Monday, August 24, 2009

Gwar and the Misfits

Gwar and the Misfits
Originally uploaded by tonbabydc

Imagine for a moment that you are young and single, and you have been invited to a BBQ. You know the following things about the BBQ:

There will be a lot of people. Many of them will be of the opposite sex. The weather is expected to be good. There will be beer. It should be fun.

However, you have also been informed that there will be no burgers, no hot dogs, no ribs, and no chicken at this "BBQ". The only food that will be served will be veggie burgers.

In that sense, no matter how good of a party it many how many women you meet, or how many beers you drink, or how many friends you make......this will still be a very lame BBQ.

Do you go to the BBQ? And if you do, have you thus waived your right to complain about it? And if you end up having a good time and stuffing your face with BocaBurgers, should you be too embarrassed to tell your friends about it the next day?

Welcome to the dilemma of a Misfits fan in the post-Danzig era. Because a Misfits without Danzig is most certainly akin to a BBQ without meat. (Though as long as Jerry Only is milking this gig, this BBQ will never be without its meathead).

(Yes, yes....again with the Danzig).

Actually, the Danzig dichotomy needs to be addressed: Almost all punk rock fans have a soft spot for the Misfits, and most outright love them. However, these same folks tend to think of Danzig's solo career as little more than a punch line. So, why shouldn't a revival band without him be fine and dandy for everyone?

(Think about it: there is totally a precedent for this phenomenon of goofy lead singers of once-beloved rock bands, and the tools who go on to front them to great success).

I guess there are a lot of reasons, actually. First and foremost, the Misfits had been dead and buried for something like 15 years before Jerry Only brought them back with a new singer. And beyond that, there's something about the Misfits that is quintessentially teenage. Sometimes it just best to leave those memories as they were.

And then there was the fact that Michael Graves - while no doubt one heck of a trooper to try and fill Mr. Danzig's boots - was just a weird, weird pick. He was young, and sort of vaguely good looking, but not in any sort of punk rock way. He looked a little like a frat boy to me. He had pipes, for sure, but Ripper Owens he was not.

Regardless, I went to this concert on my own will. In fact, I'm sure it was my idea.

Took my little brother, who by now was finally over that episode at the Guns N'Roses concert.

This was in no small part because the Misfits would be joined on the tour by the one-and-only Gwar. Somehow, despite the fact that we were suburbanite little dorks, Kevin and I had known about Gwar and their sideshow tour for years and years. Together with the Misfits, it seemed like a good opportunity to kill two birds that we'd probably never otherwise hunt for.

The show wasn't particularly memorable. The Misfits brought a lot of energy and did the mainstays - Skulls, AngelFuck, etc. I even think that they played one of the Misfits songs that Danzig had taken with him to his future bands....(drawing a blank here, but it must have been "Horror Biz").

The point is, if you could forget the fact that you were watching a glorified cover band, it was a fairly fun set.

Gwar was.....well, Gwar was Gwar. They sang a lot of songs with gross lyrics ("Fish Fuck" stands out), and they made a fucking mess of the stage, as they were fully expected to. To say that they were "good" would be an overstatement, but they sure were entertaining, and didn't take themselves too seriously.

I'm not sure that can be said of anyone who came out of the Misfits camp. God only knows what part of being from New Jersey and dressing up like a zombie and playing punk rock is to be taken as sacred, but nonetheless, not having a sense of humor seems to have become some kind of an ironic curse associated with the extended Misfits clan.

Or so I was thinking right before I saw Jerry Only emerge in the 9:30 Club balcony and sign a bunch of stuff for teenage fans. I stood there with my brother and watched, thinking how cool it was for him to be making the rounds after his show, and how rare it is for a performer to be that accessible - especially a performer as legendary (um....relatively speaking) Mr. Only is.

After shaking a few hands, he made his way towards the stairs, close by where I was standing with my arms folded. I lifted my chin and smiled to him - I intended it to be a subtle but direct gesture.....I didn't want to be a fanboy, but I thought that perhaps he might appreciate a nice word from someone over the age of 17.

Jerry was having none of it. Locking in on me with his peripherals, he stared past me and strode by at full speed, totally dissing me.

Maybe it was the Samhain shirt I was wearing....

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