Book Reviews

MRR #447 • August 2020

The Complete Misfits Discography Robert Michael "Bobb" Cotter

Alright folks, what we have here is an exhaustive discography for Lodi, NJ’s The Misfits with everything from its classic 1977–1983 lineup with Glenn Danzig, their sole songwriter, the sans-Danzig reunion lineups from 1995–2016, and up to some bootlegs from the current (2016-present) re-Danzigged lineup.

It has chapters on official releases, bootlegs, side project discographies, videos, merchandise, compilations, zines, tributes, etc.  Clearly the effort was to be comprehensive and on that level it succeeds.  Everything a big Misfits nerd (like myself) might expect to find is in here.  Each entry comes with a review.

The author is unquestionably a massive Misfits fan and it’s clear this was a labor of love.  The author’s voice is very loud and each review is highly opinionated: it plays like you’re over at his house and he is showing you his collection and telling you all the cool things about each piece.  

There are overviews of The Misfits and related bands for non-fans, but this book is for the die-hards who need every drop of info they can get, due to the amount of detail only true fans would care about.  This makes all the explanations a bit redundant; we all know the basics and a lot of the nerdy stuff.  As cool as it is to have the author’s opinions on these releases, interviews with band members, sleeve artists, studio people or any other folks who worked on the records could have given more of a new perspective.  Also the author has a lot of controversial opinions.  He’s a New Misfits (i.e. sans Danzig) fan, finds the first Misfits 7″ “artsy-fartsy crap”, the Bullet 7″ “not quite there”, and says perennial Danzig favorite “Sistinas” “couldn’t be any wimpier if it was bamboozling burgers out of Popeye.”  Hey, I love controversial opinions but unlike a conversation we can’t respond, so it’s closer to the author talking at you than connecting and can be hard to read if you strongly disagree.

Also of the 242 pages, just 16 are dedicated to the original band’s official discography (27 total counting later lineups) while 83 are dedicated to Misfits bootlegs.  I would have loved a stronger focus on the classic official records; they get larger individual write-ups than the bootlegs, but they’re the bulk of my interest.  It seems like if this were just a guide to bootlegs/related bands those chapters would feel more crucial.  

The author clearly had fun writing this and throws plenty of puns and silliness into the mix.  Sometimes it lands (reviewing the song “Where Do They Go?” — “I don’t know, but could this song go to the same place?”) and sometimes less so (“From the unreleased Samhain IV comes “Lords Of The Left Hand” which I guess is about Satan masturbatin'”).  

Overall I wouldn’t say it comes ripping or it bites.  You may wish that more than 1 out of 15 eyes (or 16/242 pages as it were) was pointed at the most important hybrid moments of the static age but if you wanna walk among the horror business with an expert and like his attitude, this just might take you where eagles dare and you should grab it for your next ghoul’s night in.