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The Misfits and Dr Know @ HOB 11/13/07

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As a teenager, the Misfits kind of passed me by. They were an East coast band, and I was listening to local SST bands and 70s glammy-junkie punk bands. Like ANGELIC UPSTARTS, it seemed like MISFITS was just another band to paint on your leather jacket. A few years ago I got turned on to their box set, and I felt like I had really missed out. This Ramones - meets - Sabbath - meets Alice Cooper - meets absolutely shredding guitars is just the kind of fast, yet melodic punk I like.

Last night I was able to see the Misfits live at the House of Blues. Some people feel like without Glenn Danzig in the band, it is just not the same anymore. But they tore the roof off that mother. They gave those kids exactly what they came for. With Robo on drums and Dez Cadena on guitar, the band was actually more original Black Flag than it was original Misfits. And they didn't try to ignore that fact - they went for it. Along with Misfits classics like Halloween, Dig up her Bones, Skulls, Last Caress, and Crawling Eye, they played Flag classics Jealous Again, Thirsty and Miserable, Six Pack and Rise Above. But in spite of Jerry Only being outnumbered, he was never upstaged. There is something about him that is bigger than life in that professional wrestler kind of way.

(more and more and more after the jump!)

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Their stage set was unbelievable. We're talking about the KISS/Alice Cooper level. A few people told me it was a bit over the top. But I love that kind of shit. And according to Jerry, they have a machine shop in the family where they design and craft their own sets. Bring on the smoke machines!

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Sometimes the intense lighting reminded me of Count Floyd, "Oooooh, scaaary, kids..."

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Really, though, props to the lighting crew. That was a seriously great job. Usually I have to up the contrast on photos a little, but these photos were so colorful, they didn't need any help. Smoke machine guys too, hats off to you.

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The sound was excellent, as usual. Dez's voice was sounding really good. And he can shred the hell out of a guitar. It's almost beyond human.

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If you haven't noticed the thousands of Misfits shirts everywhere yet, they are one of the most commodified bands this side of the Ramones. They seriously have this merch thing down. Touring bands dream of a merch booth that can pull it in like this.

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Their fans put the fanatic in fan, wait, or is it the other way around? These kids were fucking batshit. I saw one teenage girl being dragged out by security, and her face was so messed up at first I thought it was the horrorshow makeup their fans love. But blood was gushing from her nose like a faucet. As security dragged her out, she held up two devil horns and kept on banging her head, like, "Yeah, motherfucker! Woooooh!" That chick is so rad; if you are out there reading this, girl, here's a "Fuck yeah!" After the show, there was a big fistfight out front on Sunset. One of the guys was the same guy who used to pick fights when WE were teenagers.

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The encore started with Green Hell and included the Flag fist-pumper Rise Above.

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The best part of the show though, was when Dez lit his guitar on fire.

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OK, I'm totally lying. His guitar was not on fire. Weird effect from the red lights in the background set, though, isn't it? I didn't mess with the photos at all. They came out of the camera looking like that.

This is Dez's supercute wife, Perla.

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Later someone told me that Dr Know was in the next dressing room. I didn't even know they were the opening band! I ran over and found the guitar player, Robert, all alone. I asked, "Where's Izzy Hernandez?"
"He's long gone."
"He didn't even tell me he was playing and I just saw him Sunday."
Robert said, WE didn't even know we were playing until 2 days ago."

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Dez and the ubiquitous Dave Markey being totally fucking punk. Oh, and Dave's finger IS on fire.

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The elusive Robo

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I hardly talked to Jerry, except to make fun of the giant spikes on his jacket. But I tell you, he stayed there until he had signed every damn shirt and posed with every single fan who wanted to meet him.

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Then it's all over and time to take the makeup off. And I just love taking pictures in mirrors.

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Later, that night, I was with Dez and Perla and friends drinking in a local dive. After having known him for over 25 years, something suddenly occured to me for the first time, "Hey, is your name Desmond?"

He said, "Sort of. My dad (Renowned jazz producer Ozzie Cadena) named me after Paul Desmond. But on my birth certificate it says Dez."

Then the bartender interrupted us to announce, "I have a metal plate in my head" and then he grabbed my hand and made me feel it.

(All photos by Elise Thompson for LAist)