The band The Misfits formed in 1976 at the height of the punk rock movement, in the town of Lodi, New Jersey. Taking their name from Marilyn Monroe's last movie, whom they admired, they released a number of full length albums. These consisted of mostly melodic punk rock, with a lyrical focus on science fiction and horror film (or horror fiction) themes, strongly influenced by B-movies. They also released many different 7" singles, which, because of their scarcity, are considered collectors items.
The band often wore ghoulish makeup when performing, and bassist Jerry Only invented a hairstyle called the devilock which, although rare, is still worn today. The images of the Misfits' adopted mascot, the Crimson Ghost (AKA The Fiend) and the Misfits' logo are two of those most commonly associated with the band. The former was originally a villain in a 1946 television serial. The most commonly seen version of the latter consists of letters taken from the logo of the magazine "Famous Monsters of Filmland".
During their original career, the Misfits were strong practitioners of DIY, and were perhaps the first punk band to do so. The band booked their own shows, sold their own records, and ran their own fan club, the Fiend Club.
Like many punk bands of that time, the Misfits had brushes with the law. Singer and lyricist Glenn Danzig and guitarist Bobby Steele were jailed in Brixton for "threatening behavior" on December 02, 1979. On October 17, 1982, the band was arrested in New Orleans on the allegedly false charges of grave-robbing while in search of the burial place of voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau. Although the Misfits denied the charges, and a witness attested that they had not even entered the cemetery gates, the band bailed themselves out of jail and skipped court to drive to their next performance in Florida.
On October 29, 1983 (see 1983 in music), Glenn Danzig broke up the band to dedicate his full attention to a side-project, Samhain. Samhain later metamorphosed into Danzig. Meanwhile, Jerry Only and his brother, Misfits guitarist Doyle, played in a heavy metal band called Kryst The Conqueror with Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Jeff Scott Soto until Only won the performing and recording rights to the Misfits in a legal battle. Only reformed the band in 1995 (1995 in music) with Doyle and newcomers Michale Graves on vocals and Dr. Chud of Sardonica on drums. The new incarnation of the Misfits released three full-length albums until Michale Graves and Dr. Chud left the band on October 25, 2000 at a performance at the House of Blues in Orlando. The band later became a three-piece featuring Jerry, Dez Cadena of Black Flag, and Marky Ramone of The Ramones. Meanwhile Michale Graves and Dr. Chud had formed their own band, Graves, which released a single album before breaking up. As of 2003, Michale Graves currently sings in Gotham Road while Dr. Chud is pursuing a solo career.
The influence The Misfits have had on punk rock, and rock music in general sometimes seems disproportionate to the publicity and critical attention they have received. Myriad bands have imitated The Misfits' style, such as Blitzkid, and these bands have become known as horror punk. A number of bands have recently surfaced which, although in some cases less obviously horror punk, are still strongly visibly and audibly influenced by The Misfits. These include, most notably, bands such as AFI, Tiger Army, Alkaline Trio and the Murderdolls. Many musical groups whose resemblance to The Misfits seems far removed also cite The Misfits as crucial influences, such as Metallica and Cradle of Filth.