New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.11: The Misfits Form in Lodi, NJ

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I’m always amused when I see people’s reaction the first time they hear a KISS song. Throughout my entire life of being a KISS fan, everyone has always said “Oh I can’t listen to KISS, that’s like death metal.” Many people who have only seen KISS think their sound is more in line with their look. Aside from their typical “Rock and Roll all Nite” fare, take a listen to songs like “Hard Luck Woman,” “I Still Love You,” and “See You In You Dreams,” and you’ll hear that Kiss is the furthest thing from death metal. On the other hand, while they’re not death metal in the least, unlike Kiss, The Misfits sound is more in line with their image.

In 1977, The Misfits came together in Lodi, New Jersey. Named after a Marilyn Monroe film, their ghoulish, macabre makeup was attention grabbing and even more sinister than that of KISS and Alice Cooper. At first listen, their music sounds like simple guttural punk, yet it somehow perfectly evokes the nostalgic and eerie feeling of old horror movies. 30 years after the bands inception, The Misfits are credited as being the innovators of “Horror punk.”

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A slew of bands cite The Misfits as one of their influences such as Metallica, and My Chemical Romance. Their skull logo can be seen everywhere, even if the kids wearing it don’t know what it stands for. It’s the MISFITS muthatruckas! Even with the departure of Glenn Danzig and various lineup changes, The Misfits are still terrorizing the country. Check out their tour dates to see when they’ll be in your neighborhood.

Now check out a few Misfit facts:

– Bassist, vocalist, and former WCW wrestler extraordinaire Jerry Only is known for inventing the “devilock” hairstyle seen here (2nd in from the left):

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– The Misfits named their legion of fans “Fiends.” Their fiend club is their equivalent of the Kiss Army.

– This bit of interesting info comes courtesy of The Misfits website (www.misfits.com):

“The Misfits and their “Fiend Club” also became instrumental in petitioning for the release of the U.S. Classic Movie Monster Stamp series which, among other of their heroes, featured Bela Lugosi Sr., as Dracula, Ben Chapman as the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and of course, Boris Karloff as Frankenstein.”

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– Here’s probably the most interesting thing I found about the Misfits:
The Misfits operate out of North Jersey where they own a machine shop and a knife factory. Not only do they make their own instruments but also their amps, studded straps and spiked leather jackets! The Misfits also fashion their very own stage sets and props!

– George Romero directed this Misfits video for “Scream” in exchange for letting Romero use 2 of their songs in his film Bruiser.

Video for “American Psycho” with an awesome intro:

Here you can see the craziness of a 1981 Misfits show as they perform one of their signature songs “Halloween”:

Here’s a really cool homemade video for their song “Vampira”:

  • God, I love the Misfits. Their 4 cd box set that comes in a mini coffin is definitely a must!I never got to see them when Danzig was in the band. I have seen them a couple times with Michael Graves. They still put on a good show, even though they’re all senior citizens now.. ha!“Skulls” has to be my favorite song from them, but “Halloween” is a close second.

  • I grew up just 3 towns over from Lodi – i love these “Great Pop Culture Moments”!

  • Greg, of course I love them with Danzig, but Michael Graves was great with them. Wish he was still singing with them.Retroist, that’s awesome! Another NJ peep! Thanks for the compliment! Your site is awesome as well…you’ve got alot of great content!