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Few rock bands can define the musical genre of punk rock as well as the Misfits. Misfits are an American hardcore punk band. It was formed in 1977 in New Jersey by singer and songwriter Glenn Danzig, and later re-founded by bassist Jerry.
Along with popular acts, this band helped to define punk rock, as well as create a horror punk.This band has had several transformations in its members but has always kept the punk rock spirit alive.
When the band first formed, Glenn Danzig was the front man of the band. He wrote several songs, played the electric piano, and was singer for the band.
The other members at this point were Jimmy Battle, Manny Martinez, and Diane DiPiazza Jimmy and Diane only stayed with the band about a month before they were replaced by Jerry Caiafa. When the band was set with its members, they went to the studio and started recording.
The Misfits' very first single was called 'Cough Cool'. They released the song themselves through their own recording label, Blank Records. Though they played a few shows and did not immediately have a large fan base, the band continued to play and worked on its own particular sound.
By October they began to be influenced by other punk rockers, such as the Ramones, and brought in a new guitarist, Franche Coma. It was around this time that they caught a break and had the opportunity to record a full-length album.
They recorded 17 songs, including 'Teenagers from Mars' and 'Return of the Fly'. The Misfits were beginning to gather a fan base by the end of 1977. There were no labels that were immediately interested in The Misfits' first album, so the band took four of its songs and released them.
The band began touring in support of their EP and began to take on a ghoulish appearance. Two of the band's members were not happy with the direction the band was taking.
Franche Coma and Jim Cantania left the band and were quickly replaced with Joey Image and Bobby Steele. The band started touring together over the next year, and Jerry Caiafa began his signature hairstyle to be known by many punk rockers as the 'devil lock'.
The band's fan base was growing, as was their popularity. They were perfecting their horror punk style all along, and they decided to start a fan club dubbed 'The Fiend Club'.
'We are 138' was filled with the straight down-strumming guitar technique that was very reminiscent of the Ramones. It was a style the band would proudly perfect, and one that stayed with them throughout all of their recordings.
The 'Bullet' sheet showed former-president Kennedy's head on a blood splattered background with a bullet hole in it. At this time it was fairly common to see Jerry around town with his electric blue hair and leather jacket that proudly proclaimed 'The Misfits' on the back.
Everyone in Lodi had heard of the Misfits and how they wrote their own songs, put out their own records and booked their own gigs. This D.I.Y. method was a staple of 'punk rock'.
Why let some big record companies tell you how to look, how to sound, or what to do for that matter? They would make it happen on their own terms, all the way down to cutting and gluing the seven inch sleeves together themselves.
In the summer of 1979 a new EP was coming out and there had been some major changes: enter Bobby Steele on guitar and Joey Image on drums.
Another addition, although not to the actual line-up itself, a logo appeared, the Crimson Ghost was adopted as the symbol of the band in the Spring of that year on the poster for the band's show at Max's Kansas City. This would be the image that would forever be linked to the band and would grace the cover of this new EP, 'Horror Business'.
'Horror Business' was another seven inch with three new songs recorded live in the studio and pressed on yellow vinyl. Besides the title track there was 'Teenage From Mars' and 'Children In Heat'.
This EP was powerful, raw, and obnoxious. A different look was going on with the ever-evolving sound. All that horror business was starting to branch out. The trade mark 'devilock' hair style was becoming more prominent.
Everyone looks better in black clothes! They were turning into what we used to call a 'ghoul rock' band. Some said 'monster rock', 'horror rock', and others even said 'death rock'. It was their own niche, one that would last, one that would always separate the Misfits from all others.
In November of 1979 a new EP called 'Night Of The Living Dead' came out as a three song seven inch with the b-side being 'Where Eagles Dare' and 'Rat Fink'.
Today, all of the songs are all classics. '20 Eyes', 'Hate Breeders', 'Astro Zombies', 'Nike-A-Go-Go', and not to mention a new version of 'Night Of The Living Dead'. As a gift to the 'Fiend Club', a seven inch of live tracks from this last tour called Evilive was released.
The first 1000 copies pressed would be available only to the Misfits' loyal throng. The cover featured a whole band live shot with Glenn's interpretation of the Crimson Ghost on the back.
For this version, 'We Bite' and 'Die, Die My Darling' were added as bonus tracks. The final Misfits record was a twelve inch on Caroline Records. It was called 'Die, Die My Darling'. It was pressed on black, purple, and white vinyl. He once said that the Misfits were he and Jerry, and if they weren't together it wouldn't be the same.
They were moving further apart. The Misfits were some guys from New Jersey who made great music during a crazy time unlike anyone before or since. To them, I say Fangs...for the memories.
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