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High Times #255, 11/96   

by Zena Tsarfin

    If the punk scene of the late '70s had a skeleton in its closet, it 
    was the Misfits. They delved into a dark world filled with B-movie 
    references to ghouls and brain-eating zombies, compounded by walls 
    of buzzing guitars and howling vocals. The Misfits' horror-punk image 
    combined a '50s greaser style with fresh-from-the-grave fashions: 
    spikes, devilocks and corpse paint.
    Adopting their name from Marilyn Monroe's last flick and lifting the 
    skull symbol from the movie Crimson Ghost, the Misfits scared the hell 
    out of anyone who got in their way. Formed in Lodi, NJ in 1977 by 
    vocalist Glenn Danzig and bassist Jerry Only, the Misfits maintained 
    a DIY attitude from the start, putting out albums on their own label, 
    Plan 9 (named after Ed Wood's movie), and booking their own shows. 
    This gang of ghouls often performed on a stage occupied by skeletons 
    and coffins, sometimes rising out of the caskets to open their shows. 
    When Danzig left the group and formed Samhain in 1983, the Misfits 
    While the Misfits were never known as a potsmoking band, Bobby Steele, 
    who joined as a guitarist in 1978, came to realize the healing powers 
    of marijuana when he was experiencing complications due to spina bifida. 
    "A friend broke out a joint and when I got home I realized the pain was 
    gone," Steele says. "I wasn't having spasms, I went to the hospital 
    and told them, your pills aren't working, the pot's working. I have to 
    say that pot really saved my life." Steele has been in the Undead since 
    Ironically, it was after the Misfits' breakup that the band began to 
    amass their legion of hardcore fans--by way of Metallica, who 
    frequently sported Misfits t-shirts reading "Die Die My Darling" and 
    "Fiend Club." Caroline helped the resurgence by reissuing the classic 
    1982 album Walk Among Us, as well as two best-ofs, Collection I and 
    Collection II, before releasing a four-disc set early this year. The 
    coffin-shaped, red-velvet-lined box includes all the bands releases, 
    plus rare studio outtakes and a remastered version of their first 
    single, "Static Age."
    The success of these projects inevitably led to the Misfits' 
    resurrection. The group now consists of Only, his brother Doyle on 
    guitar, drummer Dr. Chud and new vocalist Michale Graves. A dead 
    ringer for early Danzig--complete with devilock, hip thrusts and 
    Elvis-meets-Roy-Orbison vocal style--the 21 year-old Graves was 
    never a big Misfits fan. "My brother used to listen to them," he 
    recalls. "One of his t-shirts had the Misfits' skull on it. I stole 
    it because it was cool."
    Graves won the job after an audition. A HIGH TIMES reader, the singer 
    believes "everyone should smoke pot." He'd even like the band to play 
    a weed benefit.
    "We might scare the hippies," Graves warns. "I don't know what we'd 
    look like on acid."