Misfits Guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein Talks About Legacy,Music Biz and The Mythical Song Tree
Former Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein has a band “Doyle” and a new album “Abominator” and the best thing I can say about the album is that it makes me feel 14 years old when I listen to it. Everything about the band, which also features Alex Story of Cancerslug on vocals, Dr. C.H.U.D. of the second-era Misfits on drums, and Left Hand Graham on bass oozes fun. I’m always gonna love the classic Misfits tunes but the earworm factor of this new material Doyle and his band have on “Abominator” has me similarly hitting the replay button. I recently had the chance to talk about it all to the man himself, Doyle, while he was on a brief break from his special guest run with Danzig, read on…..
Legendary Rock interviews: Thanks for talking with me man. You’ve been doing a steady run of touring on the DANZIG Legacy shows where you and Glenn were doing an encore set of MISFITS stuff every night. That has to be a pretty fun gig right?
Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein: Oh dude, that’s an easy gig for me for sure. That’s a fuckin cakewalk, you know??? I only wish I could play longer but yeah, it’s fun.
LRI: Now that your own band Doyle has officially released the “Abominator” album are you anticipating some longer headlining sets of your own as well?
Doyle: We’re still doing the Danzig shows and talking to booking agents also about booking Doyle shows as well as talking to Rob Zombie, Lamb Of God and Slipknot about taking us out with them. Definitely, more Doyle shows coming, that’s what we’re looking to do.
LRI: For people who haven’t heard the album, they really need to check it out, it’s as fun to me as the old Misfits stuff but with obviously updated production values and a heavier, more modern kick. I have probably had more fun listening to “Abominator” than a lot of albums released this year, were you selling it to fans at the Danzig shows?
Doyle: Thanks man, yeah we had an advance copy of it that we were selling that had 11 songs on it but the final version hard copy is a three foldout digipack with a 16 page booklet with all kinds of pictures, lyrics and also an extra song that wasn’t on the advance or the digital download called “Drawing Down The Moon”.
LRI: You mentioned that the Misfits material you’re doing is easy for you, I would have to imagine its like Pavlov’s dogs for you and Glenn because it’s so ingrained in you. Do you think that stuff still subconsciously bleeds into the material you guys write for Doyle? It definitely has that spirit.
Doyle: The Misfits stuff?? I don’t know. I just write what I write….whatever’s comfortable for my hand, wherever my hand goes naturally, that’s what I come up with. I’ve got a rule in my band that I write the music cause I’m playing it. However it happens to come out, it just happens. I don’t know why I write in the style I’m writing, I don’t know why I do or don’t write in a “Misfits” style, I don’t really know anything. The only thing I know is the songs I play; I really don’t know anything else about the guitar.
LRI: Your singer Alex Story (Cancerslug) fits this material to a T and seems to get your history and vibe perfectly. I was blown away by his performance on this album, what was your first impression upon hearing him put his stamp on it?
Doyle: Oh, man….well, what happens is I write these musical compositions and then I program the drums and play the guitar and bass and arrange it and then I write on a sheet of paper what the arrangement might be in my mind as far as where to sing where not to sing and what the parts are so when I give it to him he doesn’t have to think about any of that. He just listens to the music and he has that framework of the arrangement which makes it quicker. But man, when he sings on the stuff and sends it back, I don’t even hear me playing on it anymore, it’s like I’m getting a new song from my favorite band before anyone in the world gets it. When he sends the songs finished to me, with the lyrics I just sit there and smile ear to ear cause it’s perfect. He’s perfect, it’s great.
LRI: So many musicians flounder around never finding the right frontman, you have to feel fortunate having someone who just totally gets it.
Doyle: Alex is one of the greatest songwriters in the world, period and that’s it man. He sent me a demo tape, I had ads in all the L.A. papers and all the New York papers back in 2004, looking for a singer. He was the best of the best, it wasn’t even close. It was the only CD I was sent where I didn’t move, literally, until it was done. I was like “Holy shit, this kid can write like a motherfucker!!”. I had written about 12 songs and had them all demoed out, just musical compositions, that’s what I call em because they’re not called “musics” they’re called “songs” so they’re not finished and I think I SUCK at writing vocal melodies and writing words. So I thought to myself, “Who the FUCK do I know, that’s my friend that can write with me, that’s fuckin great and I instantly said ‘ALEX’”. So I called him up, he was walking into a Danzig show in Houston ironically, and he was like “Holy shit!” when I called. I said “Hey, I’ve got a fuckin whole bunch of shit…you wanna write with me?” and he was like “Fuck yeah, send it off to me”. So I sent him three songs, enough to not overwhelm him so he wasn’t going cuckoo, and one of them was “Mark Of The Beast”. He sent that back to me in two fuckin days, finished lyrics and melodies, exactly as it is on the record. I heard it and thought that was exactly what I wanted and knew there was no way I could have pulled that out of my ass because all I write is the music and all I see is me playing it, I know how it goes and I know what the notes are but from that point on, I’m stuck (laughs). Alex fuckin nailed it.
LRI: I’m not Dick Clark but I know this shit is hit-worthy and catchy as hell, the melodies on “CemeterySexxx” and “Valley Of The Shadows” are insane and just got lodged in your head. Alex wrote all of those melodies and lyrics?
Doyle: I came up with one word on this album and that’s the title “Abominator”. I was driving down the street and I was in the car by myself, talkin to myself, you know, like you do sometimes, you have a conversation with yourself like you’re fuckin nuts because nobody else listens to you right?? (laughs). So, I’m driving and out of nowhere I just said “Abominator” and was like (imitating car breaks) pulling over immediately and texting Alex, “Hey man, what do you think of this?” and he says “Fuck yeah, lets write a song” so the next song we wrote was the music for what became the “Abominator” title track, he wrote that, again, in like two days and that was the last song we wrote for that record.
LRI: Most guys with your legacy, your pedigree and history tend to have a shitload of ego and sometimes even arrogance and especially being the namesake of their own band, someone in your position might tend to wanna soak up all the credit or spotlight. I’m not sensing any of that from you, at all.
Doyle: No, I don’t care. My foot is on his ass, pushing him to the front, he’s the fuckin singer and he’s the singer for a reason. When you think of a band, what do you think of? You think of the fuckin singer. There’s one or two bands where you think of the guitarist or someone else, Van Halen is the only one that comes to mind and that’s because it’s named after him. Funny enough, Alex actually named the band “Doyle”. I didn’t name it Doyle. He texted me one day, I’m driving again, the same exact spot, where I told him about “Abominator” and he texts me and says “Hey, I’ve got an idea I wanna run past you, gimme a call”. So immediately, I’m thinking “Ok, this guy is fuckin NUTS, he’s fuckin out of his mind and when he’s got something to say, I wanna listen because he’s guaranteed gonna make me laugh”. So I pull the car over and call him and I’m like “Hey man, what’s up?” and he’s like “Oh, man I think we should change the name of the band” and I was like “Go on…” (laughs). He was like “Let’s change it to Doyle, let’s start over fresh and it will be a whole new thing” and I said “Are you sure you wanna do that?” and he said “Yeah”. I go, “You’re absofuckinlutely sure?” and he goes “Yeah” and I’m like “Okay, it’s done, let’s do it, I’ll draw a logo up and the Gorgeous Frankenstein thing is history”.
LRI: The world knows the Misfits and they know Doyle but the “Gorgeous Frankenstein” thing threw me for a loop at first glance. The album is so good I’m glad you called it Doyle.
Doyle: With that band I fucked one of my own rules up; which is the KISS rule, Keep It Simple Stupid and I didn’t keep it simple. Nobody associated that band name with me and I didn’t take the time to promote that properly to enlighten the world that it was my band and we did a tour on our own and to be honest with you if we had fifty people at a show we were doing good, we had a lot of people. The kicker was, the people that were at the shows were like “Wow, we didn’t even know you had a band, we just happened to come out tonight” (laughs). Then….we were doing the Danzig tour and we would meet people at the meet and greet and they were like “Really? Your band played? I didn’t know you had a band or were playing, I would have watched it”. So clearly, I hadn’t kept it simple and NOBODY “got it”. This time around, with the band being called “Doyle” it’s a no-brainer and that’s why the picture on the cover is a profile of me. If you know who I am and you see that cover, that’s going to catch your attention, you’ll know exactly what it is. Now that we’ve been doing interviews it is clearer than ever, we just did a European thing and every single interviewer knew the name of the band, the album title, they knew Alex’s name and everything he’s done, they knew every fuckin thing so I know it was the right decision. This Danzig tour has been such a great promotional tour for me, not just doing the Misfits stuff but getting the Doyle name out there and selling the stuff at shows. Now, everybody knows that I’ve got a fuckin band (laughs).
LRI: The vast majority of artists act like I am making them look totally uncool by asking about business or merchandise but you seem totally at ease about it. What is the point of doing this if you aren’t aware that people give a shit about your product?
Doyle: Exactly. I have a thing I say, it’s not called the “Music Hang Out And Have A Good Time” it’s called the “Music Business”. We’re here to work, this is a job and it’s a fuckin business and that’s how it has to be run. I could give a fuck who thinks what about whether or not that’s “cool”. That also relates to people stealing music, like you said, it’s a product; you’re not stealing “music” you’re stealing a finished product. You can’t sit there and talk about how you want more of that product if you’re sneaking around stealing that product to the point where we can’t be musicians, to the point where we all have to go get jobs in order to feed our families because everyone is taking our money. I can’t write more songs or rehearse or record at that level if I only have a tiny little window after an 8 or 9 hour workday. If I had a motorcycle shop and was building motorcycles or had a factory and somebody was hanging out in the parking lot stealing them they would get caught taking them because it’s a fuckin crime right? It’s the same goddamn thing. If you’re stealing our songs it’s a crime, what do you think these songs grow on fuckin trees? I don’t have a fuckin song tree in my yard. Songs are hard to write, they’re hard to produce, market and distribute. It’s not free and I’m not a wandering minstrel playing for room and board, I’m playing for my fuckin kids. This is no joke here, this is serious shit. You want good songs, you want good shit? Then buy the fuckin songs. A dollar a song? That’s a good deal. Do you know how much money it costs to fucking make that song?
LRI: Well, I have a review copy but if I come see you I will gladly plunk down for a vinyl cause I don’t want Alex to stop writing songs about Satan and dead girls.
Doyle: He’s sick. He’s insane, he probably has 300 fuckin songs and I love em. Every vocal melody he comes up with, every hook is gold and I just wanna hear more, like I said it’s like getting a song from my favorite band every time he sends me one. In my entire career this is the most fun I have ever had making music and writing music. We wanna get out there rolling on the road and see the masses because me and Alex are songwriting machines, we wanna keep this thing rolling and keep ourselves out there. We’re going to go every fuckin where in the world; there is no place we don’t wanna tour.
Sites That Link to this Post
- OfficialDoyle.com | The Mythical Song Tree | November 22, 2013