The Misfits aren’t really the Misfits anymore. You all know that Danzig is long gone, and most recently, Doyle apparently is taking a break due to “personal problems,” leaving Jerry Only to carry the torch. A friend of mine referred to the current incarnation as the Only Misfit, which, though witty, isn’t really fair to Marky Ramone or Dez Cadena (of Black Flag), punk rock superstars in their own right. Maybe it’s time for a new name, but in any case, I was happy to get a copy of Project 1950 to review.
Project 1950 is exactly what it sounds like: a Misfits side project made up of 1950’s covers. Jerry, Marky and Dez have taken the expected (“Monster Mash”) and the unexpected (“This Magic Moment”?!) and put a Misfits-style ghoulish punk spin on them. And it’s pretty good.
Listening to Only sing, one wonders why he spent so much time looking for a vocalist for post-Danzig Misfits incarnations, and as always, he kills on bass. Marky and Dez do a great job backing him up, and there are additional guest appearances from pop icon Ronnie Spector (“This Magic Moment,” “You Belong To Me,”) and Jimmy Destri of Blondie (“Great Balls of Fire”).
Some of the songs are sped up, and some are played pretty straight, and the band gives pretty detailed explanations as to why in their liner notes, where each musician comments on the reasons for picking the particular songs. My favorite moment on the album is the lesser-known Elvis tune, “Latest Flame,” but their version of “Monster Mash,” is so good that if it weren’t so familiar, you’d swear they wrote it.
A bonus DVD is included with the album, which has the Misfits playing songs from this album live, as well as extra songs featuring Misfits Records band Balzac (Japanese Misfits-style horror-punk.)
When I saw the Misfits live a few months back, they played a set of these songs, and they were the best part of their live show. Only especially seemed to know and love these songs better than ones his band wrote. If you have a liking for the Misfits or ’50’s songs, you should check this album out.