“I’m not one of those that sits backstage or in the green room before or after a show,” says Michael Graves. “I love hanging out with the fans. I love to make the human connection with the fans and hear the stories from them directly of how my music affected their lives.”
Graves was the lead singer of the notorious punk rock band, The Misfits, from 1995 to 2000, and throughout his long career he has taken many twists and turns along the way. But one thing he has not taken for granted is his supporters.
“We all have a different outlook on music and what it’s for, or means to us, as individuals,” he says. “People lay some heavy stuff on me and tell me where they were or what was happening in their lives and how a song or my music was part of it, and to know that a little piece of me is in them is at times exhausting but also very rewarding. That’s what music is all about, to see and hear people open up.
“I may stand with someone for two or three minutes of my time — our time — but they may remember that the rest of their lives. I’ll stand there until the last one is gone, until the ink runs dry in the pen because that’s rewarding to me and to the fans.”
Graves and his rabid fan base will get the chance to unite when his The Beginning of the End Fall Tour 2017 comes to the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, Sept. 21, and Dingbatz in Clifton, Sept. 22.
“I’m trying to bump up my image in the industry a bit,” he said with a slight laugh as he explained his reasons for the tour. “I’m trying to get people familiar with my music, something other than The Misfits, and I am also trying to build the audience for my radio show.
“I also have the book and the new CD. I’ve been doing the whole book thing for a while but the CD is called When Worlds Collide and is doing well so I figured we may as well hit the road and see what happens. I’ve now got this giant 80-city tour planned, which is going to turn the band into an unstoppable performing unit (laughs).”
The words songwriter, vocalist, author, actor, TV personality and frontman can all describe the things Graves has been in his more than two-decade career. He is an enigma of sorts, very well-known not yet quite a household name outside of his musical genre. Both he and The Misfits were and are highly successful, yet commercial and corresponding financial success seemed to be just beyond the reach of their fingertips.
“Yeah, as the band got bigger the legends grew,” he says. “So much legend that made up so much of our success. We were so close, so very close to breaking through but there were some critical points that knocked us off track each time due to decisions that were made, or maybe not made in some cases, that stopped our momentum or forced us to take a different route.
“Rob Zombie was supposed to produce one of our videos because he had taken an interest in us and then for reasons not worth discussing, really, he backed out. It was things like that that seemed to happen at less than opportune times; shame, but it happens. One thing that I’ve learned is that being rich is more than financial. I’m lucky that I can do this and make a living at doing something I love and interacting with the fans makes me far more wealthy than most.”
The tour kicked off on Sept. 8 and will span the entire country, including both coasts and many points in between. There will be 80 cities in 107 days with very few nights off for this legendary punk rocker, but he is promising a return to the performer we came to know during the height of The Misfits popularity.
“Oh yeah! A full on audio assault,” he stated with bravado. “I’m back putting makeup on and wearing costumes again. I’m really concentrating on the theatrics of it all. People coming to the shows will hear all of The Misfits hits, maybe more, I don’t know … my new stuff, some interesting things. But most of all they can expect me to be hanging with the fans before, during and after. It’s all for and about them.”
For more about Graves, visit Facebook.com/Michalegraves.