Confidential, Friday, December 4, 1998
It's nearing Christmas and while everyone else is filling up on holiday cheer, I'm still reminiscing about my favorite holiday, Halloween. It's the one night that I was actually prepared for, having made my costume -- a gargoyle -- a full week in advance. To savor as much of the night as possible, I headed out early, in full regalia, to the club Life where I met up with the Misfits before their goulish performance. Jerry Only -- the only original remaining band member -- chatted with me for a while about the band's history.
Formed in 1977, the Misfits are one of the more influential bands in American punk/hardcore history. The original outfit, fronted by vocalist Glenn Danzig, hailed from Lodi, New Jersey. At a time when city street smarts defined Punk, the little band-that-could from suburban New Jersey truly were misfits and yet they managed to make their mark not only with their Sci Fi hardcore punk sound, but with one of the most popular rock merchandising lines short of Kiss's. The line-up no longer includes Glenn, Bobby Steele, Robo, or Arthur Googy. Nevertheless, vocalist Michael Graves, guitarist Doyle "Wolfgang Von Frankenstein," bassist Jerry Only and drummer Dr. Chud still have the chops to put out the impressive CD American Psycho (1997 Geffen Records). The album is clearly suggestive of the band's earlier incarnations with punk influences such as Iggy Pop, Ramones, and Generation X.
Before the Misfits' set at Life, none other than Joey Ramone hit the stage. In between singing about wanting to be sedated and other noteworthy aspirations, he informed the heavily infested mosh pit about his new self-produced CD. His presence caused the crowd to go berserk, much to my dismay, I might add, since I was trying to make my way to the bar.
I somehow managed to slither through. On the way, I ran into Doby Daenger -- the host of Doby TV cable show which airs on channel 17 every other Friday night in Manhattan. We observed each other's attire. "So what are you?" I asked. She said, "I'm a slut with a saxophone." (This made sense -- if anyone knows how to blow, it's Doby.) She mentioned having a cold, so I ordered a shot for both of us. I don't know if it helped Doby, but it worked wonders for me.
The crowd began growing rambunctious. Thankfully, the emcee emerged and introduced "the most evilist band on earth." (I immediately considered asking him about becoming an editor for NY Rock.) Soon Gothic music filled the room as clips from classic horror films flashed across the stage backdrop. A crimson ghost holding a flaming torch appeared and then suddenly loud -- that is, LOUD -- guitars rumbled through the room as the movie screen was shred by the entrance of the band. The band moved full throttle into their set and the crowd, energized by a possessed singer and driving guitars, became even more frenetic, if you can believe that. The audience sang word for word through songs such as "Static Age" and "Dig Up Her Bones." Toward the end of the set, frontman Graves said, "Wait, I'm not ready. I don't want to go back to the basement," allowing the mosh pit to blissfully flog itself through a few more tunes.
Before I knew it, the bartender cried out "Last call" (Damn, this happens every night!) and the crowd exited to Bleeker Street, mixing in with the remaining tired looking ghosts, goblins, witches, devils, and the occasional blue man. On my way out, I spoke with Mr. Skeleton who said prior to this concert, the last really good show he attended was in Freeport, Long Island in 1966. On the bill was Procul Harum, Cactus and 10 Wheel Drive -- all bands I clearly remember (although I just turned 19 this fall). Mr. Skeleton briefly mentioned that "tripping his brains out" had something to do with the great time he had in '66. I asked him if his experience with time and drugs was the cause of his skeletal appearance. He gave no reply -- I took it as a "yes".
More NY Rock Confidential Installments:
10/19/98: Didi interviews DJ Chumley and DJ Quick
09/01/98: Hellfire '98 (benefit for NY Underground Film Festival)
06/04/98: the first annual New York City Tattoo Convention
05/02/98: Didi's S&M Special with Flesh Fetish
03/28/98: No More Tears and Soft Parade
02/27/98: Ace Frehley, Sebastian Bach, Mick Rock, Lenny Kaye,
12/26/97: Ramones, The Dictators, The Undead, more
11/29/97-12/11/97: Sexus, Princess Superstar, more
09/19/97-10/26/97: Blowtop, Crazy Raymond & the Watchdogs, more
05/21/97-08/17/97: Toilet Boys, Nashville Pussy, Turbo A.C.s, Waldos,
07/23/96-09/09/96: Electric Frankenstein, The Wild Bunch, more