Sunday, March 8, 2015

INTERVIEW - Misery Perfectum: Inside Eerie Von's New Documentary

Photo courtesy of Eerie Von

It's finally happening.

For years, various people in and out of the various Misfits/Samhain/Danzig camps have talked about producing an in-depth documentary on the inner workings of one or all of these groups. Although most of these projects came and went without much action beyond the initial idea phase, it looks like legendary former Samhain/Danzig bassist and one-time Misfits roadie/photographer Eerie Von is finally fulfilling the need for a definitive film on these subjects. Entitled Misery Perfectum, the movie is currently being crafted from 100-plus hours of video and thousands of photos dating back to the Glenn Danzig-fronted era of The Misfits. A childhood friend of brothers Jerry and Paul Caiafa – better known as Jerry Only and Doyle – Von was heavily involved in The Misfits' greatest era, regularly attending their practices and taking many of the band's most iconic photos. Misery Perfectum is a historical and journalistic endeavor by Eerie Von and is central to him and his time with these three bands.

Launched on March 5, the Kickstarter page for the film has already raised just under $3,000 as of this writing and offers an array of incredible rewards including rare/signed Danzig promo posters and an original canvas painting by Von himself.

The below interview not only sheds light on Von's current and ongoing plans for Misery Perfectum, but also coincides with the 20th anniversary of the first time I met him at (oddly enough) a Misfits jam session at the band's space in New Jersey. It's been “kool” (as he'd say it) getting back in touch with him. Here's what the man had to say to me about the Misery Perfectum, his time with Samhain and Danzig and the possibility of working with a certain singer again.

Photo courtesy of Eerie Von 

It's about time somebody did a documentary like this! Where do things currently stand with the project?

We are into the funding stage, which - when it succeeds - will help us pay for editing, restoration of video/photos, travel, the interviews and whatever else it costs to make a film.

What are some of the things Kickstarter pledgers can expect as this campaign moves forward?

I think we will send clips to those who pledged, and maybe some other stuff. I'm not sure yet. Things keep changing.

Who else is helping you complete this project, and how did they get involved?

Chris Hulbert and Wes Pryor as producers/directors, my manager Laura Jay for layout and design, Brian Steward for art along with Jaye S. Clarke, who has video and photos, as well as fans who are contributing pics and memorabilia.

What has so far been the most enjoyable part of doing this project?

Going through the footage has been a lot of fun. Found some stuff I didn't remember shooting!

As you went through all the pictures for your book [Misery Obscura] and now this film, which people/moments from your past really made you stop and smile when you came across those particular images?

It's an ongoing process. Some of the pics I haven't seen in 30 years. Restoring the old stuff and being able to use shots no one has ever seen is great. They all make me a little nostalgic and I enjoy looking at them, especially when they look like I just shot them. I am also working on a second book of just photos, also called Misery Perfectum.

Going back to the very beginning, what stands out in your mind the most from meeting Glenn the first time during the “Cave” photo shoot?

How small and thin he was back then - but I was, too. His sense of humor, mostly.

There are tons of stories and myths about the Glenn-era Misfits, but what are some common misconception or untruths you've heard about that era over the years that this movie will help clarify and address?

I don't know how many rumors will be laid to rest, but I think people don't know how hands-on Glenn was back then, from the T-shirts and shooting the 'Fits promo photos to hand-writing [letters] to all the Fiends.

Eerie and Doyle. Photo courtesy of Eerie Von

How would you say Samhain most differed from The Misfits?

Different approach - heavier lyrics, slower songs and guys willing to let Glenn pursue his vision.

Initium, Unholy Passion and November-Coming-Fire each had different lineups. Which version/era of Samhain did you like the best, and why?

They were all good, but I like the third album most. Just because I think the recording is better, and the band was moving into a bigger area.

The jump from Samhain to Danzig was huge, both in musical style and image. How instrumental was Rick Rubin in setting these changes in motion?

I just cut off my Devilock and stopped shaving. I still looked at it like the same band, but now we had a Metal guy and a killer drummer. Rubin brought the AC/DC/ Sabbath/ Zeppelin thing to the front, but me, Glenn and Chuck were still Punk Rock guys, so we just did our thing. I enjoyed playing in different styles and hearing music I never would have listened to before.

How did the experience of being in Danzig change for you once “Mother '93” took off?

It didn't change me. We just sold more records. We were already playing big places and doing alright without it. Nothing changed for me, except I got a few gold records out of it.

Photo courtesy of Eerie Von

This might be an impossible-to-answer question, but who were the best three bands Danzig toured with in term of both personality of band members/crew and quality of performance?

Easy enough - White Zombie, Type O Negative, Marilyn Manson. For all of the above reasons.

What made the “classic” Danzig lineup work so well musically? What was the magic of that band in those years that can't be duplicated?

It's not called "magic" for nothing. Sometimes it just happens. Did with us. I feel lucky to have had that in my life. Hope I feel that magic again someday. It can't be defined or captured.

Although the rumors about [original Danzig drummer] Chuck Biscuits' death that went around a few years were thankfully proven false, he certainly continues to live far off the public's radar. What is your current relationship with him? Why do you think he keeps such an incredibly low profile?

I don't know. I haven't heard from him since before the death rumors.

It seems that Glenn has been more willing to embrace his past in recent years – from touring with Doyle again to doing the Samhain shows last year to now planning to re-release the Who Killed Marilyn? single. How would you respond if he approached you about working together again?

I would be interested if it were for the right reasons. I would not do a "Danzig" reunion without Chuck and John - and a NEW record.

You were part of a musical history that means the world to a lot of people, Why does something that basically grew out of the Caiafas' garage still endure? Why do we still see kids with Devilocks all over the world 35 years later?

Because it's kool. The music, the image, the whole thing is fucking kool. That's pretty much it.

Photo courtesy of Eerie Von 


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