The Misfits are an American band often recognized as the progenitors of the horror punk subgenre, blending punk rock and other musical influences with horror film themes and imagery. Founded in 1977 in Lodi, New Jersey by singer and songwriter Glenn Danzig, the group had a fluctuating lineup during its first six years with Danzig and bassist Jerry Only as the only consistent members. During this time they released several EPs and singles, and with Only's brother Doyle as guitarist, the albums Walk Among Us (1982) and Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood (1983), both considered touchstones of the early-1980s hardcore punk movement. The Misfits disbanded in 1983 and Danzig went on to form Samhain and then the eponymous Danzig. Several albums of reissued and previously unreleased material were issued after the group's dissolution, and their music became influential to punk rock, heavy metal, and alternative rock music of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
After a series of legal battles with Danzig, Only and Doyle regained the rights to record and perform as the Misfits. They formed a new version of the band in 1995 with singer Michale Graves and drummer Dr. Chud. This incarnation of the Misfits had a sound much more rooted in heavy metal, and released the albums American Psycho (1997) and Famous Monsters (1999) before dissolving in 2000. Jerry Only then took over lead vocals and recruited former Black Flag guitarist Dez Cadena and former Ramones drummer Marky Ramone for a Misfits 25th Anniversary tour. This lineup released an album of cover songs entitled Project 1950 and toured for several years. In 2005 Ramone was replaced by Robo, who had played with Black Flag in the early 1980s and had also previously been the Misfits' drummer from 1982 to 1983. This lineup released a single titled "Land of the Dead" in 2009. The Misfits' current lineup of Only, Cadena, and drummer Eric "Chupacabra" Arce released a new album titled The Devil's Rain in October 2011.
1977-1978: Formation and Static AgeThe Misfits were formed in January 1977 in Lodi, New Jersey by Glenn Danzig, who had previous experience performing in local bands. Naming the band after actress Marilyn Monroe's final film The Misfits (1961), Danzig recruited guitarist Jimmy Battle, bassist Diane DiPiazza, and drummer Manny Martínez to fill out the lineup while Danzig himself sang and played the electric piano. Both Battle and DiPiazza left the band after a month of practices. Martínez recommended his friend Jerry Caiafa to Danzig as a replacement, as Caiafa had recently received a bass guitar as a Christmas gift. Caiafa was accepted into the band despite having only been practicing his instrument for two months. He and Danzig would remain the only consistent members of the Misfits until the group disbanded in 1983. The trio of Danzig, Martínez, and Caiafa rehearsed for three months without a guitarist, using Danzig's electric piano to provide the songs' rhythm. They recorded the band's first single, "Cough/Cool", which they released through their own label Blank Records in August 1977. Caiafa's surname was misspelled on the record's sleeve, prompting him to insist that in the future he be credited as "Jerry, only Jerry". "Jerry Only" quickly became his pseudonym, which he would continue to use for the rest of his career. The band played their first two performances at CBGB in New York City, followed by other local performances over the following two months.
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