Friday, May 13, 2011

Worth the Effort: 12 Hits from Hell - The Misfits - 1980/2001

 I have loads of out-of-print records in my collection and plenty deservedly so. I then have a neat few that never were officially in print at all. And a few of those really desperately need to be. The Misfits' 12 Hits from Hell is just one of those records.
Misfits/12 Hits From HellRecorded in 1980 and slated for release on Halloween, 2001, 12 Hits from Hell was canceled at the eleventh hour, almost literally. Stories differ as to why and the official explanation from Caroline Records was a line about packaging, layout and mixing (if nothing else, the Jerry Only-fronted Misfits also had a leftovers compilation, Cuts from the Crypt, slated for release the same day, which could not have pleased Mr. Danzig 
too much, I am sure). Well, some copies made it into stores anyway. Quite a few, as a matter of fact, and I happened to snag one. And I can say the layout, packaging, mixing - the whole damn thing - is just fine. In fact, it's probably the best Misfits recording out there.

Great liner notes and photos from Samhain and Danzig bassist and Misfits photographer Eerie Von make the up the physical product and a crystal-clean mix from Alan Douches and Tom Bejgrowicz (who also did the extra tracks for the standalone Static Age reissue in 1997) present the Danzig-era Misfits in the best audio available. The selling point of the collection, however, is that 12 Hits from Hell presents the Misfits as a studio five-piece with Glenn Danzig on vocals, Jerry Only on bass, Arthur Googy on drums and Bobby Steele on guitar with a young Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein added on guitar via overdubs. Bobby Steele departed soon after the recording, three tracks; "London Dungeon," "Horror Hotel" and "Ghouls Night Out," became the 3 Hits from Hell EP, "Halloween" and "Halloween II" became the "Halloween" single and the remaining demos turned into the blueprint for the band's classic 1982 album, Walk Among Us.

Many of the tracks from these 1980 sessions (Known as the "MSP Sessions" for their studio, Master Sound Productions) have appeared here and there in various mixes with most of the tracks scattered on the Misfits' Box Set in 1996. Still, a single disc, remixed version of the album as originally imagined was more or less a holy grail for Misfits fans and a real heartbreaker when its release was canceled.

So how did I get it? Dumb luck. I walked into an independent music store on the North side of Cincinnati on release day and was aggravated that they didn't have a sealed copy. I settled for the $6.99 promotional copy with a white slash through the barcode and even complained to the clerk that they shouldn't be selling promos. I was a regular shopper and he softened the blow by offering me a small promo poster and sticker sheet Caroline had sent out with the CDs. I took it home, enjoyed it, shelved it and only found out a week or so later how lucky I was.

12 Hits from Hell is a great album and, unlike many out of print albums, truly hard to find, even online. eBay auctions for this item often get pulled early by the label. Copies run for well over $100 on I have never seen another copy in a store but, if I were looking (and I always am - just for the fun of it), I would stick with used music outlets. There are reportedly about 2,000 promos floating around. Make that 1,999 - mine's not going anywhere. Get out there and get looking. This one is definitely worth the effort.

My prized possessions...
(the sticker sheet got boxed up a few moves ago and has yet to be rediscovered)
For every detail you could ever want to know on this great album that almost-never-was-and-then-really-wasn't, visit

1 comment:

  1. This is super cool... I'm so into the Misfits right now. You guys were right.