Monday, November 19, 2012

Misfits/Danzig/Graves Haters – SHUT UP Already

Much of what I’m ranting about won’t make a hell of a lot of sense to those outside the punk rock community, so for context I recommend you read about the 20 years of drama at the Misfits Wikipedia page  That is, if you actually give a rat’s ass about my opinions.

Doyle touring with Danzig c. 2004
I've been a fan of the Misfits ever since my buddy Chris gave me one of their CDs.  In the punk rock DIY tradition, many other folks around the world were introduced to the band in a similar fashion or by word of mouth.

A lot of people in the punk rock community have, unfortunately, fully bought into the legal and creative drama surrounding the various-over-time members of the Misfits who have come and gone.  The quasi-Misfits factions can be summed up in three categories:

·         The Danzig faction, which fell in love with the raw, amateurish, and hyper-macabre recordings from the “Danzig era” (1977-83), and are nowadays fans of Glenn Danzig’s projects.  In their eyes, the Misfits ceased to exist in 1983 and today’s band is a massive identity theft exhibit.
·         The Michale Graves faction, which likes both the Danzig and Graves eras for their own distinct qualities, and totally blame Jerry Only for driving away two fabulous singers.  They have yet to learn that Graves is way better off playing with a band rather than doing acoustic shows.
·         The Jerry Only faction, or the fans of the “Modern Misfits,” who identify with Jerry Only’s vision of the Misfits being a family-friendly band that has never been more awesome than it is today.  Jerry Only was right; Graves and Danzig were wrong, and they’ll stick with Jerry to the end.
·         Oddly enough, no one has a problem with Doyle.  This makes everyone's life easier.

Since there’s never been a formal study done, I honestly have no idea what percentage of punk rockers identify with one of the three Misfits factions.  However, I have a feeling that most of the spunky rascals with any Misfits songs on their iPods are in one of the three factions and thus have way too much free time.

What makes the scene ugly is that members of the factions absolutely hate those of the other factions.  It’s like a Middle Eastern tribal war and there’s seldom any reasoning with these people because music is their life, and so their heroes—whether they be Glenn Danzig, Michale Graves, or Jerry Only—are the anchors of their identity.

Enter the nonpartisan Misfits fans like myself.  As far as the factional rivalries go, I can never bring myself to give a damn.  My damn bank is empty and I have no damn to give.  Don't ask me for a damn; I’m not a beaver. (That was a play on words; golf clap for you if you caught it.)  Seriously, I can understand how their ideas are clashing and these factions take it very personally because to each individual it’s as if their rivals are trying to invalidate their very identity, but seriously… Get over yourselves already.

Michale Graves in Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg
The two front men who seem to catch the most flack are Michale Graves and Jerry Only.  This is understandable since Danzig has experienced the most commercial success and naturally has a bigger fan base to take his side.  As much as people blame Graves for “killing the band,” they ignore three critical factors.  First, Jerry Only won the court case to get the rights to the band name and thus keep the Misfits alive.  Second, Jerry Only did the hiring and firing; he’s the one who brought Graves onboard.  Third, Graves developed his own style instead of trying to copy Danzig.  That in itself should command a little respect.

Regarding Jerry Only’s era (2000-present), there were a few years where I thought he should retire.  However, I totally love the Project 1950 album (go to hell haters, I’m not apologizing for that heresy) and I’m happy with the direction the band’s going, especially now that they’re picking up the pace with putting out albums.  Best of all, their concerts are A LOT of fun and I can't wait to go to one of their shows with a special fiend from Indiana named Brandy.

Furthermore, the fact that Jerry Only's songs don’t have the "F" word in them actually gives the younger kids—the next generation of fiends—something clean to present to their parents for inspection while they’re really on their iPods listening to the obscene Danzig era songs.  (Well done, Jerry, well done indeed.)  For that, I won't bring up the whole WCW episode, which I interpreted as the punk rock equivalent of elderly country singers going to Branson to die.

Factionalists can whine all day long about how Graves or Jerry Only “killed the band” with bad songs or cheesy albums, but it’s not as if Danzig didn’t come up with a few Godawful songs during his own tenure with the Misfits.  I dare you to find the songs “Green Hell,” “Demonomania,” or “Bullet” on YouTube, turn up the volume, and lie to yourself that the noise doesn’t annoy you down to the marrow of your bones.

I don’t have time for the rivalry drama nor do I subscribe to it.  I like all the Misfits eras for their own uniqueness.  For example, here are my top three favorite Misfits songs:

1.      Saturday Night (1999) sung by Michale Graves
2.      Where Eagles Dare (1978) sung by Glenn Danzig
3.      This Magic Moment (2003) sung by Jerry Only

Yours Truly with Jerry Only at the Key Club in Hollywood
Each of my three all-time favorite sings by this band come from different eras in Misfits lore.  The legal battles and the factional drama is all water under someone else’s bridge that I don’t have time for.  Sorry, but I have something called real problems to deal with.

Hell, I’m a full-time student, part-time soldier, and a full-time activist and writer in a never-ending struggle to implement my political ideology into public policy.  The latter is commonly referred to as the Ron Paul revolution.  Oh yeah, and I also have relationships and other forms of human contact to maintain.  Sorry, diehard factionalists, but I don’t care about your beef.  Your beef spoils my fun.

I'm impressed with Danzig nowadays for his advanced metal musicianship.  I like Graves nowadays because he's a fellow Ron Paul supporter like myself.  I connect with Jerry Only nowadays because he's a fellow Believer.  Glenn Danzig, Michale Graves, and Jerry Caiafa are all skilled musicians and entertainers whom I'd gladly seat at my table.  (Yes, Doyle can come too.)  Regardless of the vocalists who have come and gone or the era by which their songs and albums are labeled by fans, I like the Misfits.  End of story.

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Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein image by "Topitoxx" was obtained from Wikimedia Commons and used via CC BY-SA 3.0 license.
Michale Graves image by Gaudencio Garcinuño was obtained from Wikimedia Commons and used by CC BY-SA 2.0 license.
Image of Zach Foster with Jerry Only is the property of the brilliant, prodigious, humanistic visionary who authored this article.  Ya hear that?  It's my pic. Mine mine mine mine mine!

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