Monday, October 26, 2015

Waiting On The Samhain Of My Soul: Day One - Misfits - Live at Al's Bar 1982

Label: Bootleg
Year: 1982

As Gray and I were growing up as young punk rockers in sprawling Winston-Salem, NC, most of our record shopping was confined to either Friday nights trolling Hanes Mall or flipping through bins at the local Record Exchange. In the late 1980s, Hanes Mall housed both Camelot Music and the Record Bar, both chain establishments. I think I bought a third press copy of Die Die My Darling (which I still have) at the Record Bar, while Camelot I remember most for its tape game. I’m pretty sure I remember picking up Legacy of Brutality and Collection I (which blew my mind at the time—where did these songs come from??) cassettes at the Camelot Music on the lower level of the mall.

The Record Exchange was the first used record store I knew of, and they had lots of punk stuff—in part due to the Let’s Active/Echo and the Bunnymen-ish indie/punker who worked there. I got a ghoul hair error Earth A.D. there, along with many other Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys and 7 Seconds classics. Sadly, none of these stores exist now.

Today’s Danzig memory, however, takes me back to a day when Gray and I veered slightly off the beaten path. I don’t know why we were out in this neighborhood (perhaps visiting local scene legend Rob R-Rock, who lived nearby), but something made us stick our heads in the Mighty Quinn music shop on the northwest outskirts of Winston-Salem. Mighty Quinn was an old school, dirty and dusty record store. I don’t recall him stocking anything of interest to us punkers … except a motherlode of overpriced Misfits bootlegs.

I’ll never know where this fellow got the records, as they were hardly in line with the rest of his stock, but somehow Mr. Quinn had gotten his hands on a handful of Misfits boots. He had the Spook City USA 7”, I think maybe 4 Hits From Hell, the Hittsville, NJ 12” and today’s choice, Al’s Bar 1982.

Labeled as a Fiend Club (the Misfits fan club that I’d only vaguely heard of at the time) release, in actuality it was a decent-sounding but unofficially released recording of the Misfits’ April 17, 1982 set at Al’s Bar in Los Angeles.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have given a kidney to have been a few years older and seen the Misfits live, but the truth is their live shows were a mixed bag. The experience itself must have been unbelievable. I can only imagine beer bottles and fists flying, Doyle taking people’s heads off with his guitar and Danzig challenging the entire audience to fight him as they played. Musically, however, they were out of tune, played a little too fast and largely shed the 1950s-doo-wop-meets-Ramones catchiness that made their studio recordings so unique. 

Still, I snatched the record up and have the red vinyl/blank-labeled platter in my collection to this day. This is actually a really good setlist, ranging from Bullet-era material to songs from Earth A.D., which had yet to be released. The between-song banter is fun too, as it captures a looser, much more frenzied Glenn Danzig than the metal god he would evolve into years later.

Sound quality on this one isn’t quite as good as the officially released Evilive, but it’s plenty passable and you get twice as many songs. Enjoy!

- Jeff Simms


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