Who better to interview for the Halloween edition of Rocker than horror-rock guitar-god Doyle Von Frankenstein? From his days founding The Misfits, to current tour reuniting him with Danzig, and his latest CD “Aboninator,” Doyle is a dark and powerful force in the world of music.
West Coast Bureau Chief Keith Valcourt caught up with Doyle backstage during the Los Angeles stop in Danzig’s 25th Anniversary Tour at the Gibson Amphitheater, just days before the legendary rock venue met the wrecking ball, to talk about horror, Halloween, hot sauce and a hearty helping of hedonistic behavior. Trick or Treat indeed.
Rocker: How long does it take you to get into your gear and makeup?
Doyle: Depends on how much time I got, one millisecond less.
Rocker: Does your personality change once you transform?
Doyle: Yeah! Sure does. I’m a nicer guy beforehand. (Laughs)
Rocker: How do you feel about this place being torn down?
Doyle: Horrible. I love this place. We’ve done so many big shows here. We sell it out. Awesome.
Rocker: They are tearing it down to build Harry Potter Land.
Doyle: Lame. They’ve got all this money. Fucking build something somewhere else. Maybe they don’t make money with bands anymore. Who knows? This is the nicest place we play.
Rocker: How long have you and Glenn (Danzig) been doing these legacy shows?
Doyle: Since 2004. In that block of time I’ve played with him, and my band has opened for him.
Rocker: What is it like being back onstage with Danzig doing those Misfits songs you created?
Rocker: Are these shows the only way fans get to see the real Misfits?
Doyle: I hope not.
Rocker: Does it bug you that your brother Jerry (Only) is continuing with The Misfits without you?
Doyle: No. What he is singing? That doesn’t bother me at all. I’d like to get as far away from that as possible.
Rocker: What is your relationship with Jerry like these days?
Doyle: It’s alright.
Rocker: You’ve seen it with The Kinks, Oasis and other band. Brothers don’t play well together. Can two brothers be in the same band and get along?
Doyle: Well when one makes a lot more money than the other, it’s hard to work with somebody. That goes for everyone. Not just brothers.
Rocker: Is that why you left The Misfits? Maybe if Jerry realized that..
Doyle: I don’t know what the fuck he realizes. He’s out of his fucking mind.
Rocker: Ever see a time when you, Jerry, and Danzig could get together for a real Misfits reunion?
Doyle: I’m in. It’s not up to me.
Rocker: What drew you to the “Horror Rock” genre in the first place?
Doyle: As children we watched old monster movies. We used to build the model. “The Munsters”, “Adaams Family” and “Twilight Zone” just intrigued all of us. You know?
Rocker: What Halloween costumes did you wear as a kid? Were they all monsters?
Doyle: When I was really small I was Batman and Superman. I was a scarecrow once. That was cool. Hunchback. That’s about all I can remember.
Rocker: Let’s talk about your new album: “Abominator.” It is a “Doyle” Record. Not Doyle Von Frankenstein or “Gorgeous Frankenstein.” Why just the one name?
Doyle: My singer (Alex Story from Cancerslug) called me said, “We gotta change the name of the band.” I said, “Go on.” He said, “Change it to just Doyle. It’s a whole new record. Let’s just start over.” I asked him if he was sure. He was. Then I said, “Let’s do it.” With the “Gorgeous Frankenstein” name, I didn’t have the money to promote it. We did a tour as “Gorgeous Frankenstein” and nobody came. Nobody knew that was my band. People who did come to the show, didn’t know that was my band until we started playing. They came up to me after the show and said, “We didn’t even know you had a band. We just came out tonight.” Most of those shows we played to about fifty fucking people. Even when we opened for Glenn (Danzig), backstage after the shows people came up and said, “Your band played tonight? We would have got here early if we knew.” It was right on the fucking marquee! Nobody put it together, the name and me.
Now as “Doyle” we went to Europe and everybody knows the name of the band, everyone knows the record. They know my singers name. Every interview I did, everybody know everything. So the one name. Keep it simple stupid: KISS. You can’t make people think. You try to be creative, but you really can’t. It’s gotta be fucking easy.
Rocker: How did you hook up with Alex?
Doyle: The way I got him as my singer was I placed an ad in New York and Los Angeles in 2004 looking for singers. He was the first one to send me a CD. Sent me 20 songs and I listened. It was the only disc I didn’t take out when it started to play because every song was great! Back then I had written 12 songs, all done, arranged and thought “Who the fuck am I gonna get to finish these?” Because once I write them all I can see is what I’m playing in my mind when I listen to it. Know what I mean? Because I know what the fuck it is.
I called him up and ironically at the time he was walking into a Danzig show in Houston. Alex is like the biggest Danzig/Misfits fan in the world. He would crawl from Alabama to New Jersey to do a show. Crawl naked. And on fire. I asked him, “You wanna right some songs with me?” He yells “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”
Rocker: What was the recording process like?
Doyle: We decided to do it ourselves. So I went and bought all the gear. Dr Chud (Misfits drummer) recorded the drums. I recorded the guitars and bass. Then I would send a .wav file to Alabama to Alex. He would sing in the bedroom, or the car, or wherever the fuck he wanted to sing, and that’s how we did it. Then we mixed it, Me and Chud.
Rocker: You’ve worked with Dr. Chud for a long time. What is the bond between you two.
Doyle: We have a great time. He is where he wants to be. I picked him because there is nothing else in this kid’s life that he wants to be but this. If I can be the vehicle to get him there, I wanna do it. He’s a great drummer too. He didn’t know how to play double bass when I wrote the record. I said, “Look there are a lot of double bass parts but if you can’t play it, don’t play it.” He said, “I never tried.” What? Then he picked it right up. I knew he would.
Rocker: Do you have a favorite track?
Doyle: I like all of them. I like the first track because that was the last song we wrote. I always like the last song we wrote because it’s new.
Rocker: Let’s talk about some tracks. Why do you “Hope Hell Is Warm”?
Doyle: I didn’t write any of the words. I write the music and I give to Alex with a piece of paper telling him what the arrangement is. It’s all programmed, arranged and gone. I tell him “Don’t sing here. Sing here.” After that I say, “Do whatever the fuck you want,” and that’s what he does good. I don’t do that good. He’s great at it. I did give him a list of what we wanted to write about. Because his other band Cancerslug is insane. It’s so hardcore, perverted and fucked up. I said look, “We don’t want no filthy cocks. No knives up asses.” I gave him a list and he said “I got it.” We went crazy. Wrote something like 38 songs. The second Doyle album is waiting on me to do like 3 guitar tracks. We were going to have 18 tracks on “Abominator,” but when Chud and I were driving to the studio to mix it he said, “You know we are giving half an album away for free. 70 minutes of music.” I said, “Let’s do 6 more tracks. Split em up and make another album.”
Rocker: You didn’t end up with a song about a knife up the ass but there is a track called “Cematary SeXXX.”
Doyle: That’s fine.
Rocker: If you came across the hottest girl in the world and she just died would you engage in necrophilia?
Doyle: No. I’d eat her. (smiles evil grin) Yeah I’d eat her.
Rocker: On a show like tonight you come on stage 8 or 9 songs into the set, what do you do while waiting to get on?
Doyle: Stretch. I listen. That’s about it. I take pictures of myself and put them on Instagram. (Laughs) That’s what I do.
Rocker: You’re just sitting backstage taking “Selfies?”
Doyle: Yeah. Talking to my girl. Just stretching.
Rocker: How many songs do you play together?
Doyle: That’s up to him (Danzig.) Depends on what kind of mood he’s in.
Rocker: That has to be the highlight of the set?
Doyle: It’s the only part for me!
Rocker: Are you still making hot sauce?
Doyle: I got a new one coming out. “Abominator.” Everybody complained that the last one wasn’t hot enough. I don’t like it super hot. You know what I mean? I’m don’t wanna sit there and fucking sweat, “Oh my God I’m dying!” The one I got is good. You put it on pizza, in pasta. Whatever you wanna do with it. Everybody complained, “Not hot enough.” No they’re gonna get their assholes burned out. It’s coming. I get to test it when we play in Atlanta because that is where the guy who makes it lives. He’s gonna bring it down. Label will feature me in the “Scream” video we did with George Romero.
Rocker: Twenty five years on for Danzig and more for The Misfits, why is the music still relevant and being discovered by new generations?
Doyle: It’s good. Doesn’t suck. There’s not one Misfit’s song that sucks. You can’t find one that sucks. The guy is a great writer. What are you gonna do?