Sunday, December 3, 2023

The Strange History of THE MISFITS

The Misfits, an American punk rock band formed in 1977, is renowned for their horror-themed lyrics, aggressive sound, and distinctive visual identity. The band's history is marked by lineup changes, creative shifts, and a significant impact on the punk and hardcore scenes.

Founded by vocalist Glenn Danzig, bassist Jerry Only, and drummer Manny Martínez, The Misfits emerged from the New Jersey punk scene with a DIY ethos. Their early music drew inspiration from 1950s rock and roll, B-movies, and horror imagery, creating a unique blend that would become their trademark sound.

The band's initial lineup was short-lived, and Martínez was soon replaced by Joey Image. This lineup recorded the band's first single, "Cough/Cool," in 1977. However, it was the addition of guitarist Bobby Steele and drummer Mr. Jim that solidified The Misfits' classic lineup. This lineup recorded seminal releases like the "Horror Business" single and the "Static Age" sessions, which remained unreleased until 1996.

Internal tensions led to Steele's departure, and he was replaced by Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, Jerry Only's younger brother. This change marked a shift toward a more aggressive and hardcore-influenced sound, with Danzig's vocals becoming more ferocious.

The Misfits' visual aesthetic, characterized by the iconic Crimson Ghost skull logo, became a symbol of the band's horror punk identity. The band's DIY attitude extended to their self-promotion, and their imagery was crucial in building a dedicated fanbase.

The classic Misfits era came to an end in 1983 with Glenn Danzig's departure. The subsequent legal battles over the band's name and legacy marked a tumultuous period. While Danzig pursued a successful solo career and formed the band Samhain, Jerry Only kept The Misfits alive with various lineups, often featuring himself as the lead vocalist.

The Misfits experienced a resurgence in the 1990s when Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only reconciled, leading to a series of reunion shows. These performances fueled demand for new Misfits material, resulting in the 1997 album "American Psycho," featuring Michale Graves on vocals. The lineup saw further changes with Dr. Chud replacing Mr. Jim on drums.

The 21st century witnessed additional lineup shifts, with Doyle rejoining the band for various reunions. While tensions between Danzig and Only persist, The Misfits' influence on punk, horror punk, and metal remains undeniable.

The Misfits' legacy is not only in their music but also in their impact on the visual aesthetics of punk and their ability to create a brand that transcends the genre. Despite the challenges and controversies throughout their history, The Misfits continue to be a revered and influential force, with their distinctive sound and imagery continuing to inspire generations of punk and metal enthusiasts.