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Indianapolis Interview
 by Christopher Lee Schneberger 

Interviews 7/27/96

Part I

I was backstage just after the Misfits finished their show at the Murat 
Egyptian Ballroom in Indianapolis, and while Jerry Only jumped in the 
shower and Chud and Doyle were signing a few autographs, I sat down with 
Michale Graves and talked about the his experience so far with the band.

"C" = me, Chris
"M" = Michale, duh

C - How's the tour going?
M - The tour's going very well.  It started pretty much in March, we 
went over to Europe and did three weeks over there, we came back and did 
a small east coast tour about two weeks, and we've been on the road with 
Anthrax a little over a month now.  We just came off a two week break.  
So it's going well.

C - You guys have some new material coming out soon?
M - Yeah, we've been working on some stuff.   We have about five or six 
songs right now.  We're thinking about putting out a single, maybe in a 
couple of weeks it's gonna come out.  There's one song actually we had 
mastered, but we haven't made the final decision on whether or not we're 
gonna actually press it or not.  But we're hoping, the latest is this 
summer that we're gonna put ont a new album, the earliest is maybe this 
spring, maybe March or April.  We were shooting for Halloween, but 
there's just not enough time.  We're gonna come off this tour, it ends 
August 29th I think.   We're doing a show at Action Park in New Jersey, 
which is within walking distance from where we practice so that's like a 
homecoming show.  We're gonna take like two months off, and maybe write 
the album and go to Japan for Halloween.

C - What do think the response there will be for you guys?
M - I think Japan is gonna be really good because . . . like, when we 
were over in Spain, y'know countries like Spain and Japan, they're so 
starved for  American music, and they look at American music as 
something enormous, so when you go over there and play . . . like I 
said,  in Spain they're starved for this type of music, and the 
acceptance is so great because they appreciate the music.  They hardly 
ever get it,  ever get to see anything like that, so I think it's going 
to be huge.

C - Do you think overseas audiences can appreciate the distinctly 
American themes in your music, particularly the older material dealing 
with J.F.K., Marilyn, and the whole B-movie horror culture?
M - They love that stuff.  I mean they get all those movies over there, 
and that's kind of like us watching Godzilla.  Especially a country like 
Japan is trying so hard to do American customs, especially the younger 
kids.  You walk around Spain and other countries and all around Europe, 
everyone's wearing a Pearl Jam t-shirt or Nirvana t-shirt, it's all 
American bands.  You rarely see a Sex Pistols or a Damned shirt over 
there y'know, you see that more over here.  So I think they're trying to 
get the customs, especially the stuff like Halloween, which is perfect.

C - How do you think the Misfits fit in with the punk revival that's 
going on right now?
M - I think it's unfortunate, well not unfortunate, I think it's more of 
a coincidence that the Misfits kind of came back during this whole like 
revival thing.  I don't think . . . I try not to look at it as like a 
punk revival, y'know because we're getting sucked into the whole 
revival/reunion thing, and this is the soonest we could come out and 
play, y'know this is the soonest we could get everything together, and 
it just happened that when we started touring, this big revival kind of 
blew up.  And, I think it's really cool to be part of it because it's 
not really a . . . I don't look at it as like a punk uprising, it's more 
of like an underground uprising.  Y'know I mean like Goldfinger doing 
the ska shit, and Rancid.  All the underground music is now just fucking 
coming up in everybody's faces, and shit like Pearl Jam . . . which is a 
good band, but, y'know I don't see them lighting the world on fire.  
Y'know all the underground, the little bands are now becoming like 
fucking . . . y'know Clutch and Prong and Orange Nine Milimeter, y'know 
they're what's hot now, not the big corporate bands.

C - And what kind of stuff are you listening to these days for 
influences or entertainment?
M - I find myself actually listening to Nirvana a lot lately.  I like to 
listen to Type O Negative, I like Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, y'know shit 
like that.  Lately for some reason I think y'know I'm hexed, but I'm 
listening to like Nirvana and Soundgarden and like the new Stone Temple 
Pilots album, which is fucking great.  I listen to that a lot.

C - Do you think you're appealing to a different audience now as opposed 
to in the the early eighties, touring with bands like Anthrax instead of 
punk acts?
M - Yeah . . . I still don't know why we're playing metal-fests.  
Whoever's pulling the strings, whoever's setting us up with . . . y'know 
there's something wrong.  I hate metal, to tell you the truth.  I mean, 
I don't enjoy it.  Y'know, Cannibal Corpse, y'know they're a good band 
and I'm not gonna slight anybody but . . . I don't know.

C - Like the rest of the Misfits faithful I was very eager to see the 
new incarnation and I was impressed.  Do you feel you've conquered all 
the questions about whether the new guy is gonna fit in and how the new 
band is gonna look?
M - I think I feel better about it.  I don't think it's totally . . . 
I'm past that because that question, I feel, has always been there from 
day one.  I don't know, it's like I said, I use to sit backstage and 
just be like, y'know, everyone's gonna hate me, noone's gonna like me, 
everyone's gonna compare me to Glenn and stuff like that but, y'know, 
I'm doing my own thing.  I read somewhere that . . . I think it was on 
the internet, somebody said y'know it looks like he sat down and he 
studied every (video tape of the Misftis for all of Glenns moves).  And, 
I mean that's bullshit because . . . first of all I'd never heard of the 
Misfits, and second of all I made it a point never to watch any of those 
video tapes, because I knew they were out there and I knew that I could 
just easily just watch and go 'yeah, o.k., this is what they're like', 
but . . . y'know I never . . . just to keep it completely out of my mind 
so I had, y'know whatever mental picture I made up was my own, I never 
watched any of the old bootleg shit.  So what I do is what I do, I don't 
mime anybody, I have no reason to.

C - Having seen a band like Bad Brains, both with and without HR, I 
think the danger a new singer runs into has to do with insecurity 
onstage.  I can't exactly put a finger on it, but there was something 
about the performance tonight that was very confident and absent of 
insecurities.  Do you sense this too?
M - I think I'm starting to feel more confident, I'm starting to have a 
lot more fun onstage.  I never used to have fun, I always used to . . . 
it would seem like a job just because in my own mind, y'know I'm 
thinking everyone in the audience is waiting for Glenn.  So, y'know 
honestly I felt almost like I had to prove something, but now from the 
support from everybody that comes to see us, and from the band and 
everything, I'm starting to have a lot more fun, y'know I actually get 
excited to go out there and play.

C - Well it looked really good.
M - Thank you.  (pauses and holds up a tiny black drawstring pouch) So i 
think i'm hexed though, because (laughs) . . . I don't know if you know 
anything about this shit, but I was standing up on stage and someone 
threw this at me, and I open it up and it's a bag of rocks with like two 
pennies in it, like those fucking crystal things.

C - Wow, it this some sort of curse?
M - I don't know.  I'm really really superstitious though.  Everyone's 
like 'oh throw it away, throw it away', I'm like, 'what if the bus 
fucking crashes or something?'  So I'm gonna fuckin' hold on to this.  
Anyone knows anything about it man, seriously, write to me and tell me 
what it is.

C - What's on the front of it there?
M - It's an 'R'.  So I'm thinking like, revenge, y'know what I mean, or 
. . . (Jerry's son, Jerry jr.? speaks up from the other side of the 
dressing room, "Rock!" and Michale laughs) Hey I'm gonna wake up and 
there's gonna be a big rock! (laughs)  Fuck, I don't know what it means.

C - Maybe it's a talisman, maybe it's a good luck thing.
M - Yeah, that would be cool.  (Doyle at this point suggests that he 
wear it, and Jerry appears from showering to do the interview)
C - Well, thanks a lot.
M - Thank you very much.

At this point Jerry, in his great New Jersey accent, says to me, "Me and 
you are gonna go outside and sign autographs for kids while we do the 
interview."  I consider telling him that I don't sign autographs, but I 
decide against it, thinking it better to not be a smart-ass.  So I follow 
Jerry, now clad in sweat pants, baseball cap, and a blue Indianaplolis 
Colts number 28 Marshall Faulk jersey, and we walk down a hallway to the 
back door where approximately 20 people are waiting for autographs.  Most 
of these fans weren't even born when the Misfits began playing, but they 
are excited to meet one their heroes, and before I get to my questions, 
they ask some of their own.

Fan - Why don't you post on the bible?
J - I don't know, are you on the bible? (the fan nods) Why didn't you 
post up tonight? (fan assures Jerry that he will)

Fan - Is there a new album coming out soon?
J - Well there's a 45, and we also wrote a song called Mars Attacks for 
the new Tim Burton movie, so I'm kinda hoping that they pick it, and 
we'll be rockin'.

Fan -  Is that from the old comic books?
J - No, well it's actually a card set from 1964, but yeah, which is 
really cool.  So I'm hoping the movie lives up to the cards.

Fan - What's your favorite horror movie?
J - Crawling Eye.
Fan - Cooool!!!

Fan - When are we going to see Chiller Theater?
J - It's called the Fiend Club now, the guy with the Chiller Theater name 
gave us a hard time so we had to blow him off.

C - Is the Fiend Club still going?
J - Yes.

C - And what does one get if one applies to the Fiend club?
J - Well right now it's just pretty much postcards and stuff.  I just 
sent out about 6,000 packs that had stickers and membership cards and 
stuff like that.

C - How do think the tour's going?
J - So far it's going really well.  I mean, because y'know the kids are 
liking it, we're having a great time, and y'know it's right.  We didn't 
try and step over our heads.  A lot of people wanted us to come out and 
try and make a lot of hype, an like build the hype and then step on the 
plateau that the hype created, and I just thought that was out of 
character.  I thought that the Misfits should be . . . y'know should 
start from the bottom where it belongs to start.  This is a new band 
y'know, we're not trying to live up to the old hype of the old band, and 
we're not trying to come out and be a bunch of rock stars, we're just 
really coming and trying to play really hard every night, and we're 
playing places like this (Murat Ballroom had maybe 800-1000 people that 
night).  We started our tour in a place that held like 300 people, and 
then we've been working our way up.  Y'know, you gotta earn it, we didn't 
want to come out and try and step up and try and play the same places as 
Glenn and shit like that, (we) figured, fuck it, let us come out work our 
way up and everything will go, and it's been going.  There's been bery 
little negative energy in the crowd, everything is pretty positive.

Fan - Tell us about the old days.
J - Ahh (almost pained), the old days were good, it was a little harder 
than it is now.

Same Fan - Yeah, tell us about the time you got arrested.
J - Ah . . . no fun, don't get arrested, that's the moral of that story.

Fan - What about haunted houses and stuff? 
J - Well the thing was, we uh . . . the haunted house thing for the 
Horror Business record was a bunch of bullshit.  What happened was we 
were in the studio and I was listening to the Horror Business recording 
while we were mixing it, and i heard this sound and I said, 'what the 
fuck is that?'  So we rolled the thing back and we started listening to 
it, and we couldn't find it on any of the tracks but it was still there, 
and it was just like the wierdest fuckin' thing.  We didn't have the 
money to re-record it, I wanted to re-record it, and Glenn said, 'oh well 
we're not going to re-record it, we're not going to put up the money,' or 
something like that, and I said, 'well, if that's the case, let's say it 
ws recorded in a haunted house y'know, and everybody will say how cool it 
is.'  And then y'know, I read interviews with Glenn years later and he 
says, 'oh we walked into the house and there were snakeheads and blood.'  
(laughing) Yeah, I mean fuck that y'know.

C - Yeah, I think that was in Flipside. (issue #31, April 82)
J - Yeah, o.k. there you go!  I mean if you're gonna make up a story, you 
don't bring it back up and elaborate on it, (laughing) you kinda like let 
it go.  So, it's kind of funny.

C - Is there still a skull collection going?
J - Yeah, we use 'em.  We get all our skulls that we put in a pile on the 
table for our tv show, so we still got it going.  We really don't collect 
them no more.  Out by us in the country you find a lot of skulls.  If you 
go out in the Spring after the snow, you find all kinds of skulls, deer 
skulls and woodchucks and shit like that.

Fan - You got any human ones in the collection?
J - Yeah, we got about four human ones.  I got one that I bought for 110 
bucks, that's the best.

C - Are these from opening bands?
J - (laughs) Well yeah, bands from the old days.

C - In the liner notes of the box set, Eerie Von describes you guys as a 
punk band.  Do you feel you still fall into that category?
J - Well if you were to pick the top ten punk bands we would probably be 
named.  So, in that respect, we are kind of a punk band, but in another 
respect, I think we're far beyond your standard punk band, because we got 
songs like 'American Nightmare', and the stuff we're writing now is way 
up there.  You got songs like 'Come Back' which isn't a punk song, songs 
like 'Some Kinda Hate' which are more fifties oriented, which I really 
like, and 'Astro Zombies' falls into that category.  Then you've got 
stuff like 'Green Hell' which isn't really punk, it's more thrash.  So 
y'know, musically we kind of spanned  a very wide spectrum, and I think 
that's the real beauty of this band.  I mean, there's something in this 
band for everybody.  We don't cater to markets, we don't care what people 
are selling.  We're not here to sell, we're here to conquer, and I mean, 
it's a much different thing that we're doing.  Y'know, I like it.  I'm 
real happy with the energy that we got going.  Y'know, my goal is to go 
out there and play for two hours without stopping.  Y'know, the equipment 
breaks down, that's the only thing that slows us down.

C - And where do you see the music going from here?
J - Forward.  Yeah, I think that we're going to write some of the best 
songs in the next five years, y'know, classic songs.  I think that 
they're going to be a lot better than the stuff like 'Martian'.  I think 
that they're not gonna be as thrashy as the 'Earth AD' stuff, but I think 
we're gonna find a happy medium between the 'Walk Among Us' kind of sound 
and the 'Earth AD' kind of sound, and I think you'll find maybe one or 
two 'Theme for a Jackal' type songs on an album, and then you'll also 
find maybe two songs like 'Queen Wasp' or 'Green Hell' or 'Death Comes 
Ripping' or something like that.  Y'know, we're gonna stick to the image 
of what we got and just pump it.

C - No 'Spook City, USA' tonight?
J - Not at all, no I always hated that song.

C- Really?  
J - Yeah.

C - Oh, I love that song!
J - That song is a cheap 'American Nightmare' that's why.  I mean, songs 
like 'American Nightmare', I think 'American Nightmare' is great and the 
reason I like 'American Nightmare' is because if you play it without the 
lyrics it doesn't really make much sense, the music, but when the lyrics 
are on top of it, all of the sudden it's a classic.  I liked it from the 
minute I heard it.  I thought 'Spook City' was always weak, I thought the 
lyric was weak.  I thought that it was just too rockabilly.  I think he 
(Glenn) was just trying to write a rockabilly song, so he found something 
that came up rockabilly and then tried to push it down everybody's throat.

Fan - What about 'Theme for a Jackal'?
J - 'Theme for a Jackal', we do it.  We do it with Doyle on guitar which 
is really cool, he plays the riff with me.

Fan - With Henry Rollins on 'Evilive', have you ever thought about 
working with him again?
J - Nah, me and Henry I don't think see eye to eye anymore.

Fan - What is the true meaning behind '138'?
J - '138' is like people being treated as androids where you have a 
number instead of a name, so it's like the human number would be a 138.

Fan - Was that in a movie?
J - Yeah . . .

C - George Lucas's first film?
J - Yeah . . . so, I forgot what it's called.

C - 'THX138'.
J - There you go.  But I mean, it's taken from that and that's pretty 
much what it is.  We had buttons made once, they were robots with '138' 
that looked like half human android kinda things, long before your 
Terminator or stuff like that.  It's a really good song, I mean, '138', 
it's great all the way around.  They like that a lot, and 'Last Caress' 
everybody likes, Imean, we do that, which is a good song.  Technically, 
'Last Caress' is a very intricate song, and it's got a lot of fifties 
kind of chord stuff in it, and I mean, the melody is great.  Y'know, I 
like songs that progress, that it's just not a verse and a chorus.  Like, 
if you look at 'Ghoul's Night Out', o.k. it starts, it's an A-B-C-B-A, it 
goes up and back, hits the middle and then comes back the other way.  And 
I always liked songs that were along those lines.

Fan - You guys cover 'Angelfuck' yet?
J - We do it.  We didn't do it tonight, but it wasn't in our set and we 
exchanged it for 'Return of the Fly'.

C - So at this point, do you have a set list that youstick with, or do 
you mix it up from night to night?
J - We memorize our set list because I wear glasses and Chud wears 
glasses and we can't see without them.  So we memorize like the first 
like thirty songs and then usually after we get to our encore is 'Green 
Hell', 'Devilock', 'Bloodfeast', 'Mommy', and then we kind of ad lib it.  
We kind of do 'Come Back' which y'know, everybody . . .

Fan - That's the best song!
J - Well we got a pulse going for it which is really nice, you can see 
everybody bobbing their heads.  So y'know, a lot of people come to see us 
and they stand there and they watch, and y'know, it's harder when an 
audience stands there and watches you then when they participate, because 
when they participate it kinda takes your mind off of getting tired or 
running out of wind.  People are jumping all over, things are going, 
you're in it, you're watching it, you're singing it, and you don't think 
about what you're going through.  When everybody stands there like this 
(folds his arms), you're like, 'what do you want me to do, a backflip?' 
(laughs)  Y'know, I can't do one.  It's good, I'm happy with the whole thing.

C - Do you prefer touring with bands like Anthrax and Cannibal Corpse 
over the old punk bands?
J - Well I never really toured with any of the old punk bands, so it's 
hard for me to make that call not knowing the other side.  I think that 
the whole punk thing is a double bladed sword for us.  I think that if 
the whole punk thing collapses like it did the first time, I don't think 
we deserve to get sucked down with it.  Y'know, we're too vast.  You 
listen to our box set, you listen to the 'Static Age' album, that was 
recorded in January in 1978.  You're listening to it almost twenty years 
later and the thing still kicks ass.  So what's that tell ya?  I mean 
y'know, you put it out today and people listen to 'Static Age', the 
original version, and they go, 'that's great shit'.  We were doing that 
when the Ramones were doing their 'Sheena is a Punk Rocker' thing.  
'Sheena' will be gone eventually and noone will know about it but 'Last 
Caress' and y'know, 'Return of the Fly' and whatever y'know, 'Teenagers 
from Mars', is gonna be around for many many years.  That's what I think 
the difference is between us and the punk thing, I don't think we're 
gonna die, and I don't think we're catagorizable.  But y'know, if you did 
name the top ten punk bands, we're gonna be in there.

Fan - Twenty years from now, do you think the spirit of the Misfits can 
continue with just like Chud and Michale?
J - Sure.

Other Fan - The fans won't let you die.
J - No, and y'know, I wouldn't let it die either y'know.  For a long time 
I was . .

Fan - You're gonna be onstage when you're eighty.
J - Yeah, well y'know, God willing.  I mean, I would do it, it doesn't 
matter to me.  I really enjoy playing, it's great.

C - Cool, thanks a lot.
J - You got it! 

Fan - I never expected to see the Misfits.
J - Well, I never expected to get jammed up for thirteen years.

C - Hey, the (Marshall) Faulk shirt, where'd you get that?
J - I'm a big Colts fan.  I was a Colts fan from about 1965.  So when 
they moved to Indianapolis . . . in my family, when you like a team, 
you're not allowed to switch, because then Doyle liked the Giants and for 
like all his childhood the Giants sucked, and then they went to the Super 
Bowl and we went and all kinds of stuff like that so it was pretty cool.  
So when the Colts came to Indianapolis so did I.

I thanked Jerry again and hurried off to my friends who were waiting for 
me.  I have to say, after listening and reading back over these 
interviews, I am surprised at the candidness of them.  For all my 
expectations of the Misfits and their scary image, I thought they would 
be very intimidating, but instead I thought they were very warm and 
friendly.  It was also a study in contrasts, with Jerry being like a 
Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson, coming out of retirement to have another 
trip around the court, and Michale Graves being like a high school kid 
drafted by a big pro team with lots of expectations and judgemental 
press.  Jerry clearly wants to move forward with the band, and sort of 
has a resistance to the glory of the old days.  And yet, at the same 
time, I think he realizes now, perhaps more than ever, how revolutionary 
and ahead of it's time the Misfits were and are.  Michale seems to still 
be slightly uneasy with his role, but that's certainly fading fast.  He 
certainly has the vocal talent and stage presence to continue the 
tradition of this band, the question will be whether or not he can 
contribute to it in a way that is substantially his own.  I can't wait to 
find out.

Chris Schneberger