Hey Fiends! Horror-punk legends THE MISFITS are invading the UK once again, bringing their sci-fi B-movie sounds to the Academy in Leeds on Thursday night.
There has been chaos surrounding the band since its inception in 1977. It was barely a month after Glenn Danzig and two friends formed The Misfits in Lodi, New Jersey, that the line-up changes which would become an ever-present aspect for the band kicked in.
In the 36 years since (notwithstanding the 12-year gap between incarnations), Jerry Only has been the only (no pun intended) constant – though his steadfastness and determination to keep the Misfits alive has split the fanbase into two camps – lovers and haters: the Danzig-era elite and the more forgiving punker.
As for me, I’m enjoying the view from up here on this fence, thank you very much.
My first introduction to The Misfits was a noise blasting from my older brother’s bedroom. It was the rock’n’roll my dad loved, so roughed up, battered and bruised, it wasn’t instantly recognisable. But it had a hell of a lot of fight in it. I was about 13 and the album was the Misfits compilation.
At that time, I had no idea of the turbulent legal troubles that the band were embroiled in. Once brothers in arms, Danzig and Only were fighting head-to-head a bitter battle over royalties and rights – a bit too much for an awkward teenager to take in.
Instead, I was captivated by the imagery pouring from that chunk of vinyl (which I ‘borrowed’ from my brother’s record collection when he wasn’t around) – song titles like I Turned Into A Martian, Teenagers From Mars and Astro Zombies were right up my sci-fi street.
It also helped that around that time Metallica released their Garage Days Re-Revisited EP (which I again ‘borrowed’ from our kid) on which they covered Last Caress and Green Hell. This band were so very, very cool to me.
They represented the kind of teenage rebellion I didn’t have the bottle to embrace fully (one of my favourite songs of theirs was and still is Teenagers From Mars with the punchy refrain, “Teenagers from Mars, and we don’t care”) and my first brush with proper punk. They opened my eyes and ears to angry music, not loud music – I was listening to Sabbath, Maiden and more around that time – but angry music, visceral, meaningful.
But enough about me. With an iconic look – all biker jackets, heavy eye-make-up and those inimitable ‘devil locks’, and an even more iconic mascot – the Crimson Ghost ‘Fiend Skull’ which has been plastered on just about every piece of merchandise since it first appeared on the cover of their Horror Business 7″ – The Misfits have embedded themselves in pop culture.
The musical universe wouldn’t be the same without them. Jerry Only is happy to oblige, continuing the legacy with four new albums, while embracing their tainted past with fury and fondness.
Their appearance at the O2 Academy Leeds on Thursday will be the first time I’ll have ever seen The Misfits – regardless of whether you disregard this incarnation as a pastiche (the current line-up has been the longest-running in the band’s history, which can be no bad thing) – and I’m looking forward to rediscovering my inner teenager.
Incidentally, Glenn Danzig is going to be joined by one-time Misfit and Jerry’s brother Doyle at his gig in Manchester in June and will also be doing Misfits songs. Doing both shows will be the closest anyone will get to a full-on Misfits reunion in this lifetime. Three decades on and the chaos still remains.