By Nicole Kobie
He builds parts for tanks, crafts knives, wrestles, dresses like a monster and associates with guys named Dr. Chud, Michale Graves and Doyle Von Frankenstein. If that doesn’t scare you off, you’re probably a fiend. No, that’s not an insult. That’s a fan of The Misfits, the image-heavy band machinist Jerry Only founded and for which he currently plays bass.
The Misfits have their hands full these days, especially in the realm of wrestling. They’ve participated in WCW matches and hope to again soon.
"It was such a rush," remembers Only. "You walk out into a big place like that and they blow everything up and the kids are going nuts and they’re playing your music… and they scream your name–I want to go back to it."
Only admits wrestling distracts him from his work. He adds that everything not related to music takes away from it, including his job in his machinist shop and his family.
"For wrestling, we’re working on back flips… it’s maybe an hour a night," he explains. "The funny thing is, the money is insane."
Insanity is one thing The Misfits have always been known for. Only describes one time when original lead singer and other Misfit-founder Glenn Danzig ended up in a British prison. In 1978, when the band walked off their gig opening for The Damned, Danzig got into some trouble.
"At the time, I was good friends with Sid Vicious’ mom, God rest her soul, and she called me up and said, ‘let me show you around… we’ll hang out and have tea,’" says Only. "I was like, ‘come get me.’ When I was gone, Glenn went out with The Who’s Bobby Steele and they went to the Rainbow to see The Jam play.
"What happened was there was a bunch of skins who came after Glenn and Bobby. Now, the Rainbow has big marquees that have glass windows in them… one of them was broken, and Glenn turns around and grabs a piece of glass from the window. In England, you can’t carry weapons. And what people don’t know is that every so many blocks in England there’s these SWAT teams just waiting to come down on anybody who has a weapon. So, these old [cops] grab Glenn."
At the time, Only didn’t know what had happened as he was out of town. Apparently, Glenn was held in a cell where they had "pits going around them with wolverines or badgers or something in them." That incident inspired Danzig to write the song "London Dungeon."
Only remembers another time when they were offered the chance to open for The Clash on a world tour, but couldn’t because their drummer ditched them to go home to his girlfriend.
"It would have been a whole different world," figures Only. "The whole Metallica thing woulda happened in ’83 like it was supposed to, instead of years later."
The Misfits, formed in 1977, have gone through some rough times and an unbelievable amount of lineup changes.
"We’ve been doing the same thing, it just gets better," Only says with a laugh. "A little at a time, slow and steady. We figure in about 40, 50 years we should have it right."
The most famous of the ex-band members is, of course, founding singer Glenn Danzig. There was a legal battle in the mid-’90s over the rights to the band’s name, which the current incarnation of the band won.
"It scared me at first, but if we had to change it, we had to change it," he explains, adding that if they had to change their name, it would be to Mud.
"I’ve seen a lot of bands in my day, and I think that we’re up there with the best of them. When you hear it, you know it’s good stuff… it’s not shit, y’know."
The Misfits play with Speedealer and Guy Smiley at the Mac Hall Ballroom on Oct. 1.