I think at this point everyone on planet earth has heard of The Misfits. I guess you can thank Metallica for that. They became so popular that former band member would sue each other just so they can reform a “new” version of the band and tour and put out records in an effort to milk that cow for every last drop.
But let’s set the Wabac machine for 1981 when The Misfits were a real band and not Jerry Only’s exploitation machine. They put out a couple of very good 7″s and were playing shows regularly and starting to get known and they were preparing to record an album. The lineup at the time was Glenn Danzig, Arthur Googy, Jerry Only, and Bobby Steele. Bobby was their guitar player and was quite a talented one at that. The problem was that the band never got along and they eventually kicked Bobby out of the band and hired Jerry’s brother, Doyle, in his place.
Bobby didn’t waste any time upon receiving his walking papers, he was already playing in a band on the side called The Scabs with Natz (who years later would form CopShootCop). They changed the name to The Undead (not taking into account there was a band from San Francisco of the same name) and starting playing gigs around new York City. It didn’t take long before they got noticed and released this 7″ on Stiff Records (who is most famous for putting out records from The Damned among others). They pressed 2000 of them and then Bobby decided to reissue it on his own label that he started called Post Mortem Records. There was 1000 pressed on his label, and they had thicker covers and a different shade of green on the front.
The band put out a couple more singles, then all three of them were compiled into a mini-LP, titled Never Say Die, on an overseas label. A couple years later a full-length LP was released on a plethora of vinyl colors, titled Act Your Rage. It was a little more polished and a bit more metal/rock than the 70s punk stylings of the 7″s but it still was a solid effort.
A few years ago, there was another full length album released on a Canadian label that had to be one of the shortest runs ever for a band. Bobby got upset with them and terminated his contract with the label. As of this writing, nearly everything is out of print including the CDs that compiled their early material.
The Undead had a pretty solid fan-base but never seemed to capture the audience The Misfits had, or a lot of their peers despite the music being quite good. Over the years, Bobby has blamed this on Glenn Danzig holding him back, club owners screwing him over, labels ripping him off, etc. I can’t tell you how many times they were supposed to play in Chicago but never did for one reason or another. There has also been a ton of different lineups of the band throughout the years, including one where it was just Bobby and a drum machine! I don’t know how much of Bobby’s allegations is true and how much is paranoia, but I do know that the man is responsible for some quality punk rock.
These days Bobby Steele still resides in New Jersey/New York and still has some version of The Undead kicking around the area. There has been a couple of recent 7″ releases but since they were on a foreign label and had rather lousy US distribution. There is an Undead website as well.
As always if you have any additional information please get in touch.
Click here to hear “A Life of Our Own” from the record (right click and “save target as…”)