The first edition of From the Shelves shall focus on one of my longtime favourite bands, Misfits.
I’ve been steadily adding to my Misfits collection since my teenage years in the early 00’s, with ‘Famous Monsters’ being the first release that I bought (the digipack release that has a few bonus tracks included). A very good friend of mine, who is sadly no longer with us, introduced me to the band and in particular the song Scream. We were going to play this in our band and I have fond memories of plotting and scheming to eventually take over the world with our music. Unfortunately this band never panned out but we had some good times jamming and hanging out, and I remained a fan of Misfits. I think we were also discussing doing a version of Dr.Phibes Rises Again from the ‘Cuts From the Crypt’ CD as we were big fans of that track.
As I recall, I bought the three CDs first, and the first additions to the vinyl portion of my Misfits collection were the ‘Beware!’ EP and ‘Collection II’. Having popped into Record Replay, the dingiest yet most exciting place for a young metal head to visit in Bristol during the early 00’s, I wasn’t really looking out for anything in particular, but as I was showing interest in ‘Collection II’ the chap working behind the counter handed me the ‘Beware!’ EP, saying that it had just come in and was quite rare. The words “quite rare” were enough to sell me the EP, then when I got home I found out that it was bright pink! Quite a find, I thought to myself. So I refused to ever play it, and for quite a number of years it was the ‘holy grail’ of my overall record collection. I’ve since played it, and it sounds pretty damn good.
I’ve never really been much of a fan of punk music, but as Misfits cross over towards metal they’ve always been appealing. The horror theme to the lyrics stood out as well – horror lyrics, catchy riffs, quick powerful drums…what else does a metal head need?
‘American Psycho’ was bought not long after my 16th birthday, I remember heading into town to spend my birthday money and came across this record in what I think was called ‘The Rock Shop’ in St.Nicks market. The final track on this album titled Hell Night isn’t listed on the record sleeve, and it’s the only part of the record that sticks. It doesn’t have any visual damage, and it doesn’t matter what turntable I play it on it always sticks in the same place and needs a nudge to progress. Slightly frustrating, but I can live with it.
‘Project: 1950’ was the first record that I ever pre-ordered, and I think it was the first record that I ever received in the post. I can’t really remember how I found out about this as it was 2004 and social media wasn’t really much of a big deal back then. It was either through having a look at their website, or through browsing the forums at what is now known as Sputnik Music. Anyway, I selected the purple edition, asked my Dad about using his card to order, paid him back in cash, and waited for it to eventually arrive. Mid way through my GCSE exams it finally got to me, and I was really impressed with the quality of the sleeve and the colour of the record. This release contains my favourite version of ‘Monster Mash’ ever, the backing harmonies are just spot on here in my opinion. It was also the first time I’d heard many of these songs, I’ve since heard most of the originals and it’s pretty safe to say that the band did a good job with their cover versions.
It wasn’t until I’d moved to Plymouth to start Uni that I bought anymore Misfits records, I eventually found ‘Walk Among Us’ in Really Good Records during my first year down here, and then ‘Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood’ and ‘Legacy of Brutality’ were picked up at record fairs. I’m still on the lookout for ‘Collection I’ but want that on vinyl rather than CD.
Had I not sold a couple of items, this collection would have a few more CDs in it. There was a time where I had the coffin shaped box-set, but I was pretty broke during my Uni years and elected to sell it. I made sure to rip the CDs first, so I still have some of the rarities lying around on my laptop, with my favourite tracks from that entire release being the super early versions of Cough/Cool and She. Check them out if you haven’t done so already, they sound really good considering the primitive approach to recording they used. I also had the ‘Misfits meets the Nutley Brass‘ album for a short period of time, but ultimately decided that it sucked so sold that on as well. Hopefully whoever bought it enjoys it more than I did.
Misfits have had a considerable influence on me over the years in regards to how I play bass guitar. The speed at which they play was a challenge to me when I was starting my craft as I have only ever used my fingers, and keeping up with them was a fun thing to do. The first gig I ever performed live was a set comprised almost entirely of Misfits songs. The tone of Jerry Onlys bass is pretty horrible, but in such an awesome way. I’ve since applied his distorted approach to my own bass tone.
So what next for this collection? I’ve already said I’m keeping an eye out for ‘Collection I’, and if I come across a copy of ‘Evilive’ (or even ‘Evilive 2’) that will be a nice addition. I’ve heard that the band have released a couple of new albums over the past few years, but haven’t yet heard anything from them so may track those down. A vinyl copy of ‘Famous Monsters’ would be cool, but current prices on discogs are way out of my price range. You’ll have noticed that I don’t own any 7’’ records from the band, perhaps I’ll start keeping an eye out for those as well.
I haven’t really sat down to work out which version of each release I have and to be honest I’m not really that fussed. Each record sounds good to me, none of them need to go anywhere near the ‘shit sounding record’ pile and overall I’m pretty happy with this collection so far.