Too Much Horror Business – The Misfits!
Too Much Horror Business – The Misfits!
Much loved in punk circles The Misfits, have famously been covered by Metallica and Guns N' Roses, and are known to those who dug singer Glenn Danzig's later entities Samhain and Danzig. But their music really hasn't been heard much beyond those circles, so we’ve decided to set the record straight – The Misfits rule!
Formed in New Jersey in 1977, at the tail end of the original wave of CBGB's-based New York punk, the Misfits couldn't even get arrested when they started. Ignored by labels – even indies – they did it all themselves, and by the end of the decade had several singles and EP's to their name.
Maybe they played too fast, or their image was too violent, or they were not cool enough for the cool Manhattan scene (their first single in 1977, which featured electric piano instead of guitar, probably didn't help with that!); it wasn't until hardcore hit that the band started to find its audience. Eventually signed to LA's Slash label they released their first proper album Walk Among Us in 1982 before splitting up in 1983.
By mid-decade, original Misfits 45's were worth a small fortune and being counterfeited, and reissues of their material – and releases of material that no wanted originally - couldn't come quick enough. Then Metallica covered "Last Caress" and "Green Hell" as a medley on their original Garage Days Re-Revisited 12" EP, and, to quote the title of another great Misfits tune, all hell broke loose.
Singer, Glenn Danzig became simply Danzig and became a major figure on the metal scene, and eventually the band – without Danzig – reformed to capitalise on the interest. While a new generation of West Coast punk bands turned to the Misfits for inspiration, including The Offspring and NOFX, the hard rock world again took note when Guns' n'Roses covered "Attitude" on their The Spaghetti Incident? album, and the Misfits' ghoul logo became the t-shirt du jour for a generation of skaters.
Prime Misfits music is as anthemic and high-energy as punk gets. With a similar three-chord drive to what the early Ramones laid down, the Misfits had a more-turbo-charged sense of melody and dynamics – they loved a fist-pumping chorus – and Glenn Danzig's Elvis-inspired vocals gave them something truly unique. ILYOS presents our favourite half dozen Misfits tunes, alongside those famous Metallica and GNT covers! Enjoy!
Metallica | "Last Caress"/" Green Hell"
The recording that introduced the Misfits to a massive hard rock audience in 1987, when Metallica released their covers EP Garage Days Re-Revisited. It's two songs in one – "Green Hell" suits the band's thrash metal to a tee, but "Last Caress" is the one that really grabs your attention. Metallica are great at this sort of punk stuff – they cut a third Misfits cover "Die Die My Darling" on their subsequent cover collection Garage Inc. a decade later, and they've also recorded a bunch of great early Ramones covers.
And here are the originals...
Misfits | "Last Caress"
Originally released on the Misfits' January 1980 EP Beware, a collection of earlier single sides and this one new track, released in the UK to coincide with a Misfits/Damned tour that never happened.
Misfits | "Green Hell"
From the band's second album, originally released in December 1983, some months after the band had first split up, on Danzig's Plan 9 Records label.
Guns N' Roses |” Attitude"
The Gunners showed pretty great taste when they put together The Spaghetti Incident?, and it's a fun listen. The band's resident punk Duff on vocals here.
And the original...
Misfits | "Attitude"
The B-side of their second single, "Bullet", from 1978, "Attitude" was part of what was intended as the band's first album, Static Age, which wasn't properly released until well after the original group had split.
Misfits | "Where Eagles Dare"
An incredible song which has surprisingly never been covered by a major band, this is from 1979 and shows off Danzig's love of old movies. (The Misfits took their name from the James Dean/Marilyn Monroe film; indeed "Where Eagles dare" first appeared on the B-side of the "Night Of The Living Dead" single, itself inspired by George Romero's classic low-budget horror film.)
Misfits | "Hybrid Moments"
Another one from '78, recorded for Static Age. What a killer pop song this is!
Misfits | "Bullet"
The A-side of that classic 1978 single. The Kennedys were another Danzig obsessions.
Misfits | "Horror Business"
The band's third single, from June 1979. Kinda sums up where they were heading thematically- soon every Misfits song would have a horror or trashy sci-fi theme! Not for nothing has the genre "horror punk" been designated to categorise them!
Misfits | "She"
Another remnant from Static Age. A strange-piano based version of this one first appeared on the B-side of the band's first single in 1977.
Misfits | "Astro Zombies"
One of the many highlights of the Misfits' classic 1982 album Walk Among Us, and as great a piece of Ramones-influenced punk-pop as you'll ever hear!
If you're digging these sounds, listen to the complete Walk Among Us on Spotify:
Listen to Walk Among Us on Apple Music:
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