Following the release of the “Cough/Cool” single by The Misfits in August of 1977, The Misfits would head into a studio to record a full length that would be titled Static Age, but it would not released in its entirety until 1997. The road to the recording and release of Static Age is one that like The Misfits in their early stages from 1977-1983, had many changes. The Misfits began in January of 1977 in Lodi, New Jersey. They were formed by lead vocalist and song writer Glen Danzig who named the band after the final film to feature actress Marilyn Monroe, one written by American Playwright Arthur Miller titled The Misfits. Initially Danzig also played electric piano and sang along with Jimmy Battle on guitar, Diane DiPiazza on bass and Manny Martinez on drums to complete the first line up of the group. Not long after practicing together, DiPiazza and Battle left the group. Jerry Caiafa was recommended by drummer Manny Martinez due to the fact that he received a new bass for Christmas of that year. The new line up featuring Caiafa on bass, practiced for a couple of months as a three piece minus a guitarist. Their first single “Cough/Cool” backed with “She” was released in the summer of 1977 on Danzig’s own Blank Records label and featured no guitar, instead hammering synth-like electric piano. When the single was initially released bassist Jerry Caiafa’s name was spelled incorrectly, he suggested that in the future his name would be spelled “Jerry only, Jerry” which led the stage name Jerry Only, which he would soon adopt for the rest of his musical career. The single displayed the band in their embryonic stages, sounding almost like a New Wave band, but the imagery that was provided by Danzig and later identified as Horror Punk can still be heard in the singles A side “Cough/Cool”.
Not soon after the release of their first single, The Misfits added Franche Coma (real name Frank LiCata) as the bands guitarist. With a guitarist now in the group, Danzig dropped the electric piano and focused on vocals while at the same time launching the band into a more Punk Rock sounding direction. Soon Mr. Jim Catania replaced Martinez on drums and The Misfits found themselves in a very unique position. Mercury Records wanted to use the name Blank Records for one of their subsidiary divisions, so they offered Danzig thirty hours of studio recording time in exchange for the name Blank Records, he accepted. In January of 1978, The Misfits entered C.I. Recordings in New York City with producer Dave Archelis and recorded seventeen tracks, fourteen of which were mixed with Archelis. Due to time restraints the band recorded the songs live in the studio, only doing a few takes of each song and minimal overdubs. The proposed fourteen track album was to be titled Static Age, but the band were unable to find a record label that was interested in releasing the album. The band then opted to release four tracks on the Bullet EP in June of 1978 (“Bullet”, “We Are 138”, “Attitude” and “Hollywood Babylon”). These songs were released on Danzig’s new label titled Plan 9 Records. The remainder of the material from these sessions were not released for some time, the band would release a remixed version of “Last Caress” on the Beware EP in 1980 and “Teenagers From Mars” was re-recorded and used on the 1979 “Horror Business” single. “The Horror Business” single also featured a design that would become that bands infamous skull logo. The logo was based off of a poster designed for the 1946 Horror film The Crimson Ghost, it has been used on band releases ever since. It should also be noted that the Beware EP also contained the songs “Horror Business” and “Teenagers From Mars”.
The Misfits would go through another set of line up changes, but Glen Danzig and Jerry Only would remain constant members in the group in their early days of The Misfits. The band leaped more in the horror themed direction lyrically and visually. On stage they changed their appearance to suit their new brand of Punk that would be brandished as Horror Punk. Lyrically the songs subject matter would be drawn from films of the Horror genre, but more specifically the B-Horror movie genre. The band slowly built up a following releasing more singles and EPs, in 1982 they released the full length album Walk Among Us, which is often regarded as one of the greatest Punk albums of all time. The Misfits began to take their music to more extremes musically going into a more Hardcore Punk direction. It was also around this time that Danzig grew unsatisfied with the band, he began working on a new project and after the release of one more album, Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood in 1983 which displayed the band in a more Hardcore and Heavy Metal/Rock sense, the band was pretty much over. Following a show on October 29th in Detroit, the band went their separate ways. In 1985, nine of the tracks from the Static Age sessions were released on the Legacy of Brutality compilation album. The nine tracks from these sessions that were put on the Legacy album featured overdubbed bass and guitar parts by Glen Danzig himself, which were done following the bands break up in 1983. In 1995, several more tracks from these sessions were released on the Collection II album including the then unreleased “Return of the Fly”. In 1996, The Misfits Box Set was released. This set is notable for its large collection of early Misfits studio material (minus the album Walk Among Us) and outtakes, but also for being the first place in which fans could acquire the fourteen track Static Age album as it was originally intended. In February of 1997, a single disc version of the Static Age album was released featuring additional tracks that the band had recorded during the albums sessions back in 1978, but were never mixed.
Static Age embodies everything that The Misfits stood for, it displays all of the elements which made up The Misfits. The album addresses issues and subject matter in an intelligent defiant way, not unlike classic albums by bands such as The Ramones, The Clash and Buzzcocks. Static Age gurgles with an intense ferocity that has caused many fans of the band to choose this as their favourite release by the band, despite the fact that it was released over a decade too late. Songs such as ‘Static Age”, “TV Casualty”, :Attitude”, “Some Kinda Hate”, “Angelfuck”, “She”, “Hybrid Moments” and the Rockabilly groove of “Hollywood Babylon” all add to the albums aura. Along with the musicianship, the vocals are howled out by Glen Danzig like some kind of Elvis/Jim Morrison hybrid. Static Age is simply, some would argue The Misfits at their best.
Since the release of The Misfits first single and the recording of the bands first album, their status has grown to enormous proportions. During their break up in the 80s the bands cult like status grew so large that copies of the bands material would constantly go out of print. The band who drew their name from a film and took much of their inspiration from B-Horror films built up a new genre of music, creating a large fan base not unlike the large B-Horror movie fan bases that exist now. The road to the release of Static Age in its entirety as it was originally intended took eighteen years. Like the movie, The Misfits band initially received mixed reviews, but are now highly regarded among Punk music fans. Currently The Misfits continue to play and release albums, Jerry Only is the only remaining member in the group from The Misfits early period of 1977-1983. Although the group remains popular, The Misfits have not reunited with Glen Danzig. Danzig has had successful post-Misfits careers in his bands Samhain and Danzig, which musically reflect a heavier Rock/Metal direction.
This Week's Play List:
1. Deja Voodoo - Monsters In My Garage Got Married
2. Miesha & The Spanks - Night Danger
3. The Sphinxs - Time Above Me
4. The Okmoniks - I'm On My Own
5. The 184.108.40.206's - Harlem Nocturne
6. The Frogmen - Underwater
7. The Specials - Too Hot
8. Arkells - On Paper
9. Promises - Valerie
10. Chandells - One Track Mind
11. Rocket From The Tombs - I Sell Soul
12. Brazilian Money - John Wayne
13. Rah Rah - Ghosts
14. Beastie Boys - 14th St. Break
15. Talking Heads - I Feel It In My Heart
16. Pearl Jam - Ole
17. Ramones - Do You Wanna Dance?
18. The Nils - Freedom
19. Joe Strummer - Don't Tango With Django
20. Girls - Alex
21. Destroy All Monsters - Nobody Knows
22. The Fays - Self-Centretown
23. The Cramps - Goo Goo Muck
24. The Misfits - Cough/Cool
25. The Misfits - Teenagers From Mars
26. The Misfits - Hybrid Moments
27. The Misfits - Static Age
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 1. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.