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Thirteen thoughts on the Misfits reunion

There are so many reasons to be wary. But nobody can argue with the songs!

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"You're looking at my hairline, aren't you?" - PAUL JOHN HIGGINS; PHOTO BY JEAN-PIERRE DALBÉRA
  • Paul John Higgins; photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
  • "You're looking at my hairline, aren't you?"

1. I'm not going to see the Misfits reunion.
I'm sure the 13-year-old me (or the 23- or even 43-year-old me) would bean current me with a skull for saying this, but it's tragically true. I've spent thousands of hours listening to the Misfits' sublimely perfect horror-hardcore incantations, and despite the bad blood between front man Glenn Danzig and bassist Jerry Only (who won a bitter legal battle to revive a hokey, Danzig-free version of the band in the mid-90s), I've always dreamed of seeing the original lineup reunited. These fiends need to be honored for devising an alternative template for punk rock during the genre's salad years (1977-1983), establishing Lodi, New Jersey, as the capital of America's Transylvania. No band represents the underground more perfectly to me, and I love their music six feet deeply. But . . .

2. It's not an original Misfits lineup.
Former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo will be on the skins, which is awesome (though he's probably too good for the Misfits). But whither Arthur Googy? Why not Mr. Jim? Joey Image? More realistically, Robo, the iconic Black Flag drummer who played with the Misfits in the early 80s and did a decent job with a 2000s version of the band, would've been great.

3. Unless it's in a graveyard, the Misfits shouldn't be playing outdoors.

4. Jerry Only is cornball.
When I saw the middle-aged Only joyously bellowing Misfits classics in the 90s, he looked like a man so happy to be onstage connecting with fans that he didn't care how he might tarnish the band's legacy. That said, during that era the Misfits released doo-wop covers, recorded a version of "Monster Mash," did a theme song for the New York Rangers, sanctioned Misfits lounge music, got involved in pro wrestling, and appeared in a movie starring both members of Insane Clown Posse. If anyone doubted Danzig's authorship of the Misfits' vision, the straight-up goofball nature of the revived band proved it, casting doubts on Only's claims of creative contributions past and present. That said, Only's distinctive bass playing is the second-most-important element of the Misfits sound (after Glenn's howls), so his presence will mean something musically.

5. Doyle's dreadfulness
The best that can be said of the guitar playing of Jerry's brother Doyle, aka Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, is that it's so profoundly inept it ensures the band will have some sort of DIY feel. Aesthetically, Doyle was one of the keys to the Misfits' greatness. Buff and shirtless, looking like a gay-porn A-lister, he was the living comic book character his more gifted bandmates aspired to be (as Danzig especially seemed to prove with his post-Misfits workouts). But at the partial Misfits reunion during 2011's Riot Fest (when Glenn and Doyle did a few songs), he brought nothing to the musical mausoleum.

6. Glenn being Glenn
I am now and forever on Team Glenn. I recognize that it's hard to reconcile the jubilant genius of the Ed Wood-adoring young Glenn with the seemingly humorless Danzig of the past few decades, but I will never doubt his greatness, no matter how many conservative rants or terrible classical compositions I hear. I interviewed him at length once, and I got bullied for not knowing enough about the Spear of Destiny (the weapon that supposedly pierced Christ's side on the cross) and for not believing that it gave the Nazis magical powers. And I loved every second of it. But attitude? He's got a fucking attitude. His shenanigans at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin in 2011 tarnished the previous attempt at a Misfits reunion. So Texas is the reason I'm still skeptical.

7. Hatebreeders
I'm also worried that after decades of disgust, litigation, and resentment, Danzig and Only will have the kind of bad chemistry that in 1982 might've produced some wicked energy but in 2016 will just make them seem disconnected. When Bo Diddley reunited with estranged 1950s guitarist Jody Williams at the Chicago Blues Festival in 2002, they never looked at each other, and the result was sterile and unpleasant. So I'm wary of semi-­consensual reunions.

8. Glenn's voice
His powerful weapon is not what it once was, though his recent work as an Elvis impersonator provides some hope that he'll surprise me.

9. Sing-alongs
That said, my prediction is that Glenn will point the microphone at the audience and let them sing somewhere between 25 percent and all of the lyrics. It could easily end up more akin to the crowd handling Handel at the annual Do-It-Yourself Messiah concerts and less like the anarchic chaos of the Misfits '83 Michigan public-access debacle/triumph.

10. Receding devilocks

11. Wheezing whoa-oh-ohs

12. But the songs!
God damn it, even if Glenn's voice is shot, Jerry wears a Giants jersey, Doyle strings his guitar wrong, everyone has an onstage tantrum, and Micky Dolenz fills in on drums, none of that will ruin the bloodcurdling brilliance of those magnificent monsterpieces, will it?

13. Fuck it. I probably will go see the Misfits reunion. v

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