new members had joined at this time, Bobby Steele on guitar
and Joey "Pills" Image on drums.
     As the tale goes, the single was cut in a haunted house in New Jersey.
When the tapes were taken to be mastered, strange noises were audible which
were not present at the original session.  Screams and moans appeared,
especially on the "Teenagers From Mars" track.  On returning to the house,
Danzig said, "We opened the door, and there was a bloody rag with a snake
head on it, and you could walk around hear footsteps after you stopped.  It
was the real thing."
     The band was now gigging heavily and gaining a strong cult following on
the East Coast.  Their shows were perhaps the most violent among punk bands
at that time, and they surpassed even the Dead Boys' nasty reputation.  They
began to fully cultivate their horror image, with Danzig wearing a bones
shirt and skeleton gloves, and Only and Danzig both sprouting "devilock"
haircuts: bangs hanging down in the face and coming to a sharp point at the
     Appropriately, on Halloween 1979 at New York's Irving Plaza, the band
released another three-song single called "Night Of The Living Dead."  At
this time the band started a fan club by sticking flyers in the singles.  The
Fiend Club, as it was known, was a great method to communicate with their
fans, who received free buttons and stickers if they sent the group bones,
bullets and other macabre items.
     The Misfits then went to England and began to tour with the Damned.
The even wrote a song, "Archangel," for that band's Dave Vanian.  However, a
contractual foul-up kept the band from getting half of what they were
promised, to they walked off the tour.  A contract with CBS and a tour with
the Clash was in the works when Image left the group, blowing the entire
deal.  Before they could leave England to get another drummer, the band was
thrown in jail where they composed the song "London Dungeon."
     A deal was then signed with England's Cherry Red label to release
"Bullet" and "Horror Business" as a 12-inch called Beware.  In 1980, Beware
was released in U.K. only, minus one song from "Horror Business," which was
replaced with a tune called "Last Caress" (which would years later be covered
by Metallica and help regenerate interest in the Misfits' music).
     Arthur Googy was recruited as a new drummer upon returning to the
States.  A major tour fell through so the band continued to gig in the east
and began recording its next three-song single in August.  Yet another lineup
change then occurred.  This time, Doyle, Only's brother, replaced Steele as
guitar player.  His first vinyl appearance was on "3 Hits From Hell,"
released in April 1981 with Steele's final recording on the A-side.
     On August 5, 1981, the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death, Danzig
released "Who Killed Marilyn?" on his own, playing all instruments himself.
Originally, this was to be a Misfits single, with "Where Eagles Dare" as the
B-side, but the other members bowed out of the project.  However, it was
issued with "Spook City USA" as the B-side because Danzig and one of the
backers of Plan 9 wanted to see the record released.
     Googy and Danzig were ready to start a new band because of the others'
lassitude, so they issued an ultimatum: record and play more or we leave.
So, in October 1981 the Misfits released a two-song single called
"Halloween."  About 5000-7000 copies were pressed, some including a lyric
     When the Misfits contacted Slash Records regarding places to play on
their 1982 tour, the label made a deal with the band.  A full-length LP of
all new material would be released on the label's subsidiary, Ruby.  Thus,
Walk Among Us was released, but it became a double-edged dagger.  On one
hand, the punk sound had evolved into hardcore, and the album threw the group
into that genre's spotlight.  About 40,000 copies were pressed, but the
Misfits claimed they were paid for only 500.  Furthermore, the recorded was
released by an Italian company without the band's knowledge.  It is unknown
if the matter was ever settled.
     The Misfits were touring the U.S. in 1982, driving an orange van with
hand-painted pictures of Spiderman on it, when an ugly incident took place at
the Elite club in San Francisco.  There was no security at the club, and the
punk crowd had taken to pelting the groups with garbage all night long.  The
East Coast ghoulies didn't appreciate the California fad, and Googy leapt
into the audience to battle a perpetrator.  Doyle was drilled by a full can
of beer, and proceeded to smash his guitar on the thrower's head.  The crowd
began to riot among itself, because half wanted the Misfits to play and the
other half didn't.
     The band barely made it out alive, and needless to say, never played San
Francisco again.  Yet even more weirdness followed the band.  In New Orleans,
the band and about 20 fans were arrested and thrown in jail for grave
robbing.  They pleaded innocent, claiming they were just hanging out.
     By now, every hardcore punk in the U.S. was talking about the Misfits,
and they were receive so much mail from the Fiend Club that they decided to
release a seven-inch to Fiends only.  Titled "Evilive," the tracks were taken
from shows in November and December 1981.  One featured Henry Rollins of
Black Flag fame.
     Once more a member left the band, when Googy decided to stay in
California.  Ex-Black Flag drummer Robo became the replacement, and sporadic
touring soon followed.  The group was featured on a Detroit cable TV station
on which it played a live set.  However, inner turmoil developed due to
certain members' involvement with drugs and the financial problems derived
from their use.
     In 1983, the Earth A.D. album was released.  The Misfits had sacrificed
their melody from the early days for the speed and thrash of the newer groups
on the scene.  (The album cotains "Green Hell," covered by Metallica on
Garage Days Rerevisited.)
     Earth A.D., which was poorly-produced, marked the final days for the
group.  A long hiatus followed a summer show in Boston, and Danzig, who
claimed to be disgusted with the others' rock star mentality, told the rest
of the band he would do one final show.  The concert occurred, appropriately
enough, on Halloween in Detroit, where the band had garnered its largest
     Parting ways, Danzig went on to form Samhain and eventually Danzig.  He
also wrote the title track to the motion picture Less Than Zero and co-wrote
the song which the late Roy Orbison sang on the same soundtrack, "Life Fades
Away."  Jerry Only and Doyle are current in Kryst The Conqueror, and Bobby
Steele is in the Undead.  Whereabouts of the other members is unknown except
for Googy, who still lives in California and rides skateboards.
     Other record have been released since the 1983 disbanding.  Among them
is "Die, Die My Darling," a three-song 12-inch which is now out of print.
Another is Legacy Of Brutality, an LP containing material from the "Teenagers
From Mars" acetate along with a song originally written for the Cramps.  It
is still available as an LP containing more tracks than the Fiend Club
     Caroline also released, originally on CD only, material from rare
singles and unreleased versions.  Simply titled Misfits, it is known to most
Fiends as "Best Of."  It was being bootlegged onto vinyl, so Caroline issued
it on LP and cassette.  Caroline has also done further pressings of Earth
A.D. and Warner Brothers reissued Walk Among Us, available in all formats.
     There are also German pressings in existence.  One is a 12-inch version
of the "Evilive" seven-inch.  The other is Wolf's Blood, which is basically
Earth A.D. with a different cover arrangement and two additional tracks.
These were released by Aggressive Rock Productions, but are now out of print.
There is also a Misfits track available on Flipside Vinyl Fanzine.  So,
although the group may be dead, it still boasts a huge cult following.  Most
of this can be attributed to the music, vocals and image.  The high value of
their recording, though, can simply be attributed to supply and demand.  The
Caroline issues, along with the Walk Among Us reissue, exposed many people to
the band who otherwise might not have heard of it.  Thus, the early singles
experienced a dramatic boom in value.  As the Misfits legend continues to
grow, collectors can expect to see these prices continue to rise.

The Misfits (And Related) Discography

by Elizabeth Bouras and Keith Huening

     The following is a complete list of all known Misfits releases, a few
items produced but never actually released and all releases by band directly
connected to former members of the Misfits.
     All seven-inch singles and some of the early 12-inch singles ("Evilive"
12-inche and "Beware") are long deleted and now highly collectible; however,
collectors should be very careful in purchasing these as most of these items
have been heavily bootlegged.  While most are the usual sloppy bootleg
productions and easy to spot, a few are near exact copis that are difficult
to detect without an original release for comparison.  In particular, one
version of the "Beware" 12-inch is an almost identical reproduction job down
to the same handwriting of the number in the run-off groove and label!  So,
be especially careful in purchasing rare pieces in noticeably new or pristine
condition, or if the price seems too good to be true.
     All deleted pieces are in high demand and fetch considerable sums, with
singles ranging from $40-300 (depending upon rarity of the particular item,
demands and condition) and $40-300 for many of the colored vinyl LPs with
some particularly desirable items (such as the pink vinyl "Legacy of
Brutality," of which only 16 were made) going for more.  Also collectible are
any memorabilia related to these bands, such as early posters and gig flyers,
original T-shirts hand-silkscreened by the band, etc.
     The Misfits ran their own informal fan club, the Fiend Club, and mailed
out many flyers, stickers, etc, in hand-silkscreened envelopes which are also
highly sought-after.
     (Please note: all pressings are U.S. unless otherwise noted)


label      record # title                                            year
Blank      ?        Cough/Cool/She (500 copies issued)               1977
Plan 9     PL1001   Bullet/We Are 138/Attitude/Hollywood Babylon     1978
           (1000 black vinyl w/gatefold and lyrics, 2000 red with different
            back cover and lyric sheet, 7000 black with same cover as red)
no label   --       Teenagers From Mars (5 acetates made)
Plan 9     PL1009   Horror Business/Teenagers From Mars/Children In Heat 1979
           (5000 yellow vinyl, some with insert, 25 black, unknown amount
            have double A-sides or unreleased back covers)
Plan 9     PL1011   Night Of The Living Dead/Where Eagles Dare/Ratt Fink 1979
           (2000 made)
Plan 9     PL 1013  Three Hits From Hell: London Dungeon/Horror Hotel/   1981
                                          Ghouls Night Out
           (3000 grey label, 7000 orange label.  Second pressing of 400 black
            vinyl, 400 white vinyl)
Plan 9     PL 1017  Halloween/Halloween II                           1981
           (5000 copies, some with lyrics)

12-Inch Singles
Cherry Red ?        Beware (1500 pressed)                            1980
Aggressive AG 0023  Evilive (12-inch version of U.S. 7 inch w/different
Rock Prod.                   cover, 12,000-15,000 pressed) (Germany)

Plan 9     PL1019   Evilive                                          1982
                    (800 numbered copies w/yellow lable and insert.  1400
                     unnumbered copies w/different cover with orange or
                     yellow label, 33 sets of 3 copies each with a Jerry,
                     Doyle and Danzig cover)

Plan 9     ?        Horror Business (4 copies known to exist)        ?
Ruby/Slash JRR804   Walk Among Us                                    1982
                    (Pink cover, some Italian copies say "Misfit" on spine)
Ruby                Walk Among Us                                    1982
                    (Purple cover, pink outline around letters)
Plan 9     PL9-02   Earth A.D./Wolf's Blood                          1983
                 (200 purple, 200 yellow, 200 clear, 100 green, 10,000 black)
Aggressive AG 0024  Wolf's Blood (German)(15,000 made)               1983
Rock                more tracks than US LP
Plan 9     PL9-03   Die, Die My Darling                              1984
                    (500 purple, 500 white, unknown black)
Plan 9     PL9-06   Legacy Of Brutality                              1985
                    (500 red, 500 white, 16 pink, unknown black)
Plan 9     PL9-08   Evilive (2000 green, unknown black)              1987
Plan 9     PL9-09   Misfits                                          1988
Ruby       1-25756  Walk Among Us                                    1988
                    (purple cover, green outline around letters)

Flipside/  FSR 3    Flipside Vinyl Fanzine Vol. 2 (one live track)   1984

Related Items
Glenn Danzig
Plan 9     PL1015   Who Killed Marilyn?/Spook City USA               1981
                    (5000 black, 500 purple, 25 swirled black and purple)

Samhain (w/Glenn Danzig)
Plan 9     PL9-05   Unholy Passion (two different covers; tan,       1985
                    maroon; 400 white vinyl, 500 red vinyl)

Plan 9     PL9-04   Initium (500 red, 100 or less marbled black and  1984  
                             white, unknown black)
Plan 9     PL9-07   November Coming Fire (200 orange, unknown black) 1986

Plan 9     PL9-CD2  Initium                                          1988
Plan 9     PL9-CD10 Final Descent                                    1990

Danzig (w/Glenn Danzig)
12-inch Single
Def American ?      Her Black Wings (promo only)                     1988

Def American DEF 24208 Danzig                                        1988
Def American DEF 24281 Lucifuge                                      1990

Def American ?           Danzig (promo picture CD)                   1988
Def American PRO-CD-3264 Mother (promo only)                         1988
Def American PRO-CD-4121 Her Black Wings (promo only)                1990
Def American DEF 24281   Lucifuge                                    1990
Def American ?           Killer Wolf (promo only)                    1990

Def Jam/     C44042      Less Than Zero                              1987
Columbia                 (includes "You And Me (Less Than Zero)," credited
                          to Glenn Danzig and the Power and Fury Orchestra;
                          also includes "Life Fades Away," written by Danzig
                          and Roy Orbison and sung by Orbison)

The Undead (w/Bobby Steele)
Seven-inch EPs
Stiff       TEES-14     Nine Toes Later                              1982
Post Mortem PM1001      Nine Toes Later (reissue of above)           1983

Seven-inch Singles
Post Mortem PM1002      Verbal Abuse                                 1983
Post Mortem PM1003      Never Say Die/In Eighty Four                 1986

Twelve-Inch Singles
Rebel       LC5433      Never Say Die (German)(reissed in the U.S.   1986
                                               on Post Mortem in 1991)

Post Mortem ?           Never SAy Die (same as above, plus one track) 1986

Kryst The Conqueror (w/Jerry Only and Doyle)
Cassette and CD
Cyclopean   ?           Deliver Us From Evil                         1989

Rosemary's Babies (w/Eerie Von)
Seven-inch EP
Ghastly     RB0001      Blood Lust                                   1982

Mourning Noise (w/Steve Zing and Bobby Steele)
Seven-inch EP
Nightlatche ?           Dawn Of The Dead                             1982
Forefront   --          Mourning Noise/Parasites                     1990

[Article also includes photos with the following captions:
 Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only, 1981
    Photo by Eerie Von Stellman
 L-R: Glenn Danzig, Doyle and Jerry Only, August 1981
    Photo by Eerie Von Stellman
 Photo originally intended for the cover of the "Walk Among Us" LP
    Photo by Eerie Von Stellman
 Danzig L-R: Eerie Von, Glenn Danzig, Chuck Biscuits and John Christ
 Jerry Only
    Photo by Elizabeth Bouras]