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Why I both love and hate Jerry Only

April 14, 2015

I hate Jerry Only, lead singer, bassist and last remaining original member of the Misfits.

I love Jerry Only, lead singer, bassist and last remaining original member of the Misfits.

What’s more, they’re pretty much for the same reason. He can’t leave well alone and he needs to change history. Much like Iron Maiden are slowly removing any reference to the times when Bruce Dickinson wasn’t lead vocalist, Only seems to have a pathological urge to erase any memory of Glen Danzig’s reign as Misfits supremo.

Not that I think he’s a bad guy. From all the interviews I’ve seen over the years, Only comes across as well balanced, aware of his place in musical history and happy to hang out with fans or call an impromptu BBQ after a brawl due to mistaken identity. So Jerry Only is a cool dude. But there’s the Musician in Only and the Businessmen. The Musician is a chill dude, full of charisma who takes over any room he’s in*. The Businessman though…has to be right and be in control.

If you spend even a small amount of time looking into the past 15 years or so for the band, the following story seems to play out; Jerry Only wants to do something. Someone disagrees. That person leaves pretty soon afterwards. Be it his brother, or the lead singer who was slowly getting old Misfits fans and the music press on his side, what remains today is a series of musicians called in to play with favours owed or the promise of a good paycheck.

Certainly, the times I’ve see the Only fronted version of the Misfits he was the only one of the band even mildly engaged, dragging the rest of his band of punk veterans and journeymen through sets that these days are louder than they are necessarily good. That the band have gone through a lot of changes is apparent – a whole different (and I would argue better) persona comes over him when he drops into a song from the first few albums. The thought probably wouldn’t sit well with him.

I wonder if my dislike comes from his desire to monatise the band so much and my (I suppose antiquated) feel that punk bands shouldn’t be about that, or at least not as blatant as to go down the KISS route. Especially when you consider he’s a Christian.**

What does the future hold for him? Well, more Misfits I suppose. I honestly do wish him well, as if he cares what I say. I just hope, like most people of my generation, to see a return of the 90’s lineup. It seems like most of the members would be up for it, but there’s still bad blood between a few even after 15 years. Which is a shame. Because as much as I hate Jerry Only, I also love him.

*Having seen The Misfits live I can attest to this – he’s looking damn fine, especially for someone pushing 60. 

**Again, I put this down to my own personal views of the religion, which are very UK New Testament, where Jesus is very left leaning politically when it comes to economic matters. I think a lot of Christians ignore that part, especially in the US.

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From → Rant, Reading

2 Comments
  1. Doyle left the Misfits because for the same reason I now don’t follow the band; Jerry Only on vocals doesn’t work. He’s not a frontman. He also said he wants the Misfits, a punk band that sings about murder and obscenity, to be a “family band”. Watch Doyle and Alex ‘Cancerslug’ Story live and then watch Jerry’s band, no competition, Doyle and Alex are now the Misfits for me.

    • I haven’t seen Doyle and Alex live so can’t compare Glen. I do agree, the whole Misfits band used to seem to try, whereas now it’s Jerry trying to be everything live.

      Whilst he’s a pretty naturally charismatic guy in my opinion, he’s not a miracle worker and the absence of band mates who can match his energy shows. Dez Cadena in particular seemed to sleepwalk through the show’s I’ve attended.

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