INTERVIEW: Michale Graves (ex- MISFITS)
Levi: Really excited about this interview because for me the first Misfits album I ever heard was American Psycho, and then Scream. So, for me, you're almost like the original Misfits singer, because you're the first guy I heard. So, to me, yeah, they're definitely my favorite albums. And, awesome to be able to talk to you, because in high school I listened to, and I still do, those two albums just all the time. Are you excited about the tour? What songs do you got planned for Australia, and has it been awhile since you played here?
Michale Graves: The last time I came down there was with Marky Ramone. I think it was 2010, 2011, somewhere in that ballpark. But, the songs that are on the set list, we will play American Psycho, of there is always Dig Up Her Bones, Crying on a Saturday Night, Scream. Everybody loves to hear those songs and I always play them. And, there's a couple of other ones. I won't blow the surprise, and they might change. So, I take songs from American Psycho, Famous Monsters, and pepper them in with enough Misfits songs in there, and peppered in with my solo stuff as well, to satisfy everybody.
Levi: Yeah, sure. I was listening to your album World Turned Upside Down, it's really cool. It's a bit different from the kind of punk rock element of the Misfits. Will we be hearing songs from the new album as well, then?
Michale Graves: Yes, for sure.
Levi: Awesome. That album came out in 2017. Are you working on any new material at the moment?
Michale Graves: I am. I plan to be in the studio in June of next year. We're hoping for a July release. I definitely need to and want to get something else out that I can work and make the rounds. As well, I'm going to be producing videos around the songs that I might put out and making some changes to the band, and presenting a new show up one level from the show that I'm presenting now.
Levi: Yeah. There was something I want to ask you about. It was kind of a pretty viral news story maybe a month or so ago. You got canceled from playing a festival in Edmonton. It was from sharing a Paul Joseph Watson video. And, I'm a big fan of Paul Joseph Watson, I think he's hilarious. He's pretty much right about everything he says. What actually happened there? Was it really just over re-posting a video? Was that all it was?
Michale Graves: Yeah, that's kind of all it was. So, there was a festival like you said in Edmonton, Canada. The board of directors from that festival, after from hearing from somebody that I had posted these things on my social sites, it prompted a review from the board of directors. And, the festival's director, Brent Oliver, deemed my retweeting and sharing of these articles, Paul Joseph Watson, and some things that I had written in my blog, to be in violation of their community standards of inclusivity, and all of these other standards. And that I was a threat to all of those things. So, he canceled the shows, and dis-invited me from the festival. But, most importantly, and more, I guess, profoundly, went to the media and told the media that he was doing these things, and represented the reasons being because I was all of these terrible things that were related to the alt-right, which I am not, and racist which I am not, and all of these terrible things that I am not.
Levi: Do you find it's just strange times we're living in, where there's so much talk against free speech and censorship? You know, Alex Jones being censored, and other people with these platforms.
Michale Graves: It's certainly strange times, certainly dangerous times. Most importantly, I have children, and I have a deep understanding of the triggers and the events of not too long ago. And, just as an example, in World War II, it's not the only time that there was horrible authoritarianism and tyranny and mass deaths that came to our world. It's happening now in pockets of our planet, and so these things these issues, these huge issues that we're talking about, not only that necessarily pertain to America, my country, but other issues that are global in their reach are important to have.
But, when you see little microcosms of all of the things that I just said oppress and authoritarianism, tyranny, but against somebody like me for just sharing some sort of media, links to the media and having no recourse, automatically being judged with no way to give my opinion, and have my business affected by it and have it have a financial impact on me as well as it having been played out in a public way. The things that were being said against me were very big things. I was being called a racist. I was being called a white supremacist. Those things can affect an individual. And, so then when you expand out from that and you see it happening in large ways, it becomes important for people to stand up and push back against those things and say, "Wait a second."
We might be walking down a very, very dangerous, dark path, and we need to all stop some of the things that are happening, and the knee-jerk reactions that are happening towards some people before things truly get out of hand. More out of hand than they are now. And, by "out of hand", I mean the violence that is taking place in the streets, the violence that is being planned, and the ignorant things that are being said, in chanting by people with very large platforms, much larger than mine.
Levi: Yeah, definitely. I think it's kind of cool that in a way Alex Jones has been talking about you quite a lot lately. He's got a giant platform even after the censorship he's still on 100-plus radio stations. Do you appreciate the support that he's been showing after that cancellation happened?
Michale Graves: I continue to be, and those guys know ... those guys, I mean Infowars as an organization and Alex Jones as a person, understand that I am very thankful for that platform. I am very thankful for them to come to my defense. And, for somebody like Alex Jones to get behind me, and to encourage me is very exciting and humbling because it's much larger than me, it's much larger than Alex Jones. It's not a popularity thing. I'm not excited more people are going to know who I am so I can become more famous. It's not about that. It's about, like I said, the issues, the things that we're talking about. I have small children, so does Alex Jones, and we're fighting for them. We're fighting to make sure that this world doesn't continue to veer off into this dystopian nightmare that hardly anybody can imagine.
Levi: Yeah, it is getting crazy. I know in China now, they've basically got a social credit score system. I really hope we don't ever elect someone here that thinks it's a great idea, and wants to pass it off onto us, but you never know in these crazy times.
Michale Graves: Right. Here in America, it's being debated in the halls of Congress to usher in something like that. Now can you imagine for somebody like me who's on the other side of the coin. For some people, they just go, "Oh yeah, social credit score. I'm not doing anything wrong." Well, wait a second, somebody like me, and you can you look all through my career now for a lot of years. If they had something like that in place, more so than they do now I wouldn't be able to leave my house.
Levi: Definitely. I haven't even used personal Facebook in over two years just because I'm so worried that something might be held against me. I even shared a Paul Joseph Watson video myself and had people I'd known for like twenty years saying, "Oh, this is bigot-ed". You know, all that kind of stuff.
Michale Graves: God help us.
Levi: Definitely. I'll ask you a few more music questions, but thanks for that answer, 'cause I really appreciate it with all the stuff that's going on at the moment. I wanted to ask you, I did an interview maybe two years ago with Jerry Only, and this was before the Danzig reunion. I asked if he was ever interested in performing with you again, and he said it's definitely something he'd like to think about. Would that be something that interests you, ever playing with the Misfits again?
Michale Graves: Of course, and I encourage both Jerry and Doyle to make it happen, especially Jerry. I've spoken to him in the recent past, and I'm all for it. Of course. Of course.
Levi: That would be awesome to see. I'm just wondering, were you a big fan of the Misfits before you joined the band?
Michale Graves: No, I wasn't. I was more a fan of Glenn Danzig than I was the Misfits. I came into the Misfits backwards. I was a skate rat. And, that was back in the days where you'd hang out and skate, and people would bring mix tapes and put it on the boombox. Of course, every now and again you'd hear Skulls, you'd hear Martian, you'd hear a Misfits song. But, I wouldn't call myself a fan. It was once I found out that Glenn Danzig used to be the singer of the Misfits and it was his band, that's when I knew that this is serious.
Levi: Have you ever met Glenn Danzig?
Michale Graves: No, I haven't. Hopefully. Hopefully I'll get to meet him. I'll get to meet him in the future for sure.
Levi: Yeah, I hope so. I've got to ask, when you joined the Misfits, I kind of feel that Metallica really helped at the time with the popularity, doing the covers on Garage Inc. And, they'd been doing the covers 10 years before that. Do you think Metallica kind of promoting the Misfits is what kind of helped reformation?
Michale Graves: Absolutely helped us. When we were in San Francisco the first time on the Resurrection tour, James came out, and Kirk Hammett came out, and came onstage. James and I sang Green Hell, and we sang Last Caress together I think. Everybody hung out. And, that wasn't the only show they came to. Guys like Rob Zombie showed up in Los Angeles, Manson was around. I used to hangout with Twiggy quite often. So, of course, all those guys at those times would go out and were championing us and giving me the pat on the head, saying, "Good job, kid". So, yeah, all those guys getting out there certainly helped us in our relevancy.
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Misfits - Scream! [OFFICIAL VIDEO]