Index Misfits Samhain Danzig Misfits '95 Undead Biographies Related Bands Appendices Lyrics/Tab Forum

Lucanae #7, 4/96

By A.J. Ryan & Pamela Hazelton

With two new band members and a new mark to make in the world of raw, 
progressive rock (mixed with poppish and sometimes punkish sounds), The 
Misfits are steadily gaining recognition as a collaboration of original 
sounds with new and upscaled talent. Recently returning from a European 
tour, and readying for a slew of international appearances, original band 
members Jerry Only and Doyle, as well as latest members Dr. Chud and 
Michale Graves, are giving a whole new meaning to the label thousands 
of fans are leaving each show with--that they, too are Misfits.
It was 1977 when then 17-year-old Jerry Only teamed up with 21-year-old 
Glenn Danzig to become Misfits. The only other member was Manny, a mutual 
friend of Jerry and Glenn. That same year, the trio released Cough/Cool--
their first single, released on their own blank Records. Only 500 copies 
were released of this pre-guitar recording (the A side and B side title, 
"She," each featured Danzig on keyboards, Manny on drums and Jerry on bass).
After six years of working like "wild animals," working with newer members 
and working with different acquaintances, The Misfits became no more, as 
lead vocalist Danzig went onto his own ventures, first as the lead of 
Samhain. What transpired from there was one of the most horrific elements 
that could affect any musician then and today: Jerry Only and his brother, 
Doyle, could play all the music they wanted. But they couldn't perform 
under The Misfits name. It became a decade-plus long struggle, fighting 
in court and through lawyers, with Danzig and his big guns, for Jerry and 
Doyle to finally reap the benefits of ever having been part of a band that 
sang and performed about horror and horror films.
Today, Jerry leads the band, with new members Dr. Chud and Graves, along 
with longtime sidekick Doyle, on a whirlwind of new songs, merchandise, 
tours and recognition. Die-hard, longtime fans eagerly awaited the return 
of the devil locks and skulls, while new listeners are appreciating an 
untraditional form of music. Though still limited to some constraints on 
just what The "newer" Misfits can and cannot do, the four-man team is 
dead set on one thing--making their mark now the way they want to do it.
Before we can jump behind the scenes with the Misfits of 1996, however, 
we first must delve into the past--before the first split, before the new 
members joined. Those of us who became fans early on--in the late '70s and 
early '80s want to know. And The Misfits today, well, they think we ought 
to know...


Is it true that you, Doyle and Glenn were demented children?
   A lot of people think that, but not really. There were never any real 
   problems. Glenn, Doyle and I came from your average, middle-class, 
   suburban New Jersey families. My dad's a machinist and Glenn's was 
   a television repairman. I did get locked up a few times with The 
   Misfits, but it was more like good, clean fun.

Who came up with The Crimson Ghost as a symbol for the band?
   Glenn and I had started a T-shirt company called Horror House. We 
   wanted to go into Manhattan and sell different monster shirts that 
   we thought were cool just to make some extra money. One day we were 
   thumbing through a bunch of monster magazines, looking for new T-shirt 
   ideas, and we stumbled across the Crimson Ghost. We placed The Misfits 
   logo over him and it just worked.

Do you have any original Misfits singles (they're worth...)?
   Nah, all my stuff's gone. I gave it all away. Kids would hear the 
   band practicing and they would bang on my front door, saying, "Hey, 
   we heard your band! You guys sounded great!" So I'd pull out a "Horror 
   Business," sign it and give it away. We didn't get to keep much--like 
   three or four copies for each guy in the band. After time, the stuff 
   disappears. But it all went into good hands.

What was Glenn like offstage? As a friend?
   Glenn was like an older brother to me. I watched his back and he'd 
   watch mine. If anybody fought one of us, they fought us both. And many 
   times it came down to that.

How was he to work with as a performer?
   Glenn was very opinionated, and he wasn't easily swayed. If he felt 
   strongly about something, it was hard to make him bend. So in some 
   ways he was hard to work with. He wasn't lazy, and he was very 
   progressive. In the band he held up his corner and sometimes even 
   more than that. I was the same way.

What's the true story about Bobby Steele? Why was he ejected from the 
band? One rumor is that you wanted your brother up on the stage instead.
   There's no truth to that. I'll admit I was grooming Doyle from day 
   one--he was always going to be my guitar player somewhere down the 
   line. At the time, Bobby was supposed to track The Misfits Three Hits 
   from Hell. Back then, we liked to record our songs all in one take. 
   We'd all stand in one room and do it live. The problem was, if one 
   person didn't show up on time, we were limited to what we could get 
   done. So we'd be there, doing what we could, stuck without a guitar 
   player, and Bobby would roll in hours late saying the trains were 
   late. We'd have to wait around for him to warm up and get his amps 
   sounding right. By that time, he just wasn't loose playing at all. 
   He would stop halfway through a take because he couldn't keep up with 
   the rest of us, and we would have to start all over. So I told Doyle 
   he might as well start practicing. It ended up that Doyle's tracks 
   were coming through a lot cleaner than Bobby's. So it finally came 
   to the point where I had to say, "Hey, I'm paying for the studio time, 
   let's go with what sounds better," and that was Doyle. I used the 
   excuse that he couldn't jump out of a coffian to throw him out of 
   the band, only because I didn't have the heart to tell him that the 
   real reason was because he was constantly screwing up. It was a lame 
   excuse, but I tried to spare his feelings. But I don't want to argue 
   with Bobby. I really hope he does well for himself. He can even open 
   a show for us, I don't care. He thought that after he left the band, 
   we were telling club owners not to book him, not to deal with him--
   that's just not true.

What do you think of the Undead?
   He stole the name from me! One night, while he was still in the 
   band, Bobby and I were hanging by my house and I told him I was 
   thinking about starting a side project with Dave Vanian (The Damned). 
   Not to leave the Misfits, but to do something different. At the time, 
   the guys in The Damned were screwing Dave around big time, playing 
   gigs behind his back and keeping the money. So I wanted to put out 
   this album, or maybe a four song EP, release it on Plan 9 records 
   and call it The 1980 Undead. It was 1980 when Bobby was asked to 
   leave, and he used the name Undead. I can even show you on my leather 
   jacket. I had The Misfits on the top and The Undead on the bottom. 
   After Bobby did that to me, I said, "I better scrape this Undead shit 
   off." But if you look close, you can still see it. But that's old now, 
   and I truly hope Bobby does well for himself because I know he enjoys 
   his music.

The Undead 1980 project--is that why Glenn wrote "Archangel"?
   Yes, Glenn wrote the song for Dave Vanian and we (The Misfits) did 
   it great. Dave came over to my house and Glenn sang it for him. Then 
   Dave sang it and it sounded great. So I told him that when he gets 
   back to The States, we'd record it, but he never came back.

People used to say you guys never practiced.
   That's bullshit. The Misfits used to practice all the Goddamn time. 
   In the winter, my cellar freezing, with smoke coming out of our mouths; 
   in the summer, baking in 90-degree heat until we almost died. We were 
   really taking ourselves seriously. But at the same time, we didn't 
   take the business end of it serious at all. The attitude of the music 
   and the whole scene was: who gives a shit about the business.

The Misfits went to England to open for The Damned. But it never happened.
   It would have been one of our biggest shows. One day Dave and I got 
   together and agreed The Misfits would open for them. Three weeks before 
   they needed us there I got a telegram. So we ran around, got our 
   passports. I had to come up with money for the plane tickets. When we 
   got there, their manager, Doug Smith, screwed us. He wouldn't give us 
   the money we were promised. Rat Scabies was producing a band from 
   Ireland, and he put them in our spot. Dave nor anybody went to bat for 
   us, so we wound up walking off the tour.

The lock-up in England came next?
   You got it. This guy, Derek, saw us walking down the street and wanted 
   to be our manager. He was doing some artsy-fartsy color mag and was real 
   interested in us. We had no money and no place to stay. Luckily, he 
   owned a bed and breakfast and put us up in the basement. Things got 
   kind of boring. We had no money and nothing to do. When Sid Vicious' 
   mom was here in the States, I helped her out when she ran into a 
   tragedy. So I called her and told her I was in London. She said she 
   was going to visit a friend and she'd like to take me along and show 
   me the sights. So I told the guys I'd be back in a few days, just to 
   lay low. When I left, I didn't think I'd have to call and check up on 
   them, because they had no money and no place to go. But they got free 
   tickets or something and went to see The Jam at Rainbow Theater. Glenn 
   told me he and Bobby were walking down the street and there were a 
   bunch of skinheads following them, and they wanted to start some shit 
   with Glenn. Glenn said he looked for Bobby for some help, but he was 
   gone. Glenn grabbed a piece of broken glass from a broken window and 
   the Bobbies grabbed him. Derek wound up getting Glenn out by the time 
   I got back, but he was in an uproar. Glenn said all these British guys 
   in jail were busting on him... saying they hated Yanks and all that 
   kind of shit.

Let me guess. That's when Glenn wrote "London Dungeon?"
   You got it. And to make it worse, Glenn said that in England, they 
   don't have bars in their jails. They have this gully, or trench of 
   land, and they let badgers and wolverines roam around free. So if you 
   tried to escape, there was a good chance you'd get eaten. I know Glenn 
   and Bobby didn't go out looking for trouble. They just wanted to look 
   around and see The Jam. The Misfits weren't like that It was just 
   something that happened.

The last live show with Glenn was Halloween 1983. Shortly after, the band 
was history. Why didn't you just roll right over into Samhain?
   It kind of wound up the way it was meant to be. When we broke up, 
   Glenn went ahead and started his own band he wanted to be boss of. 
   See, The Misfits didn't have a boss. We worked like wild animals. We 
   could not have been governed. We had no sets of rules. We all worked 
   like a pack of wolves. Each guy was a part of the pack and each guy 
   had a say. Now with Glenn's newest band, Danzig, a lot of that subsided 
   because of the concept he's trying to portray. The Misfits only tried 
   to govern our image, where we were going, and we let the music do what 
   it did. When Glenn and I split, I didn't take care of the business 
   end of it like I should have, which caused this great drout... not 
   being able to go out and perform as The Misfits. We kinda screwed 
   ourselves. We figured we'd just pickup (The Misfits name) later. And 
   when we went to do that, it was gone. Caroline Records had it. Now, 
   Glenn has cut us loose. He let us have the name back, and we're moving 
   forward. But it took many years of wasted time to come to this.

Is it true you were erased off "Legacy of Brutality?"
   Well, those aren't my bass tracks.

Is that a yes?
   Yeah, it's a yes. I heard that Glenn redid them, but I'm not sure if 
   he did, or somebody else did.

Why would Glenn do that?
   I don't know. I can say a lot of things, but they would all be negative, 
   and they wouldn't help any situation. I did talk with some people that 
   were involved in the Legacy of Brutality sessions, and they said that 
   they didn't think Glenn erased my tracks. My tracks were supposedly 
   used as reference tracks, so they should still be there.

Why wasn't anybody paid for all the Misfits merchandise, singles, albums 
and CDs? Or were you? Bobby Steele said he wasn't paid for anything he 
played on including the first thirteen songs he played guitar on The 
Misfits compilation.
   As it stands now, Bobby's only on one song on that compilation. When 
   we were speaking with Glenn, he said he redid Bobby's guitars.
   Glenn had signed contracts with Caroline as Plan 9 records to 
   distribute the work. This said Plan 9 Records owned all The Misfits 
   tapes. Caroline told us they paid Glenn, so we needed to talk to Plan 
   9 for our share of the money. Caroline was also at fault for not making 
   sure all the paperwork was done correctly.

So it wasn't Glenn, it was Caroline Records.
   No, it was Glenn. He collected the money. He just never sent it to 

So in all fairness, there were some things that Glenn did that were wrong.
   Yes, that's true. But to be a real man about things, when you settle 
   a disagreement with someone, it's very important that it's done... 
   that it's over. I ran into Glenn during these transactions, and as 
   I've said, I still care about the guy. I wish him no harm. I wish him 
   all the best, as well as the guys in his band. I'm in Glenn's corner 
   again, and if he chooses to be friends with me, great, but if not, I'll 
   have to live with it. There's so much room in this industry for so many 
   different kinds of music and bands. And all the people that I've worked 
   with over the years all had great ideas, and their own concepts on how 
   things should be. So, what I'm saying is, there's room for The Misfits, 
   for Danzig, and for The Undead. And we, Glenn, Bobby and I, shouldn't be 
   at each others throats. We all should look and see how we fit into our 
   own specific catalogues, be our best, and ride it that way.

Is it true that the "Horror Business" single was recorded in a haunted 
   Nope, that was a fake. What happened was, there was this sound on the 
   tape machine. We didn't know where the hell it came from. And when we 
   finally found it on the track, the only way to kill it was to re-do 
   the whole take. So I said, "Glenn, what does it sound like to you?" 
   We both just looked at each other, and I can't remember if I said it 
   or Glenn, but one of us said, "Hey, we'll say this 45 was recorded 
   in a haunted house, and if you hear noises that shouldn't be there, 
   it's a ghost." Later on we found out it was a noise from outside the 
   studio or something like that, but since it was so insignificant, and 
   we didn't have the money to re-record the song, we came up with that 
   story.. that's all it was.

Why do you believe The Misfits are such a legend?
   To me, The Misfits were and are a perfect combination of many elements 
   that are very American. We have the old '50s doo-wop kinda look, but 
   with a horror theme in the '90s. We got all the elements that it takes. 
   I'm actually hoping that we get as big as Guns 'N' Roses and people 
   like that. Not that I'm attempting to make my path go that way on 
   purpose. I'm not. I'm just thinking that no matter what we do, as long 
   as we do it good, and do it right, we're going to wind up there. What 
   I'm looking for now is the new Elvis. The way I look at it is, Elvis 
   died 18 years or so ago, and if God was fair to everybody, he would 
   have sent him right back to us. There's some 18 year old kid out there 
   with Elvis's voice, and it's my destiny to go and find him, and make 
   the ultimate band. But getting back to what you said about us being a 
   legend, a lot has to do with what I spoke of, and also because we did 
   it all. Looking back at The Misfits, for a band with no record label, 
   and really no money coming in, we went everywhere. And I think that 
   the Misfits success, right from the very beginning, was inevitable. 
   It's just a shame that, at the very end of the band, we didn't know 
   what we really had. We let egos, and certain situations get in the way 
   of the important thing, which was the music and our fans. That's when 
   Glenn and I split ways. And you look back on it now, 13 years later, 
   and you say to yourself, "That was a stupid thing to do." But now, 
   Glenn has a different perpective then what we used to have, so 
   somewhere down the line, it would've probably happened anyway. Maybe 
   it's better that we disappeared for 13 years.

Why the return of the Misfits?
   What people don't understand, and what I want people to know is we, 
   the Misfits, never quit playing music. We never went anywhere. We've 
   actually spent the last seven or eight years of our lives in court 
   with lawyers, with our hands tied because of Glenn and all of that. 
   It wasn't like we were waiting for punk to make a comeback, or we 
   were out mowing the lawn--waiting the The Meat Puppets to make a 
   return so we can come back and ride the bandwagon. No way, that's 
   not what we want. I'm not trying to ride the punk wave now that 
   alternative is in. And I don't want to be stuck in any category 
   because we can't be... the Misfits are the Misfits and they can't be 

So what about now? What do you hope to achieve?
   With what I've already said, my idea is to bring The Misfits right 
   back to the clubs where they were born. And play classic Misfits 
   shows in small places so you get the one-on-one effect. You want 
   to do a show at a small place at midnight to one-thirty, and really 
   blow out a club with a lot of sounds and a lot of lights. And for 
   starters, that's where The Misfits belong. Now the truth is, I've 
   had a hard time selling Doyle and the others on that, but I say, 
   "Let's start small. There's no reason why we should try and sell 
   out places that, first, are maybe stretching our means. You know? 
   Our first tour was for the people, noe really for us. We're gonna go 
   out there and play vintage Misfits stuff. Now, a lot of people are 
   going to criticize me and say, "Hey, you guys are just doing the old 
   Misfits stuff," but I really don't care. I'm going to send postcards 
   to all the members of the fiend club and ask them where we should 
   play. I'm not going to listen to a booking agent who's going to tell 
   me we can make more money in the arenas. No way! If my people want 
   to see us in a club, that's where we'll be. My point is this, my 
   people have been spending millions of dollars on bootlegs and stuff 
   like that. So somebody owes these people some kind of respect, and 
   it might as well be me. Let me come out and play where they, the 
   people, want to see me, and I'll be there.

TODAY--more than ever

There's a lot more to the Misfits now than just the past. In fact, Jerry 
and Doyle are putting that behind them. With new recording sessions for a 
new album slated for this summer, the four-man band is planning to hit 
the states and other countries rock hard.

A Misfits TV pilot is just about ready to go out to several major 
networks, including TBS and USA. Following the tradition of Vampira 
(though they'll be wearing more clothes), the guys have filmed their 
hostings of feature films, like Horror_Hotel, The_Crawling_Eye and 
The_Hideous Sun_Demon. Also featured in that pilot is the band's new 
video of "Dr. Phibes," a single based on the movie starring the late 
Vincent Price.
The Coffin boxed set, featuring unreleased demos from the early years 
and out takes, hit music stores in March, retailing for $59.95. It 
features the Misfits from A-Z, including the original Static Age, out 
takes from Walk Among Us, and just about everything ever released on 
Compilation II is a second greatest hits from the early years.  

Plans this year are to first release a four-song single, including new 
tracks "The Haunting," "Blacklight," "The Hunger" and "Mars Attacks." 
Misfits Manager Kenny Caiafa said the band plans for two takes of each 
of those songs, one of each to be released on the single, and the other 
set to be included on a new album scheduled for a later summer release.

Pushead is contracted to create the single cover--a florescent blacklight 
poster, folded down to a cover for a 7" vinyl release. The single is also 
to be made available on cassette and CD. No particular artist has been 
named for the album cover.
The Misfits have yet to sign with a record company for the new works... 
they are considering releasing the new collection on their own imprint.
And... there's more. A Jerry Only model kit, Doyle model kit, Crimson 
Ghost model kit, the Evil Eye, Crimson Ghost and Earth A.D. wall plaques, 
glow-in-the-dark T-shirts and five other T-shirt designs featuring Doyle, 
Jerry and the Crimson Ghost.
What more could one ask for from a band whose members are indebted to 
those supportive of their re-entry into the music industry? How about 
a Misfits comic book? That's right, artist Doug Evil has already completed 
several pages and outlined most others to relay the stories of the band, 
depicting the past, present and future. That project, slated for release 
later this year, will tell the story from the beginning.
Jerry and his brother fought good and hard to get the Misfits stage name 
back. Now that they've got it, nothing is going to stop them. Putting 
the past behind them, and focusing on the many possibilities the band, as 
a group, faces, the Misfits are planning on a comeback that will both rock 
and shock the nation, and bring alive a particular sound of music many 
thought would no longer exist.

(Al Ryan is an author of horror and professional interviewer for several 
national and international magazines of horror and other topics. He is 
the supervising producer and director of photography for the Misfits TV 
pilot.  Kenny Caiafa The Misfits manager.)

The Misfits and the Fiend Club can be reached at: P.O. BOX 310, 
Vernon, NJ 07462. Include SASE for info on Misfits merchandise.