Tag Archives: jerry only

Misfits Holiday Fiend Figure from NECA

2020 will be remembered for a lot of things, many of them not good. One non-negative aspect of 2020 that will be memorable for me was that it was the year I really got back into toy collecting. Most of that was courtesy of NECA toys and their various Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lines. Those started hitting retail in 2019, but that year was largely a catch-up year as NECA rolled out figures to market that had previously been made available as convention exclusives, which I had purchased at the time. The first new to me figure release came in November of 2019 in the form of the cartoon Bebop and Rocksteady two-pack. Waves 3 and 4 hit in 2020 along with new releases in the movie line such as Casey Jones and Super Shredder. Super7 got in on the fun too launching its own line of TMNT products and I didn’t just stop with that brand. I also got figures from Hasbro, Bandai, and more as the lack of entertainment options and stay-at-home orders had me turning to toys to fill time.

Since 2020 ended up being a big year for toys on this blog, it seems only fitting to interrupt the annual Christmas Spot advent calendar (don’t worry, this doesn’t replace a normal entry) with a holiday themed toy review. In this case, it’s the Holiday Fiend action figure from NECA. The Fiend, also known as The Crimson Ghost or Misfits Ghost, is the mascot of the horror-punk band The Misfits. When it comes to Misfits fandom, there have been two camps for the past 25 years: the Glenn Danzig camp and the Jerry Only camp. Sometimes the fandoms have overlapped, but for the most part fans seem to pick sides. For me, I was always team Glenn. Nothing personal when it comes to Only, but I just never liked his version of The Misfits. The original band broke-up in 83, and it wasn’t until the mid-90s that Only and his brother Doyle tried to resurrect the band. After some litigation with their former frontman, it was decided the two individuals would share merchandising rights to The Misfits and that Only could continue the band without Danzig. Shockingly, The Misfits have now existed as a Jerry Only band far longer than it did with Glenn Danzig as the singer and songwriter of the group.

Santa Fiend has come to town!
He’s got a bag that’s filled with…something.

Since I wasn’t a fan of “The Newfits,” I tended to avoid the merch put out by that band. I did end up with a t-shirt here and there, but I tended to only buy stuff that Danzig put out. The same has been true of the various dolls and toys that have come out over the years, including the original release of this figure I’m about to talk about. The original NECA release of The Fiend is clearly an homage to the album cover of American Psycho, the big come-back record for Jerry’s version of The Misfits. Being that, I never had much interest in it. Throw in a dash of Christmas though and now you have my attention! I’ve managed to resist Christmas themed releases before with The Misfits. Only’s band even covered the holiday classic “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and released it as a single with artwork basically depicting a mash-up of the classic character with the Misfits Fiend. I was able to resist though, and it was made easier by the fact that the cover was really not very good. I’ve caved this time though and it’s time to find out if that was worth it.

If you want to lessen the Santa look you can remove the hate, though why would you want to do that?

The Fiend comes in a window box package featuring some festive artwork on the front. Inside you get a good look at the contents of the box with some nice product shots on the back. The Fiend stands at about eight inches and is basically just a plain, black, action figure. And that’s because you’re never meant to see what’s under his robe, and I don’t think the source material has ever revealed what’s supposed to be there anyway. All that is visible are the face and hands, which are skeletal in nature, but also have always embodied the look of the serial from which the character originated. That means that rather than just being an actual skeleton, the being is clearly wearing black gloves with printed bones and the head is wearing a mask. The new, festive, robe is meant to be the defining characteristic and it’s a plush, red, piece of fabric that looks rather lovely draped over this handsome boy. The ends of the sleeves and the hem of which have been embroidered with white to give the figure a very Santa Claus look. And he even has the hat to complete the ensemble. The robe isn’t mean to be removed, but I’m sure you could if you wished. The hat is and it sits over the normal hood The Fiend features. A plush, green, sack is also included to create a Santa Fiend look and one is left to ponder what this creature would bring to all of the good little boys and girls of the world? Skulls?

Oh, my!

The base figure underneath is pretty basic. I think, but I don’t know for sure since this is the first horror or music figure I’ve purchased from NECA, that this body is pretty standard for the company’s clothed releases. The head is on a simple ball peg (and it’s really tight) with good rotation and tilt. The shoulders are standard ball-joints and the elbows and knees on this figure are single-jointed hinges. The wrists rotate and have a hinge each and unlike the head are really easy to remove, so much so that I accidentally have popped them out when manipulating the figure. There is no ab or upper body rotation, but there is a waist swivel. The legs are on ball-joints and actually have very good range of motion. There’s a thigh swivel and the ankles are hinged. The Fiend, if you were wondering, appears to be wearing black high-tops. It’s an acceptable amount of articulation for what this figure is, but one thing missing that disappoints me is the lack of peg holes on the bottoms of the feet. This guy can be tricky to stand because of all of the material draped over the figure and I really wish I could utilize the standard NECA stand. Instead, something more like a Barbie stand is needed as I don’t want to spend 10 bucks on an action stand for a figure that literally just needs to stand.

He looks positively resplendent in those robes!

The star of the show is the Christmas soft goods. The robe is really nice to look at and NECA included wires where needed. It shimmers in natural light and really catches the eye and I love that it’s hemmed with white at the cuffs and bottom of the robe. A Velcro strip runs up the front of the robe so if you wish to take a peek underneath you certainly can. The hood is a separate piece that is stitched to the back of the robe. It has a wire running through the hem and you’ll probably have to manipulate it a bunch out of the box. The only odd aspect of the robe I’m not sold on are the sleeves. They’re meant to have large cuffs that hang low, but NECA tailored the white onto a smaller cuff to go around the hand leaving a big hole behind it for the rest of the red cuff to hang down. I think it would look better if they had done the white around the whole thing and inserted another wire for posing as it’s just kind of weird as-is. The hat is a simple, Santa, hat that also contains a wire. It fits snugly on the Fiend’s head and looks pretty terrific. The sack is basically just a piece of green velvet-like material with a string tied around the end. There’s nothing inside it, though it has a wire running around it to allow for some posing. I kind of wish NECA had filled it with cotton or something to fluff it up. I suppose I could do that myself if I was willing to mess with the knot on it. It gets the job done though.

If you prefer a more “classic” look, NECA included a second, all-white, face on a second head.
Christmas Evilive!

NECA opted to include some swap-able parts with this figure, though they’re not particularly exciting. The finish on the face of the included head has some embellishments on it. I think it’s from the original release which is aiming to mimic the American Psycho cover by Basil Gogos (who also did the art for this release) which was going for a grave-emerging or crypt-lurking kind of look. Only now, the colors are a muted red and green to go with the whole Christmas theme, but it almost looks like some sort of weird camo. I’m not really a fan. The alternate head is a bone white version with no added paint which is basically how the character was depicted in art on the classic releases like Horror Business. The hands on the stock version also feature the same red and green paint on the back of the hand and they provide alternate bone white versions to match the face. All four hands are in a relaxed, open, position. He doesn’t have any proper gripping hands, but since the sack is light and empty he can still hold onto it well enough. Swapping the head on this guy was quite a bitch. I had to give it a real, good, tug to get the stock one off and I heated the other one with running water to get it on. I didn’t want to use a heat gun or anything given the presence of soft goods which could catch fire. At least I don’t like the regular head very much so I shouldn’t have to swap it again.

I think this is the look I’ll stick with.

The Christmas version of NECA’s The Fiend action figure is largely as expected. While I think there could have been some better design choices and I wish the stock head better matched the artwork, this figure should largely satisfy any Misfits fan looking to add the ghost to their holiday decorating. I love Christmas decorations and this guy will certainly stand out with what I already have. I could even see some NECA collectors paring this guy with the Santa Stripe released this year from the Gremlins line. And fans of the Jerry Only Misfits who already have the Horror X-Mas release should definitely try and pair that with this for their holiday display. The only reason not to is the price. At an MSRP of $35, this guy is on the pricier end of NECA releases. That could have something to do with the cost of the license, and anyone who saw the merch prices at the more recent Misfits shows know how expensive that stuff can get, and it’s definitely more than what I’m used to with NECA given what’s in the box. If price is an issue, maybe wait until the spring when this guy hits clearance. At least this isn’t an exclusive and you should be able to buy this wherever NECA products are sold, in particular the horror figures.

And if you’re still on the fence, he makes a nice tree topper!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #5 (1987)

This summer has been a very TMNT kind of summer around here. It’s getting to the point where I might have as many posts about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as I do Glenn Danzig music. Well, this is the rare post to feature both.

When Mirage Studios started to gain recognition thanks to the success of the TMNT comic book, founders Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman needed to hire more staff in order to churn out material in a reasonable amount of time. One of those hired was artist Eric Talbot, a former classmate of Eastman’s and apparently a fan of rock, metal, and punk music. One of Talbot’s earliest assignments was composing short stories for supplemental books and reprints of the original run of comics, which is how we ended up with the story “Ghouls Night Out.”

“Ghouls Night Out” was included in the reprint of issue #5 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles printed in November of 1987. This is actually a pretty noteworthy issue of TMNT as it contains a special announcement in the middle of the story which officially blows the lid on the licensing deal Laird and Eastman had made with Mark Freedman. Included in the announcement are details about Playmates toys and its first wave of TMNT action figures due out in 1988 as well as the announcement of the animated mini series which was set to premiere the following month. This was the first time fans of the property were introduced to Bebop and Rocksteady and read the name Krang. There’s even a double page ad that follows with the inaugural lineup of turtle toys. Pretty cool!

“Ghouls Night Out” follows the main story and is eight pages of mostly art. In it, a turtle (most fans seem to assume it’s Donatello because he carries a spear at one point, but it could be any of the four) is patrolling a grave yard at night when monsters soon descend upon him. He’s forced to run for his life from the zombies, Frankenstein’s monster, a wolfman, Nosferatu, and others. Most of the Universal Monsters basically get to make an appearance. The story ends when the turtle wakes up in April’s apartment having fallen asleep watching a monster movie marathon on television.

Might be hard to make out, but some familiar names are on those tombstones across the top.

The story is pretty simple, but what drives it is the artwork. The cloaked turtle, wicked monsters, and ghoulish scenery are what sells Talbot’s story. What attracted me to it though was the obvious connection to The Misfits, one of my all-time favorite bands. The title is a reference to the song of the same name, and the very first page features a message on a tombstone thanking The Misfits with the year of the band’s demise also present. Above the title is a row of tombstones which feature arguably the most popular lineup for the band: Jerry Only, Robo, Doyle, and Danzig.

The following pages contain other references as well. The band Metallica can be found on some headstones on page 2 as well as the entire staff of Mirage Studios. And for good measure, some other artists that likely influenced Talbot, such as Frank Frazetta, are tossed in as well. It’s a story that’s supposed to be spooky, but it’s almost cute due to all of the shout-outs Talbot included. I also really dig his turtle design and if anyone at NECA is reading how about an action figure of this cloaked, spear-wielding, mutant? NECA even has a licensing agreement with The Misfits so might as well work in that tombstone too!

I don’t know where this one came from, but it swaps out The Misfits for just Danzig. The colored reprints of this story kept The Misfits.

This is an interesting little nugget of TMNT history and a fun find for a Misfits/Danzig fan such as myself. I’ve seen other versions of the headstone image online with The Misfits removed and replaced by Glenn Danzig. I don’t know if Talbot redid the art at some point or if a fan did that. It’s pretty cool that this thing exists and it’s another piece of my Misfits/Danzig/TMNT collection.


The Misfits Come Home – Newark, NJ 5/19/2018

misfitsThe Misfits originally existed from 1977 to 1983. Formed by Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only our of Lodi, NJ, the band cycled through guitarists and drummers for much of its existence before finally disbanding. By then, Only’s younger brother Doyle was a fixture on guitar and the two represented the visual core of the band while Danzig’s songs carried the day. Like what has befallen many artists, they weren’t appreciated during their day, but years later it would become obvious how influential the group was in the punk, metal, and hardcore scenes. Following the band’s demise, Danzig went on to front other bands, most famously the one that bares his namesake – Danzig. During these years he never stopped re-releasing old Misfits material. During the band’s life it struggled to find record deals, but with the music done, recorded and previously released, Danzig found a partner in Caroline Records willing to press CDs and re-release the old stuff. Eventually the band found an audience, and Caroline was willing to release basically anything Danzig could produce.

By this point we were in the early 90s. Jerry Only had tried, and failed, at music with his Kryst the Conqueror outfit and had returned to the family business – a machine shop, to make his living. Danzig had been re-releasing the old material without paying anyone often trying to skirt responsibility by over-dubbing a lot of the music himself. Since he held the sole song-writing credits, this likely was good enough for Caroline. And while sales were low, it likely was, but as the band’s profile was raised (due in large part to famous covers by the likes of Metallica and Guns ‘N Roses) this proved untenable. Legal issues ensued, and one proposed resolution was to simply reform the band. At this point in time, Danzig the band had pretty much disbanded with the original record deal expired. Danzig though had a lucrative offer from Hollywood Records and wasn’t interested in re-forming the band. Maybe if Only’s invitation had come after the commercial failure of Blackacidevil things would have been different, but instead Only and Doyle reformed the band without Danzig. From this point on, essentially two versions of The Misfits had existed; the original from ’77-’83, and the one that reformed in 1995.

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The Misfits re-formed for Riot Fest 2016 which meant lots of new march.

Jerry Only’s Misfits enjoyed its share of success while Danzig kept plugging along with his band. Jerry’s Misfits proved to be plagued by a lot of the same issues as the original. After releasing two albums with the same lineup, the band went through a lot of changes and turmoil with Only being the only consistent (no pun intended) with even Doyle eventually leaving the band. With just Jerry, he basically assumed all song-writing duties as well as vocals. His Misfits have continued right along up until the present day, and he and Glenn have co-existed in their own bubbles for the most part while sometimes dodging reunion rumors here and there. They were strongest in ’02, and according to Doyle they had a tentative agreement that fell apart at the last minute, but nothing imminent ever made it into the public. Danzig and Doyle had long since reconciled and he would occasionally join Danzig on stage for some Misfits songs, most famously during Danzig’s Legacy shows.

All the while legal issues continued to pop-up here and there. The biggest one was Danzig’s claim that Only had made a licensing agreement with Hot Topic and other retailers that made him the sole provider of Misfits merchandise. Absent a reunion, the Misfits likeness was its most profitable feature and both Only and Danzig were able to make use of it to sell merchandise. Only’s deal would have meant that stores wouldn’t sell Misfits related memorabilia from Glenn, and he would understandably find that irritating. These issues were partially litigated in public since a lawsuit by Danzig against Only was made public. This issue is largely credited as being the thing that got Danzig and Only talking once again about a reunion. Both guys had seen their output dwindle by quite a bit, and approaching 60, there was an end in sight for both. A full on Misfits reunion was a way for both men to settle their differences and make a lot of money in the process, which is what lead to the creation of The Original Misfits.

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The original teaser image for the NJ show.

Promoters for the annual festival Riot Fest reportedly had been seeking a Misfits reunion for a few years. Danzig’s Legacy gig originated from there and it was clear there was an audience for it. In 2016, the timing was right for the group to reform and headline two editions of Riot Fest in Chicago and Denver. Danzig and Only were joined once more by Doyle on guitar while former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo was brought in to finally give the band the drummer it sought for so long. Former Joan Jet bassist Acey Slade was added on guitar to round things out, freeing Doyle up to just do what he does best and stomp around onstage smashing the hell out of his guitar. The shows were a pretty big hit, and a Los Angeles show and a Las Vegas show followed at the end of 2017 and just this past weekend the band finally returned to where it all started, New Jersey, for a show at The Prudential Center.

For fans like me, this was a chance to see something I never really thought I would get to see. The Misfits disbanded before I was even born and I came to find them around the time that I was 13. I was just the right age to be seduced by their brand of melodious violence, the horror imagery was appealing and counter-culture and I soon consumed anything Misfits I could get my hands on. The lone exception was the recently released American Psycho LP. Fronted by Michale Graves and not Glenn Danzig meant that I just wasn’t interested. I bore the group no ill will, but I didn’t want a Misfits without Danzig. Eventually I turned to the band, Danzig, for my fix. I didn’t know if I liked that group at first, because it was so different, but eventually I grew to love Danzig even more than I had The Misfits.

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The Original Misfits are billed as Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only with Doyle.

Over the years, I’ve seen Danzig numerous times, but it’s never squashed my desire to see a proper Misfits show. Seeing Glenn with Doyle was good enough, or so I thought. My desire to see The Misfits on stage was less about needing Jerry Only there (no disrespect to him), but more about just wanting to see a proper full set of the songs I grew up on. Danzig was always quick to shoot down any rumor talk and many times went as far as to say it would never happen, and I took his word on it. I’m happy to say I was foolish to do so. Still, my responsibilities to my family first meant I couldn’t drop money on tickets, airfare, lodging, and other expenses to fly out and see any of the announced reunion shows. I kept faith though that The Misfits would eventually play a show on the east coast, and my faith was rewarded. New Jersey is about a four hour car ride from my home in Massachusetts, but my best friend lives in the city so not only did I have a place to crash, but a buddy to attend the show with me. This being potentially my only chance, I jumped on the tickets when they went onside and I’m happy to report it was worth it.

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Quite likely this was the biggest show in the band’s career.

On Saturday May 19th, 2018, I saw The Misfits live onstage. I never thought I would, and it was kind of a surreal experience for me. Preceding The Misfits was Harley Flanagan, Murphy’s Law, and Suicidal Tendencies – all bands/personalities that could be considered peers of the original Misfits. I’m not fans of any of the bands, but their appearance on this bill felt very appropriate and all were entertaining in their own right. Especially cool was Jimmy of Muphy’s Law stopping a song to pull a kid out of the pit because he was getting crushed. He placed the lad on the edge of the stage where he enjoyed the rest of the set from. Following that, he got to disappear backstage for what was hopefully an experience he’ll remember for a long time.

By the time The Misfits took the stage it was after 9 o’clock and the city of Newark apparently has a strict curfew of 11:00 PM for concerts. That didn’t stop the band from ripping through its set and going beyond 11 during the encore. The stage was adorned with numerous Crimson Ghost visages as well as two massive jack-o-lanterns from the cover of the Halloween single. Backing the stage was a screen that displayed classic horror clips, most of them serving as the inspiration for the song being played, that added a nice element to the performance. When the band hit the stage, with Only and Doyle emerging from twin coffins that flanked the drum riser, they tore into “Death Comes Ripping” with the same ferocity they must have brought back in ’83. Danzig emerged last to a raucous audience ready to sing along and go nuts.

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Probably the most popular t-shirt design of the evening, either this or the NJ one. This was used for the poster as well.

Back in the day, The Misfits never played a venue as cavernous as the Prudential Center in Newark. Some 15,000 were in attendance for the sold out show, and even though this was their fifth go at it, the sound mix didn’t appear suited for such a large venue. The reverb on the guitar and bass was thunderous and Danzig’s vocals were drowned out. The reverb was so oppressive that it was hard to even make out what song was being played. I frequently strained to hear the individual notes in the early going, since I could hardly make out the vocals to be certain, and I’ve heard all of these songs probably a thousand times at this point. Danzig’s between song banter was often indecipherable, with only a few words here and there being discernible, which is unfortunate because he would often have to stall for time as Doyle tried to get his guitar back in tune or Jerry fetched a new bass, having destroyed the prior one (I think he ended up using five in total, but I could be mistaken). After a few songs things did settle down. The vocals became more pronounced, though the between song issues were never fully solved.

The Misfits played for over an hour and hit on most of their classic material. For me, it was a real treat to finally hear a live rendition of “Where Eagles Dare,” a favorite of mine for a long time. The band did a great job of hitting all of its eras, the early days as well as the waning ones, with material from Static Age, Walk Among Us, and Earth AD all well represented with 9 of my personal top 10 being played. There’s always room to nitpick, I would have loved to hear “Spinal Remains” or “Devil’s Whorehouse,” but there were few songs I would have kicked out in their place. The only true omission was “We Are 138” which had been performed at the other shows, but the curfew may have messed that up. I still feel like we were sort of denied a great sing-along moment though.

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The stage show was befitting such a large venue. Left to right:  Jerry Only, Doyle, and Glenn Danzig.

Physically, Jerry Only and Doyle are just as imposing as ever. Now well past their supposed physical prime, you would never know it by looking at them. Doyle is still quite the specimen and his gigantic boots means he towers over the stage. Jerry’s coat adorned with spikes and skulls looks great, and he has the energy of a man half his age as he ran around, and at one point slid across, the stage. Danzig, being the one I’m most familiar with, still shows no signs of slowing down physically as he bounded around the stage ready to mix it up with the folks in attendance. The whole band appeared to be in great spirits, and both Lombardo and Slade more than held their own with the original members. The venue banned cell phones, having patrons lock them up in these little magnetic pouches for the duration of the show, but that didn’t stop some folks from ripping them out for a pic or two here and there. It was rather nice to be at a concert where the horizon was not dotted by thousands of illuminated screens, though I’ll admit I missed the light on my phone for when it came time to find my seat.

The Original Misfits was not a cheap ticket. The average price was probably around 100 dollars and general admission tickets were as much as $200. Despite that, the merchandise was surprisingly reasonably with t-shirts the usual concert price of $35 for most sizes. There was also a signed poster available for $100 (unsigned ones were $30) that bore both the signatures of Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only. Normally I would be tempted by such, but I resisted this time. Numerous t-shirt designs commemorated the event and basically every person I saw walked out that night with at least one of them. My personal favorite was the one depicting skeletal riders on horseback with the Statue of Liberty looming in the background, its face replaced by the unmistakable Fiend logo (this was the same image used for the poster as well), though the one used to promote the event was also pretty cool and featured the outline of the state of NJ with the Fiend filling it in.

Seeing The Misfits after being a fan for more than half of my life was an exhilarating experience and well worth both the expense and the horrendous backache as the result of too much time spent in the car. I left feeling both lucky and grateful that I got to experience it with my best friend, though I did wish a bunch of my friends from back in the day that had shared in my fandom could have been there with me. The event was made even more poignant by the revelation that just hours before the show Glenn Danzig’s mother passed away. He would have been well within his right to cancel the show, but he chose to go on. It added a little gravitas to the numerous backslaps I saw him receiving from his bandmates throughout the show. If this is the end for The Misfits as constituted then it feels like a fitting way to go out back where it all began. The rational person within me though sees how much money this event must have made and wonders how the band could possibly turn down future pay days like this one. There very well could be more one-offs in the future as there is likely still an intense appetite for The Misfits all across the world. They’ve yet to do a show down south and they also have yet to take this thing out of the US. Could they headline a festival in Europe or South America? Possibly. All questions to be answered in due time. For now, I’m satisfied having finally seen a band I grew up with for the first time, and maybe the last time.

The Set List (*encore)

  1. Death Comes Ripping
  2. I Turned Into A Martian
  3. 20 Eyes
  4. Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?
  5. Vampira
  6. Devilock
  7. Where Eagles Dare
  8. London Dungeon
  9. Hybrid Moments
  10. Teenagers From Mars
  11. Earth A.D.
  12. Horror Business
  13. Hollywood Babylon
  14. Bullet
  15. Who Killed Marilyn?
  16. Green Hell
  17. Halloween
  18. Skulls
  19. Die, Die My Darling
  20. Astro Zombies
  21. Last Caress
  22. Night of the Living Dead*
  23. Some Kinda Hate*
  24. She*
  25. Violent World*
  26. All Hell Breaks Loose*
  27. Attitude*

The Misfits – Ultimate Song Ranking

Misfitsband1Happy Halloween! I don’t know about you, but for me Halloween is synonymous with The Misfits – the horror punk band out of New Jersey fronted by Glenn Danzig from approximately 1977-1983. It has been that way ever since I discovered the band when I was in middle school thanks to a revival in the band long after its demise that saw its familiar Crimson Ghost skull logo plastered on everything. Unknown to me at the time, this was due to a new legal settlement agreed upon by Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only that paved the way for Only to resurrect the band to record new music and release lots and lots of novelty items.

Truth be told, I do not hate the 90’s version of The Misfits that did not include Glenn Danzig. I also don’t like the music that band made, but I don’t begrudge Only and his brother Doyle for wanting to re-launch the band and take another stab at success. The original version of the band was never very popular outside of the punk scene, so it didn’t exactly enrich anyone attached to it. It’s popularity came far later and who wouldn’t want to try and ride that wave? Glenn Danzig had remained in music and made a name for himself with his band, Danzig, and didn’t need to attach The Misfits to his work, but Only probably did. And since he was a big part of the band back in the day he was entitled to do.

With that out of the way, let’s also acknowledge that the only version of The Misfits that matters to me is the one that included both Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only. That duo recorded over 50 songs during the short life cycle of the band, and recorded many more actual tracks as almost every song exists across multiple studio sessions. The band only released two LPs during its life – Walk Among Us and Earth A.D., with a third released well after the fact in Static Age, which would have been the band’s first had they been able to secure a record deal. Otherwise, songs were scattered across various singles or completely unreleased until the late 80s when Danzig was able to secure distribution via Caroline Records. Then came the compilations:  Legacy of Brutality, Misfits (referred to as Collection I from here on out), Collection II, and the box set. By the early to mid 90s the entire catalog of The Misfits was available on CD and in record stores a decade after the band’s demise. Almost every recording of every song could be found, thanks to the box set and its “Sessions” CD, and fans could pore through it all. What follows is a ranking of all of those individual songs, including the classics to the not so classics, as well as what release you can find them on the easiest. And where appropriate, I’ll mention what version of the song I think is best, since so many different versions exist. If you want all of the songs for yourself, the easiest way is to get the box set. If you’re not picky about condition or which version you want, its pretty affordable on eBay. If you just want my opinion on one album to get, I’d probably say Collection I is the best single release representation of the band. If you’re an LP purist, then get Walk Among Us.

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The Misfits re-formed with Glenn Danzig in 2016 for a pair of shows. They’re set for two more in 2017 with hopefully more to come.

55.  Rat Fink – The only cover recorded by The Misfits, it’s just a simple beat with Danzig spelling Rat Fink over and over. It’s a novelty song, but kind of fun to shout along to. Collection II

54.  Mephisto Waltz – In some respects, this isn’t even a Misfits song. Recorded by Glenn Danzig and Samhain/Danzig bassist Eerie Von for an eventual release on Collection II, there’s speculation this was supposed to be a Samhain song. It’s history is more interesting than the actual song as it’s really banal and yet another song where the chorus is just a bunch of “whoa’s.” It sounds like it was written, recorded, and mixed in about an hour.  Collection II

R-8627479-1465438070-2758.jpeg53.  Demonomania – For Earth A.D., The Misfits wanted to more resemble a thrash band than a punk band, even if they weren’t good enough musicians to play true thrash. It’s basically a minute of Danzig screaming some nonsensical lyrics about his father being a wolf and his mother a whore.  Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood

52.  Return of the Fly – This is kind of a goofy song, and sort of a novelty one too. It almost has a ska beat to it, and Danzig just lists off the cast members from the actual film, Return of the Fly. Strangely catchy.  Static Age

51.  Hellhound – Similar to “Demonomania,” but with more substance. It’s still not really a good song, but has some fun time changes. We’re getting close to the better stuff now.  Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood

50.  Queen Wasp – Almost the same structure as “Hellhound,” but Danzig screams and snarls his way through this song which gives it some nice personality. It still can’t shake the subject matter of a queen wasp, which is a bit strange. Hot stinger in your back, baby!  Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood

49.  Static Age – Interesting subject matter for The Misfits about TV taking over our lives. This was before the whole horror thing took over the band’s image. It’s fine, though a little slower than a lot of the stuff the band is best known for. I feel like it’s almost a really good song, but settles for mediocre.  Static Age

48.  Hate Breeders – This one is a long song by the band’s standards and kind of shows why the band normally sticks to shorter tracks as it’s just not interesting enough to justify its length. This one just kind of bores me.  Walk Among Us

47.  Spook City USA – For awhile, this one was only available on the Glenn Danzig solo release Who Killed Marilyn? The Misfits version was finally released with the box set, and it’s the one song exclusive to it. As a justification for buying that set, it’s not worth it. A very straight-forward punk track, the guitar work towards the end makes it a bit more interesting than some. Still, it’s no one’s favorite Misfits song.  The Misfits Box Set

46.  Hollywood Babylon – An interesting take on Hollywood culture, and one of those songs I remember being shocked at when reading the lyrics – “That’s what he’s saying?!” It’s a bit meandering, and kind of boring, but also not bad.  Static Age

45.  Halloween II – For some reason, this one has always been Glenn Danzig’s preferred Halloween track over its predecessor, even though it’s kind of a novelty song. The lyrics are in non-standard latin, meaning Danzig basically wrote the song in English and tried to just translate it himself. It’s effectively spooky, more so than “Halloween,” but also never a track I’m particularly excited to hear.  Collection II

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Released originally as a self-titled compilation, this one has come to be known as Collection I following the release of Collection II.

44.  Devilock – These rankings are probably revealing my lack of affection for the Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood compilation release. Some of those songs are great, and we’ll get to them, and some are bad. “Devilock” is in the middle, and we’re just now getting to the portion of this ranking where things are getting a little bit harder. It’s quick, frantic, and fun though the lo-fi recording makes it hard to figure out what Danzig is singing about.  Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood  

43.  Cough/Cool – The first recording for the band, “Cough/Cool” originally didn’t even feature a guitar, but electric piano. It possesses some punk imagery, but is almost unrecognizable as an actual punk song. It’s really atmospheric though, especially in its original form. That version can only be found on the original and really hard to acquire Cough/Cool 7″ and in the box set. An over-dubbed version by Danzig and Von is included on Collection II. In some respects, it’s better, but I think it lost some of its moodiness with the improved production values.  Box Set/Collection II

42.  Braineaters – This little closing number from Walk Among Us is another novelty song, in many respects, but it’s undeniably catchy and a lot of fun to sing along to, even if it is goofy. Like “Cough/Cool,” a re-tooled version by Danzig and Von is on Collection II. It’s faster and a bit more punk in spirit, though not necessarily any better or worse. This is also the only song The Misfits recorded a video clip for that you can find on YouTube with relative ease. Walk Among Us 

41.  Nike-A-Go-Go – This is a song about some female sex robot with missiles named Nike. Yeah, it’s a bit out there and the song really leans heavily on the “go-go” mechanic, which for me makes it kind of annoying. I might be ranking it too high.  Walk Among Us

40.  Wolf’s Blood – Originally a separate release, it and the Die Die My Darling tracks were incorporated into Earth A.D. for a meatier release. It’s a pretty vicious song, and a good representation for that era of the band. It’s brief, sounds like it was recorded in a garbage can, but also fun to scream along to.  Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood

39.  Theme for a Jackal – A more grounded track about a man abusing the people in his life, it’s probably the most interesting Misfits song from a lyrical perspective. It also has piano throughout, a nice little callback to the band’s original construction, and it has a real 1950s murder/mystery vibe to it. A really cool track, just kind of odd as a Misfits song.  Static Age

38.  Some Kinda Hate – For a lot of my friends, this is one of the first songs we all learned on guitar. It has a really simple riff throughout, and it’s the first Misfits song to just lean on a collection of “whoa’s” for the chorus. It’s very straight-forward and a good representation for the early version of The Misfits.  Static Age

37.  She – The B-side on the Cough/Cool single, the original version, like the title track, featured no guitar. Unlike its sister song, the updated version with guitar is the superior one and can be found across a smattering of releases. The original is locked away on the box set. It’s an extremely quick song with no real chorus, but also an excellent track with some nice vocals by Danzig.  Static Age/Box Set

36.  TV Casualty – Another early era song about television, this one has some of the most descriptive lyrics of any Misfits song which includes a lot of fun references for the nostalgic types out there. Really punk in vibe, with the exception of the tempo which is very mid as opposed to fast. It’s always been one of my personal favorites.  Static Age

35.  Ghouls Night Out – This is one of those songs that feels like a half-baked idea. They maybe had the melody and general structure, and needed to make it fit the band’s horror image. It’s about zombies eating flesh and all that, but comes across a bit cartoony thanks to its campy chorus. It’s a fine sing-along track, it just feels a bit too silly for me.  Collection I

34.  Green Hell – This one was made famous thanks to a cover by Metallica. I always kind of wondered why they chose to cover this one as opposed to a better song, but “Green Hell” is one of the better thrash tracks from the band, and that would obviously make it appealing to a thrash band like Metallica. The subject matter is kind of weird, but it works.  Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood

R-418484-1354432410-3156.jpeg33.  Night of the Living Dead – It feels really appropriate for The Misfit to do a song based on the B-movie classic Night of the Living Dead. I love Danzig’s lyrics in this one to describe the zombies, in particular the shredded wheat line. The only thing holding this track back is a solid chorus as it, once again, just settles for “whoa’s.” Walk Among Us

32.  Horror Hotel – Another campier horror track from The Misfits, this one works a bit better than “Ghouls Night Out” and has some fun lyrics. The chorus isn’t anything special, just “Horror hotel” shouted over and over, but it’s framed well and accentuated with the “It’s up to me,” line. Another good sing-along song.  Collection II

31.  Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight? – When I was in high school, I would challenge myself to remember Misfits lyrics when sitting in class and would write them on the inside cover of my notebooks. I’ve always been glad no teacher ever found one as if they did and saw the lyrics to this song I probably would have been forced to spend time with the guidance counselor, or worse. And post Columbine who knows what would have happened? This song is exactly as the title suggest and it’s pretty vicious, a sick sort of fantasy. It begins slowly before exploding after Danzig asks the question in the title for the first time. The subject matter is almost too familiar these days, what with all of the senseless mass shootings that go on, but it’s undeniably a signature song for the band and probably its darkest.  Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood

30.  Vampira – A campy song about a horror TV host of the same name. This song also has numerous recordings spread throughout the band’s history, though the one on Walk Among Us is probably still my favorite. Tough to say. It’s a great little number though, simple but catchy, and some nice imagery in the lyrics.  Walk Among Us

29.  Children in Heat – Atypical topic, but hard to refute, “Children in Heat” is all about teenagers and their uncontrollable urge to mate. It’s very up-tempo and extremely catchy, and forever linked with “Teenagers from Mars,” which is only slightly better, because they were recorded in the same take and released together on the Horror Business single. For a time, this was one of my most favorite Misfits songs, and even though it no longer is I still love it. Which means we’re at the part of the list where I’m splitting hairs.  Collection II

28.  We Are 138 – If The Misfits have an anthem, it’s probably “We Are 138.” The song is mostly just that line, being repeated over and over with increasing intensity. It pauses for a true verse only for a moment, since the song is only 1:41 (why couldn’t they trim just 3 seconds?). It’s a violent mob song, though not as obviously violent as something like “Mommy…,” and an easy crowd pleaser for a live show.  Static Age

27.  Teenagers from Mars – This is one of Danzig’s best written Misfits songs from a lyrics perspective, just some really fun lines that work well together like “B-film born invasion.” I just wish the chorus was a little better as the verses are just so much more fun than it, it’s like the chorus is letting them down.  Collection I

26.  All Hell Breaks Loose – This a fun track where you can actually hear Only’s bass driving things along. It rises in intensity as it carries on, though it never gets too explosive. One of the few songs not represented on any compilation which adds to its appeal as it makes a Walk Among Us purchase a little more fun.  Walk Among Us

R-418551-1476119908-3164.jpeg25.  London Dungeon – This song is one of the few based on a real-life experience had by the band as they ran into some legal issues while touring the UK. It’s a pretty typical structure for a Misfits song, where a verse is delivered, then returned to with more intensity later on. The unique part of this song is its guitar and bass line which stands out among other Misfits tracks. There’s a 70s sort of groove to it that’s just not found on other Misfits songs.  Collection I

24.  Angelfuck – This song’s title is responsible for my mom refusing to buy me Misfits albums as gifts when I was a teen. Aside from its use of the F-word, it’s not a song that comes across as very sinister. It’s really catchy and representative of those early Misfits songs that probably would have had more mass appeal with better distribution, and in this case different lyrics. This is a great one though and a song I love, even if it doesn’t fit in with the horror stuff that followed.  Static Age

23.  Attitude – Another song made famous when a more famous band covered it, in this case Guns ‘N Roses. Though that cover isn’t as popular as it could have been, since Axl doesn’t sing on it. This song gets some heat for being misogynistic since it certainly sounds like the lyrics are directed at a woman and violence being directed at them is implied, “Inside your feeble brain there’s probably a whore/If you don’t shut your mouth you’re gonna feel the floor!” Now, a whore can be masculine, but it’s probably not intended to be. Anyways, I felt that should be mentioned and not ignored, but this song is incredibly catchy and probably the song that got me into The Misfits. I’m still a little ticked off that the then WWF never found a way to incorporate it into any of their Attitude Era stuff.  Static Age

22.  In the Doorway – This is the last Misfits song to get released. It was recorded during the Static Age sessions, but never released until the retail version of that album was put out in 1996. For some reason, Caroline even withheld it from the box set, making this the only song to not appear in that collection, which kind of ticks me off. Caroline was basically making money off the hardcore fans with that set, and then expected them to re-buy an album included in there just a year later so they could get the last song. They deserve a nice “Fuck you” for that one. This is a good song though, and really unique as it’s very somber and melancholy. I wouldn’t call it a love song or anything, but it’s certainly closer to that in mood than any other Misfits recording. It’s rather brief too, and one of the few Misfits songs that I actually wish was longer, and probably the best vocal performance for Glenn Danzig during his time with the band.  Static Age

21.  Violent World – Another song that didn’t make it to a compilation, “Violent World” is a straight-forward punk song that makes itself stand out through sheer catchiness. It has a sarcastic sort of chorus with Danzig imploring you to come along to a violent world with him, pitching it like some sort of amusement park. It’s a fun song that gets a little dark with some Nazi mentions, but a song worth getting Walk Among Us for.  Walk Among Us

220px-Misfits_-_Legacy_of_Brutality_cover20.  American Nightmare – A post break-up release, “American Nightmare” is made unique with its rock-a-billy song structure and Danzig doing his best Elvis impersonation. There’s a clapping track mixed in and it’s possibly the most fun song ever written about being a serial killer. About a decade or so ago, Glenn Danzig and Hank III performed this one live which was pretty cool. Last I checked, the performance could still be found on YouTube.  Legacy of Brutality

19.  Devil’s Whorehouse – This a is a great song and a good example of The Misfits being both campy and kind of sinister all in one. It’s basically a bondage/S&M song about a literal Devil’s whorehouse. It feels visceral, especially with the slapping sounds tacked on at the end.  Walk Among Us

18.  Come Back – The longest and one of the slowest Misfits songs, “Come Back” was one that didn’t click with me right away. I needed to hear it many times for it to grow on me and to appreciate it more. There’s a rawness to Danzig’s vocal performance, a sort of pain trapped inside as well as danger that isn’t present really anywhere else. There’s mystery, and desperation roars in at the end, and the song feels unsettling and real. It may not be a typical uptempo Misfits track about zombies or something, but it’s still pretty awesome.  Static Age

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“We Bite” and “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight” were included on the “Die, Die My Darling” single.

17.  We Bite – Everything “Come Back” is not. This one is pure speed with carnal lyrics. Reading the lyrics by themselves, the song feels a bit too campy and too silly, but combine them with the visceral delivery of the band and they take on new life. They almost sound authentic.  Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood

16.  Death Comes Ripping – Seemingly one of Danzig’s favorite Misfits songs as he would, from time to time, perform it with his band Danzig. Some great drumming really drives this one and it’s a good song to get a crowd pumping. Also might be the only song I’ve ever heard that references testicle burning.  Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood

15.  20 Eyes – The first Misfits song I ever saw performed by Danzig live was “20 Eyes” in 2005 when Doyle joined him onstage for a show in Boston. The opener to Walk Among Us, “20 Eyes” is a simple track that gets by with sheer catchiness. The song does just enough to keep it interesting for its short duration, and it’s just so damn effective at getting stuck in your head, even if it feels silly and campy.  Walk Among Us

14.  Halloween – The Misfits are so known for Halloween that it feels like this song is more important to the band’s reputation that it really is. It’s a good song. No – a great one, but also pretty conventional for the band. Danzig delivers the vocals with just the right amount of intensity, and the more pagan approach to the holiday helps at least make it feel a little scary. It was basically a song the band had to do, given its reputation, but I find it funny that when making out a Halloween playlist that this isn’t the first Misfits song I think of, or probably even the fifth.  Collection II

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The Misfits took their name from the motion picture of the same name, which was Marilyn Monroe’s final appearance in a film.

13.  Who Killed Marilyn? – Originally released by Glenn Danzig as a solo effort, the various versions recorded by The Misfits appeared in the box set and on Legacy of Brutality, though for that release it’s unknown how much was overdubbed by Danzig and how much of the band’s original performance is audible. I love this song though, as it hypothesizes on how Marilyn Monroe was murdered so it’s more grounded than other releases. It has a great chorus and a great structure to it. If you want to hear the original Glenn Danzig version you’ll have to track down the Plan 9 single release 7″. It was announced a few years ago the single was set for a re-release, but nothing has come of it. Legacy of Brutality

12.  Earth A.D. – The title track for the band’s second LP release, “Earth A.D.” takes that thrash approach and does so in a way the band is capable of handling. A post apocalyptic tale about a desolate and violent future, “Earth A.D.” is another one of those tracks that appears to be a favorite of Danzig’s as he’s performed it with his band over the years. It’s relatively fast, has some descriptive lyrics, and a good chorus to shout aloud. On earth as it is in Hell, baby!  Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood

11.  Bloodfeast – The rare slow and brooding sort of Misfits track, especially in the Earth A.D. era. “Bloodfeast” is creepy and sinister befitting of a modern horror movie villain. The song is all about inflicting terror and unease in the listener amid an orgy of blood and sacrifice. It’s a really moody and satisfying listen, I’m surprised Danzig doesn’t perform it more often.  Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood

10.  Die, Die My Darling – Originally released as a single, this one was incorporated into later versions of Earth A.D. along with “Wolf’s Blood.” It’s name, like many Misfits songs, is taken from an old B-movie and was made popular in the late 90s by a Metallica cover. It’s one of the band’s signature songs these days, and a worthy song to kick off the top 10. It has a simple structure of introducing a verse/chorus that gets repeated multiple times with rising levels of intensity. With the lyrics being all about murdering someone, that increased intensity works really well to heighten the song’s impact.  The single version has been re-pressed and released numerous times, even in the 2000’s.  Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood

R-418399-1205367481.jpeg9.  Bullet – Allegedly, this song got the band banned from Texas. Its lyrics describe the assassination of JFK in gruesome detail and place the blame on the state of Texas before turning into a Jackie-O fantasy in the end. It’s kind of strange, since Danzig would have been pretty young during that time, for him to have a fascination with Jackie-O, but it’s possible his lyrics were more of a reflection of society’s infatuation with her. More likely, the song, like other early Misfits recordings, is designed to get attention by any means necessary. It’s fast and brutal, and if the lyrics were more horror infatuated it would have fit in just fine on Earth A.D. Since it was recorded with the other Static Age tracks, and first released as its own single that was more like an EP than a single, it feels ahead of its time in some respects.  Static Age

8.  Spinal Remains – For a longtime the only version of this song available was the horrible sounding one on Legacy of Brutality. Thankfully, Static Age restored this one to its original glory as it’s another early era speed song. I love Danzig’s vocals on this one, especially on the pre-chorus lines. It’s got a great tempo and would make for an excellent inclusion on any future Misfits reunion set list. Static Age

7.  I Turned Into a Martian – This song seems to pop up a lot among fans as a favorite from the band. When I first heard it, the campy subject matter caused me to kind of dismiss it, but over time I’ve grown to appreciate it more. It possesses a very conventional song structure for a 60s radio hit, and doesn’t possess an overtly punk feel to it. The lyrics are fun, and the song is incredibly catchy. I kind of prefer the original “Plan 9” version of the song from the Sessions disc on the box set, but the original release from Walk Among Us is just fine too. The faster version from Collection I though causes the song to lose a little bit of its charm.  Walk Among Us

6.  Skulls – Perhaps the signature song of the band, “Skulls” is a short but great one that works well when played fast and when played just a bit slower as it was on Walk Among Us. It’s a silly concept, a guy infatuated with collecting skulls to the point of practically begging for them, but framed with enough slasher imagery to give it credibility. And who knew a song about hanging skulls on one’s wall could be so damn catchy? This was the encore song for the Danzig Legacy show I attended years ago, which speaks to its importance within the band’s catalog.  Walk Among Us

5.  Last Caress – We’re in the top five, and kicking things off is “Last Caress.” Like “Bullet,” this feels like a song that’s very much trying to get the listener’s attention by being overtly crass and offensive. The opening line is “I’ve got something to say/I killed your baby today” spoken clearly and dramatically enhanced by the rolling drums. Danzig then goes on to sing about raping your mother and reminding you he killed your baby, all the while he sings a chorus so catchy and benign sounding that it defies the viciousness of the verse. This is very much one of those songs that if you could ignore the lyrical content you would swear it’s beautiful. Even the title “Last Caress” implies some sort of tragic end to an otherwise beautiful relationship and it’s easy to romanticize the concept of a last caress. The finish to the song is the capper, and what makes it so memorable, and almost iconic.  Static Age

4.  Hybrid Moments – Quite possibly the catchiest Misfits song, and that’s saying something. It’s an uptempo track that’s not brutally fast, by any means, and the vocals are prominent in the song and delivered in a soulful performance. This song, as well as many others from the same sessions, demonstrated that Glenn Danzig wasn’t a typical punk vocalist and was capable of a lot more. On any given day of the week, I might tell you “Hybrid Moments” is my favorite Misfits song, and that’s something I can probably say about all of the top six.  Static Age

3.  Astro Zombies – What sounds like a ridiculous concept for a song is made memorable with a great and unique performance amongst The Misfits catalog. “Astro Zombies” manages to appear like a traditional Misfits song in every way, but sounds unique enough to stand out. It even relies on a chorus of mostly “whoa’s” but pulls it off because the connecting tissue is so good. The lyrics appear silly at first blush, but the performance is delivered in such an authentic manner that you almost believe Danzig is going to destroy the world, with just a touch of his burning hand.  Walk Among Us

the-misfits-horror-business-sticker-s09412.  Horror Business – This song, more so than even “Skulls,” feels like it should be the band’s signature song. It’s subject matter, Hitchcock’s Psycho, is appropriate for the band despite the lack of zombies and just the title seems to be a succinct way to describe the band’s approach to song writing and its imagery. And like “Skulls,” it manages to take something violent like stabbing a person and turning it into an extremely catchy chorus. And since Psycho is so well known when compared with other inspirational sources of material for the band, it creates a comforting familiarity that lessens its edge. This easily could have been number one.  Collection I

1. Where Eagles Dare – I toyed with the idea of what I should do with the number one song on this list. Should it be a song that I think best represents the band and its horror image, or should I just go with my favorite song by the band? Now, deciding on a favorite song isn’t a simple endeavor either, but in the end since this is my list I decided that my personal preference should carry the most weight. “Where Eagles Dare” is the perfect Misfits song. It’s got build-up, a catchy rhythm, a really catchy chorus, and just enough obscenity to grab the listener’s attention like a good punk song should. This is one of those songs you can play in front of a conservative listener, watch them scoff at it, then catch them singing it to themself an hour later. The simple, but relatable chorus of “I ain’t no god-damned son of a bitch,” is so easy to get into it should be criminal. How Danzig could resist playing this one with his band over the years amazes me because it’s guaranteed to get a huge response from any crowd. It’s the best song out of a great bunch, and if I were attending a Misfits show tonight it would be the song I would want to hear most, which felt like a great way to decide on what number one should be.  Collection I

So that’s that. I hope you enjoyed reading over 5,000 words about Misfits songs, which collectively probably do not come close to amounting to 5,000 words. Watch out for candy apples with razor blades tonight and have a happy Halloween!


The Misfits Box Set

The Misfits Box Set (1996)

The Misfits Box Set (1996)

The Misfits came onto the punk scene in the late 1970’s. Founded by Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only, The Misfits embraced the do-it-yourself motto of the punk scene and would record and self-publish numerous EPs during the band’s existence. Following the band’s break-up in the early 80’s, Glenn Danzig would go on to front a new band, Samhain, which would eventually garner a major label record deal and become Danzig. Despite that though, The Misfits refused to die. Danzig would release a few posthumous albums, notably the compilations Legacy of Brutality and Misfits (later referred to as Collection 1). Come the early 90’s and most Misfits albums had been given a CD release via Caroline Records and Danzig’s Plan 9 label. Suddenly, The Misfits were more popular than ever before with the iconic Crimson Ghost becoming a mainstay in concert crowds. A lot of this new-found popularity came in part thanks to Metallica and its cover of classics Misfits tunes “Green Hell” and “Last Caress.” There was new demand for Misfits material, and after being excluded from the more recent releases, Jerry Only and his brother Doyle wanted to get in on the action. There was lots of legal wrangling between the two camps and it all eventually lead to an agreement where both parties would share merchandising rights and Only could resurrect a new version of The Misfits. This also lead to the creation of The Misfits Box Set in 1996, a release meant to compile all of the Misfits recordings lost to time in one box.

It wasn’t until recently that I finally purchased The Misfits Box Set. When the set was released in ’96, I was just getting into The Misfits. As a kid, I didn’t have the capital to fork over for a box set and was forced to grow my Misfits collection in pieces. By the time I was in high school and had a part-time job I already owned all of the albums contained within the box set in their stand-alone version and it no longer made sense for me to purchase the box set. Plus by then the set had been reissued with the newer pressings being decidedly less extravagant than the original. Being the collector that I am today, I finally saw fit to hunt down a first edition box set. I waited a long time for the right set to make itself available, and it finally did. I now own what is arguably the most important Misfits release from the 1990’s and I’m pretty happy with the decision.

The Misfits Box Set was definitely a lot cooler when it came out than it is today due to the original scarcity of the material. Thanks to the internet, Misfits vinyl is a lot easier to come by than it was 20 years ago (though that doesn’t make it cheap) and Caroline has since issued a stand alone version of Static Age that’s superior to what is contained here. When it came out though it was something special. Spread across four discs are Collections 1 and 2 (the latter being brand new at the time), Legacy of Brutality, Evilive, Earth AD/Wolfsblood, Static Age, and the Sessions disc. The only album missing is Walk Among Us, which Caroline did not have the distribution rights for. The gems of this release were certainly the last two discs, Static Age and Sessions.

Static Age was released for the very first time with the box set.

Static Age was released for the very first time with the box set.

Static Age was the first album recored by The Misfits. It’s story is rather interesting as Glenn secured studio time for it when a major label tried to start an offshoot label called Blank Records. Unbeknownst to them, Glenn had already started a label under that name and had secured the trademark. Rather than sell it, he gave it up in exchange for the studio time to make Static Age. After the album’s completion, the band was unable to secure a distribution deal for it. They basically would chop the album up and spread the recordings across a few self-published releases, notably Bullet and Beware. A lot of the songs that were never released would eventually make it onto Legacy of Brutality but with the guitar and bass tracks overdubbed by Danzig (so he didn’t have to pay anyone royalties). Static Age is still my favorite Misfits recording as it’s the band’s most diverse. There are elements of rock, punk, jazz and metal on the release and some of my favorite songs are on it such as “Hybrid Moments” and “Last Caress.” Caroline would release the album as a stand-alone in 1997 with three additional tracks: “She,” “Spinal Remains,” and “In the Doorway.” These tracks were unfinished at the time though “She” was released on Collection 1 and “Spinal Remains” on Legacy of Brutality. All three tracks are awesome, and I particularly enjoy “In the Doorway” which is sort of the forgotten Misfits tune. I don’t know why Caroline did not include them for the box set, but it’s a shame that the Static Age released here is basically incomplete.

The Sessions disc was the other main attraction of the box set and remains so today. A lot of the tracks on this release are from the various seven inch recordings that never made it to disc. It starts off with the two tracks from the first ever Misfits release, Cough/Cool, and presents a very different sound as the band did not feature a guitarist originally. Helping to soften the blow of the missing Walk Among Us tracks are the original Walk Among Us recordings. The band had basically recorded the album before securing a record deal. When they were able to land one with Slash Records the label had the band re-record the entire album. The originals are preserved here, some of which I consider superior to the final album version. I particularly enjoy the slowed down versions of “Violent World” and “I Turned Into a Martian.” The Sessions disc does get repetitive as several songs are featured more than once, but I’d rather the set contain too much as opposed to too little.

Former Samhain and Danzig bassist Eerie Von provided the liner notes for the box set.

Former Samhain and Danzig bassist Eerie Von provided the liner notes for the box set.

The packaging for the box set has changed over the years and the first edition remains the best. The set comes housed in a coffin-shaped box with faux wood grain printed on it. Inside the box is lined with a soft red insert. The discs are stacked in individual cases and a fiend pin is included at the base of the box. A booklet with new artwork is also included. The booklet contains a fairly lengthy biography on the band written by former Misfits photographer and Samhain/Danzig bassist Eerie Von. The booklet contains lot of old pictures of the band and various show flyers while also attempting to be a source for Misfits lyrics and a discography. After the release of the box set, it would be revealed that Glenn Danzig had no involvement with it and the lyrics are just the best guesses of some fans and former members (Danzig would, years later, release his own lyric book with select Misfits tracks) which makes a lot of the material inaccurate.

The discs themselves are rather cool as Caroline spent the few extra bucks to make them special. Since Misfits releases are so short in length, the albums could be consolidated to four discs. Each of the first three discs comes in a hard, glossy, black plastic case with raised lettering. Somewhat understated, but also elegant in its simplicity. Static Age received special treatment as it came in an irregularly sized, hinge-less, case. Opening it on the first try is a bit of a puzzle as its seams are hidden quite well. It slides apart, and inside is a small booklet and the actual disc. The outer case is all black with a large raised visage of the Crimson Ghost on the front and the track list on the back. It’s a unique design and not one I’ve seen repeated elsewhere. Repressings of the box set would be done on the cheap with these special cases replaced with two standard jewel cases, each housing two discs, making the first edition the more special of the two. Content wise, all versions contain the same amount of tracks though the pin was supposed to be excluded from future editions (some fans have reported getting a pin in the reissues meaning Caroline probably kept including them while they still had stock available).

More popular in death than in life, The Misfits legacy will likely live-on as more kids discover the band every day.

More popular in death than in life, The Misfits legacy will likely live-on as more kids discover the band every day.

The legacy of The Misfits is undeniable at this point. Even today, rumors persist of the band reforming for a live performance or new album. The box set was an unquestionably cool release at the time that is less special today thanks to The Misfits being more accessible than ever before. It’s pretty awesome that a band that broke up before I was even born could suddenly be more popular in the 90’s than it was at any time previous, which lead to a new version of The Misfits being born. I was never into Jerry Only’s version of The Misfits, but it is neat that it’s around for those who want it. I have had the pleasure, on more than one occasion, of seeing Danzig together with Doyle perform some of these tracks and it was an experience I’ll likely never forget. For the collector, this box set is pretty much essential and for new fans eager to spend some money it’s also a pretty nice gateway to The Misfits. There’s enough here that a casual fan would never have need to purchase another Misfits disc. Caroline did a good job of making the release (the first edition, anyways) feel special and it’s one of the better box sets I own.


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