James Greene Jr.
Oregon’s musical legacy is sketchy at best. Everclear? Cherry Poppin’ Daddies? Please. The rest of the nation scoffs at these post-grunge abortions. Aside from maybe Paul Revere & the Raiders, the only true giants the Beaver State can boast are the Misfats…literally. As their name suggests, the Misfats are a blubberous send-up of the Misfits; only one member appears svelte enough to own any clothing tagged under XXX-L. Onstage, the ‘Fats take classic fist-pumpers like “20 Eyes” and “I Turned Into A Martian” and transform them into “20 Pies” and “I Turned Into A Lardass,” ensuring hearty guffaws from anyone with a pulse. Lead singer Glenn Hamzinger took time out between meals recently to talk about the future of the band, reactions from actual Misfits, and tips on how to achieve the perfect devilock.
How did the Misfats come to be? Was it originally intended to be a food-themed cover band?
We all appreciate the notion of gourmand and have from an early age. Note, though, that we are not a food-themed cover band. We are a fat lifestyle-themed Misfits tribute act. That difference tips the scales in our favor continuously. [Misfats guitarist] Foil vonFranksAndBeans and I hit upon the idea many moons ago, probably before your time, when Great Buffalo roamed the plains and gingham was plentiful.
I know you guys played a show with [former Misfits singer] Michale Graves, but have you encountered/received feedback from any other Misfits? Most of them seem like they’d have a sense of humor about what you do.
We have played thrice with the always-magnanimous Msr. Graves. He’s tops for being way too skinny of a guy. Any other feedback we’ve received has been secondhand at best and, thus, not as reliable, although they do make some good stories. To wit: fan meets [former Misfits singer Glenn] Danzig at ComiCon, enthusiastically talking about us – Glenn’s response? “I don’t know what to think about that…”; friends in another band open for the current ‘Fits lineup literally up the street from where we’re playing with Graves the same night – they get [drummer] Robo’s ear and he finds this absolutely hysterical (later, a couple of us head up to that show to check out the goings-on [and] find Robo, who informs us that we “should be opening for them!”; fan takes lousy recording of us (live and only known copy and certainly not distributed) when roadie-ing for venue holding “Blackest of the Black” tour; said fan gets this to [former Misfits guitarist] Doyle’s new band who listen to it in their trailer and, later, emerge in hysterics.
Sounds like you confounded Danzig, which I imagine is a difficult feat. You should be proud.
Indeed, we are.
Are there any songs in the Misfits catalog that you find are just impossible to parody?
Yes, and some we try and fail at. I’ve got a couple different versions of “Skulls” but the song just seems to suck the piss right out of our set with folks, despite it being a “popular” Misfits song. Personally, “Night of the Living Dead” was tough but it was because it was one of my own very favorites tunes. “Who Killed Marilyn?” is rather defiant in terms of successfully succumbing to our patented retooling as well.
I would change the chorus of “Skulls” to “I want your crullers,” but that isn’t an exact fit. What did you work out for “NOTLD?” Because it seems obvious that it should be “Night of the Living Bread” (just like the short parody of the film in question).
“Night of the Living Hungry Man” worked out lyrically; mine was more a moral dilemma.
How long do you foresee this comical tribute going on for? Do you ever see the band breaking up, yourself going on to a successful career parodying Samhain and Danzig, and then the Misfats reforming and goofing on Graves-era Misfits with a new singer (perhaps Michale Glaze)?
How long you got? Or, what have you heard? I figure until I collapse onstage from a heart attack or some extra-offended purist lodges a tumbler in Foil’s head (almost happened a show or two ago) I think we can milk this beast for all it’s worth and drive this great idea six feet under. We also currently do cover some of the Danzig solo and Graves era stuff, too, if you’d bother to ask/listen/come out and see us/make the pilgrimage/offer sacrifices to us.
I apologize for not having my Misfats facts down.
Repent by seeing us at your next available opportunity, my son.
Is there a Misfats album in the works? Do you think there’d be any legal hurdles there if you tried to put one out?
“Legal hurdles”? Just a few, son, that we’re just on shaky enough ground to alter our usually patented Stance of Arrogant Confidence to prevent us from releasing anything like that. However, when we’re wrapping this pig up in its tasty blanket, maybe we’ll release a live DVD or something, something that educates kids on the dangers of shooting water at a target out of your ass. Would you like that? Yes, you would. You would buy such a thing. We know.
Are there any tribute bands out there that you’d like to call out publicly for doing a bad job or just being totally crappy?
None that we’ve seen or played with. In fact, there are many more we’d love to promote, such as Beatallica, The Iron Maidens, and Jewdriver. Other bands, such as the Knights of the New Crusade and Stay Tuned, are also worthy of our adulations and your money/respect/bathroom fellation.
Have you made the spiritual journey to Lodi, NJ, to see such astonishing sights as Danzig’s mom’s house, “The Pit” where the band used to practice, or [bassist] Jerry Only’s father’s sheet metal factory (or whatever the hell it is)?
We made said “mecca trek” by playing at Maxwell’s [in Hoboken, NJ] and rocking the proverbial balls outta the place. That’s how we bring gifts to Caesar, baby.
Say a guy is starting a “Star Wars”-themed Misfits cover band. Do you have any advice for me, uh, I mean, him, like where to find cheap face paint and which kind of wigs make the best devilocks?
That’s the worst idea I’ve heard today. Can I change my answer to question seven now with this info? Seriously, that’s horrible. I’m joking. Really. Seriously. I’m kidding. Wow.
Ouch. A guy can dream, can’t he?
Well, I was gonna respond with, “What – are all the GOOD ideas taken?” but thought that was too harsh. We got our devilock wigs custom made from some gal in New Orleans (pre-hurricane, though) for, like, $40 a piece; a friend did our armbands for gratis, too, and our drummer has his own screen press so flyers and t-shirts are pretty much low cost, too. Oh, and don’t go with cheap face paint – get the good stuff. Your eyes will thank you later by not screaming in pain at you.