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Maximum Rock & Roll, 1992

        Interviewers Note:  The following interview is the result of what
was originally intended as a full length biographical paper on the long
defunct MISFITS.  As my research dragged on, the number of interested
participants and/or information sources dropped to one...Bobby Steele, the
first person I contacted when I needed information.  Since I couldn't see
the point in carrying out my original plan, I asked Bobby if he would do an
interview for MRR.  The entire interview was conducted through the mail, so
there may be a few spots where it seems like I change subjects more often
than I change my socks...sorry.  Anyway, as regular readers of Mykel
Board's column should already know, Bobby is currently the only member of
his band, THE UNDEAD, so the interview is one-on-one.  Interview by
Geoffrey Tilander.

        MRR:  How did you get involved with THE MISFITS?

        Bobby:  I ran an ad in a local paper.  Glenn (Danzig) called and
set up an audition.  I'd only heard of THE MISFITS once before.  At an
earlier gig, I met a kid who told me about this band that he knew.  That
was around 1977.  I think.  the funny part is:  I met that kid again in
'82.  That was how I met Steve Zing (exMOURNING NOISE, exSAMHAIN).

        MRR:  Were you already into the horror thing before you joined?

        Bobby:  Oh, yeah!  I was a horror junkie.  I just wasn't into all
the trivia shit that most of the 'horror snobs' are into.  I don't know
shit about who did this or that.  I just love to watch them.  My parents
turned me on to that stuff when I was real young.  I think the first horror
movie I ever saw was Lady In a Cage.  Nobody ever heard of it, and for the
longest time I thought I'd just imagined it.  They showed it on TV once in
'84.  I have it on tape now.  It's kind of like a Hitchcock type film.
There's no monster.  It's really sick...especially for it's time.

        MRR:  What was the first thing you did-either live or in the studio
        Bobby:  The very first song I ever played with them on stage was
'Static Age'.

        MRR:  What was your impression of them as a band or as individuals?

        Bobby:  It was the most intense band I'd ever heard.  And they
looked cool, too!  I literally went out the very next day and told all my
friends that it was gonna be the biggest thing since KISS.  I knew if any
band could do it, THE MISFITS could.  It was exactly the type of band I'd
been dreaming of for years.  Jerry Only seemed like a nice guy, at the
time.  I quickly learned that he was a phony.  Glenn was strange.  At
first, I thought he was gay.  There were lots of rumors to that extent back
then.  The one thing about Glenn was that he was real.  If he didn't like
you, he made it clear.  Glenn was very professional.  In the beginning, he
had things under control.  Every week we'd practice three nights.  After
practice, we'd do pictures.  We must've shot three rolls each night...three
nights a week.  As we got more popular, he lost control.  I guess that's
why it all died.

        MRR:  Glenn Danzig claims that you didn't play on the Bullet EP,
yet on Beware The Misfits, you are creditied for the same versions found on
Bullet.  What's the story on that?

        Bobby:  Glenn's wrath.  He was pissed at Franche Coma, so he
refused to give him credit on the record.  He has a tendency towards doing
that...if ya know what I mean.

        MRR:  So is that pretty much the same thing that happened on the 3
Hits from Hell EP?

        Bobby:  I don't really know.  He kinda did a different twist on
that one and gave me credit for "xtra guitar on 'London Dungeon'", which is
one of the reaons that I really think he really didn't want to get rid of
me, himself.

        MRR:  So what all did you play on?  I'm sure a lot of people know,
but there are probably just as many who don't.

        Bobby:  Fuck...the sixty-four thousand dollar question.  I've
gotten so tired of having to dig into my memory to remember all the stuff I
played on.  The first thing was Horror business.  Then we did Night of the
Living Dead.  At each of these sessions, we recorded enough tracks to make
an LP, but used only the best tracks for the EPs.  The next sessions were
for an LP that eventually became Walk Among Us.  What they wound up as were
the Halloween and 3 Hits from Hell 45s.  On the 20 song LP, The Misfits, I
played on "Horror Business", "Teenagers From Mars", "Night of the Living
Dead", "Vampira",  "I Turned Into a Martian", "Skulls", "London Dungeon",
"Ghoul's Night Out", and "Astro Zombies".  Some of these tracks were from
the 45s, while others were from the original Walk Among Us sessions.  I
think the material from the original Walk Among Us were, by far, the best
recordings we ever did.  that was the tightest lineup we ever had.  that
was with Arthur Googy on drums.  It was the first time that we worked with
a real producer.  He never got the credit, but his name was Robbie Alter.
He played guitar in the IAN HUNTER BAND.  He was the one who was
responsible for all the great sounds on "London Dungeon".  He played a lot
of the subtle feedback on that one.  He also came up with the accents on
the chorus.

        MRR:  Your last show with THE MISFITS was in July '79, right?  What
was that show like?

        Bobby:  The last show was July '79, at Exile in Long Island City,
NY.  We were always trying to come up with ways of making the show more
intense.  this time, we decided to lock ourselves in the dressing room for
the last hour before going on.  The isolation... along with the fact that
we hated each other...was intended to inspire us to play as aggressively as
possible.  The club's manager kept coming back and telling us to wait
another hour, unit we were in there for about four hours.  We started
busting up the dressing room.  We were climbing the walls.  When we finally
went on; it was like all hell breaks loose.  I'll bet it was the loudest,
fastest set we ever did.  I have a tape of that show, somewhere.  the sound
is awful, but you can hear how fast we were.  At the end of the night, the
owners didn't want to pay us at first.  The club's booking agent warned the
owners not to fuck with us, or they'd regret it.  We got paid in full.  And
these guys were Mafia!  We had a reputation.

        MRR:  They (THE MISFITS) claimed in an interview that you were
replaced because you "couldn't play fast enough", Arthur Googy said that
you were never around come time for rehearsal and Glenn said you didn't
show up for the completion of the 3 Hits from Hell EP.  Would you like a
chance to clear that up for us?

        Bobby:  If any of that were you think I'd be where I am
now, despite their slander campaign?  I've alway been a hard worker.
That's why nobody can last with me.  Nobody's got the stamina and
determination that it takes to overcome the setbacks that I've been hit
with in my life.  Believe me, it'd be a lot easier for me to kill myself.
But then I might miss out on an opportunity.  I was always on Glenn's case
for his procrastination.

        MRR:  Not many people know that Jerry and Doyle are brothers.  How
much do you think that had to do with his replacing you?  Obviously it had
something to do with his being inducted as a member.  I've seen some of the
live videos that are floating around out there...his playing skills, or
lack thereof, are more than a little less than equal to yours.

        Bobby:  That was the only reason he got in.  I think Jerry wanted
to control the band, and the best way to do it was to have a majority on
his side.  Doyle was perfect.  He'd always agree with anything Jerry said.
Jerry used to tell me that practice was off.  So I wouldn't show up.  I
never knew that there was a practice.  I used to wait all day trying to
find out if we were gonna practice.  You can't imagine how dedicated I was
to that band.

        MRR:  I've heard recordings of both the Ritz, NYC and Hittsville,
Passaic, NJ shows from late '81 where those guys cut loose on you (by
changing the lyrics to 'Teenagers From Mars' so they said, "Bobby Steele's
an asshole", etc.).  How provoked were those attacks?

        Bobby:  Sounds magazine, from England, did an article about THE
UNDEAD in October '81.  It said that I'd accomplished more in six months
than THE MISFITS had in seven years.  That's when the shit hit the fan.  Up
until then, things had been fairly civil, though they had been telling
people I couldn't play, etc.....

        MRR:  So, as far as they were concerned, it was cool until THE
UNDEAD started to get off the ground.

        Bobby:  Definitely.  They had put their feet in their mouths and it
was a blow to their egos.

        MRR:  Glenn claimed that the infamous "San Francisco Show"  (where
Doyle smashed his guitar over some kid's head) was a result of the work of
"Bobby Steele's cronies".  What do you think of that.

        Bobby:  It's as if I had the kind of money that it would take to
send a bunch of thugs out to fuck with them.  At that time, I was living on
$240 a month and my rent was $135.  Of course he was lying.  I couldn't
find a lawyer to handle a lawsuit against him and Thrasher for slander.  He
was accusing me of committing a series of felony crimes; crossing state
lines for the purpose of committing a crime.

        MRR:  At the time of those shows, how long had THE UNDEAD been
together?  Was that before Nine Toes Later came out?

        Bobby:  If you're talking about the aforementioned show, I think it
was less than a year.  I really don't know, 'cause I don't know when that

        MRR:  That EP was supposed to come out on Plan 9, right?

        Bobby:  Originally, yeah.  Glenn was at a couple of the sessions,
too.  He laid out the initial $300 for the session.  When I think back to
that we were still friends at that point.  That's one of the reasons why I
think Jerry had a lot more to do with kicking me out than they ever

        MRR:  When did you start Post Mortem Records?  Was it spawned
because of record companies refusing to deal with you due to the bad press
you received at the hands of Danzig and his pals?

        Bobby:  I started Post Mortem after Stiff Records went belly-up.
There was still a huge demand for Nine Toes Later, and I was hoping to take
advantage of it by putting the record out myself.  I wound up getting
fucked by all the distributors on all the 45s that came out on Post Mortem.
I can't really say why the labels keep avoiding me like the plague, but
you gotta admit there's something sleazy going on.  Act Your Rage, with
virtually no distribution, has sold nearly twenty-thousand copies, and I
still can't get the interest of a label that'll do any kind of promotion.
I've been told, and I've denied it to myself for too long, that the only
reason that I'm being ignored by the industry is because I'm crippled and
they don't believe that a cripple is capable of entertaining.  This
industry is so righteous about not being racist, when they won't think
twice about excluding a person just because he walks funny.  Even MRR, in
all its talk about equal rights always mentions blacks and women, but
rarely ever mentions the handicapped.  It's something that people aren't
eve aware that they're doing.  I only blame it partially on THE MISFITS.
After all, they were the only ones in this whole business that ever gave me
a chance.  A lot of people like to criticize them fro being so evil, but it
was the only band that ever put a cripple in the spotlight.  Most people
don't know this, but THE ROLLING STONES had a keyboard player from the very
beginning, Ian McLagen, I think was his name.  He was never allowed to pose
in pictures or be seen on stage.  He was a cripple.  I don't care what you
might think about PC, they're full of it.  It's a trendy movement.  They
care more about forcing their doctrines down our throats than they care
about our rights.  You'd be hard pressed to find one of them that's ever
attended a handicapped demonstration.  It's not cool.  PETA's cool.
Protesting racism is cool.  Women's casues are cool.  But fuck the
cripples.  There's this club in Detroit, 404 Willis, they've refused to
book me because I'm not politically correct.  What's not politically
correct?  That I'm a cripple?  That I wrote the first song abut the
homeless problem in 1983?  that there have been three females in the band
at various times?  They don't know what they're talking about.  What's not
politically correct is to deny work to a cripple who has a reputation for
being honest and sincere in his work.  If the PC had their way, they'd
eliminate the constitution faster than you could say, "George Bush".

        MRR:  You don't think THE MISFITS and their associates had much to
do with your being blacklisted by almost the entire underground music
scene, then?

        Bobby:  They weren't the only ones.  They got things against me,
but everybody involved is equally guilty in my opinion.  Chris Williamson,
who's one of the owners of Rock Hotel, had a big part in it.  He
manipulated the scene, through his control of the CROMAGS.  A lot of people
don't like my independence.  They don't like a guy who breaks the rules and
comes out on top.  Honestly, I don't give a fuck.  At least when I die I'll
still have my integrity.

        MRR:  Some of the earlier UNDEAD songs sound a little like older
MISFITS songs.  Was Glenn much of an influence on you as a songwriter?

        Bobby:  Certainly.

        MRR:  What do you think of Danzig as a person and as a musician?
What about SAMHAIN and his latest band, DANZIG?

        Bobby:  I think he gets too much criticism for the wrong reasons,
mostly from people that are jealous.  He's one of the most intelligent
clever lyricists in the business.  His lyrics make you think about the
hypocrisy in religion these days.

        MRR:  You don't consider him a sellout for turning his back on the
punk scene in favor of the glitter and gold of heavy metal?  I know that's
why a lot of people give him so much crap.

        Bobby:  The thing about the punk scene nowadays is that they treat
musicians like shit.  We're the niggers of the scene.  We're expected to
work our fingers to the bone; entertain and bring pleasure, but we're never
allowed to profit from it.  If we do, we're 'capitalist pigs'.  We have a
right to earn a living.  The punk scene turns its back on us first, and
theny they bitch when we change.  If his heart's in it, he's not a sellout.
I'm not gonna judge him on that.  Then again, I know of some hard-core
anarchist punk from years ago, who's making $35,000.00 a week as an
investment broker.  I don't hear anyone bitching about him.  Face it, most
punks sell out by the time they're 25, so I advise them to stop criticizing
other people.  Punk rockers are all sellouts.  Selling out is a matter of
compromising yourself in order to gain popularity and make money.  That
could be countless hundreds of bands who went for the generic speed thrash
"Fuck Reagan" trend of a decade ago.

        MRR:  It's kind of funny, if you know Glenn's influences and his
idols and look at some of his recent stuff, you can see where he just flat
out ripped off artwork, music, lyrics, etc., yet he still pisses and moans
about people ripping him off!

        Bobby:  Yeah, I know what you mean there.  He does put his foot in
his mouth a lot.

        MRR:  In the kit you get from his fan club they bitch about the
problem of MISFITS bootlegs and are bold enought to say that they receive
no money for bootleg merchandise and ask, "Who deserves it, the band or the
bootleggers?".  Don't you think that question is a little misleading,
seeing how the only person in THE MISFITS that ever got anything for their
work was Danzig and everyone else got fucked?

        Bobby:  Yeah.  It is.  A lot of people don't realize this, but I've
never gotten anything out of being in THE MISFITS.  Go ahead, buy the
bootlegs.  At least then I'm not the only one getting fucked.  It's his own
fault anyway.  If he didn't want the bootlegs, he could just release the
shit himself.  What bothers me is that some of the bootlegs I've heard
don't have the pressing defects that the originals had.  Which means that
whoever put them out had access to tapes that only Glenn and Jerry had
access to.

        MRR:  That's pretty weird...somebody told me once that Glenn Danzig
actually did some MISFITS bootlegs himself.  I thought it was a joke, but
you're right...some of the bootlegs I have are actually better in sound
qualtiy than some of my originals.

        Bobby:  My intuition is almost always on the mark.  I just got to
hear the Horror Business and Bullet bootlegs, and they're right on the
mark...right down to the inscriptions on the inner groove.

        MRR:  What about Jerry and Doyle, have you heard their new band

        Bobby:  Hated it...

        MRR:  It looks like they're tryng to cash in on the success DANZIG
is having.  The tape has a big metal sound to it.

        Bobby:  It's like IRON MAIDEN meets GWAR, with JIMMY SWAGGART
writing lyrics.  They're about as born agian as Anton LaVey.

        MRR:  How are the Slave to Fashion EP and Live Slayer LPs doing?

        Bobby:  Not bad at all.  Slave to Fashion is a limited edition UK
release.  I only got 100 copies to sell in the US, and I know of only one
other distributor who brought in another 100 copies, so that might be all
that's available here.  Live Slayer has sold over 5,000 copies so far.

        MRR:  Is the title of Live Slayer a play on SLAYER's Live Undead
album or just a coincidence.

        Bobby:  Certainly.  It was a coincidence that it came out the same
week as SLAYER's new live LP, though.  Some stores actually wound up
putting it in the SLAYER section by accident.  Fuck 'em.  I've been getting
a good response on it.

        MRR:  What's this I hear about a new 7" coming soon?  Any details
about it you'd like to share?

        Bobby:  It's called The Invisible Man.  It's about how people turn
a cold shoulder on other people who don't have it so good.  I think
everyone can relate to having been in a city, and walking past a homeless
person, a bum, or a cripple.  For some reason...that you just can't just totally ignore them, even if they try to get your
attention.  Imagine how that must feel.  It's like you're invisible.

        MRR:  Who's putting that out?

        Bobby:  No.  Who's on first.  Oh, you mean what label?  In the US
it'll be on Skyclad.  I'm trying to negotiate a release in Europe, and I'm
looking for a label other than Shagpile/Shock to release it in Australia.
I'm not happy with the way they handled Dawn Of The Undead.  I still don't
have any of the LPs from them.

        MRR:  What are your live shows like?  I know you don't have a
backup band.  How do you play, do you have a tape of drums and bass or

        Bobby:  I'm still getting used to doing this.  I don't use tapes.
They don't sound good enough.  I have everthing sequenced, and it plays on
a drum machine and sampler.  It sounds just like it would sound if I had a
band up there.  The only problem that I have is that all eyes are on me.  I
have to carry the whole show.  It's like those dreams where you go to
school, and you realize that you forgot to put your pants on.  Hopefully
I'll be able to find a band, but for now this is great.  I don't have
people holding me back.  When I had a band, I put out records every couple
of years.  I've had four releases in five months without the band.  I
haven't changed my sound at all.

        MRR:  So are you planning to get actual members, or are you
officially a one-man-band?

        Bobby:  I hope to find a band, eventually, but I'm not gonna settle
for second best.  I get a lot of people offering to play with me, but I can
tell in an instant that they're not into it.  They're just whores-they'll
play anything.  I need true punks.  They have to have the right look; kind
of Saturday morning cartoon/Road Warrior look.  They have to be nonsmokers.
And they have to sing lead and harmonies.  They have to be easy to get
along with, and they have to show that they have the drive.  Most people
blow it in the first minute by showing up drunk (I hate drunks), or by
saying shit like, "We'll party, dude".  This ain't no fucking party.  This
is the hardest working most despised band in the world.  You gotta be a real
trooper to make it in this band.

        MRR:  Do you have any plans to tour soon?

        Bobby:  By the time this comes out, I'll be on a two-to-three month
tour, if anybody reading this is interested in setting up a show, call me
at (201) 262-7558.

        MRR:  Anything you'd like to add in closing?

        Bobby:  Yeah.  I get a decent number of threats.  In the mail and
on the phone.  A lot of it has to do with allegations made against me by a
band that I did a lot for.  People are so fucking eager to believe anything
negative about me just because I'm so different.  It's funny.  City
Gardens, in Trenton, NJ, has refused to give me a gig.  I think THE UNDEAD
is the only band of its stature that hasn't played there.  Anyway that
band, for years, was telling Randy that we were great and should get a gig.
He wouldn't believe them.  But as soon as they told him some bad shit, he
was repeating it to whoever would listen to him.  I'd like for bands,
especially the bigger bands such as FUGAZI and BAD RELIGION, to get in
touch with me.  It's time they started boycotting clubs that discriminate.
I'd like to hear from other people, too.  I want to know how you feel about
what I'm exposing for the first time.  I can be reached at:

Post Mortem Records
PO Box 358
New Milford, NJ  07646

Please don't ask for free shit.  I can barely keep afloat right now.  As
soon as I can afford to, I'll have goodies to give out.  That was one of
the things about being in THE MISFITS.  We always had cool shit to give

        Anyone wishing to correspond with a die-hard MISFITS/UNDEAD fiend
can write to me, Geoffrey Tilander, at:
                                        PO Box 1380
                                        Ukiah, CA 95482
I hope that you had as much fun reading this interview as I had conducting
it.  It was a lot of work and took almost six months to complete...I hope
it was worth it.