Misfits' 2016 Reunion: What To Watch for When They Hit the Stage Together After 33 Years
This September, the iconic horror-punk band Misfits will do something many thought unthinkable. Original members Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only, along with longtime guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, will reunite for two live shows, their first since 1983. The gigs at Denver’s Riot Fest (Sept. 2-4) and the Chicago run of the festival (Sept. 16-18) will be the first time these three have shared the stage since Oct. 29, 1983 at Detroit’s Graystone Hall. But it’s not just time that makes the reunion so improbable.
The Misfits’ members have a long, volatile history of unpredictable live performances and legal squabbles. Their reunion might not match the hype of Guns N’ Roses’, but the Misfits’ reunion is a ticking time bomb -- with a high chance for triumph or disaster -- just the same.
Here are some of the things to watch for as the trio gets set to play their first show in nearly 33 years.
In Misfits’ 1977-1983 incarnation, the band went through six drummers. Their final show was a microcosm of this: late drummer Brian “Brian Damage” Keats was dragged offstage by Doyle after two songs when he was deemed too drunk to play, and Necros drummer Todd Swalla played the remainder of the set. They’ve had four drummers since, including former drummer Robo (who’s returned to the group more than once) and Marky Ramone. The drummer for the reunion hasn’t yet been announced, but in a recent Rolling Stone interview, Only says that Danzig’s “favorite drummer” is a solid candidate. He wouldn’t reveal his identity, but added that he’s a family guy who has lost positions in other bands due to his commitment to his family.
Will photography be allowed?
Frontman Glenn Danzig has been known to be confrontational with his audience in the past. Back in 1983, Danzig got into it with a fan onstage during a California show (see video below). Just think -- back then, every person in his crowd didn’t come equipped with a device containing a camera. Danzig has had a strict no-camera policy at his solo shows, which will be next to impossible to enforce at a music festival. Last year an overzealous photographer who ignored signs and security and snuck back into a venue after being thrown out and allegedly got roughed up by Danzig’s security and the singer himself.
Will both performances go off without a hitch?
In the aforementioned Rolling Stone interview, Only said, "If we make it to the second show, I'll be happy. If we make it past the second show, I'll be ecstatic."
As a solo artist, Danzig’s 2011 set at Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest got cut short after he took the stage 45 minutes late. It’s also worth noting that the seeds of the reunion were sown out of a preliminary meeting about additional legal action (Danzig unsuccessfully sued Only in 2014 over Misfits merch deals). They apparently struck an agreement that led to the Riot Fest reunion, but according to the organizers, they’ve been trying to get the band to reunite for the past several years.
What’s next for them?
As of now, the only gigs booked are the Riot Fest shows. Given the band’s iconography (and their song “Halloween”), one would think there'd be an appetite for more shows around, say, October. The most recent Danzig-less version of the band will be releasing a new EP, Friday the 13th, on June 17. There’s no talk of new music with Danzig just yet, as the singer is working on both an EP of Elvis Presley covers and a new Danzig album. Stay tuned.
We leave you with this well-preserved (all things considered) Misfits set from Detroit in 1982. Here's to the glory days.