PUNK IMPERSONATORS 

Some bands were built to accommodate an evolving lineup (Pigface, Thrill Kill Kult, GWAR), while others have a history of defining frontmen (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine) — epitomizing a sound that legends are made of. Then there are those bands that stubbornly refuse to dissolve after their seminal lead singer quits or dies (Dead Kennedys, Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy). The remaining members of such bands often suffer delusions of escalating grandeur, and work diligently toward recreating some semblance of what once was, employing the services of earnest impersonators. And there is born the most disgusting, misleading manifestation of disillusion: the glorified cover band.

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Enter “the Misfits” — the fraudulent incarnation of the revolutionary punk rock group of the same name that formed in the late ’70s/early ’80s, fronted by the original devil-locked fiend, Glenn Danzig. When Danzig moved on to Samhain, mesh shirts, and sensitivity classes in the mid-’80s, a decade-long legal battle ensued between the frontman and Misfits’ co-founding member and bassist Jerry Only. Ultimately, Only was named the victor, winning the rights to the Misfits moniker and the eventual exploitation of merchandising spoils, which he began to reap in 1995 with the “resurrection” of the band. Allegedly, Danzig declined Only’s offer to front the group again, and the new Misfits, fronted by Danzig impersonator Michale Graves, released its first album, American Psycho (which ultimately lacked the signature menace, and featured more metal riffs than necessary in a so-called hardcore punk outfit) in 1997. “Sticking to our punk roots, the longest song on the album is three minutes, and nine cuts are under two,” Only proudly stated. “We’ve still got the classic backup vocals, the ’50s-sounding chord progressions, the different beats.” Dude, if you’ve got to try that hard to stylize your “new” sound to the minute, it’s time to face the music: Glenn moved on. The Misfits are dead. (If you’re that good, start your own band — Dave Grohl did it.)

But then came the stickers, the T-shirt and apparel line, the accessories, the glow-in-the-dark 45, the limited edition albums, the flimsy film cameos, the anniversary special, and an upcoming home video and DVD. Are you properly horrified yet? You haven’t heard the worst of it: They tour, too. And they’re coming to our hometown to unleash their uninhibited, unashamed unoriginality upon us all at Sunset Station this Saturday.

Consider yourself warned.

More by Wendi Kimura

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