Misfits look forward


POSTED: Friday, December 25, 2009

After almost 33 years as a member of the Misfits, Jerry Only has found that the best way to approach the iconic group's legacy is by looking forward.

“;When I look over my shoulder there's a wall, so it pays to just look forward,”; Only said last Sunday, calling from “;about a block from Obama's old office”; in Chicago where he and his wife have a home.

The “;wall”; consists primarily of legal battles with Misfits founder Glenn Danzig and, to a lesser degree, conflicts with other former members of the group.

“;Any time we get something out of the old catalog going forward we gotta go through Danzig, so there's always a wall in my way. In one way its a hindrance, in another way its pursuant of doing greater things ... and we continue to go (forward).”;





        featuring the Misfits

Where: Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.


When: 7 p.m. Dec. 31


Cost: $25 general


admission, $75 VIP


Info: (877) 714-7668 or groovetickets.com




The band's current formation - Only (bass), Dez Cadena (guitar) and Robo (drums) - returns to Honolulu to celebrate “;New Year's Evil”; next week at Pipeline Cafe. Only booked the show himself after making friends and some business contacts during a previous stay.

“;I think we're really going to have a really great time out there on New Year's Eve and I really look forward to it,”; Only said. “;I love this band. I think it's a great band. I think we broke a lot of ground. I think that we inspired a lot of music that's out there today ... (and) I think we're very true to writing good songs and coming up with really solid material.”;

The recordings by the first-generation Misfits - Only, Danzig and several others - have inspired several generations of punk, metal and alt-rock musicians. The group's work since Only reformed the group in 1996 with David “;Dr. Chud”; Calabrese (drums), Michale Graves (vocals) and Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein (guitar) is also important - it stretches from their 1997 album, “;American Psycho,”; and the music videos “;American Psycho”; and “;Dig Up Her Bones”; to the group's current 12-inch vinyl single, “;Land of the Dead.”;

That's right, the Misfits are bucking industry trends and technology alike in 2009 with vinyl-only releases. A limited edition red vinyl pressing has already sold out; a green vinyl pressing is still available online at www.misfits.com.

Only will also have copies of an orange vinyl pressing - which is sold only at their shows - at Pipeline on Thursday.

Only said that the band wanted to put out new music but didn't want to rush-release an album - in any configuration. He added that the Misfits' fan base has always been into art and merchandise, and that a 12-inch vinyl record is a better platform for art than a CD or a music file.

“;We're going to spearhead that whole evolution by just releasing 12-inch singles and making backdrops and T-shirts and skateboards and letting the art really equate to the level of the band,”; Only said, adding that the singles are being packaged with old-style album-quality cover art. “;Land of the Dead”; shows the group's iconic “;Fiend Skull”; rendered by horror artist Arthur Suydam in the style of George Romero's zombie classics.

“;I think one of the coolest things about the band is that we've always drawn from our fan base to create our industry. The Misfits have never really survived on record sales. We've always survived on merchandise sales and playing live,”; he added, noting the industry-wide drop in record sales in recent years hasn't had much impact on the Misfits.

Visitors to the Web site also will be tempted by a T-shirt that shows the Misfits' iconic “;Fiend Skull”; skeletal mascot wearing a Santa suit.

“;That's the first piece of art I that bought going forward after we had the big legal battle with Danzig. It was actually done for a live album that we had recorded that I had the tapes for that nobody else had (that) was recorded by a friend of mine who has since passed on,”; Only said.

A skeleton dressed as Santa? According to Only, these days America is already linking Halloween and Christmas.

“;When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was a big thing, but over the years Halloween has grown and Thanksgiving has shrunk. Now it goes from Halloween (straight) to Christmas. I'm a religious man, I don't ever want to put Thanksgiving above Christmas, but (these days) it's neck-and-neck.”;

Summing up, Only said he's happy with the group and where it's going.

“;I think that after 33 years we've kind of become a household word. People know who we are, and hopefully that we care for quality. We are the bar that people try to go over the top of, and to me, that's an accomplishment.”;