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WAVE SECTOR, p.18, 1981

  Steven Spinali

  The Misfits remain as one of only a few punk bands internationally
who have stayed true to the spirit of '77 and have extended their skill
into both their recorded output and live performances.  I have a feeling
that, long after the Clash have put out their quadruple-album boxed set
or guitar solos, The Misfits will continue to churn out rootsy, powerful,
hardcore music that communicates with authority and bite.  With song
titles like "Ghouls Night Out", "Children In Heat" and "Horror Hotel,"
you quickly realize this is not a typical band and that their concerns
are novel, to say the least.
  The Misfits' trashy, searing, brash musical style has drawn a strong
following in the native New York where sell-out crowds are usually the
rule.  On the West Coast, The Misfits remain relatively unknown -- an
unfortunate result of poor record distribution.  In my opinion, their
current American tour and debut album, The Misfits Walk Among Us, will
make their obscurity a thing of the past.
  Glenn Danzig, the band's cheif spokesman, mentioned that The Misfits
were a genuine hardcore group before "hardcore punk" as a genre even
existed and certainly before it was fashionable.  The Misfits' reputation
as a "violent" band made gigs in the early days harder to come by
than today.  Nonetheless, their electrifying live shows jolted the staid
New York audiences of 1977-8 and after releasing their first single
"She" they put out their Better Dead on Red EP which became a success.
(To this day it's sold almost 10,000 copies.)  Included is: "Bullet,"
a chilling comment on the Kennedy assassination and the enigmated "We
Are 138," which almost nobody knows the meaning of.
  In 1979, The Misfits toured the British Isles as support for the
Damned, where their wild reputation had preceded them.  A song from
Three Hits from Hell, "London Dungeon," tells of when Glenn was thrown
into a Brixton jail for defending himself from some angry skinheads
(Skinheads at that time affiliated with ska, not punk).  In jail, he was
beaten by the police, ("Yeah," he chuckles, "but it took four of them").
  The Misfits were also slated to support the Clash during that tour
but the group's drummer, Mr. Jim, disappeared inexplicably, depriving
the band of their most crucial gig.  Even so, it was after that trip
to England that The Misfits' cult following began to grow.
  Some of this popularity stemmed from a series of superb EP releases.
Although their Night of the Living Dead EP suffered from poor recording,
the material reestablished the Misfits' mastery of the hardcore punk
formula.  "Horror Business" qualified as their most chilling release;
it was recorded in an abandoned haunted house in New Jersey, and engineers
noticed sounds on the final recording which were not a result
of the band's performance.  No explanation of the sounds could be
given by the group or the recording crew.
  1981 has seen the release of several important Misfits' items:
3 Hits from Hell, which features "London Dungeon" and "Ghouls Night
Out," a solo single by Glenn Danzig ("Who Killed Marilyn"), the late-
October unveiling of "Halloween," and, finally, their debut album,
The Misfits Walk Among Us.
  After four years, this LP demonstrates that the Misfits are faithful to
their original punk ideas, a fact that doesn't readily apply to
many contemporary British and American bands.  Glenn agrees that many of
the seminal punk bands from 1977 sold out to their record companies.
"I hate that disco-ized crap that a lot of bands are putting out today,"
he says.
  The Misfits Walk Among Us contines the Misfits' exploration into
the dank and chilly realms of American horror mythology.  Standout
numbers include the sci-fi thrash out "I Turned Into A Martian" and
"Astro Zombies," though a remixed version of "Night of the Living
Dead" ranks as a personal favorite.  There are no political or social
points raised on The Misfits Walk Among Us, but I like it that way;
the Misfits have created their own terrifying, imaginary world, and
they use it as a springboard for some of the most powerful rock played
anywhere today.
  The Misfits are currently working on the soundtrack to a horror film,
and in late November the American tour begins.  "We've never yet
gotten our real sound on record," Glenn admits.  "But we're at our best
when we're playing live."
  The most interesting bit of Misfits news concerns the band's tie to
Dave Vanian, lead vocalist to English punkers the Damned.  Apparently,
according to Danzig, the Misfits will back Vanian on several tracks
"that will for Dave Vanian what 'Dancing with Myself' did for Billy
Idol."  Any person wanting more information on this project, the
Misfits in general, or unannounced releases can apply for membership to
the Misfits Fan Club, P.O. Box 3112, Grand Central Station, New York,
N.Y. 10163.  Failure to do so will almost certainly guarantee sickness
or death.

[Along with this article is an uncredited 1981 photo of the band at a
 New Jersey cave, taken by Eerie Von.]