I was super excited to interview the band that changed Music and influenced all of my favourite pop punk bands. Interviewing Jerry Only was certainly a bucket list item of mine that I can now tick. The Misfits are heading to Australia in December and it will be an amazing tour!
Interview written by Jen Rees and Kit Lindsey.
Jerry how are you going?
Good Darling how are you?
Thanks you for calling me.
It is an honour to interview you Jerry
Well thank you, I hope I have really good answers to live up to that!
I can’t believe that it is 30 years since the Misfits started and that you are heading Down Under just before Christmas. You are going to play Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood in full and Static Age. Looking forward to that!
How would you compare your shows today to those early shows?
Well the earlier shows were a little bit more chaotic and we didn’t prepare the way that we prepare now. Time has taught us to be on top of our game and to really remain focused and be ready. We have also learnt technically how to work out our gear a lot better and how to present ourselves. Like it even when traveling, in your case coming to Australia, people don’t understand every night you’re getting back to your rooms and packing the bags getting ready to leave for the airport to the next sound check show. you know it is a little bit of a grind but we’ve learned how to travel effectively I think is a good word to describe it. We’re like a Green Beret team now you could say we are getting a lot better at it. I am excited about coming to see you guys.
You censor Last Caress when you perform it, it upsets some fans, can you tell us why you do that?
Yeah I do and that’s for me. Everyone sings that song so loud they can say whatever they want, I just find it offensive. I saw something on TV that really bothered me about a couple who tortured their six-month-old girl to death, raping her and starving her and I thought if that guy came out with a misfits shirt on I don’t know how I would react. When we did the song we did tongue in cheek just to be outspoken and wasn’t meant to be taken seriously but when you hear the news today you realise that there are so many people are fucked up out there and a lot of people follow us and that is a big responsibility for me, I know that I don’t want my kids to go out to a concert and I don’t want them to ever get hurt or coming back dead so to me there is a little bit of responsibility and people should let me say what the hell I want when I want. Everyone is singing so loud they can’t hear will me anyway. It happens so quick.
I think as parents we change the way we think as soon as we have had kids.
Well yeah when I was a 17-year-old kid trying to be a punk, I was trying to be abrasive you know and then we did it I wasn’t happy about it but I wanted to say whatever the hell I wanted to and as you get older you realise that that is kind of childish. You realise that you do have an effect on people and everything makes a difference and everything affects everything and for me to say something like that and then tell you a story about a guy that did something really bad and that’s why I feel the way I do I think that is an opportunity for me to be a hero with it rather than just go along with the crowd. I do what I want and this is about doing what I want, and that’s what I will say. (Laughing)
What is it like playing with your son on stage?
The best! I will tell you why you know I really like playing with my brother but when I was just me and my brother I was always pulling the train you know what I mean. Now with my son we work together and he works on the music full-time and I work in the machine shop and he definitely takes up my slack. So I think that we have come to a point where we are really self-sufficient now, we have our own recording studio, we have our own setup in my house which can make Album quality recording and we have a rehearsal spot at the machine shop as does my brother Doyle where I practice. The thing was with Doyle he would come in and do what had to be done and then go home but my son is on it 24 seven. It is nice to have somebody there is pushing as hard, it always felt like a lonely spot when you’re pushing everything by yourself and you think what am I the only jerk in this band? You know what I mean? Jerry started as a sound engineer, 10 years ago he became our stage manager and our tour manager and our front of house manager and he ran the business for us the whole time Des was in the band or half the time Des was in the band and it came to the point where Des got sick unfortunately he had to step out and he was out all last year but we didn’t make an announcement until we knew what was up with Des. Jerry will play with us and then he’ll go home and practice. I would say hey where you going and he would say I’m going to work on that song to this song or do this or that. I have a lifer with him and I love that.
Throughout your time as gods of the horror punk scene you’ve influenced many people some who went on to become massive artists, who would you say your the most proud of for influencing musically?
Musically my crowning moment was when Eva my four-year-old sang on an album. I think from a personal perspective our last album is the best thing that we’ve ever done. It properly not as notoriety as the other ones. It might not be as widely accepted as the other ones but I know what went into, it was really my first album when I came into the bend so I have no problem with the album from one end when you put it on to when it finishes. I think it is strong you know and we worked on it for a solid year. Although we worked on American Psycho like that too.I think that for each album we aimed for a certain target and we made it. Earlier on the target was very vague. But when we were working on Walk Among Us we were shooting to be the Horror Punk Gods I mean that was the angle. We were in a league all by of ourselves. We could create whatever we wanted and our image pretty much I didn’t know what was going on there and with Earth we hit the wall at light speed. It was 22 minutes of Hell and that the Earth AD record is the last record that we did with the original lineup that one was the Rosetta Stone for speed metal, death metal, thrash and whatever you want to call it. That album caught the eyes and years of Metallica and Guns and Roses and so many others. It was a really a defining moment where rock ’n’ roll, where The Ramones and we had taken punk, all of a sudden the dark side of the force for those. It wasn’t about being giddy anymore it was about being evil.It destroyed our band, it tore us apart and I think we really needed to step back and evaluate then pulled together but at that stage we split and I was left with Gary so it was long time in the making and if you look at American Psycho, hard-core, which once again was a meltdown. You know it’s hard to maintain personal relationships and continue to work in a productive and revolutionary kind of an atmosphere where things keep evolving to better things. At certain temperatures certain people meltdown so right now I think we have the most solid lineup in the history of the band because we’re going to keep going forever.
Your skull logo has now become a huge part of grunge culture as well as fashion culture being one of the most identifiable logos of any band both past and present, when you came up with the design did you ever think it would become so famous?
I think everything that we did ended up being that way, I think it is very good because it is binary, black and white and it just tells the story. It is unique and I think that is the real trait that it has, it is very unique there is nothing else quite like it. I also think that that affects our music because nobody sounds quite like us.
Have you heard any covers of your songs that you did not like?
I did hear one version of a song called Return of the Fly on a compilation album that sounded like it was from the 1930s like a swing kind of way. That was the only time I felt threatened where it sounded like someone had written a song that we ripped off, you know what I mean, I thought you son of a bitch it sounds like we covered them! And it still bothers me to be honest.
As you look back on your career with many different members passing through with your band is there any past members of the band that you would ever consider working with again?
I would consider working with everyone of them if they came to the table and brought more than they take away.
How’s that for an answer? (both laughing)
If they came and brought something that wasn’t there before I would welcome any of them back into the band. It always seemed that I was the guy pulling and everyone else was just like their legs were limp you know what I’m saying? I want people who want to be there and not people who find it profitable to be there, it is not about that, it has never been about that for us.
As the band has reshaped and changed from generation to generation where is the sound of the Misfits looking to head in the future?
I think our demographic is for a teenager, in high school so I think the fans are going to look for the future of what we’re going to give them in the future, I really don’t think that the newer fans are there to relive the past. The funny thing is we are doing a better job on the album that was recorded in 1978 when I was a teenager and a bottom line is I’m doing it because I wanna get the new band to get to a level where no band has really ever been, I want my band to know every song we have done for the band’s 40th year anniversary and be able to play it on cue, when somebody yells out a song I want to say here we go! I think most bands are not about that, I think most bands are about playing their hits and going to hell home. I think that’s the difference, I think that the best band in the world is a band that can play any one of their songs. Also play like they mean it. We have about 90 songs now that we have done. we know every old song that there is it is just some of the newer ones they came off the last few albums, we need to clean those up and as I said before I write half of them so I know what is going on. Once you write something it becomes like a baby to you. It is funny because people say how he remember all those lyrics? I remember them because I was there when we were putting them together. the lyrics are like burned in my head, it is good! I’m having fun with this band.
Following up from that not only your logo but your band is now one of the god fathers and really creators of what the punk rock scene is today with out the likeness of yourselves we wouldn’t have nearly as many artists combining hard grunge and rock with clean and dirty vocals. How does it feel to look over the empire of music that your band definitely helped create?
I wish that I had a better knowledge of how the machine works when I stepped into the game. It is a double bladed sword. If we would have been as big as Metallica before Metallica was that big, would things have gone the same way or would things gone differently you know whether it was by neglect, by design we would not be the legend that we are now. We are a legend because people really don’t know you know what I mean there is still a level of mystery a better band and then you look at Van Halen for example, a band that came out of the 80s or even Motley Crue or someone like that, years from now and no one is going to be talking about that shit. They are still going to be talking about us, we are entering the level of Led Zeppelin, things that just stay. A lot of the things that were cultural and happening at the time they managed to make hit songs from that and they are still singing that now, I’m not saying that they’re not successful but they have used materialism well. I just don’t think it’s immortal the things that we are doing. I ran into the guys from Biohazard the other day as we were playing at a hard-core Festival in Philly and we were headlining it, we were the oldest hard-core band there and we were talking to Biohazard and we were discussing who was the American’s greatest band of all time and they said it was you guys because you don’t have any bad songs. I think that a lot of bands today they get lazy and they get three or four good songs on a record and that will get them through. They can go on tour and pay their bills but is not about that here it is about really taking it to the stars. We are on course I might take it to 50 years and my son might take it to to 75!
That sounds awesome!
OK that is all I had for you today, I look forward to seeing you in December.
I hope to meet you darling.
Thanks, I hope so too.
Well we will be there so come on down!
“When fans come to a Misfits show, they get a band who gets up there and gives them all they’ve got. We give them the real thing – that’s how we’ve always done it. At a show, everyone’s just part of the band, there’s no them and us – we’re all us.” Jerry Only – THE MISFITS
THE MISFITS have been preserved on determination bound by unequaled loyalty to their fans and the sheer will to survive. The ferocity and melody that has made THE MISFITS omnipresent and immortal sees the band continue to sell out shows and draw thousands of fans night after night around the globe.
So come on out Fiends – All hell will break loose when the kings of horror-rock drag humanity by the throat into a world of darkness filled with ghouls, goblins and creatures of the night. Move over Saint Nick, because when THE MISFITS are in town every day is Halloween!
“The band gave punters everything they paid for: a whole lot of blood, sweat, fire and brimstone, just the way they know how.” Spotlight Report
THE MISFITS Australian and New Zealand Tour Dates December 2015
Thurs 3rd Christchurch – Allen St
Fri 4th Wellington – Bar Bodega
Sat 5th Auckland – The Studio
Wed 9th Brisbane –Triffid
Thurs 10th Adelaide – The Gov
Fri 11th Melbourne – Max Watts
Sat 12th Sydney –Manning Bar
Sun 13th Perth –Rosemount
Tickets on Sale 27th July @ 9:00am via