were a punk rock band formed in 1977 in the town of Lodi
, New Jersey and originally led by singer Glenn Danzig
(born Glenn Anzalone
Glenn was very interested in Marilyn Monroe, and took the band's name from The Misfits, Monroe's
last film. The band's early lyrical and graphical focus was on retro (1930s-'50s) science fiction, horror films, and B-movies.
The early Misfits were often quite melodic, featuring Danzig's
versatile singing, which had a style rooted in Italian tenors such as Mario Lanza
and in 1950's doo wop
. Early Misfits songs tended to have catchy, sing-along choruses backed by poorly recorded, sloppy instrumentals. The band began as a largely untrained ensemble. The song "Last Caress" (a very rare track for years) is now commonly regarded as the epitome of an early-Misfits song, with blaring instruments and Danzig's melodic vocals finding a medium between Frank Sinatra and the Sex Pistols (whose notoriously musically untalented bassist, Sid Vicious, at one point offered the rest of the band to back him as a solo artist).
By the original band's last album, Earth A.D., they had become a hardcore punk band, with Danzig's standout vocal tone floating over a torrent of thrashing guitar, bass, and drums.
It is useful to think of the early Misfits as a band of Jersey-Italians who were strangely attracted to punk due to the trends of the time, rather than as a traditional 'punk band'. While Danzig
lived with his mother in Lodi and was supported by her during the band's early career, Jerry and Doyle Caiafa
helped finance the band by working long shifts at the family lumber yard, later founding a knife factory in rural Vernon Township (which often employed later members such as Robo, a citizen of Colombia). The Misfits seldom mixed with other New Jersey punk bands, creating their own small scene locally, while holding early acclaim in New York and expanding it nationally, in part thanks to mailing lists
and other networking, including their once-small, later-considerable 'Fiend Club' fan club.
The original Misfits broke up in 1983, having released several 7" singles and 12" records, all of which were DIY limited-edition and most of which were hand-assembled by the band, that have long been considered prime collectors' items. Epigones from Lodi, New Jersey, include the bands Mourning Noise and Rosemary's
Babies, both of whom released records.
The band often wore ghoulish
makeup when performing, and bassist Jerry Only
invented a hairstyle called the devilock
which is still worn by fans today.