Top positive review
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"Mommy...can I go out and kill tonight?"
on 16 January 2007
The Misfits were hugely influential in introducing the goth aesthetic to the punk genre. This compilation, and its companion 'Collection II', includes the majority of their studio material from 1977 to the break-up of the original band in 1983. Glenn Danzig, who fronted the group, epitomised the DIY punk ethic: he single-handedly wrote all the songs, founded the fan club (the now legendary "Fiend Club"), made record covers by hand, printed t-shirts and mailed out letters and merchandise info. Between '77 and '83, many Misfits players came and went. The only other permanent member was bassist Jerry Only, who invented The Misfits' famous "devilock" hairstyle. Jerry's brother, the self-titled Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, played guitar from '80-'83. The Misfits were named after the title of Marilyn Monroe's last movie, and adopted as a logo the image of a ghastly skull (nick-named "The Fiend") from 1946 horror movie 'The Crimson Ghost'.
Danzig had the lyrics to match their ghoulish appearance - on this album, 'London Dungeon', 'Night Of The Living Dead' and 'Death Comes Ripping' need no explanation. In the same pop trash vein, 'I Turned Into A Martian' and 'Teenagers From Mars' explore his love of kitsch sci-fi. Musically, Danzig referenced 50's rock 'n roll with instantly memorable guitar hooks, and the dynamism of his singing (which earned him the nick-name "Evil Elvis"). The Misfits played at a frantic pace - any track that made it past 3 minutes was an epic - and their production values showed total disregard for sharp, clear audio. The combination of Danzig's melodic songwriting with the band's vicious, chaotic performance style creates a unique tension that many have tried to imitate since.
Between this album and 'Collection II', it's a toss-up which one features more classic material. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter, because they both belong in every punk fan's stereo.
As for "What happened next?", post-1983 Danzig went on to front Samhain, and then the self-named 'Danzig' (still officially active today), both of which followed the cult success of the original Misfits with exciting alternative music. Jerry Only spent 12 years in obscurity before resurrecting The Misfits in 1995, without Danzig, after a bitter legal battle over the rights to the band name. Michale Graves, Danzig's replacement, proved to be an excellent frontman, forging a vocal style that was as much a respectful homage to Glenn as a fresh and distinctive new sound for the band. However, he only lasted for 2 albums before leaving to start a solo career. Since then, despite his obvious lack of singing ability, Only has attempted to front the band himself, and unsurprisingly The Misfits have floundered, with only one album (the disappointing 'Project 1950') released in the last decade. Sadly, due to continuing acrimony on both sides, a classic 'Fits reunion continues to look unlikely.