Michale Graves Talks Misfits Reunion, Upcoming Album and Film Projects
Jason Price of Live-Metal.Net recently sat down with Michale Graves where he discusses his upcoming release of Illusions Live/Viretta Park, making the jump to the silver screen with his role in Perkins 14, the possibilites of Misfit's reunion, and much more.
MICHALE GRAVES ON DOYLE'S RECENT COMMENTS AND A MISFITS REUNION:
Live-Metal.net: How did your departure from the Misfits come about?
Michale Graves: My departure came about from a series of events that took about a year or two. The first sign, if you go back into the Misfits history, the first sign of trouble was when I left when the band went to South America. I left mostly because I was championing the causes of Dr. Chud and Doyle (Wolfgang von Frankenstein). My problem with the situation was that I wasn't being given the respect that I felt that I deserved, nor the ability to have the input on decisions involving art or direction. I was always told, just as all of us were, that "If you don't like the way things were, you can go home and we will find somebody better." My answer was always, "You can't." The planets aligned when we all came together and I was a major part of why the Misfits resurrected from where they were. It went from this underground thing, to this then relevant, powerful musical force. I wrote the majority of those songs that are one those records. I wrote the songs that you most associate with those records. "Dig Up Her Bones," "Crying On A Saturday Night," "Scream!," "American Psycho," and "Shining," those came out of me.
I was always vocal. Jerry and I, the same problems exist today as they did back then. Jerry knows that if Chud and Doyle would pull there heads out of their asses, we could get the Misfits back together. It's not on me and it is certainly not Jerry. It has always been mostly Doyle and then Chud. I left because there was just so much disfunction, so much unhappiness, and so much stupid shit.
Live-Metal.net: I think the main thing that many of your fans are interested in is whether or not the door is closed for good on a Misfits reunion.
Michale Graves: Jerry and I do not have a dysfunctional working relationship. Him and I both know and I know he knows that I am on board. It is a phone call away. I won't step back into what I walked away from, but the problem isn't with Jerry and I. The problem is with Doyle and with Chud. I just read an interview with Doyle where he is bashing Jerry about some type of Misfits reunion with Danzig, basically saying how Jerry threw a monkey wrench into it. (Read the interview at this location: http://clevescene.com/stories/15/70/your-weekly-concert-previews)
Live-Metal.net: I saw that.
Michale Graves: Well, what fans don't know is how close a Misfits reunion came because he was having talks about that. After the first situation fell through, the next round of talks that was happening was "Hey, let's get Jerry, Michale, Doyle..." Jerry didn't want Chud, but I was fighting for Chud. The plan was to get us four back together. Like I said before, I was on board. The sticking point on why that fell apart was that Doyle wanted to bring his wife out on tour and wouldn't bend from it because Gorgeous George or Gorgeous Frankenstein or whatever she is called had to be a part of the Misfits. Jerry didn't even want Chud in the band. Chud is a waste of human life, BUT, he certainly deserved to be a part of situation that was being put together. I was the one that was sticking up for him even though he really doesn't deserved to be stuck up for. Doyle says, "So let all the Misfits fans put that in their pipe and smoke it." Well, you guys have to tell the whole story. They only give you half-truths and they don't want to talk about me. You're not allowed to bring up my name in front of them because they can't hash their stories because they are on the fuckin' losing end of it.
Live-Metal.Net: Looking back on that period, is there anything you would do again differently if you had the chance?
Michale Graves: I wouldn't have championed Chud and Doyle's causes if I knew then what I know now. I wouldn't have stuck up for them the way that I did, always more so than helping myself. But that is the way that I am and that is the way I treat people and the way that I conduct business. Those guys are different or at least they have changed a lot.
MICHALE GRAVES ON HIS ROLE IN PERKINS 14:
Live-Metal.Net: You also have another exciting project in the works right now. What can you tell us about Perkins 14 and how that came about?
Michale Graves: It's a great story! There are no coincidences in life and karma is real! The Misfits and I, when I first got into the band back in 1995, somehow got hooked up with Craig Singer. Craig Singer wrote and directed a movie that is being re-released on DVD very soon that is called Animal Room. It has Matthew Lillard in it and I wanna call him "Doogie Howser." [laughs] That's terrible!
Live-Metal.Net: Neil Patrick Harris.
Michale Graves: Yeah! Neil Patrick Harris and Amanda Peete. The Misfits were in a scene in that movie. Craig and I hit it off and we had fun. He is a really cool guy. Shoot to 2007, last Fall I guess it was, and I was doing the Chiller Theater convention in Secaucus, New Jersey. Craig Singer rolls up to the booth. He is like "Hey, do you remember me?" and I was like "Of course I remember you, you're Craig fucking Singer!" So, I started telling him about how I remembered the scene and how I remembered the line like it was yesterday. It blew his mind! So, we talked about that for a little while. I gave him a copy of some stuff that I was working on and a copy of "The Blackness and The Forest". I told him that I was still very interested in doing some acting work. I never really had an opportunity to do any of that, although I have always wanted to and spent lots of time preparing for it. It just never worked out. I told him to keep me in mind and that if he heard of anything that might be good for me, to give me a call. Months go by and J.V. (Bastard) and I are out on the road, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, probably in crisis and something was probably breaking! [laughs] Craig Singer calls me up and says to get in touch with the people who were doing casting for Perkins 14. There was a part that he thought I would be pretty good at and that he could see me doing. So I auditioned for the part via video and they gave it to me. The next thing that I know, I am in Bucharest, Romania shooting a movie called Perkins 14! In the film, I play a character called Eric Ross.
Live-Metal.Net: You did some demos there that ended up being on your upcoming release Illusions Live / Viretta Park.
Michale Graves: Yeah. In the first scene that I am introduced in, I am playing "Blackbird" on an acoustic guitar. Having the guitar in my hands, being on set, playing for everybody, and the whole experience that I was having in Europe really triggered this whole chain of events that lead to a huge creative outburst. Being in that country, where their revolution took place in 1989 was an amazing experience. Actually, the guy who owned the studio was the only person in Romania who had film footage of the leader that was overthrown, Ceau?escu. He was the only person with footage of his trial and execution. He sold the footage to the media and got millions of dollars and then bought the film studio. The whole experience over there was very inspirational.
ON HIS UPCOMING RELEASE ILLUSIONS LIVE/VIRETTA PARK:
Live-Metal.Net: Let's talk about Illusions Live / Viretta Park, which you will be releasing in October. It is a great recording and it really captures the essence of your live show.
Michale Graves: Thank you. The sound was taken directly from the board. When I listen to it, it is like I am sitting in the audience as well. It was a very cool and special night. It was the same night that I got the new "stitches" tattoo that I got down in Port Richie. The last time I got the stitches on my left arm, it was 2000 in Atlanta at the Dragon*Con Festival, which was a turning point for a lot of us in the Misfits. It stirred up a lot of memories and feelings. It definitely came out on stage that night.
Live-Metal.Net: I was most curious about the second part of the title "Viretta Park." I would assume that is a reference to Kurt Cobain?
Michale Graves: Yes.
Live-Metal.Net: How did that song come about?
Michale Graves: I was a huge Nirvana fan. A HUGE Kurt Cobain fan. One of my dreams was to be able to collaborate with him. I always wanted to jam with him. Along the way, J.V. and I started to talk about tragic heroes and talking about whether or not or why Kurt Cobain would have killed himself or he didn't kill himself. Regardless of the fact, he is dead. We talked about how tragic that was and the effect that it had on us. When we were on the West Coast, we sought out Viretta Park, when we made it to Seattle. It became this big, huge adventure. [laughs] I was in high school when Nirvana came out, so when I listen to those songs, I am seventeen again. So being there in Viretta Park, there was so much nostalgia, sadness, and happiness that it had a huge effect on both of us. That day in Viretta Park, the weather was so typically Seattle! It was rainy, misty, and miserable. We were sitting there and for a minute it was like the whole world just kinda paused in my life. It felt very much like nothing would ever really be the same again after this. It was almost the feeling of when you are almost at the top of a roller coaster. It was very calm, but very anxious and it had a huge effect on us. Especially me.
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