As we continue to dig through our archives for more interviews, we've begun raiding our friends' as well. This time around, we have an interview from Dave "Monk" of Newest Industry with the Misfits. The interview happened circa 1997, with Jerry Only in the top of their tour bus.
If you enjoy the interview, be sure to pay Newest Industry Records a visit and check out their great roster.
Jerry: So how ya doin'? What's ya name?
Monk: My name's Dave.
Jerry: I'm Jerry, there's my brother Doyle, uh and that's Mosh who looks like Rodney Dangerfield meets The Creature From The Black Lagoon.
Monk: Ok, so who does the current line up of The Misfits actually consist of?
Well we don't consider this a reformation, we just consider this a continuing thing. I mean we were legally unable to do the job until we went to court and got our name back[…]
Jerry: Well obviously it's me and Doyle as always, and then uh, Dr. Chud who's the same age as Doyle and who went to school together, and Dr. Chud has been with us for about three years now. What wound up happening was we got Doc about three years ago and Mike about two. This is actually like Mike's second anniversary, this tour, and Mike's young, he's 22, and he looks good, he sings good, and his mom makes good meatballs and sends them down to practice.
Monk: So who's idea was it originally to reform?
Jerry: Well we don't consider this a reformation, we just consider this a continuing thing. I mean we were legally unable to do the job until we went to court and got our name back, and it took a while to, y'know, work Mikey in because he never knew nothing about the band. He'd heard of the band 'cos he's from Jersey but he didn't know the songs, so when we got Mike in we tried him out on a few songs and he sounded great so we learnt all the old stuff and then we started writing new stuff, and then when we were done writing some new songs, uh I didn't wanna come back and just play old stuff, so the thing is we started writing new material and then we came to Europe. Really our first adventure was coming to Europe last year.
Monk: So it was always your intention to write new music then and not just constantly play the old stuff?
Jerry: Oh yeah, well that was the thing about bringing back the band y'know. I had a problem you know because of this punk revival thing. Ok, a lot of people in the punk revival didn't come back to make new music, they all came back to just play old stuff and have another fling at being on stage and having a go at it because, y'know, if you play in a band you really get it in your blood and you really want to go out and jam. It sucks being away from home for so long because we're very family oriented, but at the same time it's really fun to go out and play, like to come here and hang out and we all had dinner before together, and we're all sitting around laughin' and shit, um, but you don't get that at home you know, because at home everybody's got a life and everybody's got things that are going on but when you're on the road it's like being at camp with a bunch of fuckin' retarded kids. We have a really good time.
Monk: Did you ever consider putting your new album out on an independent label?
Jerry: Uh, yeah. That was my goal to do it myself. We went on the road with Anthrax like for the whole of last summer in The States, and they were opening for us, and we split the money like we had an even split kind of a situation but when we got off the road with Anthrax we 'd only made like three thousand dollars each which only just paid our bills. So anyway we were sitting there after the whole tour saying "Holy shit, we got no fuckin' money, what are we gonna do?" …(Jerry signs some massive full colour posters)… uh, this is for the girl inside. We just traded her Danzig shirt for the whole set of posters! So uh, it's a good thing. I think The Misfits is important. Y'know, us teaming up with Geffen is a good thing because we've made the situation with them where we get to do whatever we want, for example coming out here and playing shows to two or three hundred people as it's not really a major industrial assault if you know what I'm saying? This is where we feel more comfortable, um, and in each town you've got your nucleus of old punkers who know who we are and they don't wanna come see us in some arena, they wanna come see us at their local fuckin' jam spots so, y'know, here we are in TJ's. This is a really honourable and classy thing to come and do, you know, so that's what we're doing.
Monk: So do Geffen give you some kind of respect due to your extensive history?
Jerry: They let us do anything we want. They've even making trading cards for us. There's a five pack of trading cards, real nice high chromium ones which I designed. Anything we throw up at Geffen they let us do and, for example our new CD has got a six panel fold out poster and they said that it was over cost, so we said well we'll pay for it then and they were like "Ok", and they put it out. So I figure we're gonna be selling a gold record, maybe half a million of them and we're giving half a million people the new Misfits poster of the album cover, so I mean for me to be in the position to give out 500, 000 posters to our fans is like the coolest thing.
Monk: But how do you feel about being on a label though that obviously puts out a lot of shit and probably doesn't care about your music at all, but rather how many records you sell?
Jerry: I'll tell you the truth man, that's not the case. We went down to see these guys, and everybody at the place had a Misfits story to tell from when they were kids, and that was the coolest thing. Each person was sitting up and going "I saw you're show… I remember this happening and that happening…" so they were really excited about it because I think that in modern music we're kinda like an institution. Today we all went to the gym and we all did our bench presses. The sound man was very late, and so we went down and did our bench press and we got our work out in, and now we're gonna play, and uh I think it's all going really well, and I think that Geffen is really gonna put us on the map as far as selling records is concerned. Everything on that record, all the music and all the imagery and all the photo's, we picked and designed it all, and my cousin actually laid the whole thing out. Oh, except the mix. They brought in Andy Wallace who's a big mixing guy.
Monk: I haven't heard it yet, so is it like less trashy than your old stuff or…?
Jerry: No, I think it's everything. It's basically a mixture of "Earth A.D." and "Walk Among Us", but with, I think, a lot more flair in the song writing and the arranging of stuff. Our tour ended in September and at that point we knew we were gonna deal with Geffen so Michael Elargo, he's their A 'n' R guy, he signed Metallica and White Zombie and bands like that to different labels, so what happened was that he had a very good feel for the kind of material that would fit our image, uh he used to book us at The Ritz in 1981, so he knows who we are. He booked that show that's on our live album. Daniel Ray was the producer, and every Thursday sat down, we got a big conference table in our machine shop where they produce our products and shit, but we would sit there every week and go over every song, and every line of lyrics and every new idea, and six people would vote on it, so on our new album, I like 95% and Chud likes 95% and Mike likes 95%, but it's all a different 95%, and that was the whole key. This new album has 18 tracks on it and you can listen to it from the beginning to the end, and you don't ever look to fast forward or rewind or whatever. You're very happy to hear the next song. The thing flows from beginning to end, and that's the most important thing about our new song writing. I think it's incredible. I think that our new album is our best album to date and the funny thing is it's the one that's gonna get pushed by Geffen instead of Caroline who sit on their thumbs all day. I think we made the right move and they're very respectful to us, so the situation is that I get a little bit jumpy when they do something wrong over there, and I jump down everybody's throat so I'm trying to refrain myself. I'm more the enemy to myself than them being the enemy. They're more my friend than I am to myself, so I have to learn to be respectful on the other side too. Y'know in this world, not matter what you do or who you are, it's a give and take thing. If you're respectful to people you usually get it back. I think The Misfits are the band of the next century. I think that not only did we leave our mark on this century that just passed us, uh really the future of metal was based upon things that we did. There were bands that we picked it up from, for example Bowie, Kiss and Queen and stuff like that, and those bands, they'll always be around and you'll always hear them, but I think that the eighties was shaped by what we had done and by our influence, and now in turn it's kinda funny because we had to come back and pick up the pieces because the eighties imploded. looking back in retrospect, the eighties was a big waste of fuckin' time. We are back to the seventies because everybody eventually figured out "Oh, the eighties sucked" you know what I mean? The music that came out of the eighties was a bunch of shit. Most of the bands in the eighties you won't hear about in twenty years. You'll still hear 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and you'll still hear Kiss or whatever, but I think that The Misfits, with the new song writing team that we've got and the new energy that we've got, we're gonna have songs that are gonna make it to very big places and we wanna write songs that are great and we don't wanna write songs because punk is in and we don't wanna write songs because thrash is in. We're gonna write you a good song. What it is or where it goes is not our concern, but we're gonna write some really good songs for ya. Some of them maybe slow and some of them maybe fast, but that doesn't matter. A good song is a good song. You'll never hear a shitty song by us.
Monk: Um, what did you think of the "Violent World" album? I heard that you weren't too happy about it or something…
Jerry: The thing is with the "Violent World" album it was a kind of a slap in my face because I waited thirteen years to bring back my band and put out a new record, and they jumped in my face with a whole bunch of cover songs and made a tribute album which makes me look like an old man. I mean, y'know, I'm 38 but I don't give a fuck how old I am 'cos that's not how it works, but the thing is when bands get tribute albums they're usually shit, uh, that's not the case here but I think that the artwork really sucked but I'm happy that the bands liked us enough to come up and do the job. I've nothing against the people on it, it's just the fact that they had that record out before my new one came out. The new one's out pretty soon, but they coulda waited a couple of months. You know, July… put it out in fuckin' July. My album's coming out in the beginning of May, um why's it out in fuckin' February you know? I wasn't happy about that. I thought that that wasn't cool. The thing was I told them that i didn't want it and that they had to wait. Um, I owned the name Misfits for a new record and they didn't, so What wound up happening was that they called it "Violent World" and that got around.
Monk: So you never had any intention of putting this new album out on Caroline then?
Jerry: Well the thing was that we have a "Live in Kansas City" album that Glenn doesn't want out so they won't release it, so the thing was that I went in and spent all my money retracking it and making artwork for it and everything, and then they said "Oh no, Glenn said no so were not doing it" and so I said "Well what if Glenn says you can't sell my new record when it's ready to go?" y'know? I can't be playing games with a record company that every time Glenn says "Jump" they're gonna say "How high?". Fuck that. They're kinda Glenn's buddies more than mine.
I think that punk was a social statement here in England and that the music is very good. I think the music was more important than the issue. Now the issue is gone, but the music remains.
Monk: So does Danzig get a percentage every time you play an old track live?
Jerry: No. No, he wanted to. He wanted 25% of what we were making. So I said "Well you want 25 percent you'd better come up and fuckin' sing". He laughed and agreed. You know the thing was that Glenn got sixty thousand dollars to get out of our pockets. Biggest fuckin' mistake he ever made.
Monk: So what do you think about his musical progression then?
Jerry: I think he sucks!
Monk: Uh, how come whenever I got hold of a supposedly good quality Misfits video in the late eighties, it always ended up looking and sounding like absolute shit?
Jerry: Oh, the thing was that we're very easy to bootleg because we have a very large fan base and that's was always bothered me about the whole situation was that because we were not handling our marketing correctly and putting products of quality out there, like when you don't sell something and it's in demand, somebody else does, and that's the bottom line. So the thing is we've got nobody to blame about the fuckin' bootleggers except ourselves because we weren't getting the job done, and our fans are paying through the nose for pure crap that some guy who owns a record store is putting out because we're not so I'm hoping that in the future we get on the ball a little more around here.
Monk: So will you ever be recording videos for any of your new songs?
Jerry: Yeah, we're gonna try and do three of 'em in a trilogy. the thing was Geffen said "Well look, we need a video. We'll film a show and make a video" and I was all like well fuck that, y'know? The first thing I said was that I really don't want a video because that would just make it look like we need a video. We've never had a video before, and we're selling records, so maybe the best thing to do is to keep everybody guessing. You wanna see what's going on then why don't you get off your ass and come to the fuckin' show. So what we decided to do um, we picked three songs and talked with this guy David Pelzner, and we're gonna do some of it in the Hammer Studios and we're gonna do some of it in the Psycho set in Universal, um, the album's "American Psycho" and that's one of the songs, and the rest will probably be shot up by us. And then there's a story plot behind it about, uh, I don't want to give it away, but if Geffen likes the idea then we're gonna do it, but the thing is it's gonna take us all summer to do, so we're gonna try and premiere it for Hallowe'en which is the end of our album tour. So if you didn't know the band and come to one of the clubs that we're playing, now that you see the videos it's just like "Oh man, I shoulda found these guys and gone where they are", but it'll be too late then because our tour is done and we're gonna go and record another album then, so there you go. I think it's kinda funny that our video will trail the promotion of the album. Um, I think it will make a really big statement about The Misfits relationship between Horror Films and uh, really indepth thinking about it instead of trying to be uh, like a clichÃ©.
Monk: If The Misfits were gonna make a movie, what would it be about and who would play what?
Jerry: I would think it would probably be about an alien invasion and we would probably be Martians…
Monk: Have you heard of the band Texas is The Reason and do you think it's healthy for a band to name themselves after a Misfits lyric?
Jerry: Well uh, I don't know where Blanks '77 got their name from, I don't know if it was from our record company that was set up in '77, I'm not sure though. Um, there have been other bands like Astro Zombies. I think that's really cool, because I think that our song titles are probably the coolest that are out there and, not only that, we're kinda like a bands band because even though finally now, twenty years after being in existence, and signed with a major label we're probably the closest thing to the underground phenomena that there's ever been. I mean you've had your Lou Reed's and your Iggy Pop's and stuff like that, but I think we've taken that to a whole new level. You know you see an influence from us from a lot of other major bands that came out in the eighties, y'know, like everyone was covering our stuff. The only problem with that is that people look at Metallica's version of 'Last Caress' and think that that's the way it's supposed to go. It ain't, man! We totally kick it. There's a big, big difference, and it's a misconception that people have about us in that they think we're along the lines of Metallica when we're a totally different animal. They were just showing some homage to us which we do appreciate.
It's hard being in The Misfits and having something really great to offer and then being legally held from doing it. Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder, you know, and that's the thing with playing, and also Michael has so much more energy than Glenn and he hangs in there for such a long time during a set and we didn't have that before.
Monk: Do you still get as much of a buzz out of playing live as you did, say fifteen years ago?
Jerry: Yeah, even more so. You know when we were going through court, we were in court for like seven years, it was like I was afraid I'd never get to play again, so now that I do have the opportunity every time I walk out there I thank God that I'm doing it. It's hard being in The Misfits and having something really great to offer and then being legally held from doing it. Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder, you know, and that's the thing with playing, and also Michael has so much more energy than Glenn and he hangs in there for such a long time during a set and we didn't have that before. I didn't have that before and I really think that this band is much better now. Doyle is much larger and stronger than he used to be, I'm much larger and stronger than I used to be and Chud is much more accurate and he's durable and he sings. We've never had a drummer that could sing before, so now we've got three guys doing backing vocals so everybody's singing, and it makes the band really full.
Monk: So are the crowds as wild as they used to be, or have people generally calmed down nowadays?
Jerry: Um, I think it depends on the venue and the town. There's a lot of places down in Texas that are near the |Mexican boarder where you get a lot of uh, I don't know what they're called, half Mexican, half American guys and they're always pretty crazy. They feel no pain I think.
Monk: So what's the worst violence you've ever seen at any of your gigs then?
Jerry: Oh, it was in Detroit on the last tour, and we were playing The Pontiac, um, Michigan actually, the Detroit area though, but anyway a bunch of skinheads came and they beat up this one kid and two of them pulled his legs while another guy held his face on the cement, totally ripped up this kids face. He was on a stretcher fuckin' moaning when we walked past him out of the place, and it just seemed to me that that kid did not deserve to get up in the morning and come to see the show, and have that be done to him. Usually if we get problems like that either we stop the violence, like physically get off the stage and stop people from fighting, or we just stop the show if it's too wide-spread because at the same time we don't wanna jump into a crowd of a hundred people and somebody pulls a knife and stabs us or something. Usually though if it's less than like half a dozen kids we can usually grab a couple of them, uh, Doyle usually just chokes them and then they stop.
Monk: I heard that last year, I didn't go, but there was a gig you played here in the U.K. and it got kinda screwed up somewhere along the lines… what actually happened with that?
Jerry: Well it was in Birmingham and we still apologise, and we're actually doing a free show there on this tour. Ok, what wound up happening was that in The States the opening acts go on about ten, ten thirty, the second act goes on about eleven and the headlining band probably doesn't go on 'till about midnight or one. When we went into the venue they supposed to have a place for us to get dressed, but their dressing room was smaller than the section we're sitting in right here, and it had no lights and no running water so we couldn't get on our make-up or do our hair or anything so we said, "Well fuck it, we'll pay for our own hotel room", but there was some kind of, - you guys call it a soccer festival -on and all the hotels were booked, and when we were leaving the venue they told us that we had 'till eleven meaning, we thought, that we gotta get back there by eleven, okay so we ran around town and went to three different hotels and they kept saying no, and I think a lot of the reason as to why they wouldn't let us in was because we looked kinda scruffy, so anyway we come running into the club at about twenty to eleven and the club owner wouldn't let us play because of the curfew, and the kids were all screaming "you guys suck!" and all this other stuff and shit man, all we wanted to do was do the show right. All we wanted to do was to get our make-up on and get back to the gig. If the first hotel hadda put us up we woulda made it. You know, I don't like leaving gigs, like I'd rather sit in the bus than sit in a hotel five blocks away as I might not be able to get back. So anyway when we got there we played half of 'Hallowe'en' and they turned the power off. Me and Michael were standing in the front and screaming and trying to play with no fuckin' power, you know what I mean, and the whole place is singing, but after that it just wound up being senseless. We're just screaming and we're just blowing our voices out and they had no intention of turning the power back on so we were just prolonging the inevitable. So after that we sat in the crowd and gave any merchandise that we had out for free and we signed everything and stuff… We didn't know, alright. The communication gap was that the bottom line is we shoulda known. The problem occurred because the club did not supply the right facilities for us to do our show, and our main concern was to do the show right. I'm supposed to be able to go out there, get dressed, kick ass and go the fuck home. Tonight they were supposed to have a shower for us, but the shower don't work so we've gotta go to some kids house around the corner, um, which I don't mind really. As long as I can go get a shower, take my make-up off, go to bed and then tomorrow do it again… The thing is we gotta do it everyday and our priority is the show, no matter what, and Birmingham we apologise you know. It was kinda funny though 'cause there was almost this ruckus, and we stood up there and took the verbal abuse and when you fuck up you've gotta take the fuckin' heat. End of story. It hurt me a bit because one guy shouted "You guys are through after this" and I was all like "Son of a bitch!", like I didn't go through enough fuckin' shit to just get there and play, and then this guy yells out that we're through. Yeah right, fuck you you asshole. We just got here late. So anyway I'm gonna see if he's there when we get to Birmingham Foundry. Yeah, this is through!
Monk: Does punk still have any meaning or is it just an open ended label that simply describes the type of sound a band has?
Jerry: I think the latter of the two. I think that punk was a social statement here in England and that the music is very good. I think the music was more important than the issue. Now the issue is gone, but the music remains. So the thing is I think that the music was the greatest thing of all time. I really do. I think it's like a pendulum, like it swings from one side to the other side… When rock'n'roll started it was kinda like in the middle, um, it swings one way and you get a lot of highly produced bands and all your top forty shit, and then in the middle it's fast, original rock'n'roll roots. Finally when it swings all the way to the right there's your punk music. I don't think that this techno shit and all this other crap is gonna ever come close to the real artistic and energetic value of punk music, because punk music is, in my opinion, the far end of the spectrum. You could have some crazy synthesiser thing that makes a million beeps, but are you gonna be better than the Sex Pistols first album? No. Um, are you gonna be better than The Clash's second album? No. Are you gonna be better than The Ramones second album? No… You're just not. Each band has their own sound and their own identity, and we all do it with three chords and I think that is the beauty of it. Our band has more technology than anybody out there because we build our own equipment, like our drum kit. Our guitars are made out of graphite… Everything we do has been thought out not only to sound great but to perform great and withstand the abuse and, you know, we're gonna take it to the actual limit and I think that, at the turn of the century we're gonna be standing on the top of the heap. Once we turn the corner and people look around you're gonna wind up seeing, out of a hundred of the top bands of all time only ten of then are gonna continue to be recognised and the rest are gonna be flushed down the toilet. I think that when the Twenty First Century swings around you're not gonna hear about Iron Maiden or Judas Priest or anything like that. Glenn's already gone. Glenn came up in the eighties and now it's like 'Danzig', what's that? It's a word of the past. Why? Because of the music. Turn it around though and the Sex Pistols wanna go and do a show. Some guy gives 'em six million bucks and says "Here, go!", and that's because their music is good music, and good music is timeless. That's it, I just wanna be timeless with it and I don't care about the money and I don't care about the fame or all that other crap. I just want great albums, one after the other.
Monk: So you'd have no problems playing to a stadium audience of like fifty thousand then?
Jerry: No, but only if we were headlining (!) so we could do it the way we want. I think we can do it. I don't think that is the limit of our existence. I think that we should play big shows, but at the same time I think we should play shows like this. The thing is though it's really hard to play when the crowd's not in your face. You kinda loose the energy.
Monk: Right. Do any of you actually believe in UFO's and the existence of aliens, or is it just a gimmick that you've adopted and which has stuck?
Jerry: Sure. Yeah, they've gotta be there. We're just a grain of sand on the beach, ya know? People just don't realise the odds and the potential.
Mike: You know what happened in America recently with UFO's? Uh, over Arizona more than ten million, TEN MILLION PEOPLE saw UFO's for the duration of a whole week. Ten million people saw the same thing and there's over a hundred different video tapes of the thing. if anything it's the biggest mass psychosis of our time and it's not even in the newspapers. That's gotta show you something right.
Doyle: If that many people said I shot JFK then they'd come and investigate me, even though I was only one year old at the time.
Mike: You didn't hear a damn thing about it, and it was weeks and weeks and weeks of sightings. This was over metropolitan Phoenix. Kids from like six years old to eighty year old people say this thing.
Monk: Wow… Um, do you have any legal wranglings left with Danzig now?
Jerry: Well I avoid him like the plague. You know, no positive things come out of dealing with him, only negative ones. So uh, Caroline with the box set puts the old band to rest and uh, you know I don't wanna work with them either. Fuck them. FUCK YOU GUYS! They're very unfair and it just seems to me that I've got a great new band and we got great new songs, and we'll get that one percent of people who come along to the shows and say "Well where's Glenn?" and we're all like "Well Glenn's out there somewhere, go fuckin' see him if you wanna go!". They can still like Glenn if they want but, you know, Glenn sold them out. If they don't see that then they're fuckin' ignorant. If they're ignorant then what the hell do I wanna fuckin' deal with them for anyway? Fuck it. We're not gonna appeal to everybody and we're not trying to. We're just trying to do what we really enjoy doing. My dad always said, you know, "If you're gonna be a street sweeper then you'd better be the best god-damn street sweeper out there", so at the same time we just play our music. We go out there and we try and be the best we can be and, out of a hundred people, there may be five or six who don't like the show, but that's fine. The other ninety four people in that room are having a good time and it's all about having a good time.
Monk: Ok, well is there anything else that you'd like to add or any message that you'd like to give to old and new Misfits fans alike?
Jerry: Well I think that following your dreams is very important. You have to be realistic because life is short. For example my dreams took twenty years. My dreams with the old band never really came home, but I'm really happy now with this band. You know, when I first started it was my intention to become as big as possible. I was brought up in the Glitter Age and we were seeing David Bowie's 'Diamond Dogs' tour, so for me the most impressive thing is to do a really great, extravagant production. Now a lot of the time when we play I'll tell the light man to turn the fuckin' white lights on. I knew that being large would involve all the props and lights and synchronisation and all that kind of stuff, but at the same time I think that we can handle that because we have as much imagination as anybody else out there. So we will be good when we get big. I think we'll be better than most because the music is tremendous and our show is just non-stop, y'know? We kick ass the whole way. Our new stuff is like the next evolution of The Misfits. You get a caterpillar eating leaves and then it sits in a cocoon for a real long time and then it turns into a butterfly, yeah? That's the effect that we have here. The new stuff is just so 'now'. It's just so nineties. The new race is coming. We've got a good bandâ¦