I Fell in Love with a Ghoul

I haven’t been this crazy about a band since I was a Cobain-obsessed teenager. During the last month, my casual interest in early-80′s punk band The Misfits has mutated into a devilish craving. I’m a fiend.

At first, I had written The Misfits off as just another low-fi thrashing experience, but then a series of thrilling revelations occurred. I discovered the band’s taste for sci-fi and horror-themed songs (‘Teenagers from Mars,’ ‘Night of the Living Dead’). They have a song about a werewolf, a song about The Fly, songs about Jackie O. and Marilyn Monroe. I was stunned when I realized the power and range of diabolical Misfits mastermind and frontman Glenn Danzig, “a powerful vocalist who didn’t so much emulate Elvis Presley and Jim Morrison as embody their cocksure attitude and charisma,” according to the iTunes review of the band’s debut. This is a hardcore punk band, led by a melodic crooner styled after Elvis, singing songs about martians and vampires. It’s the strangest hybrid, a creepy Frankenstein creature of a rock band, and the whole thing is utterly hilarious. That’s how I became a Fiend (Danzig named his self-published Misfits fan club enterprise the ‘Fiend Club,’ signing some of his letters to friends and fans with “Stay Cool Ghoul”).

They want your skull.

As early as ’78, the band was already branded with a name, logo, hairstyle (the incomparably inconvenient ‘devilock,’ a lock of hair narrowed into a horn-like sheath that hangs between the eyes), and sound that all thoroughly embodied their signature campy horror style. I dug further and futher, and before I knew it, I was spending way too much time YouTube-ing vintage Misfits clips and Googling nerd-alert search terms like “Glenn Danzig biography” (watch him show off his book collection). After years without a serious new musical obsession, it was a real joy. I love Grizzly Bear but bands like that don’t encourage obsession. If part of your look is being casual and appearing not to try too hard, your fans will probably follow suit. An Interpol tattoo is surely a rarity.

The band’s most well-known song is ‘Where Eagles Dare’

The final revelation came when I started reading Misfits lyrics. Some of the band’s songs are so fast and raw that it was occasionally difficult to hear the lyrics properly, but I soon discovered a lyrical genius in the eccentric meathead-to-be Danzig. I thought I heard a rousing chorus of “I want your soul / I need your soul.” This struck me as a passable, somewhat generic love song. My jaw literally dropped when I learned that the song title was ‘Skulls,’ the chorus was actually “I want your skull / I need your skull,” and the lyrics told a gory tale about a demonic psycopath with a skull collection. Holy shit. If you can see the humor in it, and if you’re a fan of horror films (Danzig was raised on the creepy/silly horror classics from 50′s film production company Hammer Horror), it’s heaven.

Even if you don’t crave more two-minute-long songs about the undead, I recommend being youthful when you can this month. Pursue some of those unbridled passions that can shrink away amidst the stresses and obligations that come with adult things like age and career and time. It’s good for you. Sometimes it takes work to find bands that you adore – research and browsing and recommendations and sometimes years of listening to music you enjoy but don’t always fiend for. But it’s worth it, so find what you fiend for. And remember, as the Descendents once said, “Thou shalt not commit adulthood.”

3 Responses to “I Fell in Love with a Ghoul”

  1. I love Hammer Horror. Been a big fan since I was a kid. My bro and I loved the Dracula and Frankenstein movies. I highly recommend some of the more obscure vampire titles such as Vampire Circus, Twins of Evil, and Kiss of the Vampire. They are very enjoyable movies and shouldn’t be missed by Hammer fans even though they don’t star Cushing and Lee.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Eric! One of my favorite horror films of the era (although it’s not Hammer) is ‘Fiend Without A Face,’ about mind-sucking brain creatures.

  3. Awsome post and right to the point. I am not sure if this is really the best place to ask but do you people have any thoughts on where to employ some professional writers? Thx

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