There's an old saying that Halloween only comes once a year, which is probably a good thing given the amount of money that Canadians spend on costumes, candy, and life-sized animatronic dolls modelled after Regan from The Exorcist.
Less frequent are appearances in these parts by the classic lineup of the Misfits--the version containing both singer Glenn Danzig and bassist Jerry Only.
That makes an upcoming Pacific Northwest gig at White River Amphitheatre by the two this September 14 doubly important. It may mark the last chance fans get to see the reunited original Misfits lineup, with Danzig telling the website Full Metal Jackie that people shouldn't expect a three-year, 360-dates-annually world tour from the band moving forward.
“We just want to make each event special," Danzig said. "We’re not gonna do many more. I know we just announced Seattle and Denver, but I’m pretty sure there’s not gonna be many more of them.”
Bandmates from 1977 to 1983, Danzig and Only collaborated on some of the most endearing songs to ever come out of America's first-wave punk underground, including, but by no means limited to, "Where Eagles Dare", "20 Eyes", and "Last Caress". If your Apple iTunes library doesn't include the absolutely essential Walk Among Us from 1982, you have no idea what you're missing.
After breaking up, the Misfits became bigger in death than they ever were in life, the band namechecked as a seminal influence by everyone from Metallica to My Chemical Romance to Of Montreal.
Danzig launched a solo career while Only eventually put together various touring and recording editions of the Misfits, none of them ever as revered as the original lineup. During all of this, the two spent 30 years sniping at each other in the media, with lawyers often involved. Only and Danzig spent years suing and then countersuing each other over who had the rights to all-things Misfits.
The legal wrangling was no doubt largely tied into who was benefitting from merchandising and licensing deals, with the band's Fiend skull logo instantly recognizable, and the group's work used to peddle everything from Sailor Jerry to knockoff UGG boots.
How lucrative are the Misfits on the merch side of things?
On June 12 the website Metal Sucks reported that the primary reason Only and Danzig are back together seems to have little to do with a love of the music they once created.
That document reads: “The parties agree to perform no fewer than ten (10) Misfits reunion shows to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the band. The parties shall split all proceeds (including merch for the tour as well as any reunion-specific merch to be sold at retail) from any such reunion endeavors 50/50 after deduction of expenses.
"If either side fails to perform the agreed-upon number of reunion shows, the parties agree to submit to final and binding arbitration under the Commercial Rules of Arbitration of the American Arbitration Association, by one or more arbitrators appointed in accordance with those Rules, to determine the amount of any damages sustained by the non-breaching party.”
Seattle's show will be the 9th reunion gig featuring Danzig and Only. That the capacity of the White River Ampitheatre is 16,000 suggests that the two will walk away from the gig with paycheques they could have only dreamed about while playing to a few dozen spit-and-spikes skids at CBGB back in 1978.