Note: This feature originally ran ahead of the Misfits’ 2016 reunion and returns from the grave for Danzig’s new album, Black Laden Crown.
With singer Glenn Danzig’s inimitable voice and love affair with countless horror films, the Misfits rose to prominence in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s as one of punk rock’s most explosive acts. But as with any relationship built upon chaos, there were fights — lots of fights. After just two albums, 1982’s Walk Among Us and 1983’s Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood, Danzig and only consistent member Jerry “Jerry Only” Caiafa parted ways, but not before establishing themselves as punk rock royalty.
Although the Misfits reformed in 1995 with a new lineup and released five more albums (including 1997’s Static Age, originally recorded in 1978), Danzig refused to rejoin the group. Now, 33 years later, the Misfits are finally reuniting with Danzig at the helm, Jerry Only back on bass, and Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein on guitar, something they said would “never happen.” In honor of this momentous occasion, here are our picks for the 10 best Misfits songs ever spawned.
Famous Monsters (1999)
Once Danzig was gone, singer Michale Graves took over vocal duties. Post-Danzig Misfits reveals a “softer side” to the group. On “Helena”, Graves is seemingly lamenting over a lost lover, but in actuality he’s talking about cutting the mysterious woman open. “Cutting with a knife/ Her blood is spilling everywhere/ She will be my wife,” he proclaims — as if it’s just another Saturday night activity, you know, like crossword puzzles or a game of Spades.
09. “TV Casualty”
Legacy of Brutality (1985)
Another prime example of Misfits’ anti-social tendencies, “TV Casualty” is about as literal as it gets. Danzig gets sucked into his television after watching too much television — presumably horror films — and becomes a hopeless victim of the television era. The snippet of the I Love Lucy theme song at the end is a sweet touch.
08. “20 Eyes”
Walk Among Us (1982)
As the album opener for Walk Among Us, “20 Eyes” was either influenced by the 1965 horror movie The Eye Creature or comes from a scene from 1957 film The Fly. Either way, for almost two minutes, Danzig’s undeniable gift for constructing creepy, make-your-skin-crawl lyrics keeps spewing forth every single second.
Walk Among Us (1982)v
As perhaps one of the most lyrically simplistic Misfits songs of all time, “Skulls” has a total of about a dozen words, easily memorizable by even the dumbest people on the planet. Like a quick punch to the gut, it perfectly exemplifies how punk rock was meant to sound.
06. “Where Eagles Dare”
“Night of the Living Dead” single (1979)
“I ain’t no god damn son of a bitch” is probably one of the most memorable hooks in any Misfits song. It’s the one sang the most — drunk — over a pitcher of PBRs at the local dive bar. Inspired by the classic WWII film Where Eagles Dare (starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood), the lyrics are an ode to prostitution, S&M, and various sexually transmitted diseases. It also served as the B-side to 1979’s “Night of the Living Dead”.
05. “Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?”
Walk Among Us (1982)
This is probably the last question a mother would want to hear, but nonetheless, Danzig is asking it. (By the way, what’s with Danzig and mothers?) Told from the perspective of a bullied child, it’s about being Eddie Haskell by day and Michael Myers at night. He then brings his victims’ body parts home to his mother as souvenirs. Cute, eh?
04. Hybrid Moments
Legacy of Brutality (1985)
By 1985, Misfits had been broken up for over a year, so in order to avoid paying his bandmates any money, Danzig overdubbed the guitar and bass tracks on several songs, including “Hybrid Moments”, because Danzig does what he wants.
03. “Horror Business”
“Horror Business” single (1978)
As the third Misfits single, “Horror Business” further cemented the group’s reputation as a “horror” punk band.” Released in 1978 on Danzig’s Plan 9 Records, the cover features a skeletal figure inspired by a poster for the 1946 film serial The Crimson Ghost, which would eventually become the band’s logo.
02. “Die, Die My Darling”
“Die, Die My Darling” single (1984)
Before Danzig was singing “Mother”, he was pleading for his anonymous darling to die in the sixth and final Misfits single ever released before the group came to its unfortunate demise. The band had officially broken up by the time it was released in 1984 — although the song was recorded in 1981 for the Walk Among Us sessions, but had surprisingly gotten scrapped. It’s unclear who Danzig’s target is in the song, but whoever it’s dedicated to got one hell of a send-off.
01. “Last Caress”
Beware EP (1980)
Metallica famously covered this 1980 classic off the Beware EP, and it’s the one Misfits song poseurs and hardcore fans alike seem to immediately recognize either for being one of the most shocking songs they’ve ever heard or simply because it rules. “I have something to say/ I killed your baby today,” Danzig proudly sings in such a way that makes it okay to publicly profess any homicidal tendencies one may have. Oh, and rape — he talks about raping mothers, too.