The Misfits are one of the most amazing bands of the last 20 years or so. They are famous for making scary, horror punk music that is so catchy you find yourself singing the songs for days after hearing them. It is truly amazing how their popularity continues to build, almost 10 years after their last new release. Be forewarned: the Misfits are BACK. Original Misfit Jerry Only (bass) has finally obtained the legal rights to the Misfits, and he's got lots of plans. KZSU was fortunate enough to have Jerry come down to the studios for an interview on the Lovechild's show, Radio Damage. After having met Jerry, I think I'm an even bigger fan of the Misfits. Jerry is an incredible person. He was super friendly, full of energy and has big plans for a reunion of the Misfits. What follows are some excerpts from that interview. The Trash Merchant did the interview. Secret Agent transcribed it and wrote the intro.
TM = Trash Merchant, JO = Jerry Only, LU = Linus Up, OD = Organ Donor
TM: So the Misfits are back together?
JO: Yes, we are.
TM: And what's the new lineup?
JO: Right now we are in negotiations with Dave Vanian from the Damned to be our lead singer. Me and Doyle. We've got a drummer named Dr. Chud, he's from Load Eye. He's an old stand in. We're gonna see how Dr. Chud meshes once Vanian joins the band and if we need a different drummer we'll consider. But up until then we're going with that lineup.
TM: So we can look for some new material soon?
JO: Yeah, as a matter of fact Caroline is putting out the Static Age album [old Misfits album which was never released- contains songs such as "Teen-agers from Mars"" and "138" -ed]. There's gonna be a boxed set of five of the original Plan 9 45's: Bullet, Horror Business, Night of the Living Dead, Halloween and Three Hits from Hell. It's all coming back out. We took a lot of different thoughts from the bootlegs we've been buying from our lawsuit which was a while back. We showed them to Caroline and they figured let's go with the old Plan 9 stuff.
TM: How was it getting the Misfits name?
JO: It was a struggle. We got dragged through a system and we got burned by crooked lawyers, and the list goes on and on. But, what really winds up going on is that if you really want something you just hang with it. We wanted our name, that was the main, important thing and we got it and now we think our future's ahead and not behind.
TM: And how did Glenn Danzig feel about that?
JO: Well, he wasn't very happy about that... (laughter)
TM: And that was most of the trouble in getting the name back?
JO: Well, yeah. The thing was Caroline and Glenn were out there running with it and we had no input on our own stuff. You don't want to be a musician and have people putting out your records and designing stuff for you and not promoting you or making you look like you feel you should. All that's gonna change. We're gonna have a whole new catalog coming out. Don't buy the bootlegs, save your stuff, everything's coming back out. It's supposed to be out for Halloween.
In the past, you look at all the Misfits products that came out, we never made a dime off it. Even when we were in our lawsuit against Caroline we had to buy up all these bootlegs. That's why I know what real crap they are and the amount of money you've got to spend for them is totally insane. But there's a lot of different concepts that came out of the bootlegs, "Hey this is got a good cover," or "Hey look at this sleeve." A lot of it was educational and some of it we may even boot the bootleg stuff and put it in our catalog in the format that these guys came up with. There's a lot of heavy bootlegging going on out there.
We came up with this idea: what we wanted Caroline to do was to go out and buy every bootleg that's out there and put them on a DAT and put them into a computer so this way you could send a blank tape. It would be like a library of boots. You send in a blank tape and we bust you out a bootleg for like five bucks. Now the bootleg that's going for like 50 bucks sits on the shelf. The only way to really beat out a bootlegger is to sell more product then they can and get the stuff out there.
TM: Which is basically what all the new stuff coming out is gonna do. You can just wing on over to the record store and pick all that stuff up.
JO: Right. For like "Bullet" and that kinda stuff there's a lot of different takes that we did that never were released. So, when you do buy a record, say with "Horror Business" on it, if there's three or four takes from "Horror Business" you might get them this time. That's what I'm pumpin' to do. I'm pumpin' to drop out all the different versions and give background on each one: where it was recorded and when and the line-up and stuff like that. I know we've been through about a million different line-ups throughout our career.
TM: Now what's this about Glenn Danzig possibly being the Wolverine in the new X-Men movie?
JO: Well, he was offered the part. What happened was, we were working on the Christ the Conqueror project. We had a comic book that was going with it. We were talking with a guy named Archie Goodwin down at Marvel. He knew where I was, but he didn't know where Glenn was. I think Sylvester Stalone owns the rights to the X-Men as a movie and they had called me up and said "hey we're looking for Glenn, we want to cast him as the Wolverine." Glenn and I go back a long way and Glenn was always a big, big Wolverine fan. It kinda struck me as odd that he wouldn't have been interested in it. Even though we had our differences, if he was offered the part of Wolverine and I found out about it I wasn't just gonna crinkle up the note and throw it in the garbage basket. I tried to call his people and contact him and tell him about it. From what I understand, after seeing him a while back, he didn't like the script so he turned it down. But I'm predicting he'll wind up being the Wolverine in the movie, if they do go with real people and not animation. He looks just like him. He's got the correct height and the correct weight, if you ever read the card (laughter). He's the perfect lock-in for the Wolverine.
TM: Everyone in here is pokin' at me and asking me to ask you if you believe in Satan.
JO: (Laughter) Well, I believe in God, so I guess I do.
TM: Let's talk about Jerry Only these days. You live out in the country in New Jersey.
JO: Yeah we do. We're about an hour out of Manhattan up in northern NJ. We've got a ski slope in our town and horse riding and all that kind of stuff.
TM: And you've got some little ones running around.
JO: Yeah we do. I've got a daughter that's gonna be 13; my son's gonna be 10. I did the family thing all the while we were out of this. It rounds you off and it makes you a lot tougher. It's fulfilling. I would have hated to been locked into music for the last 20 years and not been able to have a family. My family's at the point now where my kids are starting to hang out with their friends so it's real nice for me to walk back into exactly when I walked back into [the band]. I don't regret it.
TM: So when you get back together there will be Misfits tours and all?
JO: I might as well let you guys know about this: We're trying to redo Chiller Theatre. We've got a guy who we're shooting TV pilots with all summer long. What we're gonna do is we're gonna have a horror show on where we host it and we have guests in the middle, like painters (like Basil Gogos or Boris Valejo) or sculptors and prop guys who make masks and stuff like that. We're gonna try and bring on all the different aspects of horror movie making and bring on guests and show all these old '50's B movies. Not the real corny ones, the real cool ones like The Crow and Eye and Sun Demon and stuff like this. We're gonna give you guys all kinds of background information on them. It's not gonna be like the Elvira thing (which was kind of corny) where she's always making fun of them. We ain't doin' that. We're going to actually make it like a documentary on each movie and try and bring in a guest for it that coincides with what the movie is about. We have a guy who shoots music videos is gonna come up and do it with us (Drew Stone out of NY). We're gonna try and sell it to TBS or TNT or somebody. Maybe we won't be playing right away, maybe we'll be on TV. That's the angle we're trying to take. We're looking to play for Halloween. We're gonna bring Dave Vanian in right after we shoot these pilots if everything looks good. We're gonna try and play the Limelight for Halloween.
TM: The Limelight that is, in New York?
JO: Yeah, it's an old church. For you people out in San Francisco that have never heard of it or never seen it, it's huge. It holds about 1500 people. If MGM would have come to me and said "here is 20 million dollars, build us a place to film a video of you guys in," I would have built this church. The church is perfect. It's got all its own lights and sound. It's got all these catwalks. Right behind the stage is a 30 foot stained glass window. That's probably where we're gonna try and do this thing. We're excited about it.
LU: I just hope no one throws a full beer can through that stainless (sic) glass. (Laughter)
JO: We were gonna strap grenades to the outside of it for the end of the show and just pull the wires. It (the church) has the right vibe for the show. We were in town (SF) all weekend long. As we were going around town, we were checking out all the different venues. We feel that probably the best thing for us to do when we come back to town is to book two nights at the Great American Music Hall. It's fantastic. It's got the right look about it. It doesn't hold as many people as we'd like, but the acoustics in it seem to be fantastic. It seems to have the right feel. The big thing about the Misfits coming back, especially if we've got Dave, who's got this vampire thing going on, which is our thing... If we get Dave in the band it's gonna be a tour where we do a big city on the weekend and promote all week long going into it. We'll pretty much pick a place that appeals to the kids and the image of the band. It's not how many tickets can we sell, it's where do we want to play, not where should we play to make the most money. We don't really care about that. We want to make some really great videos. Maybe bring a few new songs to the table when we do come to town. The old music, we can't make videos of the old Misfits tunes. If you want to hear the old Misfits tunes you've got to come see us play them, or you won't get any new versions of them. I kinda like that, but at the same time we can't video them, so we will be videoing new songs that we write.
Jerry talks about the first lineup...
JO: Glenn was playing keyboards and I was playing bass. We had a drummer that was a drunk jazz guy. It really wasn't taking off. We were hanging out at CBGB's and Max's and places like that. We were watching bands like the Ramones and Blondie and other bands beginning to ignite. Me and Glenn kinda looked at each other and said "I think we need a guitar in this band." A buddy of mine (Frank) I was playing basketball with in high school was playing guitar. The thing was, he didn't know any songs, and he's been playing guitar for years. I went up to him and I said if anybody is gonna play this new Misfits stuff it better be somebody who doesn't know anything else, because we don't want "Freebird" riffs in the middle of our new band. "Teenagers From Mars" was on this album [the one that Frank played guitar on, Static Age].
OD: What about the Misfits compilation thing that came out on Caroline...
JO: That's an abortion. The Misfits had distinct eras: Tyranosaurus Rex did not eat the Dimetrodon because they didn't live in the same million year span. We have our own eras. The Static Age era had Mr. Jim on the drums and Franche Coma on guitars. That was one era. Then after that you had the Googy and Doyle era. Then you had the Doyle and Robo era. When Glenn went to deal with Caroline he just took enough stuff to fill up the CD and really put no thought whatsoever into packaging. It was just like, "Let's get another Misfits release and put it out on the counter; the last one sold good let's put out another one." It's a shame. To take things out of context in our band is like really making a mess out of everything. I would have never put that album out in the way that it was. It has good songs, but it has no thought behind it. It's an abortion of Misfits stuff all stuffed into one can.
Jerry on Glenn singing in the new band...
For those of you out there who are big Danzig fans: We asked him if he wanted to sing for our band and he said he wasn't interested. We gave the guy the option to jump back in and be friends and let bygones be bygones. Music shouldn't be based around money or politics. Music should be a bunch of people that really do great songs together doing them together for the pursuit of having a good time. We offered him this back. He's very happy in his world I would imagine. God bless you Glenn, good luck.
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