Band History written by Foffle
COUGH/COOL 7" (Blank, 1977)
BULLET 7" (Plan 9, 1978)
HORROR BUSINESS 7" (Plan 9, 1979)
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD 7" (Plan 9, 1979)
BEWARE 12" (Cherry Red/Plan 9, 1980)
3 HITS FROM HELL 7" (Plan 9, 1981)
WHO KILLED MARILYN? 7" (Plan 9, 1981)
HALLOWEEN 7" (Plan 9, 1981)
WALK AMONG US LP (Ruby/Slash, 1982)
EVILIVE EP (Plan 9, 1982)
EARTH A.D./WOLFSBLOOD LP (Plan 9, 1983)
DIE DIE MY DARLING 12" (Plan 9, 1984)
LEGACY OF BRUTALITY LP (Plan 9/Caroline, 1985 - has tracks from '78 to '81)
MISFITS LP (Plan 9/Caroline, 1986 - aka Collection I, has tracks from '78 to '83)
COLLECTION II LP (Caroline, 1995 - has tracks from '78 to '83)
4-CD BOX SET (Caroline, 1996)
STATIC AGE LP (Caroline, 1997 - has complete January 1978 session)
FLIPSIDE VINYL FANZINE vol. 2 LP (Gasatanka/Enigma, 1985) "Attitude (Live)"
PARANOIA YOU CAN DANCE TO LP (Weird System, 1986) "Attitude (Live)"
Interview from Flipside #36
A 1982 interview with the Robo-era Misfits.
The definitive Misfits website... a little hard to navigate, but it's got everything you'd ever really want to know and more. Check the "Timeline" for a good band history.
Here's another great Misfits website, not as fanatically comprehensive as MisfitsCentral.com but still better than my crappy Misfits page...!
Here's the official page for the reunited (minus Danzig) Misfits. Tour dates, audio files, band history from the mid-90s on, etc.
The Misfits began in a time when punk was The Sex Pistols. While hundreds of other bands were copying them, the Ramones or each other, The Misfits (or most importantly, Glenn Danzig) made it interesting again.
It started in 1977, when 22-year-old Glenn Anzalone (no one knows why he chose "Danzig" as his moniker), formerly a singer for blues and Black Sabbath cover bands, went out looking for members to start a band that would perform all-original songs. He held auditions in his hometown, Lodi, New Jersey until March when he settled upon his bands first lineup. The drummer's name was Manny Martinez and the bassists name was Jerry Caiafa, and the band called themselves the Misfits, after Marilyn Monroe's last movie.
They recorded their first 7" single that August, called Cough/Cool which was a strange mixture of jazz fusion and rock n' roll. Instead of a guitar, Glenn played an electric piano through a distortion box. After discovering that Glenn had mis-spelled his last name on the back of the single, Jerry would from then-on be known as "Jerry Only".
By the release of Cough/Cool, in October '77, they added a guitarist (Frenché Coma) to the lineup and eventually dropped the keyboards all-together. They self-released the record on Blank Records. Later, Mercury Records approached the Misfits, informing them that they were already using the "Blank Records" imprint to release a Pere Ubu album and offered them 30 hours of studio time and the option of releasing an album in exchange for the name.
The Misfits entered the studio in January 1978, with Manny being replaced by Mr. Jim, and the result was the 4-song Bullet EP, which they released on their own again. The Misfits' Blank Records was re-named "Plan 9" Records after the movie "Plan 9 From Outer Space", which added to the bands ever-growing horror image. (The entire January '78 session was eventually released as the Static Age album in 1997)
Bullet was an instant classic. The title track was about the death of John Kennedy (the cover was a picture of Kennedy in the car on the day he was shot, smiling with blood splattering from the back of his head) and what became of his wife, Jackie afterwards. The record also featured "Attitude" and "We Are 138" which would be staples in the band's live set right up until their last show.
Speaking of the shows, the band were now gaining a large following all over the East Coast. According to Danzig, their popularity grew because their shows were the ones where people would go to go off and annihilate each other. In October '78, the band was to tour the east coast up to Canada, but in the middle of the tour Franché quit the band, Rick Riley of the Victims replaced him for the rest of the tour, afterwhich Mr. Jim also quit the band, stating that he didn't fit in with the horror image or sound. Within a month, both were replaced by Joey Image (drums) and ex-Whorelords guitarist, Bobby Steele. Around this time, Jerry had started sporting the "devilock" hairstyle (look at the pictures).
1979 would be a year to remember. Early in the year, Bobby was arrested after a show at Max's Kansas City in NYC when he took a glass someone threw at the stage and threw it back into the crowd, hitting someone in the face. They were permanently banned from Max's. In June the band released the stunning Horror Business 7", another instant classic. The songs were getting faster, louder and more obnoxious than ever. The next month, Bobby was drunk and vomitted on John Lennon's feet (an irrelivant, but interesting fact). Also, probably while drunk, Glenn and Jerry were arrested for trashing Steve Mass's (owner of the Mudd Club) hotel room after a cop noticed bottles flying from a 5th story window.
On Halloween, the Night of the Living Dead EP was released. The quality of this recording was extremely low, but still a hit among fans. That day, the Misfits announced their new fan club, the Fiend Club. The Fiend Club would receive free buttons, stickers, photos, etc. of the band on request and could order shirts and records from the band at the lowest price they could afford to be sold at. Soon thereafter, they attempted to tour the UK with the Damned, but walked off the tour after one show because they were given shotty equipment to play with and weren't being paid enough. While someone else worked on getting them a better tour with the Clash, Glenn and Bobby were arrested for trying to defend themselves against a group of skinheads using a piece of broken glass from a nearby window. While in jail, Glenn wrote "London Dungeon". Upon their return to America, Image quit the band.
In January 1980, the Beware 12" EP was released. It featured the "Bullet" and "Horror Business" singles with "Last Caress" from the 1978 recording session as the last track. That spring, they re-emerged with a new drummer, Arthur Googy from New York City. Googy would go on to become their longest lasting drummer.
At the end of 1980, Bobby Steele was replaced by Jerry's little brother Paul (aka Doyle). There was a ton of confusion surrounding the matter. Jerry claimed Bobby lost interest, Glenn claimed Bobby's drug habits became a priority over the music, but according to Bobby, he was lied to by Jerry numerous times about rehearsals being canceled whilst Jerry was telling the rest of the band "Bobby said he's not coming, he said 'have Doyle do it'." Things seemed to steadily decline for the Misfits in a lot of ways, from this point forward.
Since the Misfits' demise, Danzig and Bobby Steele have both told plenty-a-interviewer that they believe Doyle was asked to join because of his appearance and because he was Jerry's brother. They've both said that having Doyle in the band was part of Jerry's plan to take control over the Misfits. Appearance-wise, Doyle was perfect for the Misfits. He was a young (15-years-old), muscle bound, angry/scary looking white guy with a long devilock. The problem was, according to Danzig, that his fingers were too big to be able to play the songs correctly. At a certain point, Jerry would start changing Glenn's songs around so they'd be easier for Doyle to play and more accessible to a hardcore punk crowd, rather than their style expanding or evolving as Glenn would have preferred. However, Doyle was quite the performer when he applied himself, doing things like breaking guitars over his neck and head, and then duct taping them back together for the next show.
April 1981 brought us yet another Misfits classic, the 3 Hits From Hell EP. This, and the "Halloween" single (released that Halloween) would go on to be the most sound pieces of work the Misfits would ever release, thanks to producer Robbie Alter. Both Bobby and Doyle played guitar on these recordings, even though Bobby would only get credit for "Xtra guitar on 'London Dungeon'".
In March 1982, after several visits to several studios, the Misfits first full length LP, Walk Among Us was released on Ruby/Slash records. And who would've guessed it would be ANOTHER instant Misfits classic?? 13 horrifying sing-alongs in under 30 minutes. One month later, the band played in San Francisco, where the crowd would constantly pelt the bands with spit, bottles and cans. At this show, one audience member repeatedly tried to hit Doyle in the head with full or almost-full beer cans, so 5 songs into the set, Googy and a roadie (Jerry and Doyle's brother, Rocky) jumped into the crowd to beat the guy up while a drunken Doyle tried to pull the main instigator towards the stage with his guitar, accidentally breaking it over his head. He was not killed, and did not press charges, but did receive severe brain damage from the incident. After this show was probably the biggest post-show riot ever to proceed a Misfits show.
Shortly thereafter, Googy and Glenn got into an argument about cheeseburgers (no shit) which led to Googy leaving the band (he later ended up in the NYHC band Antidote). That summer, he was replaced by ex-Black Flag drummer, Robo and the band permanently sped up quite a bit, making their live performance sloppier than ever. As tradition went, Robo (along with the rest of the Misfits, the Necros and several kids) ended up getting arrested that October in a New Orleans graveyard trying to obtain a skull from one of the aboveground crypts. Rocky (now the manager) quickly bailed them out and they immediately drove to the next show.
At the end of the year, the band released a special Fiend Club-only live EP called Evilive, half of which was recorded when the band played with the Undead at the Ritz in NYC. Excluded from the EP, however, was the version of "Teenagers From Mars" they played that night which featured the following as new lyrics:
"Bobby Steele's an asshole fucking cunt/He's a little fucking cunt/Yeah, don't be a cunt!" with the last verse of the song being dropped completely while Glenn looked for Bobby from the stage shouting things like "Hey, you're gonna die tonight, you know! Gimpy leg and all!" and finally "We want, we need, we take it" being replaced with "We want your fucking life!"
In June 1983, after the Misfits played to their largest crowd ever (3000+ people), Glenn told a few people he had decided to quit the Misfits. He had become completely disillusioned with the band's direction, as the band were drinking and doing whatever else so much that it was affecting their musicianship to the point where there was almost no point in performing anymore. He was also no longer able to get along with his fellow bandmates. Also, after finishing the recordings for the Misfits final LP (Earth AD/Wolfs Blood) and EP (Die, Die My Darling), Robo announced he was leaving because he couldn't get along with Glenn at all anymore.
For a minute, things seemed to be looking up for the band when ex-Genocide drummer, Brian Damage agreed to join the band and Glenn said he changed his mind about quitting. But that year when the band played their annual Halloween show, Brian got drunk with the Necros before the Misfits' set and was unable to keep up with them during the performance, so Doyle grabbed him by the neck and threw him off the stage, to be replaced by Todd Swalla of the Necros. Jerry and Doyle were so upset that they didn't even bother with stage presence after this, playing the rest of the show sitting on their amps. Finally, during a break between songs, Glenn announced that this would be their "last show...EVER!"
Glenn Danzig went on to form Samhain, and then the multi-platinum selling blues metal (primarily) Danzig. He also spent the 80's reissuing, re-recording, and re-releasing Misfits records, allegedly without paying the other members.
Jerry and Doyle went back to Jersey to work for their father full time. They also attempted to start a metal band, called Kryst the Conqueror (with Jerry taking the name Mo The Great, for some reason) which failed miserably until they decided to get a singer named Michale Graves and re-name the band the Misfits. The reunion was a success at first, until everyone in the band except Jerry quit. Still not getting the idea, Jerry's currently touring with Dez Cadena (ex-Black Flag) on guitar/vocals and Marky Ramone (ex-Ramones) on drums as M25 (the Misfits' 25th Anniversary Tour).
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