INK NINETEEN, 10/95 ------------------- Misfits Minding Their Own Damn Horror Business! by David Lee Beowulf (firstname.lastname@example.org) Oh, yeah, that band Glenn Danzig used to sing in... On Thursday, April 20, 1995, I got home from work and turned on the radio, WFMU's Pat Duncan had Misfit's Jerry Only (bass) and his brother Doyle (guitars) and a cast of thousands (including new drummer, CHUD) talking up a storm about being at the Chiller Theatre Convention that weekend. Then they were playing their old tunes, with live introductions, yet! Awesome, totally awesome!r This was, naturally, more than cool and I made a point of it to get to that convention, by hook or by crook! I got there (by hook) and had my original pressing of the Misfits' Walk Among Us and my "Yellow Skull" CD sleeve autographed by Jerry and Doyle; I got a Misfits guitar pick and saw some panels from the upcoming Misfits Comic book, and I got a photo of me holding that great "skull" bass with the guys! The convention? Oh, well, Elvira and lots of other horror movie babes were there, etc. loads o' fun. Two weeks later, the Misfits' manager, Rocky, gave me a call (I'd given him my card...); an interview was arranged at Chateau Misfits in the back country of way-the-hell-upstate New Jersey. They're headquartered in their hobby knife factory, near their horse farm... Their powerlifting gym is in the practice room and, let me tell you, they are re-tooling and will take the world by storm come this Halloween! *** [Introductions] These guys are BIG. Like full-on, 20-inch arms competitive bodybuilders. Although, Rocky mentions to me that pro-wrestler Jim "The Anvil" Neidhardt, whom they all met, was three times everyone's size and would kill us all, quickly "...like he'd squeeze us all in his arms and our body parts would be popping out all over the place..." Jerry Only: So tell us about Ink Nineteen Magazine. Well, it's a new music magazine distributed from Orlando, Tampa and Melbourne, Florida up on through Atlanta, Georgia,with a circulation of nearly 40,000... Doyle: Orlando? Is Shaquille O'Neal into it? [Noting that Jerry Only's son is wearing an Orlando Magic shirt] Um, yeah, he writes a rap music column for us, every, um. [I'm being stared at, they're not amused...] *** First of all, was the interview with Mike Stax's magazine Ugly Things the first time since, whenever, you guys "came back on the scene?" Jerry Only: It was the first in-depth interview. The Ugly Things interview was actually done over a thirteen to fourteen-month period. Mike would call us up on a weekend, and we'd spend a little time talking. Then he'd do some research and come back with more questions. All I've been able to read about the Misfits was either a little fanzine mention or Glenn Danzig, in some metal magazine, telling the world that he didn't want to talk about the "old days." J.O.: Right, right [laughs]. Uncle Glenn is not our biggest publicity agent if you know what I'm saying... When I heard you on the radio, you had mentioned "finally being able to release a new record." What's that about? J.O.: Originally, the Legacy of Brutality album was supposed to come out in 1978 as an album called Static Age. None of the record companies at that time really wanted to put out that kind of music. It was, like, a little bit beyond them. So, by the time we finally got to put out an album, we were already into the Walk Among Us music. The original Static Age album had "Last Caress," "Return of the Fly" and "Static Age/ T.V. Casualty" on it; pretty much all the classic Misfits tunes. Now we're finally going to releaseStatic Age as it should have been years ago. You didn't have any legal hassles or anything? J.O.: Oh, yeah, we had a huge problem! I mean we were tied up in court for years! Because we had no input on our catalog, we weren't being acknowledged as being in the band! We've worked all that out now... About a year ago we quit the knife factory and went full-time with the band when it seemed like the lawsuit would end. What about this lawsuit? J.O.: We had a problem because we never had signed any contracts. So all this Misfits stuff that's been out there was done without our consent, up until this January, other than what you see, without us making anything off of it. We were ripped off! But now it's kind of like everything froze and waited for us to come back. Who made all the money off of the Misfits merchandise, then? D.: Glenn Danzig. Do you ever get the urge to just tear Glenn Danzig limb from limb or are you guys pals? J.O.: Ahhh... we like Glenn, he likes us, too, but he won't admit it! We ran into him in our lawyers office in New York during the suit and we actually laughed about these things, we shook hands, hugged each other... When we started out doing the Misfits, there was no money, we had to pay to play. We did it because we loved it and thought it should be done, and Glenn did too, but once the money came along... Money changes people. Like I say, Glenn will never say anything nice publicly about us...we miss him and he probably misses us too, and we wish him well. But we got what we want, we got our name. We got our freedom to create new stuff and really that's all we need. When did you decide to make a new album? J.O.: Caroline Records came along and bought up our old stuff. We went to Caroline with a whole presentation of how we thought the Misfits should be. Now, if you look at the Misfits collection CD, you know, the one with the yellow skull on it, it's from all the different Misfits eras; there's no continuity and no packaging to it. And they're selling despite the fact that no one's been promoting them for years! What we did was go in and say "look, the first band was this... these were the singles, we should do a box set [due out this Halloween] redoing all the original Plan 9 singles..." and the Static Age CD should be out then too. We're talking the era from 1977 to 1982 up to theWalk Among Us stuff, we're documenting our life, we're trying to give you guys as much of the old stuff; stories, photos, whatever we got. How long have you been touring the Chiller Theater circuit; showing up at horror conventions? J.O.: About a year, year and a half. We'll show up with a table, this huge cemetery set that we drag around with us, and sign posters, give away guitar picks and stickers. Were there a lot of old farts (like me) or were there a lot of kids who are just getting into your sound showing up at your Chiller show table? J.O: There are kids who were born after we broke up who are into our band now! It's scary in that we've been out of the picture for so long, but I think our concept is good: we have a very accessible image and our music is timeless... How long have you had the Jerry Only model kits available? D: Aurora Model company was our inspiration. J.O.: We manufacture hobby knives [the "day job"] and we do model trade shows in Chicago. We saw some of the resin kits Horizon, Geometric and Screaming Models were coming up with, and they're really beautiful. So we were looking at them and me and Rocky were talking and said "hey, we can do this too. This is something that our people would be into." So we hired a sculptor, Bill Paquet, to do it for us. He did Ash from The Evil Dead... [Rocky brings out the Jerry Only model, fully painted by The Grink, says Doyle] Here it is. We gave Grink another for painting this one, but he was so fatigued after painting the first one that he just left the new one his closet! As you can see the bass guitar has real guitar strings and a real leather strap, the spikes are chrome. The body is one piece, the head glues on, the hair [you guessed it, a little plastic Devilock] glues on, the arms glue on; we used glue-on chrome spikes. We got an Honorable Mention at the Chiller Show for this model! How did you secure Famous Monsters of Filmland's cover artist Basil Gogos for the new album's cover art ? J.O.: We met him at the Chiller show last year. We had approached another artist, earlier, and showed him all our Famous Monsters books and told him we wanted an album cover. What happened was that he copied Basil's style and two weeks later I run into Basil! I said "I feel like a jerk because I hired someone to copy your style!" So Basil came up with this...[pretty awesome Famous Misfits of Musicland cover!] and as you can see Basil is Basil. I don't know if he's into the music, but he's into us. We go and have lunch and share our ideas and laugh. He's like our uncle! Who approached you about doing a comic book? J.O.: The artist, Doug Evil, approached us through Mike Staxx, actually. He's from Pittsburgh and has been working ogore in it, but the artwork is like something out of Disney. The scene here [the panel is on display] is in a graveyard where a guy and a girl are about to make out and we come up behind them and we end up eating the guy... What do you do to the girl? J.O: (Laughs) I don't want to let that out... At first, I said, I don't want people to think that we're trying to be on ABC Saturday morning, [no mention of Jem , the cartoon series, co-starring the, all-bad-girl nemesis band, the Misfits...] but after I saw the plot and the real intensity of the art, I wanted to be a part of it. Glenn needs to come out of the comic book, though, because he's doing his Verotik comic books right now and he said that it just wasn't in his best interest since he's trying to be on the real heavy adult side. [Doyle passes me an issue of Rip magazine with Glenn Danzig hawking his new books at a comic show; Doyle has drawn a Hitler moustache on Danzig...] Rocky: [Verotik ] is loaded with monsters raping women... Pornography is what it is. Glenn's looking for the hard impact. OK, THE BURNING QUESTION: Since you're "getting back together," who's going to sing? Obviously not Glenn Danzig. D: Here's our new singer. [Doyle passes me the issue of Rip again: it's Rob Halford of Judas Priest, drawn with a Devilock] He looks like he needs a job. R: We put a listing for singers in the Village Voice [June 27, 1995 issue] and we got millions of responses! Did you audition any female singers? I've always had this fantasy about Joan Jett putting out an album of Misfits' covers... R: Yeah, we did and some were excellent, but that's not what the Misfits should sound like. We need someone with a real manly voice, a real Misfits voice! We've been talking to Dave Vanian from The Damned and it's looking hopeful. Dave Vanian has that real manly sound. J.O.: I want someone teaming up with us who really wants to jam and be our singer; we're not trying to clone Glenn. The Misfits is a whole package and that's why I think Glenn moved away from us: he was trying to lock it into something where everything was focused on him and we didn't feel that was the best thing for us. We're not a supporting act for a vocalist, we are a machine, we're a death metal machine! Right now, are you planning any big tours? J.O.: Not right now, what I think we need to do now is get out some records. We're looking at doing a show at Action Park, New Jersey sometime in the Spring of 1996. How about in New York City? J.O.: We've always had a problem with New York. We've always had to go argue with people and prove our point. So we go to the Irving Plaza, which was like our home turf from way back, and they were really rude to us! After all this time you would have thought that a place like the Irving Plaza would love to have the Misfits come back and do a show! They were like: "well you don't know if you guys are going to fill this place." I said "fill this place?! What are you, fucking insane?" Later, we visited the Limelight [it's a very big old church at 6th and 20th] and thought, if you were to give the Misfits a 20 million dollar budget to build a studio for videos I'd build the Limelight. And it's kind of ironic: we need a screen, they've got a screen, we have a 15-foot long cemetery, right behind the drum platform is a 15-by-5 foot thing to put our cemetery on! They have lights, they have sound and we got a buddy, Drew Stone, to do our video work. So we have a gig anytime at the Limelight if we want it. D.: All I said to the guy at Irving Plaza was "that stage is too small for us," and he goes nuts! "It's big enough for Eric Clapton, it's big enough for Joe Cocker, we have Tom Jones here, you're insulting me!" Yeah, what's Joe Cocker do? He just stands there! And what's Eric Clapton do? He sits on a fuckin' stool! R. and J.O., in unison: And you can print that! J.O.: I mean, we move around, we interact with the crowd and we entertain. We might not play as good as those guys [laughs] Are you writing new songs? Will they be ghoulish power pop/punk songs like "Vampira" and "Teenagers From Mars" or more metal like "Green Hell" and "Wolf's Blood"? D.: I would say more metal. That's the way the shit comes out when I write it. J.O.: There are some songs that we don't like, like Spook City, Demonomania, Rat Fink (which isn't our song anyway). D.: Demonomania, is a real drag to play. Do you mind being covered by other bands? D.: No. It's a compliment. And they aren't going to do a song that sucks. The last thing I heard was Sloppy Seconds do "Where Eagles Dare" R.: I hope they didn't do it too sloppy. They did it sloppy. The b-side was a cover of Cheap Trick's "Surrender". D.: It fits. Are you raking in the bucks on Metallica royalties? D.: Zero. Talk to Uncle Glenn about that. How's the Doyle Fan Club going? Lots of Fans? J.O.: We've got about 3000 members. It's going to end up being the Misfits Fiend Club. [P.O. Box 310, Vernon, NY 07462] Have you been offered any movies or television? Either starring in or providing music for? D.: No, but I'd like to be on Star Trek, playing either a Klingon or a monster. I'd love to do that. R.: We're shooting three TV pilots, sort of like Chiller Theater, in September, and we'll host it like Zacherle did. We'll have guests and we're going to show old movies... We'll have it on a network ABC, CBS, Warner Brothers, Fox, maybe TBS or MTV or the Science Fiction Channel or wherever. J.O.: Our thing will be to build a huge TV set and actually be serious about educating the people on the movies: who's in it what they did. I think we should do alright. We might do a live TV show this Halloween! What do you guys do to trick-or-treaters on Halloween? J.O.: We give them candy... We set up a cemetery...I used to throw a square dance for my daughter's and our friends which I try to do annually, but we're going to be busy from now on. I consider myself lucky, I got to play in the Misfits for seven years and then for the next ten I got to be there for my family. My daughter is 13 and my son is 10 and as they get older I'm getting back into my music, in a way it's been a blessing. And, in closing... J.O.: The closing statement should be: We hope to be the Kings of Horror Rock at the end of all of this. We're the Elvis After Death type of thing!We live this! *** Afterwards, I got treated to a tour of the factory, a preview showing of the new line of graphite fiber guitars the boys will be manufacturing in the near future, a look at the new T-shirts they might be selling on QVC... AND, the address for all this great stuff: SaberInc, P.O. Box 281, Glennwood NJ, 07418. Happy Halloween!