Michale Graves: from skate kid to punk rock superstar


As you might expect, former Misfits vocalist Michale Graves is a bit of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character.
 While he is best known for  giving classic horror punks the Misfits a new life from1995-2000, or else fronting Marky Ramone’s band Blitzkrieg, he is also a well known acoustic  performer.
His latest CD “Vagabond” shows off his acoustic side, but when he comes to Lethbridge to play the Leo Lives Memorial show at  Studio 54, April 20 — the lone Canadian date on this tour — he will be showing off his Mr. Hyde side.
Leo Lives is a fundraiser of  Leo Del Pinto, a 24-year-old Calgary man and Misfits fan who was killed by an off duty policeman in Thailand in 2008. All money raised will be donated to Del Pinto’s family to cover extensive legal costs.
 Frightenstein, the Pindolls and  End Of Empire will also be performing. Tickets are $40 in advance.

“ It will be the full on monster show,” said Graves fro(L to R) Chibo Jones - Lead Guitar | Michale Graves - Vocals/Keys/Guitar | Johnny B. Morbid - Bass | Tony Baptist - Drums Photo Submittedm the road somewhere in Arizona en route to a show in San Diego.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun, it’s going to be  exciting. I’m going to play some of the songs I  played with the Misfits, some solo songs, some punk rock,” he said.

“  I haven’t played these songs in years, but when I put that mask on… I’m going to show what separates me from the rest ,”  he enthused.

“If ‘Vagabonds’  is my Dr. Jekyll, then this show will definitely be Mr. Hyde,” he said adding it will be very different than his acoustic shows.
“With the acoustic show, I’m pinned down by the guitar, I’m free to jump around and put on a performance,” he continued.
This show is also  the beginning  of a tour for the impending June release of his next CD “The Lost Skeleton Returns” which is  a collection of  some of his earlier punk songs from “Punk Rock is Dead”, some the songs he wrote with the Misfits and six new songs.

He was always attracted to the theatrical aspects of monster rock.
“I come from a theatre background. I liked the sound, I liked the energy and I loved the aggression of  it ,” he said adding he didn’t actually know a lot about the Misfits when he sent them his audition tape.

“ I didn’t know a lot about them. I was just a young skate kid. My older brother knew all about them and I learned really fast,” he said.
“ Danzig’s song ‘Mother’ was starting to get really big on MTV,” he said adding stepping into Danzig’s shoes was a terrifying experience.
“It was very scary. Everything I’d do was to  try to not get beat up. Of course I got beat up anyway,” he said adding his goal,whether playing with the Misfits, or Marky Ramone, is to do the music justice.

“ I was only 21 and got thrown into that world. The goal was to do justice to the legacy of Glenn Danzig,” he said adding he left the Misfits of his own accord.
“ When I left, I left a lot of money on the table,” he said.
“ If I’d stayed I could have had a couple of houses and cars and that would have been all right but it was literally killing me. Killing me mentally, killing me physically and killing my soul,” he said. He said he started noticing things weren’t about the music any longer, so he thought the best thing to do was leave and start again.

“It should always be about the music,” he said.
 He would love to get back together with the Misfits.

“I would love to get back together with them, because when we put on our instruments and our makeup there was nobody better. We were awesome,” he enthused.
He has a very busy schedule including playing with Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg, and in fact will be going to South America  in September to play Rock in Rio with them.
“It’s a dream come true. I worked with Marky Ramone in Danzig and I got to tour with Joey Ramone,” he said adding the Ramones were a big inspiration for him.

“And, now to have Marky playing that perfect music and playing it perfectly is a highlight of my life,” he enthused.
“I always wanted to show respect for their music like I do with the Misfits music,” he continued.
 He was on tour supporting his solo CD “Vagabond” which is a marked contrast to what he is best known for— upbeat horror punk music.
“It’s a natural progression of  years spent playing acoustic music and travelling across the American south,” he said.
“ I just felt the need to explore the south,” he said.  He has his punk rock CD “The Lost Skeleton Returns” after that and another acoustic CD coming out at the end of the year.

 The tour is going well.
“ So far so good,” he said.
“I’m getting to meet a lot of excited and enthusiastic people who are excited abut Vagabond. I’m affecting people and to me, that’s success,” he said.
“ I live a blessed life. I’m so thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given. I’m excited to be part of Leo Lives,” he said adding, while he didn’t know anything about LeoLives, when the show got booked, he will brief himself on the cause. Go to www.leolives.ca for more information about it.

He has never been to Lethbridge and wasn’t aware his show was a fundraiser to  raise money for the legal costs of the family of Leo Del Pinto, a 24-year-old Calgary man who was killed by an off duty policeman in Thailand in 2008.
Frightenstein, The Pindolls and End Of Empire will also be performing at Studio 54 beginning at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $40 in advance.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Saturday, 27 April 2013 01:21 )