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Interview: Misfits - Never Say Die by Vinnie Apicella

 I'm sitting down with legendary Misfits co-founder Jerry
Only for a few minutes prior to their recent show at 7 Willow
St. I found him to be a man of many opinions, and one who
seems genuinely pleased with his band's current state of
affairs amidst much of the dilemma and conflict which
they had to endure in order to arrive where they are today.
Well spoken and sincere, he was only happy to discuss the
band's past, present and future, and feels secure that The
Misfits will again reach new levels of success where so many
others have failed.

 So Jerry, how long has it actually been since your last
record? It must be somewhere around 15 years or so.
What made you decide to put the band together again
after all this time?

 Jerry: It's been 13 years since the band got re-formed and
about 15 since Psycho came out. It really wasn't much of a
thought behind it all. It was just something that was

 The album really sounds great and it's like you guys
haven't missed a thing since your last recording. It's
like you picked up right where you left off.

 Jerry: Oh, thanks.

 What do The Misfits have to offer today?

 Jerry: I think it's a very primitive kind of music we play. I always
thought the re-birth of punk was a re-birth of the '50s, and
it seemed to me in the '90s it still stands on its own. A lot of
the crap that went down in the '80s while we really weren't
playing, it kind of really disappeared,; and like disco, I really
don't think you'll be seeing much more of it. You know, it's
really taking everybody back to their roots, is what it does.
So, if you still look for your roots in the late '90s, it's still there.

 It's great to see that it's had a resurgence, too.

 Jerry: Well, it was good timing on our part in that aspect, but in
the other aspect you don't hear much about it anymore. The
resurgence came and went already. So I really didn't want
to get too involved with talking about a new trend being punk
again. It was more of a matter of, like, you know, 'I hope you
guys realize what you've been lacking.' So now that we're
playing again, it seems to be going really well.

 It certaintly is something that's been lacking and you do
miss it after awhile.

 Jerry: I believe that.

 American Psycho sounds like a true Misfits record -
like you've stayed true to your roots. What would you
say to those earlier fans who may still be a bit
skeptical or afraid to listen to the band now?

 Jerry: The thing is, that this is not an old band; it's a new band
and it's based upon experimental ideas and working out
new things, and progressing; we're not trying to be something
that was in the past. I'm not trying to revitalize the late
'70s for everybody who's sitting back there waiting for this
'old' Misfits sound; [They're] wasting their time. Either get
on the ship or swim back to shore.

 An interesting analogy, but understandable. This album
still does have that 'classic' Misfits sounds, but certaintly
doesn't sound dated. I've found it to take on a much
more aggressive feel than in the past.

 Jerry: Oh, it does and it has much more songwriting going on
there - more teamwork. This is the first time we've had
a budget to work with, so we were about to experiment with
some things, you know, throw some samples in and things
like this which we've never been able to do - really cool
things. It just seems to me this is our best album to date,
and you know these people who are looking over their shoulder,
I mean, they might as well just go back in time. I'm not
gonna bring back the '70s for you - that's not my objective.
My objective is to take the year 2000 and win! That's what
I'm shooting for - the future.

 Even the people who were fans back in the old days
should be open-minded enough to check out the new
record because there really is plenty for them to be
satisfied with. Those who don't, well, maybe they get a little
scared and think, 'oh well, this guy's not in the band
anymore and...'

 Jerry: Well, a lot of them are hurt. They fell like they had
something special all to themselves and now everybody can share
it, and it's no longer just their band, and I think it's just
something they're going to have to live with.

 Maybe in a lot of people's estimation, the band should
have stayed underground.

 Jerry: I think we're still underground. I don't think that's a
problem. I think maybe if there is a problem, it's that we're a
new band again and there's a lot of young kids saying,
'my band is The Misfits now, too.' So now you got all these
people who grew up on us who thought we only belonged
to them. They gotta share us now and maybe they're not
happy about that. That's understandable, but at the same
time also a little immature. I'm sure they'll outgrow it.

 There's really not much that's different in the new
Misfits anyway. It's still The Misfits in whatever way you
want to look at it, and you can hear it immediately on
the album.

 Jerry: We've probably got about a 2-300,000 fan base, but with this
album (on Geffen) we didn't get to tape into that, so it just seemed
to me there was a rebellion amongst many of the fans about us
dealing with Geffen. I felt we deserved a shot with a big label and
we wanted to see if that was something we could work with and
obviously it's not.

 Describe the experience with Geffen records.

 Jerry: They just aren't looking out for us. They didn't give us the three
or four singles from the album. They didn't give us any singles!
They give you one barcode and expect you to paint the world
orange with one paint brush, and it just wasn't going to happen.
You really have to have different things in order to paint the picture of
what you're trying to portray, and I felt they sold our fans short, and I
ain't gonna deal with a record company who's not gonna look out
for our people or give them what they want. So it's just a matter
of moving on, but it was something that we needed to try, and I
felt we deserved a shot at it, and I'm not ashamed of it. It doesn't
matter to me, and if that was a problem before (for anyone),
then it's no longer a problem!

 Musically, the band sounds really tight and focused.

 Jerry: I think we're ahead of the game.

 So where are you guys headed in the future in terms of a
record label?

 Jerry: We're gonna start our own label. I don't want to have to 'OK'
things with people. I think it's all bullshit. I think I'm a little too old
for that.

 Something like Plan 9 Records from your earlier days? Wasn't
that your actual work?

 Jerry: Well, it was me, Glenn (Danzig) and Doyle later, when he was
in the band. But it's pretty must what we're gonna do, starts
Misfits Records and get either a label to distribute us, or just some
other distributor.


 Jerry: I don't know - they seem a little bit... A little on the hard-core 
side.  I mean, they really don't know the image of the band either. I argued
with them all the time on our packaging and stuff, you know Caroline's
nice for our older stuff, but for our new stuff I think [it would
be] a waste of time.

 Your band are all about having fun and enjoying what you do.
It comes across in the music.

 Jerry: Right. If you don't, it shows, and people can read right through
it. We don't go through the motions. We go out and do a show
even if the tour has been pretty tough for us. Like tonight, we're
playing a really small place. We can't even bring in half our gear!
So it's like semi-depressing, but at the same time we'll get out
there and it'll be real good.

 I guess there's pros and cons, especially, compaired to
playing bigger places.

 Jerry: It's just that you want to give the kids your best show. You wanna
use all your amps and all your props, and you wanna have a good
light program and sound system... I mean, all you want is tools
to do the job. A lot of these markets on a tour like this, you don't
get that. You're always... well, you can't hear the vocals then. So
what's the sense in bringing six amps that you normally use when
you can't even use one?

 And some of the stage props...

 Jerry: We got a tv where we show horror movie trailers before we go
on as part of our show, and tonight's another night when we can't
do it.

 Can you discuss the show a little more since some people
(like tonight) may not get the chance to see the full

 Jerry: The thing is, in a small place, you get the personal angle of it,
so you can get real close. But you lose on the big scale stuff 'cause
it just doesn't fit in the building, and that's the bottom line, though.
SO we had the television screen which projects from behind so it
looks like we got this really old 1950s tv showing you all these old
monster movies and stuff. It's really cool and the kids love it!

 Fits in perfectly with the image.

 Jerry: Oh yeah, and it all works, and you know the next set that we
build is gonna be more elaborate. It's gonna be a creation kind of
scene and... you know, we were just at Gwar's house last night
and will work with them on it.

 Maybe a tour together as well?

 Jerry: Possibly. So we're just talking with them about it and trying to
figure out how big everything's gonna be, and we're just laughing
about it because we played a place down by them where
the stage was no bigger than the inside of this bus! So, we're all
laughing and like, 'yeah, we can makes the tables 'this big' and the
props 'this tall','and we all look at each other like...

 Maybe you should do your shows out in the parking lot or something.

 Jerry: (Laughs) Yeah, yeah, we'll have to! I think we're actually one
song or video away from being a contender for the top, and for
me it just seems it's a matter of writing really good music and
staying with the program. We'll stumble across the one big thing that'll
hit the mainstream's eye, and everybody will be like, 'Hey, The
Misfits are a band.' We'll be out there bangin' heads...maybe do
a major tour. It's just a matter of catching the right break now for
this band, but also not putting the band at a disadvantage to try
and do that.

 (I think to myself: 'Why can't more bands think this way?')

 It's a matter of maintaining integrity - keep the face and keep
the sound and imagery and the whole thing. SO sell them what we
already are and not really change what we are to sell them. We've
been around 20 years and we'll be around another 20. It's just a
matter of being true to ourselves...and we are.

 Since this interview, odd and wonderful transpirings have gone
down in the Misfits' camp, as one of The Aquarian's own, Myke
Hideous, has joined the fold assuming lead vocal duties beginning
with their extensive European tour taking place as we speak.
Myke's talent as an artist is only surpassed by his dedication.
Though his presence will be sorely missed, we all with Myke
the best of luck. Keep walkin' the walk. (ed.)