Few bands in the past three decades have proven as affecting or exciting as the Misfits, the ferocious horror punk outfit that lurked in the shadows of suburban New Jersey and released a handful of pivotal underground recordings during their brief, tumultuous time together. Led by Glenn Danzig, a singer possessed of vision and blessed with an incredible baritone, the Misfits pioneered a death rock sound that would reverberate through the various musical subgenres that sprung up in their wake.
This Music Leaves Stains now presents the full story behind the Misfits and their ubiquitous, haunting skull logo, a story of unique talent, strange timing, clashing personalities, and incredible music that helped shape rock as we know it today. James Greene, Jr., maps this narrative from the band's birth at the tail end of the original punk movement through their messy dissolve at the dawn of the 1980s right on through the legal warring and inexplicable reunions that helped carry the band into the 21st century.
Music junkies of any stripe will surely find themselves engrossed in this saga that finally pieces together the full story of the greatest horror punk band that ever existed, though Misfits fans will truly marvel at the thorough and detailed approach James Greene, Jr. has taken in outlining the rise, fall, resurrection, and influence of New Jersey's most frightening musical assembly.
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James Greene, Jr. is a freelance writer who has contributed to Crawdaddy!, New York Press, Splitsider, PopMatters, and Uncle John's Bathroom Reader. He graduated from the University of Central Florida with a BA in organizational communication and lives in Troy, New York. Greene also runs a Misfits image blog at thismusicleavesstains.tumblr.com.Review:
This Music Leaves Stains is respectful, informative, and thorough enough not to alienate hardcore Misfits fans as humorless as Danzig, but pretty much anyone will get a kick out of it. (Psychobabble)
This is the Misfits book we ‘T.V. Casualties’ have waited for. It’s also a tome they’ll wish they’d written themselves. Green makes chronicling the chaos look easy, his enthusiasm and love for the music seeping into his prose. . . . The story is so visceral and compelling that one can imagine the events unfolding onscreen as a major motion picture. This Music Leaves Stains is a . . . Misfits missalette that gets to the heart of the seminal scare band’s long-lasting legacy of brutality and outlines the precise reasons why they still connect with audiences some thirty years after they first warned the world to ‘Beware.’ (Examiner.com)
Crammed as the punk rock bookshelf has gotten in the 21 years since the publication of England's Dreaming and Please Kill Me (1996), there's been no volume published on the Misfits. James Greene Jr. steps into the breach admirably. The page count may be thin, but content's thick, the author accurately and respectfully telling the tale of how Jerry Only and a cast of several channeled Glenn Danzig's obsessions with murder, blood, horror comics, and trashy horror films into a potent, powerful, and melodic strain of punk rock distinctly the Misfits' own. Colored vinyl 45s like "Horror Business" and "London Dungeon" were the most vicious sing-alongs around, and the graphic presentation brilliant, as was the band's down-market Kiss presentation. Thankfully, Greene Jr. pulls no punches as egos tear the band apart, and a genius musical brand gets degraded through the actions of Danzig and Only both. All the warts are here, from Danzig's French onion soup at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2011 to Only's licensing the Misfits logo to any chintzy tchotchke possible. (Austin Chronicle)
This Music Leaves Stains paints a picture so vivid, even the most pedestrian of music fans will find it interesting. (New Noise Magazine)
This Music Leaves Stains provides detailed accounts of the various stories shared by those who know anything about the enigmatic band, including citations and a bibliography, should readers wish to read further. In addition, there is a nearly thirty-page annotated discography, which lists studio recordings sorted by format, bootleg recordings, videos, Misfits related recordings, 'scrapped Misfits releases,' and descriptions of important films that influenced the Misfits. . . .Greene’s work will open up the possibility for more critical research regarding the Misfits in the future. (Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association)
I came away completely captivated by This Music Leaves Stains, largely because it is just so damn well researched. Green’s annotated Misfits discography at 1977 to 2012 at the back of the book is worth its weight in gold, in light of the fact that the Misfits have had so many rumored releases over the years. At the same time, it moves along more like a novel than a biography. Certainly the Misfits have seen their share of inner band upheavals, mainly when Danzig left for more lucrative offers and bigger fame. Through it all, that Crimson Ghost logo has survived decades, glaring out from stage banners, EP covers and even sneaker endorsements. (Vintage Rock)
For such an influential band with an undeniably contentious history laden with rumour, lawsuits, ego, violence and intrigue, it's almost impossible to think that THE MISFITS story has not been told in book form before. However, as far as I know, this book is the first in-depth telling of the seminal Horror-Punks outta New Jersey. . . .One of the best aspects of the book is that Greene doesn’t side with Danzig or Only in their battle of egos and doesn’t shy from straight talking about either Danzig or Only. He examines both characters' idiosyncrasies, the hypocrisy that exists between comments usually said to appease their own ego or acts of downright stupidity. . . .The book is filled out with an excellent discography, detailed notes on the origin of much of what is printed, films that influenced the band and the obligatory preface, acknowledgements and index. . . .[T]his is a much welcomed telling of a band’s story that has long-been required. Greene’s telling is factual and unbiased in either Danzig’s or Only’s favour and that makes it a balanced read. (Scanner Zine)
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