Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Misfits at the PlayStation Theater

Jerry Only
As the burgeoning punk rock scene was exploding in New York City in 1977, vocalist/pianist Glenn Danzig was in Lodi, New Jersey, formulating Misfits as a punk rock band similar to the Ramones. Danzig named the band after actress Marilyn Monroe's final film The Misfits (1961). Bassist Gerald Caiafa, later known as Jerry Only, replaced the original bassist early on and survived through dozens of personnel changes. In the early 1980s, Misfits evolved into a hardcore punk band (and later a heavy metal band), and along the way became increasingly committed to exploiting the horror movie angle, both in song composition and appearance. Misfits disbanded in 1983 and Danzig went on to form Samhain and then the eponymous Danzig. Misfits (and especially Misfits t-shirts) became even more popular after the band's demise. After a series of legal battles with Danzig, Only and his bandmate brother, guitarist Paul Caiafa (renamed Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein), regained the rights to record and perform as Misfits and formed a new version of the band in 1995. The band dissolved in 2000, but Only reformed yet another Misfits, this time taking on the lead vocals in addition to the bass. Misfits has recorded seven studio albums, the most recent being The Devil's Rain in 2011. The band presently consists of Only, his son Jerry Caifa, Jr. on guitar and Eric "Chupacabra" Arce on drums.

Misfits annually tours around Halloween, and with no current album to promote this year, the Static Age Revisited tour promised a return to the band's early punk roots. Select cities, including New York, were promised a revisit to 1982’s Walk Among Us and 1983’s Earth A.D. albums in their entirety. As the house lights dimmed at the PlayStation Theater tonight, the band's skeletal mascot, the Crimson Ghost, sauntered hauntingly past the graveyard motif displayed on the stage. Wearing zombie face paint, the three Misfits then walked on and performed an astounding 39 songs in about 90 minutes. In addition to most of the two promised albums, the set also included six songs from Famous Monsters, four songs from Static Age and a few other songs. Only also introduced Alicia Vigil, bassist of the She Demons, to play bass during a newer song, "Vampire Girl." As promised, this was a revisit to the band's hyperspeed blasts and bombastic assault. The music was not nearly as raw as it used to be, however: Only has taken vocal lessons, the younger Caiafa's guitar leads were impressive, and Arce skillfully played a decent drum kit. Despite the seeming limitations of continually creating fresh horror punk without exhausting the factory, Only so far has found a way to keep the franchise alive.

Visit Misfits at www.misfits.com.