We caught up with Michale Graves and his band during their 2018 UK tour after getting tickets for a last minute date added on at the recently saved Fleece in Bristol. The band had been on tour for six months and this show would mark the end of their UK tour.
Michale Graves fronted The Misfits from 1995-2000. During this time the band recorded one of the greatest albums ever made Famous Monsters. It has been 10 years since Graves has toured the UK and so all of the fans were rightfully ravenous with anticipation to watch their favourite Monster live and in the flesh. Finally the time was upon us and Graves made his way onto the stage dawning his signature skull face paint and duct taped trousers along with the new addition of a beaten up old cowboy hat. Graves has a completely unique stage presence and his groovy re-animated monster corpse dance is something that can not be emulated, trust me I’ve tried.
His set consisted of a good balance between Graves era Misfits tracks as well as full band original Graves tracks. Watching these tracks performed live in front of a swarm of zombie fans bellowing out the wooowoos together was a fiends dream come true. I’d say a highlight for me was hearing the track Helena from Famous Monsters “If I cut off your arms and cut off your legs would you still love me anyway?”. Another song still stuck in my head was a track called Teenage Monsters “I have grown up ugly and stupid, what has happened to meeee???” If you haven’t heard it go and check it out it’s off the album Punk Rock is Dead and it’s bloody great.
Within the set Graves switched between two distinct vocal styles. One style is more noticeable in the Misfits songs, a fast, thrash almost shotgun style vocal, rapid and aggressive. The other style comes to centre stage on Graves‘ tracks like Beware with a more melodic and anthemic style. The entire set is accompanied by three part vocal harmonies with the rest of the band and the sound bounces joyously around the room. Graves voice sounds like it is from another time, you can imagine watching “The Graves Blues Band Experience” in a 1920s spooky little speakeasy club.
At the end of the set the band opted not to leave the stage but to remain and talk to the crowd stating that “encores are a weird narcissistic tradition designed to fuel the performers ego”. I fully agree it is a bizarre tradition and I much preferred this way of closing out a set which felt far more intimate and honest to the fans. During this “encore section” the band performed an awesome version of Descending Angel.
Standing in on bass and backing vocals for Christopher Dean was fellow horror punk legend Steve Matthews from Blitzkid who handed us a free download for a new track from his new band Argyle Goolsby, go check em’ out Horror Punk Fans. Playing for Graves on guitar and backing vocals was Carlos ‘Loki’ Cofino (also in Argyle Goolsby) and on drums was Tony Baptist.
After the show the band did a meet and greet with the fans for free, which I believe they did at every date! It’s surprisingly rare that a successful artist takes this kind of time for his fans and it should always been commended as it’s not commonplace. Even more so as he managed to deal with my super awkwardness like a total professional and didn’t seem to mind at all that I had totally forgotten all of the questions I had prepared to ask him. I may not have gotten the Yack exclusive interview of a lifetime as I am a total star struck idiot, but at least I did get the opportunity to tell someone that has been a major influence on me over the years that he is awesome! Michale Graves your awesome!
Last year Glenn Danzig, Doyle and Jerry Only reunited for a handful of shows for the first time since the split in 1989? This gave me hope that one day Graves will be back at the helm of the Misfits in some form or another. I know Graves would be up for it I asked him that much. One of the good things about each of The Misfits having their own solo projects though is that it feels like we are getting weekly Monster shows. An excellent example is that in a few weeks Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein begins his UK tour. So if you’re some trendy kid that just bought a Misfits shirt from Topshop or whatever get your poser arse to some of these shows and experience it in the flesh.
If I somehow get lucky and don’t get fired you can expect a review of that show in the near future. I’ll see you there.
Words by Jason Bowles