This edition of Strange Transmissions is the first of what I hope will be many future live editions in the sense I will be talking about a live show I recently attended. Who more fitting to be the first than a man who I have respected for a very long time, he once fronted my favorite band of all time The Misifts before moving onto Gotham Road and then starting his solo career the legendary Michael Graves.
It’s no secret that I am a diehard fiend and have been obsessed with The Misfits ever since the first time my ears were introduced to their sound. When Michale Graves took over as front man for the band fans were torn into two sides almost as if they were forced into a Civil War, some claimed the band was nothing without Danzig others found Graves to be a perfect fit for the band instantly becoming fans of his upbeat and friendly presence on stage and also in the way his interacted with fans. I was on the boat that right away enjoyed what Graves brought to the table, don’t get me wrong I love the original Misfits and think Glenn Danzig has a breath taking voice but when Graves became front man he brought this new energy and his insanely friendly nature made it hard to hate the guy.
After Graves departed from The Misfits it was a rough time for fiends with the future of the band unclear and the loss of a second key figure in the bands history I feared the worse that The Misfits would be no more and at the same time I had became attached to Michale Graves and wanted to know what the future held for him as an artist.
This would lead to Michale Graves forming the band Gotham Road with members Loki, JV Bastard and Paul Lifeless and as a fan of his previous work the sound was exactly what I had been missing and it was clear that the vibe Graves was putting out was the same one that fiends had come to respect and appreciate during his time with The Misfits. After releasing only one studio album Michale Graves decided join the U.S. Marines bringing Gotham Road to an end.
Before embarking on his new life in the military Graves would release his first solo album with the help Gotham Road member Paul Lifeless creating the epic album Punk Rock is Dead. Graves would then join the U.S. Marines as planned and later be honorably discharged after sustaining a back injury. Returning to his music career he would continue his solo career and continues today in the form of live acoustic shows.
Michale Graves has also done a lot of work in support of The West Memphis Three, a group of young men who have been wrongly imprisoned for crimes they did not commit since 1993, their childhoods robbed from them for simply not fitting in and looking like everyone else in. Michale Graves would write an album with one of the boys Damien Echols called Illusions.
Today Michale tours solo and is also touring as the front man for punk rock icon Marky Ramone’s newest project called Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg along with members of the band Antiproduct. Tonight I had the previlage of catching one of Michale’s live acoustic shows in a little club in Huntington West Virginia called The V Club. Opening with one of my all time favorite songs that he has written Crying On A Saturday Night, I knew I was in store for one hell of a show and I was right in this assumption.
One thing I really enjoy about unplugged shows are they always seem more personal and Graves further added to that feeling by just bull shitting with the crowd and telling stories including about how the night before they were in Pennsylvania and he was talked into participating in a paranormal investigation at a haunted hotel until five in the morning, then ended up having to spend the night or I guess I should say morning sleeping in the same hotel after inquiring about where they would be staying now that the ghost hunt had came to an end.
Graves would also make some comments about the disaster in Japan and brought up a very good point, he said he read an article with the headline that was about the fact even in the face of destruction and there was zero looting or rioting going on among the Japanese people. A culture that is one that is build on honor and respect for their fellow man should been seen as a real inspiration even with many losing everything they remain peaceful and working together.
Before playing the song Fiend Club, Graves would tell the story of why he originally wrote the song at the time explaining it was basically a fuck you to the record label and also the band due to issues with some members wanting more attention than they were receiving. At this time Graves unlike the rest of the band was not signed with RoadRunner Records and in ways treated accordingly. Although later in his career Graves would say he would gladly return to The Misfits anytime that all it would take is a phone call from Jerry Only that he never had an issue with Jerry but the problems stemmed with members Chud and Doyle.
Graves put on a spectacular show tonight and I was lucky enough to briefly meet him and he was kind enough to sign a Misfits t-shirt for me. He played many of his biggest hits both from his solo career and his era fronting The Misfits including Dig Up Her Bones, Scream, When We Were Angels, The Best Of Me, and many others. His laid back and friendly demeanor on stage made the experience all that more memorable as it felt more like an afternoon with Graves then simply another live show.
I also want to take a second before I forget to comment on a really touching thing that I witnessed tonight as well. I’ve been to a lot of shows and sometimes there are fans with various handicaps and a lot of the time security or staff will be nice enough to help them get closer or to some place they can see clearly. Tonight there was a man in a wheelchair who moved closer to the crowd and without hesitation I watched as my fellow concert growers parted like the red sea without even second thinking it the the young man could sit in the very front of the stage. To all you guys that were a part of this act of kindness I salute you.
For those of you wanting to catch Michale Graves on the road below are the dates to the remaining acoustic gigs and also the upcoming tour with Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg.
- Wed, March 16 Lexington, KY – Cosmic Charlie’s
- Fri, March 18 Little Rock, AR – Juanita’s
- Sat, March 19 Tupelo, MS – Good Time Charlies
- Sun, March 20 Birmingham, AL – Matthew’s Bar and Grill
- Mon, March 21 Chatanooga, TN – North Shore Grille
- Fri, April 1 Brooklyn, NY – Europa
- Sat, April 2 Montpelier, VT – Langdon Street Cafe
- Sun, April 3 Salem, MA – Dodge Street Bar & Grill
- Wed, April 6 West Long Branch, NJ – Playing on air Monmouth University Radio 88.9fm
- Thu, April 7 Toms River, NJ – Mcntyre’s Pub (21+)
- Fri, April 8 Belmar, NJ – Belmar Firehall (Johnny B Morbid opening)
- Wed, April 13 Asbury, NJ – The Asbury Lanes
- Sun, May 1 Parsippany, NJ – Chiller Theater Convention – Hilton Hotel (Signing only)
Marky Ramone’s BLITZKRIEG – TOUR 2011
- Sun, March 27 Heredia, Costa Rica – venue212
- Thu, May 19 Bogota, COL
- Fri, May 20 Teatro Coupolican Santiago -Chile
- Sat, May 21 La Mala – Mendoza, Argentina
- Fri, May 27 Corrientes, Argentina
- Sat, May 28 Rowing club / Asuncion, Paraguay
- Wed, June 8 Lisbon (Portugal) @ Santiago Alquimista
- Thu, June 9 Valladolid (Spain) @ tbc
- Fri, June 10 Barcelona (Spain) @ Razzmatazz
- Wed, June 15 Luxemburg @ Kulturfabrik
- Thu, June 16 Caen (France) @ Le Cargo
- Thur, June 23 Vienna (Austria) @ Szene Vienna
- Sun, July 31 Kubana Festival (Russia)