Misfits news lying on a table of filth, Misfits news to which I’ve not yet replied.
Although an exact reason for his departure was not given when Dez Cadena left the current incarnation of the Misfits back in June, it turns out the guitarist is battling throat cancer. You may contribute to the “Help Dez Beat Cancer’s Ass” GoFundMe page here. Bassist and vocalist Jerry Only’s adult son Jerry Junior has been christened as Dez’s replacement; Jr.’s crazy if he doesn’t adopt the stage name Jerry Also (first suggested by Misfits Central message boarder “Mega Man”). In September the Misfits will embark on a U.S. tour wherein, at each stop, they will perform Static Age in its entirety. Why not? Gotta do something to commemorate the album’s 37th anniversary.
By the way, Dez Cadena played with the Misfits for fourteen years (2001-2015), approximately four times longer than his legendary stint in Black Flag. Does that mean he’ll go into the Punk Rock Hall of Fame with corpse paint? Can you even imagine a Punk Rock Hall of Fame? That’s what they should do with that abandoned Burger King on Governors Island in New York. Refurbish it as a shrine to everything Lou Reed wrought.
In July, Jerry Only told Metal Hammer he is in the midst of writing a book about his life. Now I don’t feel so bad about Jer never responding to any of my invitations to lend his voice to This Music Leaves Stains. Jerry’s book will include “a lot of the tragedies,” he says. You’re expecting me to make a Devil’s Rain joke here but I refuse to give you the satisfaction.
On the other side of the tomb: this Friday, Danzig (the band) will release single the first from their long-awaited covers EP Skeletons. Unfortunately, said single, a rousing rendition of the Devil’s Angels theme backed with a version of the Nightriders’ “Satan,” is confined to the European market via a limited edition vinyl run of 500 copies from AFM Records. If there’s a plan for digital release it remains secret for now. There is also no street date in place for the entirety of Skeletons, which shall find Danzig barreling through hits made famous by Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, and ZZ Top. Guys, we wanna buy your stuff. Why make it so challenging? Is that how Lucifer dictates it in the blood oath? I’d have your lawyer renegotiate that parchment.
Meanwhile, Danzig (the man) recently filmed a guest shot for the Peabody Award-winning comedy show “Portlandia.” Details are scarce, but somehow Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen convinced our Hellhound to unbutton his shirt and hit the beach. A vaguely iconic photo was produced, if only because it suggests Glenn has reached a new level of self-comfort.
Coincidentally, this pic popped up the same day “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” co-creator Dave Willis appeared on Tom Scharpling’s “The Best Show” to talk about the “Aqua Teen” series finale…and, at the behest of Scharpling, Danzig. Glenn voiced an animated version of himself on Willis’s cult cartoon in 2002 and famously caused a rigamarole before he could even step in the recording booth. Given final say on his two dimensional likeness, Danzig kept rejecting what the animators drew for not having the correct musculature.
“I’m way more cut than that,” was the Danzig money quote relayed from Willis to “Best Show” listeners. In order to circumvent any squabbling about the singer’s height (or lack thereof), “Aqua Teen” simply made him six feet tall from the start. Strategic move.
Now, on “Portlandia,” Danzig has no qualms about his physical definition (or lack thereof) and even told one news outlet he “had a blast.” Thirteen years can sure change a man. Who knows, maybe the people at “Portlandia” are just that much more charming and/or convincing.
And what of Joey Image? Over the Summer the percussionist who plays on the original storied “Horror Business” recorded a new version of that song—plus “Teenagers From Mars” and a couple originals—with Orlando-based punks Awesome & The Asskickers for their free release AAK. Download it here. Sounds like Joey can still rip it the hell up. Adrenalin O.D. drummer Dave Scott provides backup vox on the Misfits tracks (as well as drums on two A.O.D. revivals: “Nice Song” and “White Hassle”).
Speaking of the post-Static Age pre-Walk Among Us Misfits, Bobby Steele’s band the Undead continue to live up to their name: the group has scheduled an appearance at this year’s Chiller Theater convention in Parsippany, New Jersey. October 23-25 with a special performance on the 24th. For more info creep over to their website, TheUndead.com. Also appearing at Chiller 2015: Julie Newmar, Burt Ward, Adam West, and Antonio “Huggy Bear” Fargas!
Having authored a book about the Misfits you’d think I’d write about them here with more regularity. What stops me is concern over becoming trapped as “the Misfits guy” and also a perception that fiend-dom is shrinking as time goes on. Then I see viral stuff like the photo above, a Misfits t-shirt at Wal-Mart, coupled with endless “thumbs down” emojis from disillusioned ghouls of all stripes, and I realize the committed may actually be growing. So I rekindle my own flame. Once again, bonfire burnin’ bright.
Until the next batch of macabre happenings, consider this: the ex-Misfit Doyle is, as of last year, a vegan. No longer is the man who played on “Brain Eaters” a brain eater. Do they make soy brains? If so they must taste terrible.
Combining bone-snapping speed with Borscht Belt wisecracks, Adrenalin O.D. smeared their name across the 1980s hardcore punk landscape with a handful of albums unmatched in livid throttle and unexpected guffaws. The perfect encapsulation of this comes two-thirds into the band’s 1986 platter HumungousFungousAmongus when no frills blast “Survive” crash lands into a rather faithful / nimble cover of the Jean-Joseph Mouret classic “Rondeau” (couch potatoes know this 17th Century cut better as the theme from “Masterpiece Theater”). Identity crisis? Maybe, but also oodles of fun.
Adrenalin O.D. recently reunited for a white hot show at the Stanhope House in their native Garden State; a week later, guitarist Bruce Wingate was kind enough to spare me some time to chew the fat about the reunion, his life, and Adrenalin O.D.’s ultimate legacy.
JAMES GREENE, JR: What prompted this most recent reunion?
BRUCE WINGATE: Well, we usually average one every five years. There was no specific reason why [this time]. It’s funny, we ended up playing Stanhope, New Jersey, which is way out in the sticks. You think we would have played New York. I’ll admit I didn’t have high hopes going into this but I was completely wrong. The place was packed and it was awesome.
JG2: How did you end up at the Stanhope? Did they just offer you the slot?
BW: We know their booker, ’cause my other band, Diztrict Allstarz, played a show there with Mental Decay, [Adrenalin O.D. bassist] Jack [Steeple’s] other band, and yeah, it just kinda all came together. Stanhope is close to where Jack lives, actually. We decided to give the old man the shortest drive this time. [laughs]
JG: Your drummer Dave Scott lives in Florida now. Is he the only one out of range for these reunions? Is he the guy who you have to plan everything around?
BW: It’s dependent on everyone’s schedule. We’re all adults now—well, more or less.
JG2: Is it difficult getting back into playing those songs, or are they totally ingrained in you by now?
BW: The actual playing, there’s a good portion that’s muscle memory. There were some shows in nineties we played that we didn’t practice for, we just went in and did them and they were fine. Now I don’t think we could do that. Admittedly I did make one or two flubs at the Stanhope, but no one noticed. It is hard to do, to play this fast now.
JG2: I imagine these reunions maybe yield some personal evalution. Do you feel like you’re in a good place in your life?
BW: Yeah, you know…lately it’s been a period of self-reflection for me. I just saw my family…I only see my parents maybe once, twice a year, and I Just turned fifty…it’s a little overwhelming. We also just lost a good friend of mine, Bill Bartell from White Flag. There are a lot of friends who are no longer with us. But all in all I think I’m in a good space. [Even though] I’m fifty and unemployed. I got laid off in July and now I’m on blood pressure pills. It’s funny, I sailed into forty feelin’ on top of the world, I had a couple twenty year old girls chasing me…now I’m going into fifty unemployed and medicated. [laughs]
JG2: What was your job that you got laid off from?
BW: I worked for a fabric company that sells high end stuff. I managed the library and dealt with distributors and stuff. Despite my official title I was sort of a jack of all trades.
JG2: Are there songs you guys in Adrenalin O.D. disagree about playing now? Like songs some of you don’t wanna play that others do?
BW: We err toward the earlier stuff, like [songs from] The Wacky Hijinks of Adrenalin O.D. We’ve never performed any HumungousFungousAmongus deep cuts, we’ve never played anything off Cruising With Elvis In Bigfoot’s UFO…and that last record [Ishtar] is just not discussed. [laughs] Playing that stuff would be like learning a new song.
JG2: AOD has a bit of a jokey reputation. Are you ever aggravated that people don’t take the band more seriously? Because you guys did play way faster than most bands and achieved a pretty unique blur of noise.
BW: Yeah, it’s that weird New Jersey Cancer Alley “Swamps of the Meadowlands” thing that gave us heft. I take good amount of pride in the fact that people from all sorts of different genres namecheck us. On the pop punk side, there’s Screeching Weasel, NOFX, Lifetime, and then there are the thrash bands, like Nuclear Assault…and a couple years ago that Norwegian band Darkthrone was citing us. It’s really, really cool. Not that I’m bragging, but I am fucking bragging.
JG2: What stretch of time in the band was your favorite?
BW: Rolling into HumungousFungous was really good…the tour we did in ’85 that preceded Fungus, we were playing so blisteringly fast, there was a sense of complete mayhem when we played. It’s an amazing feeling to be hitting a chord on guitar and making people go apeshit, it’s just awesome.
JG2: Can you name the worst show AOD ever played?
BW: That’s hard for me to say. [pauses] I’m kinda stumped. Near the end [in the late eighties] when we were limping along we played at the Cat Club [in New York City]—right there, ding ding ding! Alarms shoulda been going off. We were playing with Wild Kingdom, Handsome Dick Manitoba’s band, and they wanted to go on before us. Y’know, using the “We’re old men” excuse. So we let ’em and then we ended up playing to no one, and my amp kept cutting out. Hmm, maybe that’s just the worst show I played.
JG2: Well, it sounds to me like it was crummy for the whole band.
BW: I’ll tell you another one, maybe this is more what you’re looking for…we played in San Jose with the Exploited and Dag Nasty. Just let that roll around in your head for a second. The venue was just some empty place where a kid said, “Let’s put on show!” There were no permits, no liquor license, no nothin’. There were lots of nazis in the crowd who had their backs turned to the bands and they were all sieg heiling. The Exploited and Dag Nasty got paid but we didn’t. The promoter was nowhere to be found, he just vanished. And, of course, the cops showed up. We ended up driving around later that night to all the pizza places in the area, because we heard the promoter worked at a pizza place and we needed to get paid.
JG2: Did you ever find him?
BW: Hell no!
Top photo credit, according to Bruce: “Some girlfriend, 1986”; lower photo by Ron Akiyama circa the same year (L-R: Jack Steeples, Dave Scott, Bruce, Paul Richards).