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Misfits Biography

Home > Music > M > Misfits > Biography

Birth Place: Lodi, New Jersey, United States
Years Active: 1977–1983, 1995–present
Genres: Horror Punk, Hardcore Punk, Heavy Metal

Misfits is an American rock band often recognized as the progenitors of the horror punk subgenre, blending punk rock and other musical influences with horror film themes and imagery. Founded in 1977 in Lodi, New Jersey by singer and songwriter Glenn Danzig, the group had a fluctuating lineup during its first six years with Danzig and bassist Jerry Only as the only consistent members.

They released their first single, "Cough/Cool," in 1977 on Danzig's own label Blank Records. Mercury Records offered Danzig thirty hours of free studio time in exchange for the trademark to the Blank Records name, which the band used to record their first album, “Static Age,” in January 1978. However, they were unable to find a record label willing to release the it and instead released four of the songs as the "Bullet" single on Danzig's new imprint Plan 9 Records. “Static Age” would not be released in its entirety for another eighteen years. The band released two additional singles in 1979: "Horror Business" and "Night of the Living Dead," both on Plan 9.

The band's first EP, “Beware,” was released in January 1980. That August they recorded twelve new songs intended for an album, but it was never released. Only's brother Doyle then became the band's guitarist and would remain so until 2000. Three of the songs from the album sessions were released as “3 Hits from Hell” in April 1981, and two more were released as the "Halloween" single in October.

Throughout 1981 Misfits recorded songs for their first full-length album “Walk Among Us,” which was released in March 1982 through Ruby Records and Slash Records. A promotional music video was filmed for the song "Braineaters". That December they released a live EP titled “Evilive.”

The band broke up due to internal tensions on October 29, 1983, just two months before their second album “Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood” was released through Plan 9. Following the band's breakup a posthumous single for "Die, Die My Darling" was released in 1984, followed by two compilation albums of out-of-print and previously unreleased material released through Caroline Records: “Legacy of Brutality” (1985) and “Misfits” (1986), which would later become more commonly referred to as “Collection I.” “Evilive” was also re-released in 1987 as a full album.

After a series of legal battles ending in 1995, Jerry Only and Doyle re-formed the band with a new lineup including singer Michale Graves and drummer Dr. Chud. Caroline Records released “Collection II” that year, followed in 1996 by a box set titled simply “The Misfits” collecting nearly all of the band's early material, including “Static Age” which was released as a separate album in 1997.

Also in 1997 the new Misfits lineup released “American Psycho” on Geffen Records, supported by music videos for "American Psycho" and the single "Dig Up Her Bones". “Evillive II” was released in 1998, followed by “Famous Monsters” in 1999 on Roadrunner Records with a single and music video for "Scream!"

Graves, Chud, and Doyle all left the band in 2000, and a compilation of demos and b-sides from this era was released in 2001 as “Cuts from the Crypt.” Caroline Records attempted that year to release the material from the August 1980 sessions as “12 Hits from Hell,” but the album was cancelled at the request of Danzig and Only before it could be released.

As the only remaining member of Misfits, Jerry Only took over vocal duties and recruited Dez Cadena and Marky Ramone to fill out the band. This lineup released “Project 1950” in 2003, an album of cover versions of rock and roll songs from the 1950s and 1960s, on their own label Misfits Records. Ramone was replaced by Robo in 2005, and the current lineup released the "Land of the Dead" single in 2009.