Riot Fest has a talent for booking improbable reunions, and this year will be no different. The full lineup is still under wraps, but this morning Riot Fest announced one of the biggest names on the bill—a reunited version of the Misfits, performing as the Original Misfits. The iconic New Jersey punk band has had a revolving-door roster since its early days, but the Original Misfits feature the guys who made the group one of the definitive U.S. punk bands: guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, bassist Jerry Only, and front man Glenn Danzig (the sole founding member among the three).
The three of them haven’t performed together since 1983, though their paths have crossed in the intervening years. When Only relaunched the Misfits in 1995, Doyle played with them for six years. Doyle has also sporadically performed with Danzig since the mid-2000s, and joined him at Riot Fest 2013 to perform close to a dozen Misfits songs.
True, this isn’t exactly the same group that bashed out the peerless horror-punk of 1982’s Walk Among Us—there will be a different drummer. And it’s well documented that these days Danzig has a hard time performing with his old ferociousness. Reunions are always a crapshoot, and considering that every band to ever record a demo on a crappy cassette deck seems intent on getting back together, the pull of any reunion show is diluted, even compared to five years ago. But this Misfits news carries more weight than most due to the band’s influence, its key members’ previous reluctance to perform all together, and the amount of time that’s passed. It’s certainly the biggest coup Riot Fest has scored since nabbing the Replacements in 2013.
The Original Misfits perform at Riot Fest Denver before hitting Chicago, where Riot Fest returns to Douglas Park on Friday, September 16, through Sunday, September 18. The full lineup will be announced soon.