The Misfits only released a handful of albums and singles under their original lineup with singer Glen Danzig, but the impact of that music has influenced countless punk, metal, and hardcore bands in the years since. The group has continued to soldier with different members as Danzig went on to craft a successful solo career, making their history ripe for capturing on paper – which is what author James Green, Jr. has done with the biography This Music Leaves Stains: The Complete Story of the Misfits.
We were recently pleased to welcome Greene to campus during Halloween week to speak to students about his book, punk rock, and the continued influence of The Misfits’ recorded legacy. During the talk he gave a brief history of the seminal band, followed by a lengthy Q&A session where students/fans asked in-depth questions about his research. Highlights of the chat included:
Punk rock Punk isn’t about having the most perfect thing that you can make, it’s about the immediacy and the mistakes, and the mistakes can help to highlight the brilliance. That’s what The Misfits really embodied.
His favorite Misfits track My favorite Misfits song is ‘I Turned Into a Martian’ because everybody at some point can identify with that kind of alienation, and the feeling that everybody around you is crazy. Then it’s also fast and it has a very unusual chorus and rhythm.
The band without Glen Danzig I think the two or three records The Misfits with without Danzig are excellent of themselves. You can’t really fairly compare them with what came before, because there was such a huge gap of time, and technology changed so much, and their approach changed so much. The reality is those albums exist and they have merit and they have something interesting to say.
On researching a memoir My advice would be to be persistent. If you’re looking for specific people and they don’t have a huge presence online or in public, you have to find out if they’re married and if their spouse does anything you can connect to. That’s the kind of detective work you have to do sometimes. You can’t worry about being polite, you have to explore every avenue that you think could lead to something.