After years of bad blood, the Misfits will reunite with Glenn Danzig as frontman at this year’s Riot Fest. Danzig, bassist Jerry Only and guitarist Doyle are all confirmed to participate in the reunion, billed as “The Original Misfits,” which will take place at both incarnations of Riot Fest in Denver and Chicago this fall. The trio last performed together on October 29th, 1983; the drummer for the shows has not yet been announced.
The reunion will first take place at Denver’s Riot Fest and Rodeo, set to take place between September 2nd and 4th. Their second appearance will be Riot Fest and Carnival, set for Chicago between September 16th and 18th. The rest of the fest’s lineup will be revealed next week.
The Misfits formed in 1977 in Lodi, New Jersey and gave punk a horror edge. Danzig reveled in the macabre on singles like “Bullet,” “Horror Business” and “Night of the Living Dead,” and he’d occasionally dress in a full skeleton costume, while Only painted his eyes to look like he was dead. They’d also pull their hair forward into “devilocks.” The bassist’s younger brother, Doyle, joined in 1980 and completed the band’s front line through its demise.
Throughout the rest of the Eighties, Danzig later formed Samhain and his own eponymous group, while Only and Doyle took regular jobs and played in the group Kryst the Conquerer. Meanwhile, the Misfits’ legacy grew, as Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and countless others covered Misfits songs and credited them as an influence. Only and Danzig sparred viciously over behind-the-scenes legal issues, but reached an agreement in 1995 that would allow Only and Doyle to tour as Misfits without their singer.
Doyle stayed with Only’s Misfits until 2002, after which Only led a lineup that variously included former Black Flag frontman Dez Cadena and drummers Marky Ramone and Robo. Doyle joined Danzig onstage for the first time since 1983 in 2006 to perform Misfits songs, and Danzig and Doyle toured together intermittently in the following years. Lawsuits and feuds have ensued over the years, but there have been a few moments where the chasm had seemed to be closing.
In 2011, Only told Rolling Stone he wasn’t ruling out a reunion. “Doing it with Glenn may work on a short-term basis,” he said. “I could see us getting together and lining up a bunch of big festivals and a bunch of big shows.”
Danzig stopped by Rolling Stone’s office last year and while he didn’t address a reunion with the Misfits, he did reminisce fondly on the band’s early years. “I wore makeup only at a couple of live shows and maybe for a photo shoot,” he said. “I think it was originally for a Halloween show, ’79, at [New York City’s] Irving Plaza. I also had the skeleton shirt and skeleton clothes on, so I was a full punk skeleton man. I can’t remember if it was that show or the next year’s Halloween show that we hung dead animal heads and limbs and carcasses all over the place. It smelled like a slaughterhouse. It looked like a slaughterhouse because it actually was.”
Misfits’ Facebook page has been teasing a new EP, Friday the 13th, due out this Friday. It will contain “four new horror-punk anthems” written by Only.
Danzig has been working on a new solo album, as well as a collection of Elvis Presley covers. He put out another covers album, Skeletons, last year. Earlier this year, he appeared on an episode of Portlandia.