Doyle, aka Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, was a teenage Misfit, joining the horror punk band on guitar in 1980 when he was only 16 years old. The younger brother of Misfits bassist Jerry Only, Doyle’s riffage can be heard on the band’s albums Walk Among Us and Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood, plus about half the songs on Collection I and II.
The Misfits broke up in 1983, but Doyle was back in the fold for a stretch when they reformed (minus original singer Glenn Danzig) in 1995. After stints in Gorgeous Frankenstein and Kryst the Conqueror, and some guest appearances with Danzig such as this one, Doyle is now promoting his own band’s hard rockin’ album Abominator.
This interview took place in Doyle’s trailer at Discovery Ventura in Ventura, California after his concert on 11/8/15. (L. Paul Mann photo)
Jeff Moehlis: Great show tonight! How’s the tour been going?
Doyle: Thank you. It’s been going OK.
JM: What’s been the highlight so far?
D: John 5 getting on board.
D: I wrote a bunch of musical compositions. I had like a dozen of them, all programmed drums, bass, and guitar, all demoed out in arrangement, and I said, I need somebody to fucking write the vocal melodies and the words, and he’s [points to Alex Story] the first person I thought of. I called him, and he was walking into a Danzig show in Houston, ironically enough, and I said, “You wanna write them?” And he said, “Fuck, yeah! Send me the shit!” So I did.
JM: Did you write songs with The Misfits?
D: In the other Misfits, in the second Misfits.
JM: Did you have a lot of songs stored up?
D: No. I just started putting shit together. I usually write riffs first, and then just record them like that. I tell myself where the notes are so I don’t have to figure them out. And then, you know, you write another one, and you’re like, “You know what would go good with that?”, and you mix them up. Or sometimes you’ll write the whole thing in one shot. But that’s a panic, because then you’ve got to get that recorder, now you’re freaking out ’cause you just did a part and you don’t know if you can do it again. It’s actually harder to do. You get scared! [laughs] “Oh my God, that’s great. What do I do?”
JM: This is my “Tell me about your childhood” question. Halloween was a week ago, and obviously you draw some inspiration from that holiday. What was Halloween like for you when you were a kid? And what did you dress up as?
D: It was fun. It was back in the day – when I was a kid – that there weren’t kids getting stolen. You never heard about that shit. There was nothing fucked up happening. We’d be out all night. I was a scarecrow once, I was the hunchback, I was Batman, of course, Superman. That’s really all I can remember. Usually I’m this clown [motions to himself] for fucking Halloween. This is my Halloween costume. [laughs]
D: I was.
JM: How did you balance that with the normal teenage experience, like going to high school and all that?
D: I didn’t have no normal teenage experience. I was a man at, like, twelve. I hung out with my brother and all his friends, who were a lot older than me. I couldn’t relate to kids my age. I never could. They just seemed like children. They just didn’t get it.
JM: You were still going to high school when you were in the band?
JM: Was that weird for you…
D: Everything was normal. Everything to me was normal. A lot of people ask me, “How does it feel to have an action figure?” It feels normal to me.
JM: I saw you play here in Ventura on the Danzig with Doyle tour a couple of years ago, and I remember the place just went nuts when you came out. Was it fun for you to be back with Danzig playing the Misfits songs?
D: It was awesome. I would come out, and people weren’t just going crazy, they were all smiling. Every one of them. It was like ear-to-ear, like “Ahh”. They weren’t just going off, they were fucking happy. It was cool.
JM: I understand that in 1983 you played a concert with The Misfits in Goleta, which is where I live now. It was with the Circle Jerks. Just curious, do you remember that show?
D: [laughs] I don’t remember where I played last night [laughs], and we just did it.
JM: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?
D: My answer to them is, don’t sit in your room and learn all those arpeggios and shit. Just learn how to write a good song, and get a good singer. You could be the shittiest musician in the world, but if you’ve got good songs, that’s where it’s at.
JM: Do you want to set the record straight on anything about yourself or The Misfits?
D: Myself? I am a Grumpy Gus [all laugh]. A certifiable Grumpy Gus.
JM: You don’t seem like it.
D: [laughs] Stick around. I don’t know. Why? What are they saying about me? I’ll tell you if it’s true.
JM: Well, they say you’re a nice guy.
D: To some. [laughs]
JM: What are your plans? Are you thinking about another album?
D: Yeah, it’s done. We’ve just got to mix it, master it, title it. I think we’ve got a title. Artwork. We’re going to shop some majors. On our own label, we don’t have the capital to promote the proper way. I think if all the Misfits fans actually knew I had a band, this place would be fucking jammed. But it’s not, so I’m trying to get some help from somebody else. That’s it.
D: It’s true.
JM: How far did you guys get…
D: Right into the fucking jail [all laugh].
JM: I mean, how far did you get into it before you got busted?
D: Glenn was in one of those catacomb things, or what are they called, mausoleums? He was in there. They were all open. You could look into any one of them and see a skeleton sitting there with a suit on. It was fucked up down there. Plus it floods, so it’s pretty goddamn gross.
JM: Do you think the arrest was good for the band’s career, or bad for the band’s career?
D: I don’t know what it was. It was on MTV when I was in high school, so that was pretty cool. Like, on the news. Kurt Loder, is that his name? [laughs]
JM: And the obligatory question – anything in the works with The Misfits? They’re coming to Ventura in four days.
D: Ask him [Jerry Only].
JM: I get the impression that you’re not the one holding things back.
D: I’m not the one, man. I’m ready to go!
JM: All right, I’m good, unless you have something else you want to spread to the world.
D: Just amore.