Friday, January 8, 2010
THE MISFITS - WALK AMONG US
The Misfits back catalogue is a mess, endless live albums, re-released live albums, best of compilations, E.Ps and this 'Walk Among Us', the bands only real full length record. Yes there have been others since the re-apropriation of the name courtesy of the cartoon antics of which ever surviving members ill-advised attempt at a resurrection we are talking about this week: Point missing, post-event foot notes, the kind of records that make you squirm when you casually flick through the 'US Punk' section. But enough of baiting Jerry and Doyle and back to the glory days...
The Misfits can lay claim to having some of the most catchy singles this side of Motown, yes production wise some of them are no-fi to the point of making Guitar Wolf sound like Nile Rodgers has been at the controls, but the likes of 'Where Eagles Dare' and 'Bullit' are the kind of anthems that many a band would kill for in 2010. Many a band in 2010 need to kill for them because the vast majority are utter shit. The Cribs, I am talking to you.
I remember my first introduction to 'Walk Among Us', it was courtesy of a C60 tape recorded by a school friend around 1988, the soul reason for our interest in the group being the Misfits T-Shirt James Hetfield would wear whilst pouting his pock-marked face on the pages of Kerrang magazine. On one side was Earth A.D/Wolfs Blood and on the other was this.
I was on holiday in France at the time (It is quite possible that my entire life up to the age of 18 was in fact a collage of Family Holidays and other similar leisure based events) and this was one of the few cassettes I had opted to take with me. It took maybe ten plays for me to get over how utterly shitty the production was, I was afterall comparing this to the Mr. Sheen polished thrash of the likes of Anthrax and others. The word 'Garage' meant nothing to me and it took a lot to see past the fact that they had no bass player and that the lead singer sang with a cardboard box over his head. Anyway, eventually I did and hence it's inculsion here.
It wasn't just the sound that confused me at the time. Beyond the embarrasing production there was the hair and the make-up, this is because the Misfits played 'Horror Punk'. What the fuck is 'Horror Punk'? Well after years of research it would appear that outside of the realms of Lodi's finest it doesn't actually exist.... Unless you include Misfits covers bands or those Japanese idiots Balzac.
I flicked passed it the other night and realised it had been way too long since I had given 'Walk Among Us' a listen. Holy shit! The Misfits were an Oi! band. Well they would have been if they weren't wearing corpse paing and singing about 'wanting your skull'... Also Danzig sounds way more like Dave Vanian of The Damned than I remember. Doesn't make them any less listenable, just something I hadn't caught before.
'Walk Among Us' is a good record but for me it's a tough record to justify owning and not just because mine is a late 80's press on Ruby records with a barcode. A girl sat opposite me at the airport the other day, dyed blonde hair, skinny jeans and UGG boots a fur coat to keep out the cold. Her upper half was home to a brand new cut-off Misfits T-Shirt, I say cut off, it was neatly hemmed to show the tattoo on her stomach and was so oversized that it looked more like a weight-lifters top than anything flattering. I would put her at 18 tops and bet my liver and a lung that she has never heard 'Walk Among Us'.
So what's my point? Why the rant? Maybe I am just trying to justify staring off at a hot 18 year old in the airport here... Anyway, I think what am trying to say in a very round about way is that I think I might be too old for the Misfits. They are the token 'punk' t-shirt band of a generation barely old enough to drink and that makes me feel kind of like I am listening to Blink 182 or My Chemical Romance or whateverthefuck. This said, 'Walk Among Us' transcends that, or at least it should. It's catchy and it's a lot of fun and for now at least I can justify keeping it because somewhere in my appartment there is a shoebox of CDs that includes the first Curtis Stigers album because 'I Wonder Why' is one of the greatest songs ever written.
There, I did it and given that it's the only thing that anybody can talk about other than the X-Factor, FYI it is still snowing outside.