Sounds 16.1

Legacy Of Brutality: The Misfits’ Jerry Only Introduction and interview: Scott Ian from Anthrax

“They called us walking corpses, unholy living dead.” I’m singing “London Dungeon” to myself as I dial the number to Hell-well actually, Vernon, New Jersey-to talk to the bass player and founding member of The Misfits (zombie icon himself), Jerry Only. “Hey Scotty, how are ya?” Jerry greets me with his Jersey accent firmly in place. Even after knowing him for years I still expect him to be some dark “embodiment of all that is evil” kind of guy. Not Jerry-he’s the nicest guy in the world. Here’s what the “ghoul” had to say.

Scott: Has it really been 25 years? Congratulations are in order.
Jerry: Ah, well, actually, April eighteenth of 2002 was our twenty-fifth anniversary. We celebrated at the beginning of last year with a couple of showcase shows-because we were supposed to be going out with Joey Ramone, but as you know, unfortunately Joey died in April of 2001. Our show at Roseland in NYC on the eighteenth was dedicated to him.

What’s the reason for your longevity?
I think it has to do with the actual style of music. The Misfits were at the beginning of the punk era, and the songs were basically built on three-chord progressions and really hooky melodies-the same things that made Chuck Berry and Elvis popular. We just happened to do it in the same style as The Ramones. In our case, the subject matter was always sci-fi, which never seems to be dated. Early science-fiction movies are just as popular today. So I think keeping that our subject matter was key.

So do you snowboard?
I live in Vernon, New Jersey, and we’ve got a slope here. Danny Kass is a good friend of my daughter’s and a big fan of the band. My son built a halfpipe in the backyard, and it was like ten feet tall and nobody could ride it. Danny comes down and just chews it up. To see him on TV as part of the U.S. medal sweep was great. We’d love to have a Danny Kass model Misfits board. I’ve ridden twice and took a lot of bumps-I just can’t stop the damn thing.

You’re always making new fans, which is obviously important to a band’s survival. Without radio and MTV, how does a fourteen year old looking for something heavier than *NSYNC find out about the Misfits?
I’ve always thought we had a very strong image. Right now we’ve done a big push on the merchandising end. For almost 24 years I really didn’t give out any licenses at all. We did our own design and manufacturing. Recently with stores like Hot Topic and Spencer’s, I felt like we could go into a more mainstream merchandising situation without losing the quality. We inspired a lot of the groups out there now, so one of the main things I tried to do by bringing us back was to not spoil the legend of the band.

Who were your influences?
Iggy Pop, New York Dolls, Lou Reed. There was a very strong New York scene, but there were a lot of junkies involved, and that’s the side we never got involved with-the dope scene. There was another side of the scene that was positive and just as influential. Blondie, The Ramones, The Cramps, us.

Which one are you-zombie or vampire?
We’re really more zombie than anything else-or ghouls, as you would say. Dave Vanian from The Damned had the Dracula image down to a T, so we didn’t go anywhere near that. A lot of that vampire style became what is now known as “Goth”-a scene that’s more, I don’t wanna say medieval, but very, you know, well-dressed. Frilly. The Misfits were more of a zombified Ramones. You take the Ramones and bury them for a couple-hundred years and dig them up, and that’s kind of what we were.

What new bands do you like?
I’m a big Slipknot fan. My son turned me onto them. These guys really f-kin’ rock. I saw them open for Machine Head and Coal Chamber, and now they’re up there with Ozzy and the big boys.I also saw Rage Against The Machine-I ought they were a great band. They really got the place popping. There’re certain groups that can get on the stage and emit this energy that just sweeps the whole place.

What’s on your plate now?
Starting our own label, Misfits Records. I’m also working on this oldies project with Marky Ramone on drums and Dez Cadena on guitar-something I’ve always wanted to do. We’re going to do punk covers of some of the songs I grew up with and expose them to a new audience. “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones is the same chords as “Donna” by Richie Valens. I picked out a couple of songs, and I’m going to draw a line between them and ones The Ramones and we have written. So it’ll be like, if you learn these three chords, you can play these ten songs-learn three chords, and you can write a hit.

For all things Misfits, go to www.misfits.com.

764-Hero
Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere
Tiger Style Records
You’re driving down a Seattle-area highway during rush hour with a blowup doll in the passenger seat-waving at all the poor suckers trapped in gridlock as you blow by in the carpool lane. One of the cars left in the dust contains a businessman stewing in the heat-sweat pouring down his forehead, stuck to his leather seat, cell phone clutched in his ever-tightening grip. He’s so angry about the traffic he can taste it. Beady little eyes dart around in his head searching out a scapegoat for his mounting fury. That’s when he registers that your “passenger” wasn’t really a pasty-skinned girlfriend with too much hairspray, but a plastic stand-in-a fake! That phone is opened faster than you can say “pinched,” and the number for carpool violators being pounded into the keypad is 764-HERO. Those very same digits also happen to be the name of a rock-and-roll trio from the Northwest. Listening to the band’s music is rare and wonderful-sort of like those few fancy-free moments spent in fifth gear before you hear the sirens. Strangely relevant lyrics, unique timing, and an uncanny relationship between the vocals and guitar make 764-HERO well worth breaking the law for. But don’t ignore the irony if you get popped in the carpool lane on the way to the record store.-J.S.

Girls Against Boys
You Can’t Fight What You Can’t See
Jade Tree Records
Before I’d ever really listened to Girls Against Boys, I heard them labeled as “sexy rock”-an unusual stereotype that thoroughly confusing me. Even now that I’m a GVSB fan, I still can’t figure it out. Maybe it’s the “come-hither” propulsion of this album’s sound. Or maybe it’s the raw and unquestionably “seductive” vocals. Apparently the band members all have really good hair, so that could be the sexy part. Regardless, this group came from the ashes of the Washington D.C. hardcore scene, so the guys are pretty tough and have more going for them than good hair. You Can’t Fight What You Can’t See is certainly rockin’-so don’t be afraid of the sexy rock, and invite a date over if it’ll make you feel better.-J.S.

Trans Am
TA
Thrill Jockey Records
If late-70s post-punk/pre-electronic experimental sludge is the new emo, then Trans Am is the new Sunny Day Real Estate. I mean, who needs to sing about mid-twenties relationship angst when your vocals sound like robot fuzz? And why go down that road of lonesome dive-bar breakup binges when you could easily get lost in the strobing vapor of a slummy London club? Trans Am has evolved its sound over the years from the mild, Tortoise-y electronica of Surrender To The Night to the dark intensity of TA. That’s right, this is the new sound kicking around the indie record bins lately with bands like The Faint, so get used to it. Everyone knows about your secret Sisters Of Mercy collection anyway, so don’t act like you’re too cool.-J.S.

DJ Shadow
The Private Press
MCA Records
Ever pick up a new album from one of your favorite musicians and gain a whole new love for all their older albums? Notoriously low-profile DJ Shadow has a long-awaited record that does just that. The Private Press gives you a brand-spankin’-new passion for all the past golden gems found on the Endtroducing and Preemptive Strike. Who knows what the cat’s been up to in the years since hitting fans upside the head with these albums? Well, after rocking this latest and greatest masterpiece, you’d think he’s been training full time to perfect his unparalleled skills. The Private Press is the cure for anyone who’s sick and tired of all the weak beats and played-out jiggy loops out there. Also, make sure to check DJ Shadow in the turntablist documentary entitled Scratch, currently screening at select theaters worldwide.-Jack Orin Spilberg

Pitch Black
Pitch Black
Revelation Records
Modern science has blessed us with cloning-stem cells, liver tissue, sheep, even (ahem) punk-rock bands. But up in NorCal, in the basement laboratory of some filthy, underfunded gene mill, one experiment has developed a ghastly mutation. It’s a strain of rock they’re calling Pitch Black, and it shows some resemblance to Gang Green and the early stages of T.S.O.L. Scientists are baffled and unable to contain the spread of this dangerous material. Spores of Pitch Black have infected the Bay Area music scene, and with a spiraling contamination rate, we should prepare for the epidemic. Stay on alert for horrific, high-speed, demented crank-rock carried on the breeze like the smell of death itself. You could be the next infected carrier.-J.M.

Hitler’s Wheelchairv
Six Ways To Die
daswheelchair.com
This is every bad idea you’ve ever had-every cheap impulse, every self-destructive, vulgar perversion you’ve entertained. It’s the worst of everything, like each second of your personal misery suspended in an eternal drone of now. Louder and louder the speakers crank! Hooray for Hitler’s Wheelchair! A knife in the back of our Super-Size America, Wal-Mart world. It’s noise and spit and screaming that will help you better understand the truth-that there is no truth. The disc contains eight tracks-all elegies of derision. “Velkie Summer,” “Roofie Meathead,” and “Doogan” are pissed-off spastic dog puke. Six Ways To Die echoes Reagan Youth, Millions Of Dead Cops, and The Meatmen. Bad, wrong, and rotten-breaking amps and instruments, and burning every bridge they cross.-J.M.

The Baldwin Brothers
Cooking With Lasers
TVT Records
Your friends are sick of you and your dumb outer-space music? They’re just jealous. It’s because you’re a dreamer, and they’re dull and listen to the radio. And the stuff they play-Jigga Man, Pink, No Doubt? No thanks. I mean, it’s only dudes like Eminem who say no one listens to techno anymore. And hello, idiot-face, this is not techno! Ignorance disguised with scorn-so pathetic. Funky, trippy, scientific sounds-The Baldwin Brothers are bad. Your so-called friends are apes who think nothing of bashing their skulls on the football field, but call chess a “nerd game” because they’re too dumb to play. The same goes for music-they’re too stupid to get it. Electronic music is cool; it’s just a more complex game, like chess. You have to know what to play.-J.M.

Repeat Offender: The Beatles
Revolver
Capitol Records
Being fifteen-year-old heshers, my friends and I hated hippies. Everything about them bugged the hell out of us-their patchwork clothes, their stankin’ smell, and especially their shitty music. So when my dad threw in Revolver one day on the way to the grocery story, all I could think was, “Great, another car ride from hell.” The thing is, as soon as “Taxman” came on, my eyes were glued on the tape deck, waiting for the next song. As we pulled into the parking lot, I was so into the album that I made up some beat excuse like, “Shopping sucks,” so I could stay in the car and listen to the rest of it. Just about the time “Got To Get You Into My Life” came older albums? Notoriously low-profile DJ Shadow has a long-awaited record that does just that. The Private Press gives you a brand-spankin’-new passion for all the past golden gems found on the Endtroducing and Preemptive Strike. Who knows what the cat’s been up to in the years since hitting fans upside the head with these albums? Well, after rocking this latest and greatest masterpiece, you’d think he’s been training full time to perfect his unparalleled skills. The Private Press is the cure for anyone who’s sick and tired of all the weak beats and played-out jiggy loops out there. Also, make sure to check DJ Shadow in the turntablist documentary entitled Scratch, currently screening at select theaters worldwide.-Jack Orin Spilberg

Pitch Black
Pitch Black
Revelation Records
Modern science has blessed us with cloning-stem cells, liver tissue, sheep, even (ahem) punk-rock bands. But up in NorCal, in the basement laboratory of some filthy, underfunded gene mill, one experiment has developed a ghastly mutation. It’s a strain of rock they’re calling Pitch Black, and it shows some resemblance to Gang Green and the early stages of T.S.O.L. Scientists are baffled and unable to contain the spread of this dangerous material. Spores of Pitch Black have infected the Bay Area music scene, and with a spiraling contamination rate, we should prepare for the epidemic. Stay on alert for horrific, high-speed, demented crank-rock carried on the breeze like the smell of death itself. You could be the next infected carrier.-J.M.

Hitler’s Wheelchairv
Six Ways To Die
daswheelchair.com
This is every bad idea you’ve ever had-every cheap impulse, every self-destructive, vulgar perversion you’ve entertained. It’s the worst of everything, like each second of your personal misery suspended in an eternal drone of now. Louder and louder the speakers crank! Hooray for Hitler’s Wheelchair! A knife in the back of our Super-Size America, Wal-Mart world. It’s noise and spit and screaming that will help you better understand the truth-that there is no truth. The disc contains eight tracks-all elegies of derision. “Velkie Summer,” “Roofie Meathead,” and “Doogan” are pissed-off spastic dog puke. Six Ways To Die echoes Reagan Youth, Millions Of Dead Cops, and The Meatmen. Bad, wrong, and rotten-breaking amps and instruments, and burning every bridge they cross.-J.M.

The Baldwin Brothers
Cooking With Lasers
TVT Records
Your friends are sick of you and your dumb outer-space music? They’re just jealous. It’s because you’re a dreamer, and they’re dull and listen to the radio. And the stuff they play-Jigga Man, Pink, No Doubt? No thanks. I mean, it’s only dudes like Eminem who say no one listens to techno anymore. And hello, idiot-face, this is not techno! Ignorance disguised with scorn-so pathetic. Funky, trippy, scientific sounds-The Baldwin Brothers are bad. Your so-called friends are apes who think nothing of bashing their skulls on the football field, but call chess a “nerd game” because they’re too dumb to play. The same goes for music-they’re too stupid to get it. Electronic music is cool; it’s just a more complex game, like chess. You have to know what to play.-J.M.

Repeat Offender: The Beatles
Revolver
Capitol Records
Being fifteen-year-old heshers, my friends and I hated hippies. Everything about them bugged the hell out of us-their patchwork clothes, their stankin’ smell, and especially their shitty music. So when my dad threw in Revolver one day on the way to the grocery story, all I could think was, “Great, another car ride from hell.” The thing is, as soon as “Taxman” came on, my eyes were glued on the tape deck, waiting for the next song. As we pulled into the parking lot, I was so into the album that I made up some beat excuse like, “Shopping sucks,” so I could stay in the car and listen to the rest of it. Just about the time “Got To Get You Into My Life” came on, my dad started making his way back to the car. Without even thinking, I ripped the tape out of the stereo and stuffed it into my pocket. That’s right, I stole it from my own father. As soon as we got home the album went directly into my Walkman so I could listen to it without anybody knowing. That same exact tape is still in my Walkman today, and I don’t care who knows. Except my dad.-Chris Coyle

The Paavo Tikkanen CollectionTop five albums of all time:
1. MC Mario Mixdown 20012. Enrique Ingelias Hero3. Britney Spears Oops! … I Did It Again4. MC Mario Mixdown ‘995. Backstreet Boys

In his stereo now:
1. An MP3 mix of everything2. Enrique Iglesias3. MC Mario Mixdown ‘994. Shakedown5. H.I.M.me on, my dad started making his way back to the car. Without even thinking, I ripped the tape out of the stereo and stuffed it into my pocket. That’s right, I stole it from my own father. As soon as we got home the album went directly into my Walkman so I could listen to it without anybody knowing. That same exact tape is still in my Walkman today, and I don’t care who knows. Except my dad.-Chris Coyle

The Paavo Tikkanen CollectionTop five albums of all time:
1. MC Mario Mixdown 20012. Enrique Ingelias Hero3. Britney Spears Oops! … I Did It Again4. MC Mario Mixdown ‘995. Backstreet Boys

In his stereo now:
1. An MP3 mix of everything2. Enrique Iglesias3. MC Mario Mixdown ‘994. Shakedown5. H.I.M.