Gotham Road, Graves, Michale Graves, The Misfits
By AJ Phink on 5th February 2018 at Rebellion Bar, Manchester, UK
Tonight was just planned to be a night out in Manchester for the long awaited return of Michale Graves to the UK on his current Beginning of The End Tour, however a chance conversation in the smoking area outside the Rebellion Bar finds me unexpectedly catapulted into the backstage area and I find myself face to face with the fiend himself, Michale Graves, also in the cramped backstage area are his backing band, including former Blitzkid Argyle Goolsby, and the tour manager who has ushered me in here and introduced me to everyone, so totally unprepared and armed only with my new phone, that I’m not totally sure how to work, and the confidence borne of several pre gig pints I find myself interviewing the surprisingly softly spoken Michale Graves as he applies his trademark stage make up ready for tonight’s show.
Hi, welcome, you don’t mind if i carry on doing my make up do you
Of course not, carry on, welcome back to Manchester, how’s the tour going
The tour is going… splendidly, it’s going really really well, this is my return to Europe after I guess eighteen years, I came over here with The Misfits and I was over here a couple of years ago with Marky Ramone and Blitzkrieg and flying the Ramones flag if you will, but this is my first time back under the banner of The Misfits, of my career and the things that I’ve done and so it’s a very victorious moment. We’ve just done the UK in the past couple of weeks and then we’re coming back in April to do the rest of Europe and we’ve just been embraced by the fans, young and old, I’m meeting a lot of people my age, I should say our age, and their children who are now listening to Michale Graves and listening to The Misfits so it’s been really great.
How’s the solo material been received on the tour?
My solo stuff is being well received, everybody loves it and it melds perfectly into what we are evoking with the classic Misfits songs, it’s got the same sort of ingredients, it’s just a lot of years later. Not that it’s a big trick but I wrote most of the Misfits material that appeared on American Psycho and Famous Monsters so I kinda know the tricks of the trade if you will, I know what sort of things to do to cast the right spells.
Like Saturday Night, which is one of my all time favourite songs, which I hope we’re going to hear tonight
Thank you, absolutely, I wouldn’t get out of most of these places alive if I didn’t play that song
A lot of your solo material is now released DIY, it’s your own label, is that so you have control over the material?
Yeah, it’s important for me to own, as an artist and as a creative person, to own everything that I do, in the past I’ve certainly worked with people and I’ve created for them things that they then own in perpetuity, FOREVER, and that’s not right, it’s not smart business and artistically it makes no sense. For many years now I have been creating and I own everything that I make and put out and I do it under my own company, my own businesses, I find, with my partners, innovative ways to use technology in the music and entertainment industry to capitalise the projects that I want to do and to raise money. I keep my costs low so that the people that come out with me and that rely on me are able to be taken care of and so I don’t need a record company, you know if one of the majors wants to come and make me an offer I can’t refuse well that’s a different story, but right now there’s no reason really to get into that situation. I know that I am, and hope to continue to be, a beacon for the DIY artist, you can do it, it’s completely possible to survive in that way in today’s day and age.
I think that’s reflected over here, everyone from TV Smith of The Adverts to most of the up and coming bands are nearly all going DIY now
If you want to be serious about it you almost have to be, it’s kinda sink or swim, because when I started I remember even in the 90’s the record companies were still flush with cash and so, not that it was easy, there was much more opportunity for people to strike a deal with a company and get the high advances and put out a record, go out on tour, promote it and then repeat the cycle, but it’s not like that anymore obviously. Once the record companies were everything, and I remember the bigger companies taking over the entertainment industry and the music industry, I was signed to Geffen Records when it happened, and then Geffen was sold and acquired, it’s amazing to watch the industry change, It’s much more suited now for the independent artists and much better suited for the DIY ethic and if you use your brain and your talent you can do it, not that I don’t want a huge advance with a giant record company (laughs)
We’d all like a lot more money, but what does the immediate future hold for Michale Graves
We’re playing Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands… on and on, before that I’m doing another American tour, an acoustic tour, and when we come back from Europe we’re working on South America, Japan, Australia, Canada, we’re just going to keep going.
World Turned Upside Down was your last release, that followed on from the original Backroads project with a full band reimagining of it, what’s next?
I have some music sort of on the backburner that’s in it’s infancy, I’ve really been focusing on live performance and raising the optics on me through the performance side of things. I’ve always been more than anything a very strong live performer and so I rededicated myself to it, I feel that it’s strategically important to do so because of what I can do and what I can evoke on the stage, both with my vocals and in a theatrical way, and I really just wanted to get all eyes on me in that kinda way, once I get that larger platform I can really begin to disseminate a lot of the music I’ve been making over the past fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years. I have a huge catalogue of solo material, stuff that’s not Misfits, and there’s just too much to even try and explain to people, there’s so much and it’s so scattered. I’m not really trying to get the Misfits stuff out of the way but I’m trying to work my way through and get myself back to a place where it can just be about the central core music which I believe is a record like Vagabond or Wanderer, and just the solo material and really get to that place, but before I get that place I’ve been working on, in conjunction with others, producing video and writing for more visual projects, be it movies or just short episodic videos.
So you’re looking to branch out into other media?
There’s so much audio and so many compositions that I’ve created and because I’m a very visual artist as well I need to start to tie some of the things that are in my head, the visual components of all this to the music and push it out that way. With all that said the trick for me really comes back to my children, I have three children, I have an eight year old, my daughter will be six tomorrow and I have a six month old, I love touring and I love being on stage but what I’m hoping for mostly is to get myself into a position where I can pivot and not have to rely on the touring aspect to pay my bills at the end of the month, so yeah, that’s where I’m at.
Thanks for taking time out to talk to The Punk Site
You’re welcome, thank you for being interested in talking to me, you’re part of the solution (laughs), you’re the first person I’ve spoken to on the European tour, probably even on the American tour unless it was told to them beforehand by someone in the room, who’s talked about my latest release, World Turned Upside Down, I appreciate that very very much.
And so I make my way out of the dressing room and find myself back out in the smoking area with a fresh pint wondering what the fuck just happened, During the stunning 90 minute set that followed I of course thought of a million questions that could have been asked but hindsight is a wonderful thing. On his current tour Michale Graves is delivering a career spanning set that covers his solo work and his tenure with The Misfits, and after the show the band does a meet and greet which the majority of the crowd queue up for, Michale Graves and his band members patiently sign everything that is thrust towards them, talk and mingle with the fans and pose for photos and you get the impression the band are not doing this because they have to, but because they want to.
Michale Graves official website is located here
World Turned Upside Down can be downloaded here