Misery Obscura – The Photography of Eerie Von
by Eerie Von
Bazillion Points and Eerie Things
What do we really know about the bands we love? We hear the music, see the show, buy the t-shirt, and maybe try and crash a backstage party. But in their more intimate moments, bands fight, do their hair, apply tattoos, and generally party like its 1999. This glossy photo-filled book takes us to the earliest photo shoots of The Misfits, a Lodi, NJ punk band that lead us down the metal and gothic path that punk slid down in the late 1980s. Eerie Von was there from day one; his main access to rock history was access to two cameras and a dark room, and his photos document the bands early history.
Like most good bands, these guys hung out in high school. Mr. Von had dreams of hoop glory, but he also wanted to hang with the cool kids. In 1982 that meant starting a punk band, and it was easy: all you needed a guitar and a look and beyond that energy outweighed skill. The ability to not give a damn helped, as did the skill to make a poster with a magic marker. His first photo session took place in a local cave used for ancient teen rituals like drinking beer and making out. The pictures, while technically rough, are in focus and catch the band in interesting poses. While never technically part of the band, Mr. Von traveled with them as a friend, roadie and a documentarian. “Documentarian” is kind of a pretentious word, but his photos are the only images we have of this band from those heady days of Devil locks, beer and poverty.
All band transform and musical tastes wander; and musicians have been known to mature as human beings. Eventually they learn what works and what doesn’t, what sells and what doesn’t, and what having a friend as a collaborator means and doesn’t mean. The Misfits began as a thrash punk band, but the band moved to a more metal sound. We hear the gossip and stories from back in the day as these guys transitioned into Samhain, Danzig, and a dozen personal projects beyond these early efforts. I’ve not followed the dark side of punk and metal as much as the poppier threads, but in these pictures I see things that could have been true for myself and my friends. At twenty you can do anything, and at my age you better have done most of those things if only because you knees are giving out. This is a nifty collection; these guys could have been ANY band, but they chose to be Misfits. From young and scary with threatening haircuts, they end up seasoned musicians with a backpack of horror stories. And here they are for our edification. None of us would have it any other way.