San Antonio Express News, Wednesday August 27, 1997 --------------------------------------------------- MISFITS RETURN FROM THE GRAVE WITH NEW SINGER By David Glessner (Special to the Express-News) When the misfits called it quits following a Halloween gig in 1983, they left behind a legacy of ghoulish makeup, guitars that looked like weapons and ultra-fast punkrock songs that celebrated alien invasions, demonic possession, dismemberment and cannibalism. "We call it a disease and we try to infect anyone we can," said bassist Jerry Only, laughing as he discussed the Misfits' obsession with the macabre. "It goes back to when we were kids watching 'Chiller Theater.'" After a prolonged legal battle with former singer Glenn Danzig over the use of the Misfits name, punk rock's musclebound zombie squad is back from the grave with a new album and lineup. Hailing from Lodi, N.J., the Misfits descend on the Sunken Garden Theater on Thursday. Second-billed behind headliner Megadeth, the band will rip through 26 songs during a frenzied 50-minute set. "We got it down to a science," Only said. Corrosion of Conformity and Machine Head also are on the bill. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $22.50 through Ticketmaster outlets. As the band's founding member, Only asked Danzig to rejoin the Misfits and bury the hatchet after years of bickering. "We won our (legal) battle and I thought I could be on a real power trip or I could do the cool thing on behalf of the fans and ask him to join," Only said, his Jersey voice quickening to hyperspeed. "He had us thrown out of his hotel so we took that as a 'no.'" Taking over lead vocals is 22-year-old Michale Graves, whose voice at times can recall Danzig's evil-Elvis impersonation. The band is completed by Only's younger brother and longtime Misfits guitaris, Doyle and new drummer Dr. Chud. Besides playing music together, the fearsome foursome also lifts weights together. "Everyone works really hard," the 38-year-old Only said. "Michale likes to sleep late, that little son-of-a-gun, but he's a kid. He's supposed to be wild and crazy." Since the band's demise, the Misfits have become one of the most-collected rock groups ever. The band's leering Crimson Ghost logo is legendary, and its early recordings are treasured by members of the Misfits fan club (a k a Fiend Club). The mighty Metallica cited the Misfits as a major influence, recorded a cover of "Last Caress/Green Hell" and subsequently introduced the band to legions of new fans. A recent tribute album, "Violent World," has many of today's top punk bands covering favorite Misfits tunes. "The collectibility is out of control." Only said, acknowledging that Metallica kept the band's name alive. "Our original records go for more than Elvis' original records. To me that's absurd. "Of course we had less volume than Elvis. We have one record called 'Beware' with 'Last Caress' on it that's an import from England which sells between $500 and $1,000. I don't condone that. I gotta say I'm very proud of the fact that someone thinks that highly of one of our original records, but if I got a 15-year-old kid who's working all summer mowing lawns, I don't want him subjected to (paying top dollar)." "American Psycho," the Misfits' new album on Geffen Records, is a much more affordable option. As expected, it's a fist-pumping shout-along album chock-full of guts, gore and the band's "fattest, meanest, rippingest" sound to date, Only said. But what will diehard fans think of their underground favorites signing to a major labe and releasing a properly produced album? Will the band's mystique be damaged? "You want the truth?" Only asked, before concluding the interview so he could take his son to football practice. "Yes, it would definitely damage us if we stunk. I think our album's great." ON THE RECORD From 1978 through 1983, the Misfits released numerous singles, EPs, a live album ("Evil Live") and two full-length LPs ("Walk Among Us" and "Earth A.D."). The full-length releases are fairly common, as are subsequent compilations ("Legacy of Brutality," "Misfits," "Collection 1 and 2" and a coffin-shaped box set), but many of the band's original, early releases on the Plan 9 label are considered rarities. -David Glessner [photo of band at table with caption: "The Misfits trace their obsession with the macabre to watching horror movies on television when they were kids."