I went to the signing at Forbidden Planet in Manhattan this past Wednesday. At the store were Jerry Only, Dez Cadena, and Eric “Chupacabra” Acre, the current line-up of the punk rock band the Misfits. Also at the signing was John Cafiero, frontman of the anime-inspired punk group Osaka Popstar. I hadn’t actually heard of Osaka Popstar before, but of course I knew of the Misfits, even though I’ve only really gotten into listening to them in the last few years (my girlfriend, on the other hand, has been a fan since high school).
It was pretty darn cool meeting Jerry Only. I have to say, I was surprised to see so many fans who were in their teens and early twenties. Nice to know that there are still younger people out there listening to real music, rather than that all of that Auto-Tune crap. (Not that I’m really old or anything… I’m only 36!) Yeah, you can argue that the Misfits are past their prime and that almost all the original band is gone (Jerry Only is the last founding member currently still in the group). But at least they still play their own instruments, write their own music, etc. I’ll gladly take the Misfits in their current incarnation over most of the new pop “singers” clogging the airwaves.
Jerry Only seemed like a really cool, friendly guy. He appeared to be enjoying himself, and made a real effort to talk to all of the fans. Certainly wasn’t playing the role of aloof, famous rock star, or anything like that. I’m sure part of the reason he was in a good mood was because all these cute twenty year old punk and goth girls were lining up to see him! But, hey, he made time for everyone. When I mentioned that my girlfriend wasn’t able to make it because she had the flu, Only gave me a free Misfits mask autographed by himself, Cadena and Acre as a gift for her. I think he knew that she was a true fan because I brought along her limited edition Jerry Only doll to get autographed. He was thrilled to see that.
Only, Cadena, and Acre were signing copies of the new Misfits album Dead Alive (or, if you prefer, DEA.D. ALIVE!) which is a recording of their Halloween 2011 show at BB Kings in Times Square. I gave the CD a listen yesterday. It isn’t the greatest live album that I’ve ever heard, by any means. But it’s certainly a fun, enjoyable collection of cool sci-fi / horror inspired tunes, which is what has always been the appeal of the Misfits for me. If you’re already a Misfits fan, you’ll probably like it.
Going by Dead Alive, you could argue that Jerry Only is a better bass player than front man, that perhaps he does not quite have the spark of either Glenn Danzig or Michael Graves. That said, Only is obviously passionate about keeping the Misfits going. You have to give him credit for keeping at it in the era of lip synching “artists” who cannot even play their own instruments.
I enjoyed the Osaka Popstar CD I picked up somewhat more, at least. Rock’Em O-Sock’Em Live is a really cool collection live punk music, including covers of a few Ramones songs. It was recorded back during Fiend Fest ’06. John Cafiero is on vocals. Backing him up are Dez Cadena & Ivan Julian on guitars, Jerry Only on bass, and Markey Ramone on drums. The CD is topped off by a cool cover illustrated by Garbage Pail Kids artist John Pound. That really brought back memories!
Osaka Popstar just released a new single, “Super Hero.” I didn’t have a chance to get a copy of that at Forbidden Planet, but I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for it.
Anyway, even though I was pretty lukewarm about Dead Alive, I would still like to see the Misfits live one of these days. I’m sure it would be a fun show. And hopefully I’ll also have a chance to catch Osaka Popstar. Judging by Rock’Em O-Sock’Em Live, John Cafiero is a heck of a good performer.