The Misfits – Cough/Cool 7″ (1977 Blank Records)
If there is one band that probably doesn’t need an introduction it is The Misfits. Over the years they garnered quite a following, in no small part thanks to Metallica always wearing their shirts and talking about them in interviews as well as covering one of their songs. In their wake, The Misfits became more and more popular reaching legendary status in the eyes of both punks and metalheads around the world. One has to wonder had Metallica not been shilling for them in the late 80s, if they’d be as popular as they are now.
The band formed in 1977 in Lodi, New Jersey by Glenn Danzig and Jerry Caiafa. They quickly added a drummer by the name of Manny and recorded and released this, their first two song single. The band had bass, drums, and piano, there was no guitars. The music was rather unique and had a bit of a spooky dark aura about it, even before they took on their horror image. They pressed a mere 500 copies and released it on their own label, Blank Records. This single sounded nothing like what would follow it.
In 1978, they added Frank “Franché Coma” LiCata on guitar and Manny left the band and was replace by “Mr. Jim” Catania. Some major label wanted to use the name Blank Records but Glenn owned the name so he traded it to the label in exchange for a bunch of studio time. They recorded a bunch of tracks that they planned to release as a LP titled Static Age however finding a label at the time to release it proved fruitless so some of the tracks were used and put out on a 7″ titled Bullet that Glenn released on his new label, Plan 9 Records. This was the start of what became the trademark “Misfits sound” that they’d carry on for the rest of their existence.
Soon after, Franche Coma was out, and replaced by Bobby Steele. They put out a few more 7″s and played a bunch of shows. The releases that followed were the Horror Business and Night of the Living Dead 7″s. There was also a 12″ released on Cherry Red Records titled Beware that compiled the Bullet and Horror Business 7″s with “Children in Heat” being replace by “Last Caress”, the song made famous years later by Metallica doing a cover of it.
The band played in the UK and Glenn and Bobby ended up in jail which was the catalyst behind “London Dungeon” being written. When they got back to the states, they kicked out Bobby Steele in favor of Jerry’s younger brother Doyle (Paul Caiafa). Doyle couldn’t play guitar nearly as good as his predecessor, but had “the look” that the band wanted. Bobby Steele immediately started The Undead and The Misfits continued on.
Three Hits From Hell and Halloween 7″s followed. Sometime during this, Arthur Googy became their new drummer. Following the singles, the band found themselves with a record deal and released their first LP, the now-classic Walk Among Us on Ruby/Slash Records. They made like 10 or 20 thousand of the things and it sold pretty well. It ranks high on my list of all time great punk albums.
While the band’s recorded output maintained their high quality, their live shows were become more sloppy and violent. The band would play faster and faster and reports of violence at their shows had increased. It seemed to come to a head out in CA when Doyle hit someone in the crowd over the head with his guitar which sent the guy to the hospital. I don’t think the band played in CA ever again after that.
Googy was out and replaced by Robo (formerly of Black Flag) and they released their last two records while still an active band. They were the Die Die My Darling EP and the Earth AD LP, both released on Plan 9 Records. There also was a live 7″ EP released titled Evilive that was initially given to members of their fan club (the Fiend Club) then later released to the public, and even later still reissued as a 12″ EP in Germany.
The band called it quits in late 1983. Glenn decided he didn’t want to do The Misfits anymore and wanted to go off in a different musical direction. This direction was Samhain. This left Jerry and Doyle out in the cold, and they went back to work for their family business.
Throughout the band’s career, Glenn was an astute businessman. He owned his own record label, and silkscreened all the bands t-shirts and sold them through the mail, as well as having the Fiend Club. He copyrighted everything and kept a tight grip on everything, in short he was a control freak. He also had an interest in record collecting as there were many Misfits records pressed on various limited colors of vinyl.
After the big Misfits explosion, Jerry and Doyle started a metal band called Kryst the Conqueror, that was pretty lousy and they had hoped to cash in on The Misfits newfound success. When that failed they eventually went to court to sue for The Misfits rights and won to some degree and bought the logo from Glenn and reformed “The Misfits” with a new singer and yet another drummer. They released a record and duped tons of kids to come see them do covers of Misfits songs. In my opinion it was pretty terrible and has only gotten worse over the years. These days the name Jerry Only is pretty fitting, as he is the only original member left in the band and he tours every year under “The Misfits” name, playing lousy shows in every sitting yet still drawing a big crowd of clueless kids or people like me who were stuck seeing them because I went to see The Damned open for them.
The songs from this single were collected on The Misfits Box Set“>The Misfits box set, however they don’t sound quite the same to me as they do on this original vinyl. There was also a remixed version of “Cough/Cool” on the Collection 2 LP.