Monday, December 23, 2019


‘Tis the season for nostalgia. I don’t know about you but, every Christmas, I can’t help but think about all Christmases past and all the cool toys Santa Clause used to bring me. Here is a list of a few of my favorite gifts of all time:

Rambo Action Figure

When I was young, I was obsessed with Rambo. Particularly Rambo: First Blood Part 2. Back in the late 80s, you would occasionally get a free promotional weekend of HBO with your cable package and, one weekend, I was able to record the movie on a VHS tape. I watched this VHS tape in an obsessive manner and fantasized that I was Rambo most of the time.

When Rambo 3 came out, I became equally obsessed with that movie and I have vivid memories of pretending I was Rambo on the schoolyard in 1st grade. I'm not kidding. All the other kids were on the jungle gym and what-not while I was off by myself, lost in my Rambo world. I remember the teachers had to speak to my parents about how I didn't play well with others. This was because I preferred to be in a fantasy world of anything and everything Rambo 3.

The cartoon version of Rambo aired in 1986 and a ton of action figures subsequently appeared in toy stores. Santa Claus brought me a few of the action figures, but my most favorite was the special operations green beret himself: John Rambo. As seen in the photo, he came with a bazooka weapon that shot with a string.

Music Major

This was a cool keyboard/toy. When you turned it on, a nasally voice would say "" I didn't know how to play the piano, but I was more interested in pressing the buttons that made animal sounds (the coyote was my favorite). You could also play the piano in a special mode where each key would say, Do, Re, Mi, Fa etc. If you hit the ‘Fa’ key really quick over and over again, it sounded like a dirty word.

It's important to note that I think I only wanted this toy because I saw it in the big, fat, annual Sears holiday catalogue and it looked super cool. Back in those pre-Internet days, the annual Sears Christmas catalogue was the best way to assess what toys you would like for Christmas.

GI Joe Tiger Force

"Tiger Force" was a special operations unit of GI Joe action figures and vehicles. Santa Claus brought me a Tiger Force airplane (Tiger Rat), helicopter (Tiger Fly) and boat (Tiger Shark). The plane was my favorite and I randomly reenacted a scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with this plane (the scene where an airplane swoops down and shoots at Dr. Jones and his dad while they’re driving in a car).
The Tiger Force vehicles had guns and red, detachable plastic missiles. I played with these toys all the time and I was the best at making gun noises with my mouth, mainly because I could roll my tongue at a very young age. This, by the way, helped me out significantly when it came time to roll my R's in Spanish class.


This was the vehicle that the Thunder Cats rode in. ThunderCats, if you don’t know, was a kids cartoon from the mid-1980s featuring a group of cat-like humanoid aliens who team up to fight evil on their planet. I was in pre-school at the time I first started watching ThunderCats and I absolutely idolized them. In fact, I have vivid memories of being in pre-school and fantasizing that I would turn into the leader of the Thunder Cats -- Lion-O -- whom I adored the most, and all the kids would love me because I was him.

Sadly, my parents somehow discarded my ThunderTank when I was apparently not looking, though I still do have a Lion-O action figure to this day. There is a switch in the back of him to make his arm swing into a punch. Also, there was a special battery-operated key you could plug into a circular socket on his back and make his eyes light up. 

By the way, I have to admit I thought Lion-O’s name was Lionel up to...well up until when I just looked him up a second ago. I'm not sure why I was mistaken, but I definitely thought he was Lionel. I'm kind of ashamed of this.

Sega Game Gear

Nintendo’s Game Boy had already been out for a couple or maybe even a few years. I had gotten a Game Boy with my fifth-grade paper route money, but it was so hard to see the black and green screen and the graphics weren't that great either.

But then came Sega Game Gear.

At the time, Sega Game Gear seemed like the eighth wonder of the world. A video game consul that was portable? And (unlike Game Boy) it was in color? With 8-bit graphics? Whhhaaaaaa?Whhhaaaaaa?

It was in sixth grade that Santa Claus gifted me with a Game Gear, complete with the Sonic the Hedgehog game and also Terminator 2: the Arcade Game. Sonic was a great game, but I played T2 the most because it was an 8-bit version of the T2 game that was at the local Dream Machine video arcade, which I loved. And when I say I loved it, I REALLY loved it. It was my favorite game at the arcade and, when I found out I could play this game whenever I wanted on my Game Gear, I just about flipped.

Sadly (and stupidly) I sold my Game Gear in the mid-2000's to a used video game store called "Play it Again" or something like that. When I’m asked whether I have any regrets in life so far, I usually say, 'no' but, when I do, I'm lying my ass off, because my biggest regret for sure is selling my Game Gear.

Donkey Kong Country

Stop it right now. Stop it. Stop making me talk about Donkey Kong Country. It excites me so much I can't type.

Ok, I'm calmer now.

Donkey Kong Country is up there as being one of my favorite video games of all time (GoldenEye , aka “Bond”, for N64 and Mario Kart are close contenders...oh, and also Zelda: Ocarina of Time). DK Country was a revolutionary game for the Super Nintendo System. Made by RareWare, it had graphics that were waaay ahead of their time (the graphics were technically known as 3d sprites). Playing the game was so fun and I literally spent my entire Christmas vacation playing it with the exception of when I had a CYO basketball game or was eating lasagna left over for Christmas parties. Maybe one of the reasons why I played the game so much (and liked it so much) was because it was pretty easy and one of the few games I could actually beat.

I still own DK Country to this day and have played it here and there. Fortunately, I've been able to introduce the game to my nephews, whom have enjoyed playing it.

Super Nintendo

Super Nintendo ranks as my number one favorite Christmas gift of all far. I was in the fifth grade, 1992. The home video game consul was the number one item on my Christmas list and all December I was so excited knowing that, in just a few weeks, my life could change in a radical manner. In fact, when I think of Super Nintendo, an image of a pink candle comes into my mind. This is because it's the pink candle that is lit at Church on the third week of Advent and seeing that pink candle lit meant that it wouldn't be much longer until Christmas and Super Nintendo would (potentially) be in my possession.

Sure enough, Christmas came and there was a big present with just enough weight to it. I knew what it could be. With one rip of the wrapping paper, I saw a Super Nintendo logo and I was so happy that my dream was now a reality in present time. Included with the game was Super Mario World and -- what's this??? -- Santa Claus left two more games along with it: a new game called Mario Kart and another game called Final Fight.

Mario Kart was revolutionary at the time because of "Mode 7" technology that was a geeky way of saying it had really good graphics that created the illusion of 3D because you drove deep into the screen, thus creating the illusion of depth. Racing against a Player 2 was fun (usually my brother), battle mode was even more fun (in my opinion, the SNES Mario Kart battle mode was much better than N64 battle mode or any of the later Mario Kart versions). I also obsessively played in "time trial" mode, which tested to see how fast you could drive a course on your own, and, to this day, I probably hold the world record for the ghost valley course. 

As for Final Fight, this was a side-scrolling fighting game with graphics that, at the time, I thought were mind-blowing. It reminded me a lot of an actual arcade game, which makes sense because I later discovered that Final Fight was originally a 1989 arcade game. The gameplay basically consisted of you punching and kicking a bunch of bad guys with street punk names like AXL and Slash (hmmm…I wonder what creative mind came up with such unique names that definitely didn’t sound like members of a popular rock band).

And then, of course, there was Super Mario World, one of the few games (along with Donkey Kong Country) that I ever beat. The game had such fun colors and music and all this combined with a loveable character named Yoshi made me so happy when I played.

As of right now, my SNES is fragile but still functional and I have been known to play it on occasion.

Friday, October 25, 2019


It was the year 2000. Spring. My senior year in high school.

“Hi, Burns.”

“Oh, hey, Brian.”

“Wanna play the post-prom party with my band?”


“Cool. Oh, and a friendly reminder that salad bar’s today.”

“Ah, damn, it’s Tuesday. Wish it was deli bar.”

“Me too. Oh well. See you soon.”

This is exactly how the conversation went down when I was recruited to play the post-prom party with my high school classmates Brian (guitarist), Steve (singer) and Steve’s cousin (bassist). I would be on drums.

We began practicing right away, for two or three months, and developed an eclectic set-list of songs. We would open with Korn’s “Blind” and then go right into Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Give it Away Now”. Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” would be in there, too. P.O.D.’s “Southtown”. Pink Floyd’s “We Don’t Need no Education”. And many, many more.

But one song was a tune I admittedly had never heard before up until that point in my life:


By the Misfits.


Indeed, this was my introduction to the band the Misfits and what I didn’t realize at the time was that it would mark the beginning of my metamorphosis into an all-out Misfit fiend. In other words, this was the beginning of a Misfits obsession that would last for several years.

The more I played “Halloween” with my band, the more I fell in love with the song. There was a strange familiarity to it, like my soul already recognized the music somehow and like it was inevitable that I would eventually stumble upon it. There was no avoiding this. It was meant to be.

I was immediately inspired to make an emergency trip to the local Newbury Comics and purchase a Misfits CD. Clawing through the CD bins in a fiendish frenzy, I saw one Misfits album after another, but I was a Misfits ignoramus at that point in my life, so I had no idea which CD I should purchase.

I soon stumbled upon two “best of” CDs named Collection I. and Collection II. The first collection had a bunch of songs I never heard of before while the second collection had “Halloween” and…well, also a bunch of songs I never heard of before. I liked “Halloween” and I didn’t own the song. I thought I better go with Collection II.

I popped my new Misfits CD into my car stereo and by “car stereo” I mean my battery-powered boombox I kept on the passenger seat of the 1986 Toyota Camry I drove at the time. I pressed play and immediately skipped over to track nine to get my “Halloween” fix. I listened to “Halloween” about five or six times in a row before I was ready to expand my horizons and discover the rest of the songs on the CD. I started right at the beginning and immediately fell in love with “We Are 138”, “Last Caress”, “Children in Heat, “Hatebreeders” and what-would-eventually become one of my top-five favorite Misfits songs: “Devil’s Whorehouse”.

Damn, I thought to myself. Misfits front man Glenn Danzig’s voice sounded so unique: a mixture of 1930s crooner and 1950s-era carhop rock, sprinkled with a dash of Jim Morrison, and haunted with a sound of doom and horror. This sound was technically known as “horror punk”, mainly because all the songs were either inspired by or outright named after old horror movies—particularly B-horror movies—but I didn’t care what the sound was known as. I just wanted more of it. I wanted A LOT MORE.

I returned to Newbury Comics a few days later and got myself a copy of Collection I. I popped this CD into my “car stereo” and I instantly fell ghouls over ghosts in love with songs like “She”, “Bullet”, “Horror Business”, “Where Eagle’s Dare”, “Ghouls Night Out”, “Astro Zombies” and, of course, “I Turned into a Martian”.

The metamorphosis from Matt to Misfit was in full effect. All I needed now was a Misfits T-shirt to officially pledge my allegiance to the Misfit Fiend Club.

Back to Newbury Comics I went and purchased a classic black Misfits T-shirt with the signature white “Crimson Ghost” logo on it. Damn, that Crimson Ghost logo was so badass. I may go out on a limb and say 65% of why I liked the Misfits was because of that one damn logo. So simple. So cool-looking. Talk about branding, man. Posers buy merch with that logo on it all the time and they don’t even know who the fregging Misfits even are. I wonder how much money that one simple logo has made for the Misfits over the years. I bet it’s something insane.

This is a photo of a photo of me in my Crimson Ghost T-shirt. The logo is based on a character from a 1940s crime film The Crimson Ghost. P.S. I no longer have an afro.

Anyway, the post-prom party was a hit, high school ended and the summer of 2000 began. I had two jobs, one at CVS Pharmacy and one at Stop & Shop supermarket, so I had, like, a billion dollars of disposable income to spend on anything and everything Misfits. I figured, hmmm, why not get another Misfits CD? Yes, another trip to Newbury Comics was clearly in order.

Back to the CD store I went, rummaged through the bins and found myself a super-sick looking Misfits album called “Famous Monsters”. The album title sounded horrid (in a good way), so I purchased it, popped it into my car stereo and…

“What the f*** is this shit?”

It did not sound like the Misfits…at least, not quite. I grabbed the CD case from off the passenger seat and double-checked the cover art. Keeping one eye on the road to the best of my ability, I did a double-take when I saw the Misfits front man wasn’t…Glenn Danzig. It was somebody else! An imposter!

I thought I had gotten fleeced. Big-time.

When I got home, I took the CD insert out of the case and saw that Danzig was nowhere to be seen and in his place was a dude named “Michale Graves”. What I would later learn was that Danzig left the Misfits quite some time ago and he had been replaced with a new front man (Graves). I did not like this. I did not like this one bit.

A few weeks went by and I refused to listen to the Famous Monsters album. Nope, I was a Danzig guy. I wanted nothing to do with Graves. No way.

But the album kept calling my name. Not literally, of course (I wasn’t going schizo), but what I mean is that I would browse through my bookshelf full of CDs and my eyes were always tantalized by the purple, green and yellow colors of the Famous Monsters cover art. There was a seductive vibe about it. And then there was a (non-schizo) voice in my head that said, “Give it a try, Matt. Come on, Matt, give it a try, YOU FIEND!”

Eventually, I caved and I popped Famous Monsters into my new (but used) Aiwa Discman that a friend had recently sold to me. The instrumental intro-song “Kong at the Gates” played and then went right into a song called “Forbidden Zone”. Hmmm…now that I was a little more open-minded about this whole no-Danzig thing, the song sounded better than it did when I first heard it. Maybe this shit was better than I thought.

As time went by, the appreciation of Famous Monsters spread throughout me like an infection from a zombie bite. “Forbidden Zone” became a favorite of mine, but so didn’t “Lost in Space”, “Dust to Dust”, “Saturday Night”, “Hunting Humans”, “Helena” and especially “Pumpkin Head” and, oh my lord, I can’t forget “Descending Angel”—sooo good, my fiends.

Now, what I’m about to say may be controversial, but I think it’s possible that, over time, I grew to like Michale-Graves-era Misfits over Glenn-Danzig-era Misfits. Eeeeeeeeek. I don’t know. It may be a close tie, but sometimes I find myself leaning more towards Michale Graves. Sorry, fiends. But I have to be honest here. Eeeeeeeek.

What I do know is that, for most of the summer of 2000, I was pretty much blasting Famous Monsters in my car at a very high volume, mostly while driving to and from Stop & Shop and/or hanging out with fiends…I mean, friends. I was full-blown Misfit at this point and my friends were, at the same time, becoming full-blown Misfit as well.

One of these fiends was a friend named Jesse. He and a guy he worked with in the kitchen of a restaurant loved the Misfits. They were interested in starting a Misfits cover band. They wanted to know if I was interested as well.

I was.

Plan 9—a Misfits cover band—was officially formed in the middle of the summer. Plan 9, if you don’t know, was the name of the Misfits’ record label, which they had named after the classic Ed Wood movie Plan 9 from Outer Space. The movie is known as the “best worst movie” of all time. If you haven’t seen Plan 9, you should. It’s very entertaining. (As I write this, you can watch Plan 9 on Amazon Prime, complete with hilarious commentary from the same guys who brought you Mystery Science Theater 3000.)

Our first rehearsal was really a loose jam session at Jay’s house in Norton, MA. He had a large shed separate from his house that housed all his musical equipment, including a really siiiick set of drums that were waaaaaay better than my own. This was nice because I didn’t have to lug my set of drums (cool kids call it a ‘kit’ but I’ve always called it a ‘set’) back and forth when we practiced.

Since we were such big Misfits fans already, we hardly even needed to learn any songs; we basically already knew them by heart (at least, I did). I’m not sure about this so I wouldn’t want it written on my tombstone, but I think the first song we ever played together was either a song called “Some Kinda Hate” or “Hybrid Moments”. These are two…well, beautiful songs, the kind that you would want to play during a romantic evening with your girlfriend while parked on a hill overlooking American suburbia. Jay nailed the vocals. If Danzig and Michale Graves ever coupled and had a son, Jay would be that son. That’s how good his voice was.

The stars had aligned.

Plan 9 practiced for the rest of the summer and we played pretty much everything, both Danzig-era Misfits and Michale-Graves-era Misfits. Notable songs I remember playing were “Hatebreeders”, “One Last Caress”, “American Psycho” (from the not-yet-mentioned Michale-Graves-era album American Psycho), “Static Age”, “Hunting Humans”, “Astro Zombies”, “Where Eagles Dare”, “I Turned into a Martian” and so many more.

By the time September came around, we were eager to lay some of these songs down on tracks. Now, this was right before the time that Pro Tools and easy, DIY digital music production became prevalent. We also didn’t have a 4-track, nor did we know how to use one anyway. We decided, instead, to go to a “professional” studio and pay a couple hundred bucks to record like pros.

The studio was in Mansfield and was run by a handful of twenty-something-year-olds. They all had pitched in their life savings to build the place and we were their very first clients. We recorded on a Thursday night, I believe, and I only remember this because I know I had an 8:30am class the next morning in Boston (at BU) where I felt like I had literally become an Astro Zombie, lol haha (see what I did there?). The recording engineers were very excited about having their first band in studio and they drank many beers throughout the night, almost like they wanted to be all sex, drugs and rock & roll, but it turns out maybe they would’ve done a better job if they hadn’t done this. Not that they did a terrible job. But, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

The engineers had us record separately. I believe Jay and Jesse laid down their bass and guitar tracks first, then I wore headphones and recorded my drums. Or maybe Jesse and I played together but in separate rooms? Don’t remember. What I do, remember, however, is that, at the end of recording “I Turned into a Martian”, I thought I screwed up and I was so pissed at myself because I’d been flawless up until that point. I screamed out of frustration but what I didn’t realize at the time is that the scream actually sounded like how one would scream if they were, indeed, turning into a Martian. So we kept the scream in. As for me screwing up? It was all in my head, apparently. Turns out I didn’t really screw up at all, at least nothing noticeable, so what I thought was a screw-up ended up creating a happy accident in the form of me screaming like a man turning into a Martian.

Overall, the recording went well and the end product was a Plan 9 EP with four professionally-recorded tracks: “Astro Zombies”, “I Turned into a Martian”, “Kong at the Gates/Forbidden Zone” and “Hunting Humans” (ok, that’s five tracks but “Kong” doesn’t really count as a whole song). Like I said before, the engineers did a good job, but on the last couple of tracks there are some weird snaps and crackles—worse than what you would hear in a bowl of Rice Krispies—and they may not have been there had those rambunctious engineers not been drinking all their beers.

Here is the full Plan 9 EP, if you’d like to hear:

Needless to say, we, the members of Plan 9, were excited to finally have an EP under our belt. Yep, life was going really good for the band by the time October rolled around…but things got even better when word on the street was that the Misfits would be playing a Halloween show in Worcester at a popular music venue called the Palladium. Me and the members of Plan 9 were very excited to hear this. Not only did we want to see our favorite band live, but we also thought this show would be a good opportunity to boost band morale or perhaps it would be a good “team building” event, though that sounds like corporate-office mumbo-jumbo, so forget I ever said it.

It was October 21, 2000. Jay, Jesse, myself and also our friend Tim piled into Jesse’s Dodge Shadow and drove to the Worcester Palladium. The band GWAR was opening for the Misfits and Jay saw GWAR’s drummer (sans costume) outside the Palladium before the show. The drummer acted all normal and like a human being, not like a mutant warrior from outer space. We also saw the singer from the band Tree and he was absolutely shit-faced off his gourd. I think I even saw Misfits bassist Jerry Only sitting on a curb in the shadows, but it’s possible my memory is just making that up. I think I have to put it on the record that I didn’t see Jerry outside the Palladium.

We entered the venue and all we could see was devil locks…everywhere. Leather jackets. Crimson Ghost shirts. People had white face paint and/or dark makeup around the eyes (a la Jerry Only). It was a bit spooky but insanely awesome at the same time. I felt very at home with all these fiends from all over Massachusetts and probably many of the surrounding states as well.

At the time, I wasn’t familiar with GWAR at all, but, let me tell you, my fiends, that was one performance I’ll never forget. They were absolutely incredible. Their music was good, but it was their onstage theatrics that made them so next-level. Each band member wore foamy space mutant costumes, sprayed hoses of fake blood into the crowd and had a dominatrix-like mutant named Slymenstra Hymen come out onstage wearing a metal thong and she swung chains around and/or danced with sticks of fire during one of GWAR’S more well-known songs “Sick of You”. At one point they even had two life-sized puppets of George W. Bush and Al Gore (this was right before the 2000 election) come out onstage and battle each other with swords, cut off each other’s arms and powerful hoses of blood would spray out of the wounds with pressure so strong it probably sprayed about 30 feet into the crowd.

I had never quite seen anything like it.

GWAR ended their set after 40-60 minutes and then there was 30 minutes of a build-up waiting for the Misfits. About every ten minutes, Jerry Only would appear in a little balcony window above the stage, make a ghoulish pose and then run away. The crowd would go wild whenever this happened. Including myself. I screamed in Beatlemania fashion.

Soon, the house lights went out, very large custom-made amplifiers appeared onstage that had big white Crimson Ghosts on the cabinets, fog floated up from the floor and a silhouette of a ghoul walked onto the stage. Wait, not just any ghoul…a spotlight came on and revealed that it was the Crimson Ghost! Yes, a man dressed as the Crimson Ghost—with makeup and all—menacingly walked onstage, wearing a hood on his head and he carried a lantern in his hand. The crowd went ballistic when they saw him.

The presence of the Crimson Ghost officially conjured the Misfits from the dead and, soon, the silhouettes of the band members appeared behind their respective instruments. Dr. Chud, the drummer, sat behind his enormous drum set that had spikes growing out of the drums. He slammed his drumsticks into his gargantuan Floor Toms...BOOM…BOOM-BOOM…BOOM…BOOM-BOOM. It was the beginning of “Kong at the Gates”, which the band played in its entirety all while the crowd screamed like banshees. Then, from Kong, they went right into “Forbidden Zone”, at which point Michale Graves came stumbling onto the stage, partially because he was likely drunk (he had a bit of an alcohol issue) but also to create the illusion that he had just been summoned from his grave. He had make-up on his face that made him look like a full-blown skeleton.

From “Forbidden Zone”, they went right into “Witch Hunt”, “Lost in Space”, “Crawling Eye”, “Dig Up her Bones”…

As he wailed on his warlock-looking bass guitar, Jerry Only’s devil-lock hung down to about his lips area. He was friggin’ jacked, too, almost like he was a wrestler in the WWF. Guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein’s devil-lock hung down even further than Jerry’s, probably down to the lower neck area. He, too, was jacked…SUPER jacked, not to mention tall…SUPER tall. In fact, Doyle was so enormous he looked like he was literally a different species of human being altogether, like from some sort of Land of the Giants. He slapped the crap out of his guitar, not in a Flea kind of way, but in a monstrous kind of way, almost like he was punching it from the top down.

Now, during GWAR, I had kind of hung back from the crowd, because I didn’t know GWAR that well, but also (admittedly) I didn’t want to get fake blood sprayed onto my cherished Misfits T-shirt. However, as soon as the Misfits took the stage, I went insane, ran right up to the edge of (but not into) the pit and practically screamed the lyrics at Michale Graves. I was a fiend out of control. I think I just about lost my voice during “Scream”.

Overall, that Misfits show at the Worcester Palladium was legendary and, when you combine it with GWAR’S Broadway musical from hell or whatever you’d call what they did on stage, you basically had one of the most memorable concert experiences of a lifetime. That show was definitely in my top-three concert experiences of all time, mixed in somewhere with Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine and maybe Stone Temple Pilots or Guns N’ Roses.

Newly energized from seeing the Misfits—our heroes—live, in their undead flesh, Plan 9 was determined to become the biggest Misfits cover band in the world.

This didn’t happen.

We, did, however, play a couple gigs, both of which took place at Wheaton College in Norton. Why Wheaton? Honestly, I’m not sure. I believe Jay had some connections there. We thought it would be a good opportunity to test out our shit.

The first gig was at a pub on campus called The Loft. We opened for a band from Watertown called Dr. Frog. Ah, wait, that’s why we played Wheaton—because Jay knew the lead singer of Dr. Frog and many members of that band either had gone to or still went to Wheaton. Mystery solved. Anyway, yes, we were psyched about our first gig, we put on Misfits makeup and, if my memory serves me well, we played one hell of a show. The only problem was that nobody was there to see us. Ok, maybe a couple friends were there, but what I remember is looking out to the “crowd”, seeing some preppy-looking college students eating burgers and fries, maybe sipping on a beer if they were old enough, and overall looking annoyed by our presence.

Lack of an audience notwithstanding, I do think we played very well and I still, to this day, kick myself because I failed to videotape our performance. I was a film major, after all, and I practically videotaped everything. How could I not have videotaped it! So stupid! In fact, I had my friggin’ video camera with me at the time. I know this because I ended up taping Dr. Frog after us. Ah, so dumb! I’m not worthy of existence!

Fortunately, I remembered my camera for our second (and last) gig. This show took place in Wheaton’s dining hall during regular dining hall hours. I’m not sure how this all happened but we somehow ended up opening for Wheaton’s jazz band. So, picture a brightly-lit dining hall. Students are there eating their dinner, some in groups, others alone. And then you got Plan 9 – a Misfits cover band – blasting power-chord-fueled tunes on a one-foot drum riser, and when I say blast, I mean we played at an energy of fucking 11 (to make a Spinal Tap reference). We held absolutely nothing back. With the exception of a couple fiends we invited, there was absolutely nobody there to see us and nobody who wanted us there, either.

We did, however, win us at least ONE new fan. I remember, after the performance, there was this dude five-o-clock-shadowing me while I packed up the drums. The jazz band was already playing at this point and this dude kept telling me that he didn’t want to hear “this pahn music,” referring to the jazz, which did kind of sound like porn music. “I wanna hear some Staiiiiiiiiiind,” he said, meaning the band Staind, who was popular at the time. I hurried to pack up the drums, wished this guy luck getting his Staind fix and never saw him again.

But, yes, I did fortunately bring along my video camera to that gig and, with the help of my friend Tim who manned the cam, I did capture much of our performance, though I don’t think it did Plan 9 justice. For one, the audio of the recording was distorted and for two, Jay had laryngitis that evening. I don’t think that performance was quite as good as our first gig or perhaps our first gig was the same or even worse and it was better that it wasn’t videotaped—who knows.

Here is us closing with “One Last Caress”.

By the time the summer of 2001 came about, Plan 9 had officially fizzled out, not for any concrete reason, but we all simply moved on to other things. As for me, I joined a female-fronted punk band called Death in Arms and we played all originals, no covers. My days being in a Misfits cover band were in the past…

But my days being a fiend were FAR from over.

As the years went by, I listened to the Misfits with diabolical dedication—mainly around Halloween—but also during other parts of the year when I was in the mood for doom and horror, which was often. I also procured myself a full-wardrobe’s-worth of Misfits attire: T-shirts, sweatshirts, even baseball jerseys. Furthermore, I bought a slew of Misfits patches and sewed them onto hoodies and/or blue-collar-like mechanics’ shirts that I bought cheaply at either Walmart or Savers. I wore one patch in particular—my Misfits “fiend club” patch—wherever I went and there is photographic evidence to support this claim (see below). I considered this shirt my party shirt. If you saw me with this shirt on, then—lookout—you know I was down to party.

If this guy’s not ready to party, who is?

In 2004, I made a fun short movie with my friends called Wendel’s Revenge and basically the whole soundtrack, with some exceptions, is Misfits music, mainly music I found on “Cuts from the Crypt,” which was an album the Misfits released in 2001. It was a compilation of tunes from 1996-2001 that had, I guess, been cut from previous albums, which I find to be crazy because they’re excellent songs. In addition to “Fiend without a Face” and “Dr. Phibes Rises Again” (the two songs I used in Wendels’ Revenge, despite egregious copyright infringement), you’ll find such greats as “I Wanna be a New York Ranger”, “1,000,000 Years B.C.” and a cover of “Monster Mash”, not to mention demo versions of “Scream” and “Dead Kings Rise”.

Flash forward all the way to 2010. It had been nearly a decade since I metamorphosized into a Misfit. Word on the street was that the Misfits were coming to town again and they’d be playing at Patriot Place’s new music venue Showcase Live that was adjacent to Gillette Stadium (where the Patriots play). This was exciting news, but there was a slight catch because the Misfits didn’t quite exist anymore. The only original Misfit who remained in the band at this point was Jerry Only, so it would basically only be Only. Only be Only? Sounds like an Abbott and Costello bit hahahaha. But what I mean is that it would only be the Jerry Only show. Nevertheless, it was still worth checking it out. Tickets were a humble 30 bucks. Showcase Live was right down the road, 7-10 minutes away. It was a no-brainer.

So me, my friend Matt and my other friend Matt got a 12-pack of Natty Ice, guzzled them quickly in the basement of Matt #2’s house, tied on a nice, menacing buzz and then went to see the Misfits. It had been about 12 years since I had last seen them and I was very excited about seeing them rise from the dead again.

This time around was a slightly different experience, mainly because I was buzzed, if not drunk, on the Natty Ice. I had much more liquid courage than the last time and had no problem getting right up in the pit, almost to the stage, and screaming at Jerry the whole time as he played with Dez Cadena from Black Flag and the drummer, who was supposedly Robo from Black Flag but he actually turned out to be a Robo lookalike. His name was Eric "Chupacabra" Arce who had previously been in Murphy’s Law.

Jerry sang many of the older, Danzig-era tunes for this show, probably since Michale Graves was gonzo. Songs like “Vampira”, “London Dungeon”, “Die! Die! My Darling!”, “Devil Lock” and maybe even “Skulls” come to mind. I also remember that they played the songs very fast, which was fine with me, but the songs were a LOT thrashier than the original album versions, let me tells ya. I guess Jerry liked to play them hard and fast. Danzig probably liked the opposite. In fact, now that I think of it, I think that was one of the reasons why Danzig left the band. Or maybe Danzig was the one who wanted to play harder and faster. I can’t remember.

Anyway, I was having a great time in the crowd and, at some point, I got kicked or punched in the face by some dude who was moshing a little too hard (he eventually got kicked out by the bouncer). It didn’t hurt at the time, but the next day I woke up and realized I had a black eye. No biggie. At least I didn’t have no brain damage or nothin’ and I figured the shiner was a sign I rocked as hard as I possibly could. Only a true Misfit fiend would rock that hard and I considered myself a true Misfit fiend, so there you go.

After the show, I saw the aforementioned drummer—Eric "Chupacabra" Arce—sitting at the bar, so I went up to him and told him how much I enjoyed the performance. “Oh, I saw you out there,” he said to me, meaning he had noticed me in the crowd while he was wailing on the drums. He must have noticed I was a true fiend who knew all the lyrics and was screaming them in the center of the pit. Then I had my picture taken with him and I asked if I could consider him a friend and he said not friend, but a fiend. Ok, that latter part never happened but I did get a picture with him.

Here is me with the drummer:

From the bar, I joined the end of a line in the Showcase Live lobby where Jerry Only was doing a meet and greet. Normally, I would have been nervous about this kind of thing, but the Natty Ice was still running hard through my veins, so I went up to Mr. Only acting like we were old buds from back in the day. I said, “Jeeeeeerrrrrrry” all buddy-like and then I put my arm around his shoulders, we both got into an undead-like pose and my friend took a picture of the two of us. Then, Jerry signed my ticket and said in a gravely voice, full of menacing horror, “Happy Halloweeeeeeeen”. To this day, I wonder if that’s how he talks all the time or if he was still kind of in character.

Here is me with Jerry:

Here is my signed ticket:

What a fun show, though, especially seeing that I got to meet Jerry afterwards; that was certainly a highlight of my life. The show, of course, would have been even better with more original Misfits members, but it was still very fun.

In 2016, the Misfits resolved their differences and both Doyle and (to everybody’s shock) Danzig rejoined the band for two shows at Riot Fest in Chicago. Since then, they’ve been playing sporadic shows here and there, mostly in Las Vegas, but also one in California and even, just recently (October 2019), at Madison Square Garden in NYC. I haven’t been blessed to see “The Original Misfits” (what they call themselves now), but maybe someday I will. There’s still time. Until then, I will keep listening to Misfits music until my skull explodes, I will proudly wear my Crimson Ghost shirts in public so everybody knows I’m a fiend, I will brag to everybody that I was once in a Misfits cover band, I will die a happy man knowing I saw the Misfits live TWICE, and most importantly, I will never forget that fateful day when I first heard “Halloween”, fell under a Misfits spell and, before I knew it, came to and realized, oh my God…


MATT BURNS is the author of Jungle F’ng Fever: My 30-Year Love Affair With Guns N’ Roses and My Raging Case of Beastie Fever (now available on Amazon). He’s also the author of many other books, including his memoir Garage Movie: My Adventures Making Weird Films and his “screen novel” WEIRD MONSTER. Find more of his books at his Amazon Author Page: