Murdergram’s new EP, Murdergram: Songs of the Misfits,comes out October 23rd and features new interpretations of classic Misfits songs.
The band features: Holland Greco: vocals, electric ukulele, & echoplex, princessFrank: drums and percussion, Clark Dark: electric guitar, production, piano, & Moog, Joey Ninja: electric and bowed bass, Joel Soyffer: recording, sound engineering, mixing, and mastering
Check out their website for song samples and news!
Lead singer, Holland Greco, graciously took time to answer questions about the EP, and the challenges of reinterpreting Glenn Danzig’s classic songs.
What did you learn about yourself as a musician while working on the songs for Murdergram: Songs of the Misfits EP?
I felt very serious about doing Danzig’s material. I felt like if we going to take it on, then it had to be really cool. I started to surround myself with applicable stimulation so I could figure out what the new arrangements would be. I spent time looking at a lot of references like watching Quentin Tarantino movies, looking at Alfred Hitchcock movie posters and learning about Saul Bass and the title sequences he created for Hitchcock films. I wanted to immerse myself in the genre.
I also got a giant notebook and started to organize my thoughts the best I could because I had to mobilize a team that hadn’t written this material with me. I printed out the Hitchcock posters, pasted them in the book, and would show anyone who was going to be involved and say, “This is what we want it to feel like.” I tried to collect my ideas and then describe what I was looking for to everyone else. I gave mix cd’s of our records and cd’s full of Misfits music to the band.
For me, these steps really helped me wrap my head around how I was going to manage the project.
How did the idea of the EP develop?
We got a video of us playing “Vampira” at The Roxy and a friend of mine who works a lot with Danzig’s publishing administrators asked if they could send a copy to them and I said absolutely. The video got sent and the next thing I heard was Reach Music Publishing asked me to record an EP. That set the business side of things in motion. It is Glenn Danzig’s material and I knew I would have to have permission from him and the publisher before moving forward. Once I knew part of his people were on board I thought it was an awesome opportunity to do a good job with it. It was kind of like us spearheading it and then being given the blessing by his publishing side.
What was Glenn Danzig’s reaction to the concept?
We don’t know what Glenn Danzig thinks, although I have been trying to get in touch with him. It would be wonderful if he would make a statement about it. I’d love to hear what he thinks.
When choosing which Misfits songs to cover, what was the selection criterion?
I felt like the lyrics had to be believable coming from a female. I listened to all The Misfits stuff, there are certain things in there about rape, and masturbation, stuff I didn’t think was appropriate coming from a girl. At this point, I want my recordings to be something I can show to anybody. I just want it to feel good for everybody. I definitely wanted to do horror punk but not cross the line into an approach I wasn’t personally comfortable sharing with everyone.
It also came down to what sounded good with the band. I would make lists of things and then we’d go through them in rehearsal and pluck out what sounded good and get rid of what didn’t.
What did you learn about The Misfits and their music while putting the EP together?
I definitely looked more at their biography and their history. I wanted to have an understanding of the band and I certainly got closer to the material than I had before. The bottom line about The Misfits is that the songwriting is great. There’s nothing else like it in the world, I’m kind of amazed it came out of one guy.
What was the most challenging part of this project?
The Misfits have an awesome body of work. I did a lot of listening and a ton of playing through the songs, and changing keys. It was pretty challenging to boil the material down to something workable.
How do you feel a woman’s voice and perspective changes or enhances the songs?
When we set out to record the tunes we wanted to do something specific to us and not just a reiteration of what was already recorded, and I already felt a kinship with the material. I’ve always had an aggressive punk rock side of me that comes out through music and when I do harder stuff. It didn’t feel like a stretch, it felt like an expression of the angst and aggression already living within me.
The songs are brilliant, already in existence and I didn’t write them so I got to have the best of both worlds. I get to perform them and have a good time.
What can die hard Misfits fans expect from this EP?
I’ve heard from some folks who say, “your audience isn’t necessarily die hard Misfits fans. It might be other people who have never heard of The Misfits.” I feel like its both. People who already know the songs might be interested and may or may not like it. I think we definitely took the time with the homage and the feeling of respect for the songs, but also took some weird liberties and made it a little more cinematic. I guess die-hard Misfits fans can expect their favorite songs done in a different and more cinematic way, and hopefully it’s something people will enjoy.
Why do you think The Misfits music has endured and continues to resonate?
I think it was a matter of time and space. There was something about the writing. It calls upon other classic material but also expresses it. The songs being recorded during that time were captured at the right moment to be classic.
Favorite Misfits song? Why?
I love “Return of The Fly.” I love different verses of “Vampira,” like the one that starts out with the squealing guitar and the bombastic bass. I like those hard and fast songs like “All Hell Breaks Loose.” I also like the tongue and cheek rockabilly styles ones like “Angel F*ck” and “American Nightmare,” but I really have a soft spot for “Return of The Fly.”
What is the most challenging/important part of the recording process?
Every part of it is important to me. From taking on the responsibility of the budget, and hiring great people who know what their doing, to making sure the contracts are in place, it’s all really important to me. I felt strongly about being project manager on this EP, because I felt responsible for every part of the process.
Coordinating all aspects of this process is really challenging and not being overwhelmed by all the new stuff that is happening.
If you could back to when you were first recording Murdergram: Songs of the Misfits and give yourself one piece of advice what would it be?
I don’t think I would change anything. We’ve really done our best. We have a great team, the music sounds great, we have great pictures, and I just hope we can reach some folks and get a little bit of listening success with it so I can make and create my next body of work. Everything came out very very well. I think we were blessed with this process.
Who are some other musicians or bands that have influenced your music?
My tastes are pretty broad. I love great songs, and I guess that means radio hits of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Anything that is classic like that. I’m a big fan of female vocalists and recently I’ve been into some country and rock-a-billy.
In honor of Halloween what is your favorite horror movie?
Poltergeist 1 and 2 scared the crap out of me when I was kid, so they have a special place in my heart. That was what I was scared of when the lights went out. I really like the Cronenberg remake of The Fly. It’s so nasty, the special effects are great, and not CGI so they are really fun to watch. I recently saw Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and I think that’s really, really good. It was like a slow burn, but one of the most horrifying climaxes ever.
What does being brave mean to you?
I think when we take the risks our heart asks us to, then that is brave. Telling the truth about how you feel is brave. Completing projects when you don’t know the outcome is brave.
Where can my readers find you online?