Monday, June 6, 2011

Worth the Effort: Evillive II - The Misfits - 1998

The classic Misfits released one legendary live record, Evilive, originally as an EP in '82 and then as a 12-track LP in '87, all covering live dates from 1981. It's a fast, furious and very raw affair, weighing in at only 24 minutes in its final "expanded" form. Its an essential element in any 'Fits fan's collection and the 12" vinyl sleeve is pretty enough to hang on the wall. A companion piece, Evillive II, snuck in via the new Misfits' resurrected Fiend Club and disappeared almost as quickly. It's a shame, too, as, more than any other release from Michale Graves' tenure, Evillive II finds some common ground with the group's Danzig-era roots.

Coming in at a hefty 19 tracks - and just under 45 minutes, Evillive II compiles tracks from seven live dates across '97-'98 as the newly reformed Misfits toured in support of American Psycho and represents both that album as well as some classic-era favorites. While I really enjoyed the richer production of the Graves records and felt it complemented the style of both his songs and voice, Evillive II is very much unpolished and serves as a very accurate representation of the way the band sounded at that time (I attended a great Halloween show the band put on in Chicago in 1999 with GWAR and Murphy's Law). The Danzig tracks are, frankly, much better in their original incarnations and not a single one gains a thing from Graves' interpretations. That said, American Psycho tracks alone would have cut the disc in half and - let's face it - no matter who is singing, kids were going to a Misfits show to hear "Last Caress" and "Die, Die My Darling."

Still, there is a hunger and a frenzy on Evillive II that shares DNA with the band's origins. And with both Doyle and Jerry still on board at the time, it's no real surprise. Dr. Chud was certainly a competent drummer but brought more to the band in terms of aesthetics than ability and, really, who can name a drummer than appeared on more than one Misfits record during the band's classic heyday? More than any record with Michale Graves or since, Evillive II shows that, while Glenn Danzig always outweighed the sum of any parts, there was still something to the rest of the band that cannot be denied.

Misfits Central reports that 4,000 copies of Evillive II were pressed: 1,000 with a blue and white CD and 3,000 with a black and white version. I got mine (the black and white) in late 1998 via Fiend Club mailorder but also recall seeing copies for sale at the 10/31/1999 show as well. Evillive II still shows up on eBay and a copy sits there right now at $20.00. While the band titled the album with two "L"s (vs. the original's single "L"), it would behoove any would-be buyer to search both variations. This is a fun, somewhat rare record that can be had for not-too-much cash and stands as the sole officially-released live document of the Misfits' brief resurrection.