Pieces of Punk
Few bands are fully collaborative. Most have some charismatic leader who, whether intentionally or not, tends to take the hog's share of the limelight and the credit. More often than not, this person is the lead singer or guitarist. But when the ego gets too big and he or she decides to go solo or when everyone's ego gets too big and the band completely disintegrates, what happens to the little guys? Simple: They play the Culture Room.
Singer Glenn Danzig and bassist Jerry Only formed the Misfits in Lodi, New Jersey, back in the late 1970s. As one would expect from Danzig, the band's themes tended to focus on violence and horror-movie shtick, with such songs as "Last Caress" enjoying widespread underground popularity to this day, unbelievably enough. The main reason for that is the greater success of Danzig, who split from the Misfits, effectively ending the band, in 1983. He went on to form Samhain and then an eponymously titled band, through which he became famous as metal's brooding, quasi-goth frontman. But what about ol' Jerry Only? He and brother O.C. Doyle, who played guitar for the Misfits during one of the group's incarnations (lineup changes were frequent in the band's brief history), reformed the band in 1996 and have since been touring and producing mediocre albums.
At the Misfits show at the Culture Room, Marky Ramone has the honor of being the middleman on the bill. With his surname Ramone should need no introduction. He was the drummer for the Ramones during most of that band's life; in case you've had your head screwed on backward for the past 25 years, the Ramones are the band that started punk rock. Despite the genre's tendency to beat its breast against anything that even remotely smells of selling out, the Ramones spent 20 years trying to go mainstream. Each album was supposed to be "the big breakthrough." But it never happened, and they finally gave up in 1996. Following the band's breakup, Marky formed Marky Ramone and the Intruders and released a few albums, always sticking to the Ramones' rapid-fire formula.
The final act on the evening's lineup is Robo and Dez Cadena, a couple of leftovers from hardcore trailblazers Black Flag. The Black Flag story is similar to that of the Misfits. Musclebound lead singer, in this case Henry Rollins, decides he's too good to be in a band and goes solo. Poor drummer Robo and guitarist Cadena are left out in the cold. The plot is especially ironic in this case because Cadena was at first Black Flag's vocalist, switching to guitar in 1981 when Rollins came on board. And then Rollins ditched to become the punk-rock Allen Ginsberg, and Cadena was left to pick up the pieces -- pieces that, one supposes, he hopes to find at the Culture Room.
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