“I couldn’t be more proud to work on the Misfits’ 40th anniversary logo! As a teenager growing up in South Carolina, the Misfits were a revelation for me. Let me set the scene… It was 1985, and I was attending a conservative private school, but my discoveries of punk rock and skateboarding were quickly eroding the illusion of conformist tranquility in my family home. The more my parents hated my music, the more I was filled with exhilaration from blasting distorted guitar and the more I wanted to draw band logos on my Converse. I was on a mission to find and embrace the most anti-school, anti-parent, and anti-establishment music that existed. Before I even heard the first note of the WALK AMONG US album, I was mesmerized by the album cover with the band dressed like a punk ghoul gang and the campy and creepy giant bat/spider and flying saucers. When the needle dropped on the record, I was knocked out by the blisteringly fast, melodic but distorted ruckus, and belligerent lyrics blaring from the speakers. All of the songs on WALK AMONG US are deviously infectious, but I was especially in love with “All Hell Breaks Loose” for its pounding beat and lyrics like “I send my murdergram to all these monster kids… it comes right back to me and it’s signed in their parents’ blood.” Aggression, style, irreverence, AND parent-baiting lyrics… the Misfits served up the incendiary cocktail I had been searching for.
I quickly picked up other Misfits albums and E.P.’s like Legacy of Brutality, Evilive, and Die, Die My Darling. One thing that stood out to me about all of those records is the artwork. I loved the Misfits art and made a few hand-stenciled shirts in high school and college. The Misfits art is pure alchemy genius and the best example of remixing marginal subculture imagery into a cohesive cult brand in history. From horror films, comics, serials, and B-movies the Misfits culled, cut, pasted, inked, and crafted possibly the most recognizable and enduring punk iconography ever. The thing I love about the classic Misfits imagery is that it is well designed, but has a do-it-yourself charm that is organic and unfussy.
With the classic Misfits iconography so well known and revered, I decided to put my ego as an artist and designer aside and focus on an approach for the band’s 40th anniversary logo that builds upon and remixes some classic Misfits images while creating some new elements. In my tribute, I wanted to channel the attitude and be true to the Misfits irreverent four decades in horror business. Like it or not… you think they really care?
This anniversary is about the Misfits, not me, but I’d feel some regret if I didn’t share a little more of my history with the band and my inspiration from their imagery. Like I said, I’ve been a fan since age 15, but here is some proof… a photo of my car xeroxed on the back of a skate ‘zine called Streetscribe taken in 1986. Notice the Misfits sticker along with Sex Pistols, GBH, Agent Orange etc…
When I met Misfits co-founder Jerry Only and band manager John Cafiero in 2000 I was very excited to find out that they liked my art. They were cool, so I mustered the nerve to ask about doing some art that would mash-up the Misfits Fiend with my O.G Giant head. To my delight, Jerry and John approved with some very reasonable conditions and I began to make a series of Misfits/Obey mash-up images. I hit the streets with a lot of the O.G. Fiends as both stencils and paste-ups over the years. I will be doing a poster variation of the Misfits 40th art and there is also a possibility of a Misfits x Obey clothing collection. Stay tuned for more fiends!”
— Shepard Fairey
“A famous quote once foretold, ‘Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come’. That statement sums up this situation at its core. The Misfits were so far ahead of their time when we began back in 1977, that it took the world 40 years to catch up. Survival is the challenge…some creations wither and die, destined for extinction, while others endure the test of time. There are rare exceptions when something takes root and grows slowly, beneath the surface, until it eventually takes over. That time has come, and that time is NOW… I’d like to thank all the FIENDS for 40 years and four generations of horror business. There’s more to come…
— Jerry Only, 2017 A.D.
Jerry Only (circa 1978), reveals his handmade “Teenagers from Mars” jacket on the streets of NJ.
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