The 1981 Misfits single “Halloween” starts out pretty innocuously. “Bonfires burning bright/Pumpkin faces in the night/I remember Halloween,” sings frontman Glenn Danzig. But it soon gets more brutal: “This day, anything goes/Burning bodies hanging from poles/I remember Halloween.” Nothing cute or campy about it.
Like Black Sabbath had done years before, with heavy metal, this Lodi-based group brought a horror-movie sensibility to its own musical genre, punk-rock. “Halloween” is short and catchy, and captures the true spirit of the holiday much better than “The Monster Mash” does.
The initial Misfits lineup didn’t stay together long; Danzig went on to form Samhain and, later, the more commercially successful group, Danzig. The band’s original bassist, Jerry Only, has kept it going through the years, with various other musicians. The current Misfits lineup includes Only on bass and vocals, former Black Flag member Dez Cadena on guitar, and Eric “Chupacabra” Arce on drums.
While the band wasn’t very well known, back in the early knows, it has received an increasing amount of respect over the years, and bands such as Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, The Bouncing Souls and Pennywise have covered its songs.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.