Photo By Jonas Rogowski (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0]
Glen Danzig (Electric piano and vocals) formed the band Misfits in January 1977 in Lodi, New Jersey, USA, incorporating Jimmy Battle (Guitar), Diane DiPiazzi (Bass guitar) and Manny Martínez (Drums) as members. Diane DiPiazzi and Jimmy Battle left after a month of playing with the band and Jerry Caiafa (Bass guitar) replaced DiPiazzi and the band continued for a while as a trio.
In 1977 Misfits recorded their first rock music single ‘Cool’/ ‘Cough’ released on their own label Blank Records. On the record sleeve Jerry Caiafa’s name was misspelt prompting him to insist that his only name in future only be registered as Jerry only, which led to Jerry Only becoming his stage name. Frank Licata (Guitar) joined the band under the stage name of “Franché Coma” joined the band in August 1977; this allowed Danzig to phase out the electric piano. In December Martinez was fired from the band, ‘Mr Jim’ Catania (Drums) took his place.
Mercury Records made an offer to Danzig of thirty hours of free studio time in exchange for the trademark to the Misfits’ label Blank Records which Mercury wanted to use for one of its subdivisions. In January 1978 the Misfits recorded their first studio rock music album ’12 Hits from Hell’ in the Mercury Record’s studio, however the Misfits could not find a label to release their album. They released their ‘Bullet’ single with four rock music lyrics on their new label Plan 9 Records. Their debut album ‘Static Age’ was eventually only released in entirely until 1997.
It was at this stage of their career that the Misfits members started using dark makeup and wearing clothes inspired by the horror films, Danzig and Doyle, Only’s brother, took to styling their ‘Devilock’ hairstyle and their style and music would be defined as a new sub-genre Horror Punk. In October 1978 Franché Coma left the band and was the temporary stand-in by Rick Riley (Guitar). Jim Catania left shortly after being averse to the new horror trend that the band was following. Bobby Steele (Guitar) and Joey Image (stage name of Joey Poole) (Drums) replaced the two former members. With the new line-up the Misfits released the single ‘Horror Business’ in June 1979. In November 1979 the band released the rock music single ‘Night of the Living Dead’. A few weeks after Image left the band.
In January 1980 the band released an EP ‘Beware’. Joseph McGuckin (Drums), under the stage name of Arthur Googy, joined the band. In October 1980 Only’s younger brother Paul ‘Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein’ Caiafa (Guitar) was inducted into the band and Steele was fired.
In April 1981 the Misfits released three rock music songs as ‘3 Hits from Hell’. The band accepted the offer from Slash Records to record and release their next planned album ‘Walk Among Us’. They released two more songs off their 1980 album as their ‘Halloween’ single.
In March 1982 the band released their second rock music album ‘Walk Among Us’ with Ruby and Slash Records. Shortly after its release Danzig fired Googy and Eerie Von (Drums) stood in for the leaving band member on a temporary basis. Roberto ‘Robo’ Valverde joined the Misfits in July 1982. In November 1982 the band released a limited rock music edition available only to members of the Fiend Club (the Misfits Fan Club) seven songs as the EP: ‘Evilive’ from their November 1981 San Francisco performance.
In June 1983 Glenn Danzig confided in Henry Rollins that he was unhappy in the band and intended leaving the band. The Misfits finished recording their EP, but Danzig decided to record two more rock music tracks and turned it into a full length album ‘Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood’ which was released in December 1983, two months after the band dissolved. The band was plagued with arguments between Danzig and Robo, Robo leaving in August 1983. At the Halloween performance at Greystone Hall in Detroit, Brian Damage (Drums) was inducted as the band’s new member, but after becoming inebriated he was escorted off the stage by Doyle and Todd Swalla filled in for him for the rest of the concert. Danzig announced that this was the band’s last performance and the Misfits disbanded on their return to Lodi.
After the disbanding, Danzig launched his new rock music band Samhain. Several albums were then reissued with previously unreleased material between 1985 and 1987. In 1985 the first released was the collection album ‘Legacy of Brutality’ which Danzig overdubbed the albums instrumental tracks that the other band member had played that they could not claim on the royalties. The album contained many of the unreleased album ‘Static Age’ songs. The second of these albums was ‘Misfits’ released in 1986, usually referred to as ‘Collection I’ and the reissue, with five new tracks added, as a complete album of the EP ‘Evilive’ in 1987. This resulted in a protracted legal wrangle ensuing between Danzig and Only. An out of court settlement was reached in 1995: Only and Doyle retained the rights to: record and perform as the Misfits, sharing the marketing rights with Danzig. ‘Collection II’ Misfits third compilation album of Misfit songs was released late in 1996.
Doyle and Only then set about revamping the image of the Misfits by incorporating David ‘Dr. Chud’ Calabrese (Drums). Glenn Danzig was offered the position as the lead vocalist in the band, but refused to re-join the band; Dave Vanian was also approached, but also refused the position. At an open audition Michael Emanuel (Vocals) was appointed as Lead Vocalist, singing under the stage name of Michale Graves. The new band made an appearance in the film Animal Room in 1995.
A collection of the entire band’s Danzig’s era recordings from 1977 to 1983 in the ‘Misfits Box Set’ was released in 1996, including dubbed and undubbed versions of song from the albums: ‘Static Age’; ‘Legacy of Brutality’; ‘Collection I’ and ‘Collection II’.
‘Static Age’, Misfits original unreleased debut album was also eventually released in 1997. The band’s tribute album ‘Violent World’ was also released in 1997, covering songs from the Glenn Danzig era and another tribute album ‘Hell on Earth’ was released in 2000.
The new personification of the band Misfits released their debut album ‘American Psycho’ in 1997 making videos of two songs ‘American Psycho’ and ‘Dig Up Her Bones’. Graves took a hiatus and with his return the band signed with the Roadrunner Records label, releasing in 1999 their second studio rock music album ‘Famous Monsters’, with a video of the single ‘Scream’. The band made more film appearances in: Big Money Hustlas (2000); Bruiser (2000) and Campfire Stories (2001).
Tensions rose in the band and during a performance in October 2000 at the House of Blues in Orlando, Florida, Chud and Graves walked off the stage leaving the band. The lead vocal and bass guitar playing was taken over by Jerry Only, the sole remaining original member of Misfits. Dez Cadena (Guitar) and Marky Ramone (Drums) were recruited as the band’s new members. In 2001 the album ‘Cuts from the Crypt’ consisting of rare songs and old demos, from the Graves and Chud period from 1995 to 2001, was released. The band, unhappy with their label, left Roadrunner Records having completed their contractual obligations.
The band formed their own recording label Misfit Records in 2001 and they released a split single featuring the Misfits and Balzac. The album ‘Project 1950’ was released in 2003 with the Ramone/Cadena/Only of the Misfits. The band lost their drummer Marky Ramone, he was replaced by Robo returning to the band.
In October 2009 the band released a new single ‘Land of the Dead’. Robo was dismissed in 2010 and he was replaced by Eric ‘Chupacabra’ Arce. The bands new studio album ‘The Devil’s Rain’ was released in October 2011.
In 2013 the band released their third live rock music album ‘Dead Alive’ and in October they released a 12”single of a new recording of ‘Descending Angels’ under the new title ‘Science Fiction/Double Feature’.
In May 2014 Glenn Danzig instituted legal proceedings against Jerry Only claiming that Only registered trademarks for all things related to Misfits since 2000 behind his back, including the classic ‘Crimson Ghost’ logo. Danzig claimed that this was in violation of their 1994 contract the two had signed. The case was eventually dismissed by Central District of California Judge Gary Klausner.
Misfits genres are: Heavy Metal; Horror Punk and Hardcore Punk.