Monday, August 27, 2018

EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Chud Speaks!

Photo courtesy of Dr. Chud

I’m pleased to present former Misfits drummer Dr. Chud’s first official interview in more than 10 years!

While best known to fiends around the world for his five-year stint with the band (1995-2000), Chud has enjoyed a lengthy musical career that has included stints with (among others) Sardonica, his own group Sacred Trash and the ’80s/’90s New Jersey act Dan Kidney & the Pulsations. Since his days in The Misfits, Chud has continued to explore music and other adventures. In addition to his current project, Dr. Chud’s X-Ward, he can be heard on Doyle’s 2013 album Abominator and Sonic Creeps’ 2014 release A Future Dead. In 2016, he released a limited-edition solo CD single, “We’re The Garbage Pail Kids” / “1980’s Was So Great” (available digitally here.) Both songs were written for the 2016 Indican Pictures documentary 30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story. 

Chud’s also put out some bizarrely brilliant merchandise in recent times, including two new alternate heads to go with the infamous Dr. Chud “Resurrection” Doll! (More information on these and other items is available at his official website.) Most recently, he did a cameo in Lloyd Kaufman’s upcoming film, Shakespeare’s Shitstorm, which is due out early next year. On top of everything just mentioned, he’ll be appearing/performing at the 11th Annual Scarefest in Lexington, KY next month and will be bringing his X-Ward to Olive's in Nyack, NY on October 27. More live shows are being planned for the Halloween season. 

Chud’s clearly an active guy, but one thing he hasn’t done in a very long time is grant an interview. I’ve been friends with him for nearly 25 years, and I’m thrilled and honored that he agreed to do this on my site.  

You went to high school with Doyle. How familiar were you with The Misfits and what Doyle was doing with them back then? Did you attend many/any shows? If so, what did you think of the band in those days?

I went to high school with Doyle, Eerie Von and Steve Zing. I knew about the band and went to a few rehearsals. At the time, Blondie, Aerosmith, Queen and Zep were on my record machine, so watchin’ them really didn’t inspire me much. I think I remember the drummer not being so good, so it was a turn-off. They weren’t popular at all, but they looked cool.

I wasn’t very social and kept to myself. The town was full of bullies and I never felt I fit in anywhere, so I just wanted to immerse myself in learning how to play drums the best I could. I listened to a lot of great drummers, like the ones from the bands I just mentioned, and had a few high school bands I jammed with. Nothing came easy for me; I’ve worked hard for everything I have, and I’ve sacrificed a lot to do it.

How did you end up drumming for the brothers up in Vernon in the mid 90s? Legend has it that they were still doing Kryst the Conqueror when you started playing drums with them. Is that true or was Kryst already done by that point?

I ran into Jerry at a funeral. I asked him what he was up to; he said he was getting a band together or something to that effect. I gave him my number, and I believe I was called to roadie for their drummer at the time, The Murp. The band was still Kryst the Conqueror. The Murp was not showing up all the time, so I just sat in at the rehearsal and finally replaced him.

What are some memories that stand out for you still from those first few ProEdge rehearsals?

Getting a wake-up call at like 6am to come jam. I would spend all day there to rehearse with Jerry a few times a day. Doyle would show up once in a while. Eventually, Jerry put me to work at ProEdge, but it was the worst job anyone can have – but at least I wasn’t sitting around waiting for Jerry to have a break to jam! Well, maybe that would have been better. Thank God I got my union card a few years later! I loved talking with the few people working there. Jerry’s mom and pops, too. I’ll never forget the smell of the shop. To this day, all of my equipment still smells like oil!

What kind of training regimen did they put you under once you started working with them?

Well, we all worked out together, and me and Jerry jammed almost every day. I couldn’t be a better situation for a great way of life. I wouldn’t change it for nothing!

I remember watching you guys working on a song at ProEdge in the spring of ’95 called “Ghost Riders,” and there was even a shirt design to go along with it - then the song disappeared. Why didn’t it appear on any subsequent Misfits releases?

I think we recorded it but never got around to finishing it. I don’t think it was Misfit-y enough.

What do you remember most from the show The Misfits performed at Coney Island High on November 1, 1995?

Walking into the club and everyone waiting for us. I think it was supposed to be just a party, but we soon found out everyone was there to see us perform. It was jam-packed, hot and sweaty! So we performed.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Chud

In May ’96, you played the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. What was it like for you to hit a stage in NJ for the first time as a headliner in the role of Misfits drummer? 

That was really cool; of course, all my friends and ex-bandmates showed up. I kinda felt like we had something special.

Looking back now, what are your thoughts on what are now known as the Mars Attacks Demos, seeing as they were the first official studio recordings you did with the band? What do you remember most from those sessions at Trax East?

Mostly that it was the only Misfits recording where I actually used the monster-spiked kit. Surprisingly, after all these years, it’s actually my favorite drum sound of all Misfits recordings. I really thought after drilling holes in, painting, re-covering, spiking and dropping those drums many times that they would sound like shit. It goes to show ya that they don’t make ’em like they use to. Fuck designer drums! (Laughs)

How did having Daniel Rey come in as the producer impact the band and what ultimately became 1997American Psycho?

Danny is a calm dude, something I believe we needed in the middle of that storm. I think it worked out okay.

Looking back 21 years later, what are your favorite moments from the album?

I loved the fact Geffen Records gave us freedom to make the record we wanted. I can’t say enough about that record company. They truly care for their artists, so being able to walk into the studio with a kids’ toy piano and say, Hey, I got an idea. Push record’ and having it work was amazing. I was able to try any ideas I had – from rattlin’ bones to backwards subliminal messages!

Are you satisfied that Geffen did all they could to promote the band and that record?

Again, Geffen is the greatest record company on the planet; we couldn’t have asked for a better one. It was a shame in the end that Geffen and Jerry didn’t see eye to eye.

What, if anything, would you change about American Psycho if you had the chance?

Nothing. It was the perfect storm.

What is your relationship with the other band members today?

Jerry is the only one who still lives by me, so I see him from time to time. I don’t see the other guys at all; they moved far away.

What are you up to musically these days?

I play music every day. I have a solo band called Dr. Chuds X-Ward that sells very well, and I love doing soundtracks, too. I’ll do sessions from time to time if I like a band’s music. My life is awesome, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Despite all the ups and downs, what are your proudest memories when you look back on your years with The Misfits?

There really were no ‘downs’ for me; it was all amazing. I always took a step back and saw the big picture. Some didn’t. I loved touring; I was always the first guy up and the last to go to sleep. I filmed every moment. I loved the whole lifestyle, the band was a writing machine and we all played well together. I hung in there as long as I could. Eventually, we all ended up on different pages. But for five years, we introduced a whole new generation of kids to this thing we call ‘Horror Punk,’ and today it’s not hard to see the influence everywhere.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Chud


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