"Project 1950" (Ryko; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

According to the liner notes herein, "Project 1950" is a long-in-the-works" "side project" masterminded by Jerry Only. The CD features ten classic rock'n'roll tunes from the 50s, as modernized and Misfitted by the Misfits of today (Jerry Only, Marky Ramone and Dez Cadena). You've heard all of these songs before, if only in the movies: "This Magic Moment," "Dream Lover," "Diana," "Donna," "Great Balls of Fire," "Latest Flame," "Monster Mash," "Only Make Believe," "Runaway" and "You Belong to Me." 

Every song is recognizable as itself, despite the punkization that it's gone through. And that's a good thing. You wouldn't want to take these songs and destroy them with soulless, loud music. Instead, the performers on "Project 1950" show their respect and their love of this music, and bring it to the punk era without destroying the original memories.

Of course, there are fans of 50s music who are going to disagree with me adamantly. So be it.

It's hard to say which songs work better than others, but you've got to vote for "Monster Mash" as one of the CD's highlights, simply because it fits the Misfits image so well.

Several special guests help out on the CD as well, including the legendary Ronnie Spector, John Cafiero, Ed Manion, Joan Tyler, Robert Dunn and Jimmy Destri.

On the downside, most songs in the 50s didn't run very long and, even with ten tracks on the CD, "Project 1950" runs only just over 24 minutes. Apparently being aware of that, the band has added a bonus DVD featuring live versions of five of the songs on "Project 1950" plus six additional songs - either videos or live performances - featuring Balzac and the Misfits. The DVD makes shelling out $15.00 for a 24-minute CD a lot more tolerable.

Misfits: Jerry Only - bass, lead vocals; Marky Ramone - drums, percussion, piano; Dez Cadena - guitars.

For more information, check out http://www.misfits.com

"1996 - 2001: Cuts From the Crypt" (Roadrunner; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

My strange taste in music has often been brought to my attention: I liked KISS better before they put the makeup back on, I like Metallica just as much now as I did in the early days and I think Misfits are a much better band since Glenn Danzig took a powder.

That's why "Cuts From the Crypt" is such a cool CD. It features rare demos (the first seven tracks are from the legendary "Mars Attacks" demos), a live cut ("Rise Above"), rare singles ("I Wanna Be a NY Ranger" and "Monster Mash"), some cool covers (Iggy Pop's "I Got a Right" and Black Flag's "Rise Above") and the title track from a film by film director George A. Romero (who was responsible for the original 'Night of the Living Dead' film). Speaking of Romero, this enhanced CD also includes his video for the band's tune "Scream."

There are also well-written liner notes explaining from where each of these songs came and a thorough history of the band's past few years.

"Cuts From the Crypt" is a must-have CD for fans of the legendary Misfits. And it's not a bad place for those who have seen the t-shirts, lunchboxes and other Misfits items they sell at Hot Topic to find out what all the hoopla is about.

Bottom line: Since the Ramones broke up several years ago (R.I.P. Joey Ramone), the Misfits have regained their throne as one of the most exciting punk rock bands out there.

Then again, I liked KISS better before they put the makeup back on.

For more information on the Misfits, please visit their website at http://www.misfits.com.

"Famous Monsters" (Roadrunner; 1999)misfits.jpg (19638 bytes)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Have you and your friends ever been sitting around, playing cards, drinking gin, and wondering what it would sound like if the Ramones were crossed with Rob Zombie?

Yeah, me neither. Regardless, the Misfits, with their new release on Roadrunner Records, have answered that question anyway. The Ramones crossed with Rob Zombie would sound like "Famous Monsters."

"Famous Monsters" is an old fashioned punk album, a la the aforementioned Ramones, containing 18 fast little ditties with Rob Zombie-like titles such as "Kong at the Gates," "Crawling Eye," "Pumpkin Head," "Die Monster Die," and "Helena" an ode to the cult film "Boxing Helena." Of course, the Misfits have been around longer than Rob Zombie and this CD just continues their horror rock legacy.

And you know what else? This CD kicks ass. It's just pure, unadulterated rock'n'roll. No socially conscious lyrics, no artsy-fartsy instrument tricks, no operahouse vocals - it's just rock'n'roll in its purest form: guitars, drum, bass, vocals. And, damn, if it isn't a blast!

Every song on this 18-track collection rips along with pure rock fury and there isn't a weak track on the CD. Highlights, however, include "The Forbidden Zone," the 50's-tinged "Saturday Night," the very Ramones-like "Living Hell" and the Misfits' ode to the 1950's giant ant movie, "Them!"

Of course, the Misfits have been around for 20 years or so, hence, to compare them to relative contemporaries like Rob Zombie is unfair. But the comparison to the Ramones fits and - if you ask Pud or me - that's a damn fine recommendation.

For more information on the Misfits, please visit their website at http://www.misfits.com.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:46 -0400 .