(From The Guide, 12/4)
Hilton Head Island still has its baby teeth when it comes to this whole “punk” thing, seeing as the island’s first major punk show took place just two months ago when Against Me! and Ted Leo blew through town.
But now that the Misfits are on their way, it’s time to grow up fast, kids.
The Misfits are responsible for one of the most recognizable symbols in all of punk rock: the “fiend skull,” the grinning white skeletal outline on a black background that’s become a keynote symbol of the genre, right up there with the three-chord riff, the Ramones’ seal and the purple-highlighted mohawk.
With their performance at the Shoreline Ballroom this week, the Misfits will bring to the island a 30-year history as one of the most theatric, macabre and long-lasting names in all of rock. It probably will be the most hardcore show in Hilton Head history, with the emphasis on themes of horror, sci-fi and gore (very rarely, for example, does the island host bands with lyrics like, “Your future is in an oblong box”).
It’s the hardcore fan base — the Fiend Club, as they’re known — that has kept the band going all these years, lead singer Jerry Only said in a phone interview before a Dallas show on the day before Thanksgiving. The Misfits’ music never got much radio play, but it was always relevant to their fans, he said.
“It’s out there, even though it’s not really extremely visible to the eye. It’s something that’s well known, well-established,” Only said. “(The fans) kind of tend to hold on to it and make it their own. We have one of the most loyal fan bases out there.”
Only was the band’s original bassist, but he took over lead singer duties following a lengthy legal battle over the rights to the band with former lead Glenn Danzig, who left the group in the early 1980s. Since reforming in the mid-’90s, the new incarnation of the Misfits has released three albums, appeared in films and continued to tour.
“I think that we’re a very well-rounded package. We have a little bit of everything. The sound is unique, (so is) the material and the way we do what we do,” Only said. “I think that’s one of the things that have allowed us to float through the changing of the musical guard.”
Only said the band plans to take a few years off soon to work on new music and prepare a new show.
“We’re not looking to become big commercial success. But at the same time, we are looking to become a force to be reckoned with,” he said. “I’d love to go head to head with Iron Maiden and hold our own.”
Plus, Only wants to spend time with his 2-year-old daughter, who, unlike other children, isn’t scared by his make up, spiked leather stage outfit or his trademark hairstyle. “She doesn’t even notice it,” he said.
So as a part of one iconic band, what does Only think of the much-discussed exploits of Guns N’ Roses, a band that has covered Misfits songs in the past? Guns N’ Roses this month released “Chinese Democracy” after years of anticipation.
“I don’t buy the hype. I could give a (blank),” he said, adding that any band that takes that long to put out an album is just out for money. The Misfits’ 1983 album, “Earth A.D.,” for example, was recorded in about six hours, Only said. “I’m out there playing and taking it to the kids every day,” he said. “We’re out there beating the streets and making it real.”
Link: Official Misfits site.