Index Misfits Samhain Danzig Misfits '95 Undead Biographies Related Bands Appendices Lyrics/Tab Forum

SCENE Volume 28, # 32  - August 7-13, 1997

[page 28]

    - The Misfits Find a New Fit

by: Erich Burnett
typed by: Aaron Pacitti

     "I'd rather have financial problems than have people dying so 
that I can have something to do," says Misfits mainstay Jerry Only,
speaking contrary to the ideals of any self-respecting, money-hungry,
not to mention any spokesman for a death-obsessed punk band.

     Only knows there's money to be made in resurrecting the Misfits,
nearly 15 years after the band dropped from the punk scene with little 
fanfare.  The Glenn Danzig-led Misfits saw minimal revenue in the early
1980's, and may rightfully deserve a kickback for the post mortem impact
on the neo-punk music that followed them.

     But Only, the bands bassist, expresses a lust for money only to 
help bail out his father's ailing New Jersey machine shop, which 
thrived on military business in wartime, but sits relatively idle in 
the peaceful 90's.  The same shop that was used to forge the Misfit's 
grusome spikes through the years is now in arrears with banks, and a 
Misfits tour is as good a cause as any to get the progenitors of all 
things black, back in the black.

     When the Misfits folded in 1983 and Danzig left to feed his demonic 
whimsy with Samhain, Only and brother Doyle, who comprised two-thirds of 
the Misfits, returned to New Jersey to co-manage the family business, while
a legal battle with Danzig ensued over the rights to the "Misfits" moniker 
and music.

     After almost nine years of litigation, Only regained rights to the Misfits,
who were reborn January 1, 1995.

     "I was the Michael Jordan of the machine shop" Only says of his days as a 
screw machine operator in his dads factory, "and I didnt want to leave him 
hanging."  Only is banking that the Misfits name and their highly marketable 
Crimson Ghost logo will restore financial order.

     After releasing music on their own Plan 9 records through most of their
first incarnation, the Misfits of 1997 - complete with drummer Dr. Chud and
vocalist Michale Graves - are a Geffen property, though their debut on the 
label, AMERICAN PSYCHO, retains much of the cartoonish morbidity of earlier 

     "The music came full circle to catch us," Only says, his jovial, urgent 
tone a ringer for Jerry Lewis.  "Our timing was impeccable.  All of a sudden,
the whole punk scene came back.  We became a very accessible item because we
were a forerunner of the music which was becoming the popular form of music 
on the planet.

     "Who better to come out with a great new album than us?" he asks clearly
expecting no response.

     Where Glenn Danzig immersed himself in the nightmares about which he sang,
Only - recruited by the elder Danzig shortly after beginning high school - is a
family man, a youth league baseball coach who happens to dress like a ghoul
by night.

     "Glenn kinda weaned me on the whole scene," Only says.  "He had a much 
more knowledgeable background of the underground music scene in New York.  
And me, I just came off having a football season in high school and had no idea.
It took me about a year to understand what the music was about."

     The band's first album, STATIC AGE, was cut when Only was 17, but wasn't 
released until 1996, as part of a Caroline four CD boxed set.

     "From the very day we recorded Static Age, I knew we had something,"
Only recalls fondly.  "Nobody wanted to hear it, nobody wanted to work with 
it, but that didn't turn me off.

     "By the time we got to WALK AMONG US album [1982], I was just as much 
an influence on the music and imagery of the band as [Danzig] was, and 
I was the guy putting up all the money."  When Doyle joined the band, things 
became increasingly lopsided, causing Danzig to become defensive and forceful, 
and his subsequent concept for Earth AD ran afoul of what the other members 

     But Danzig struggles far behind them, Only and the Misfits now have
the chance to view the industry in a way they had never known.

     "It's a whole new world.  It's 100 times better than it ever was," he
says, still amazed that concert venues bring him Gatorade on command.  "We
should have had this help in the beginning of our career.  We were one of
the best bands that ever rolled out of the New York punk scene."

     But those days were the Danzig days.  Finding a suitable replacement
to front the band was somewhat an arduous challenge, and most hopefuls
attempted to mimic Danzig's emotive register in auditions.  "That was one
thing I wanted to avoid like the plague," says Only, who asked Damned 
vocalist Dave Vanian to take part in the reformation.

     AMERICAN PSYCHO is a certain return to the old Misfits feel - pounding
rhythyms and beyond-the-grave harmonies abound - but Graves' vocals exude a 
more youthful, whimsical spirit than those of Danzig.

     "There was no way I wanted to bring in a Glenn clone," Only insists.
"Bringing in a Glenn clone would have been a sign of dependency for Glenn.

     If Danzig was known for his brooding, Only will be known for his
schmoozing.  He is on top of the world, doing what he loves and laugh-
ing at himself all the while.

     "We don't have alot of success," he admits.  "Our legend precedes our
success, but at the same time, we've taken the name "Misfits," and given it
justice again.  That was one thing we really wanted to do.  The Misfits are
bigger than Glenn."

     With the same conviction any Danzig tirade ever mustered, Only strays 
from his rock and roll musing, and returns to thoughts of his father and
the machine shop.

     "I hope it works for us because my dad really needs some help.  I'm hoping 
we can bust this big and I can go in and hire some people to help him."

     The Misfits have yet to bring great wealth to Only, and have yet to fully 
gain approval of his father, who has faithfully supported the band's efforts for

     "He is still a little skeptical about it," Only admits with a laugh.  
"I want to show him I'm not just pissing into the wind with my mouth open."