The Misfits' Jerry Only
By Jay Oakley
How was the set?
Good. For me, it was real good. Great club, great promoter and it went really smooth.
So you're touring for Static Age. How does it feel doing that whole album?
Actually really smooth, it's not a strain at all. By the time we get done with it we're all warmed up and we hit some harder stuff, so it's all good.
How much more time do you have in the tour?
I think we have about 20-something shows, then we're in Australia.
When it comes the the more recent music that the Misfits have been putting out, you put out your little Christmas EP (Horror Xmas) and you put out the Descending Angel Single, but I wanted you to talk real quick about DEA.D. Alive! the live album.
What did you think of that?! Wasn't that cool?
I thought it was really cool. I really did. I loved the artwork and everything about that but the one thing I wanted to ask was it's the first live album that has no, what they call "Danzig Era" music on it. What was behind that decision?
We moved on. It's a new era for the band and it's kind of funny because the young audience takes more to "Dig Up Her Bones" and stuff like that then they do to the older stuff. But look, I've always embraced everything we've done. Everything we did, I think, is great and if you take the politics out of it and you just look at the accomplishments of the music, you realize it's all great shit. So I have no qualms about that but we did do Evilive back in the day so I figure why repeat any of that stuff and we went with newer material based on the fact that we have a newer audience so the DEA.D. Alive! album was made for the newer audience. I like it.
It's true because even when it came to Evillive 2, Michale (Graves) was still very fresh at the time so a couple of those older tunes were still necessary.
Yeah, Yeah! I think we put like forty-something songs on Evillive 2. [Laughs] But, Evillive 2 was just a Fiend Club release and then Glenn (Danzig) said "Hey, you can't do that!' and we said "Alright, that's fine." and we stopped it but it was just for the Fiend Club. The thing is, in the case of the Misfits, looking over our shoulders isn't as important as looking in front. I've got a good 10 to 15 years left in me. I can feel it, I don't have any problems running a 90 minute set without taking a break and I think if we can make as much of an impact in the next 35 years as we have in the last 38, we'll be fine. I've got my son (Jerry) in the band now, the kid is great. We're working on new material, he's got some really great riffs so I think in a lot of ways we're going to evolve that way. My goal is to take this band for a century, I won't be there but I think I can find people who are passionate enough about it and creative enough to do it justice for that amount of time. If we do that then that makes us like a Beethoven or some shit like that.
Absolutely and when it comes to more recent news, how's Dez (Cadena, former Misfits' guitarist)?
Dez is good. Dez, not this January but last January, lost his voice in Australia and it took him a long time to get to the doctor and get it diagnosed but they found out he had some cancer in his throat. They cut it out, gave his some radiation and he's doing fine. He kept his weight on which was important, the Mets are in the World Series, for him that's like the biggest thing. The Giants need to come around a little more for him but I think the Giants will come on at the end of the season so I think Dez's going to have a good year when it's all said and done. But, we just saw him the other day in Detroit, he was doing a benefit show and we were playing at Harpos so he stopped down in the afternoon and did some songs with us.
Dez wanted to do a lot of his own ideas that he had. Dez is very well rounded musically, he's not just a hardcore punk musician. He plays jazz, he plays all kinds of shit so Dez was looking to evolve his own style so when he got sick it was my time to switch gears. We're in the rebuilding stage, we're going to take a couple of bumps but I think, in the end, it's going to work out for the best.
I caught Dez, actually at this venue, when he was playing with Flag.
Wasn't that great?! That was one of the most energetic shows I've ever seen and their other guitar player (Stephen Egerton) is amazing. I was blown away so punk is alive and doing well.
I always like to talk a little bit of history and it's been almost, about 15 years since you took over vocals. It kind of went from Graves to Hideous to Graves so what's the story behind that? Is that something you always wanted to do? Did you not want a "singer?" Or, was it just time to do it as a three-piece?
Well, what happened was, I wasn't finding anyone that was being reliable enough for me and what I would call being "professional" about it. Once I started singing it opened a part of my brain that wasn't there at the time. Now I had to think about 2 different things running at me at once and I really liked the challenge. To me, it was, "Well, if I'm going to be a musician this is really where I want to be." I probably still can't run the Paul McCartney riffs and sing some of that shit at the same time but for our stuff, I was there when everything was written. The words come to me naturally so it was a matter of being dedicated enough and focused enough to really work on the vocals so I can go out and do 50 songs a night, which is very important. I gotta eat right, I've gotta sleep, I gotta take care of myself physically which I think is something you owe to your people. You owe that to the fans, they come out and spend all that cash and they come to the show and, I think, it's not your time to party, it's your time to be focused, it's your time to be there for them. When I took over the vocals that's what really put that in perspective for me and it made me better. I'll tell you what, I think it made Doyle better, I think it made Glenn better and I think it made everybody better that everybody had to go out and find what they were looking for in their own music. I think that's what it's about. I think it's about finding what you're there for and then developing it to it's potential and right now we're starting to hit potential. We're starting to go out there and really rock and come up with high 90s performances. The way I look at it, I know how we can execute. There's shows we hit 100% of everything and then there's shows we hit 95%. To me, if you're playing 40-50 songs and you're in the 90% bracket then you're getting something done and the kids seem to love it and the music doesn't get old as you've seen from our merchandise that we have up on the board. It's all brand new and it's exciting stuff so the imagery is growing and so is the music end of it.
Jerry, thank you so much.
No sweat, man. Good seeing you.