Halloween is a fun time in New York, with a big Halloween parade, haunted house tours and other enjoyable events. There’s the Halloween Parade through Greenwich Village, cemetery visits, or a ghost and murder walking tour.
Allow me to add one more suggested activity for you: go see my Misfits cover band Green Hell. FULL DISCLOSURE: I am in Green Hell and play bass for the group.
If you are not familiar with the Misfits, the Misfits were a punk rock band from Lodi, N.J. that recorded most of its better known music in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Its lead singer, Glenn Danzig, is better known for his post-Misfits solo career. Years after the band’s break up bass player Jerry Only revived the group, though he is the only original member that still plays with the band. You can go see the current incarnation of the Misfits this Halloween and spend good money to see something that will little resemble the early version of the band that created its most popular and enduring work.
The Misfits are considered a “horror punk” band because of their spooky way of dress and horror-song themes. The songs are fun because they are fast, easy to play, and fans of punk rock music like them, know them and like to sing along to them. Singing along to Misfits songs is relatively easy because about 40% of the lyrics are “Whoooooooaa!”
I got involved with Green Hell in late 2004 through fellow band members in Blackout Shoppers, band I play in most often and it has been around for 10 years as well. Every other member of the band is someone I know from playing in other bands.
Green Hell usually only plays around Halloween and its fun every year dusting the cobwebs off of your Misfits knowledge and getting the songs ready again.
This year is the 10th year of Green Hell’s existence, and it’s also the 10th anniversary of Glenn Danzig getting knocked out backstage at a Tuba City, Arizona show after shoving another band’s singer. Green Hell likes to think of itself as a musical punch in the face to the legendary rock star prima donna.
In theory each year we try to expand our set list and add another Misfits song or two, but we haven’t done that for a few years now. We are all busy with other things, two of us have kids now, and life has a habit of getting in the way of even the most worthwhile ambitions.
Green Hell is one of many Misfits cover bands that come out of the woodwork on Halloween. There’s another Green Hell that plays Misfits songs, there’s Psycho 78. For a while there was an all-female Misfits cover band in the city called Ghouls Night Out that were a lot of fun. Perhaps the best is the Misfats, a group of overweight musicians that bill themselves as “the world’s fattest Misfits tribute band.”
Maybe it should be pointed out the difference between a tribute band and a cover band. A tribute band tries to imitate the band they are covering and appear and act as much like that band as possible. A cover band plays cover songs. Every tribute band is a cover band, but not all cover bands are tribute bands. Any band that plays all cover songs is a cover band. Green Hell has the enjoyment of the Misfits music and enough musicianship to play the songs, but no interest in making you think you’re back seeing the Misfits at City Gardens in 1981. Shit, we have no former Misfits among our ranks, which means we have one fewer original member of the Misfits than the Misfits.
I can understand insisting on seeing a tribute band for a group like KISS, where the makeup and theatrics characterize the essence of the band. But no one needs to see a tribute to the Misfits. And if they do, then the spooky sloppiness of Green Hell is a more accurate tribute to the early Misfits than any band you would pay more than $10 to see.