the story behind the skull, exclusive | michale graves   04/04/2016

Hello Mr.Michale Graves! It's a great honor to do this interview. Thanks! My magazine has a lot of punk fans, a lot of young rebels out there, that see you as a role model and sing your songs :) You're one of the legendary punk/rock icons out there, mostly known as the ex lead singer of the band "The Misfits",  You will often say that your mom was one of your influences when it comes to music. Sounds sweet, every time listening to the radio, you say you were meant to create music and express yourself in a creative way. It's also fun to mention that you have an acting background, so the story behind the skull is just another alter ego.

Q: In the early ages (20) your talent was discovered, so you became the lead singer of the legendary horror/punk band "The Misfits". I can only imagine how happy you were, but was it hard for a person on that age to get on the big stage, face with such a fame, pressure, so many touring dates etc? Tell me about the starts.
A: Yes, there was a great amount of self imposed pressure and responsibility to make such a historically important band relevant again, and aside from doing so through live performances with music of the past it was mostly important to make relevant music again and that fell squarely on my shoulders being the most able composer in that band.

Q: Being a good, old friend with Legends like Joey Ramone and Marky Ramone must be fun! :) How much their influence, even since the times when you were together on the stage means to you?
A: I was a bigger Ramones fan than I was a Misfits fan so the opportunity to work with all of those guys always did and continues to motivate me, it was great fun! Being able to sing with Marky on the tours we did was by far the highlight of my career, and no one other than Joey Ramone sings Ramones songs better than me, and that’s the truth!

Q: Many gigs with many great people and countless audience is just another proof of your talent, the good attitude and your dedication. All these years, even as a solo artist nowadays. Do you have any favorite gig/festival that (if given chance) you want to go there again and blow our minds with your voice? :)
A: No, I can’t say I have one favorite festival, there’s been so many it’s just hard to single out just one, every night I try to make each performance more special than the night before, and I’m constantly trying to achieve the perfect performance, and I haven’t gotten there yet, but I will!

an epic photo ;)

Q: Fans could be freaky at times, so using a duck tape is a must? haha Tell me about some of the craziest memories you have on your mind? :)
A: No duct tape, but one of the craziest things a fan did was spend an afternoon with me, it was part of a kickstarter fan giveback and she was completely uninterested in the events we were participating in and she was focused on and completely dedicated to pledging her love to me and pretty much held me hostage until I could be rescued by friends. It was a bad and weird situation, definitely the weirdest!

- How much the support from the fans (even the crazy ones) challenges you to create a new material?
I guess every time I create a new body of work I always have the fans in mind and what might appeal to them the fans are most important to me in any endeavor.

Q: What makes a great show, instead of just having a great voice and crazy energy on the stage? hah
A: I think having the ability and know how to execute the things that give me the opportunity to use my voice and to use my physical energy to entertain, that is something that doesn’t come naturally to me and is something that I have to train for and study and something that I must prepare for on every tour.

- Working on stage environment can be also a very creative process as well as representative. How did you get all those awesome ideas to make us (the fans) feel like we're part of your lyrics?
I think just by listening to my heart and my soul and taking the experience from my life that really aren’t so different from other people’s experience and put them into song.

Q: Listening Misfits songs it's like being part of a beautiful, horror, fairy tale. Watching you guys with crazy hairstyles, painted skulls and black clothes, screaming angry lyrics into a microphone, Whoa-oh, whoa-oh, Oh-Oh-Oh, whoa-oh it's easy way to fall in love! hah Honestly, thanks for the freak show guys! :)) Even that nowadays, the band is just a great memory to many. Since you are out... :)) Just saying :))

But you're doing great in your solo projects. Punk Rock Is Dead (2005), Return to Earth (2006), Illusions with Damien Echols (2007), Supernatural (2014), are some the albums that came out since the Misfits times. Which album do you find as most autobiographical?
A: Thanks! And the two that you didn’t mention, Vagabond and Wanderer. The songs on those albums are much more overt as far as directly taken from my life. You can read the lyrics and understand what I’m talking about without the cloak of horror rock.

Q: Gotta to mention that your voice sounds a lot better in your acoustics versions. It's like a self-discovery in a poetic way. It's like you made a change form the angry/fast Misfits style. How would you describe this?
A: Performing acoustically for me is a very natural state, to have the ability to vocalize without all the other musical participants and noise allows a profound focus on my voice. In the style I perform while playing acoustically I’m able to really get behind my voice and fill it with the emotion and detail that is sometime more difficult to achieve with all of the nuances that come with a full band.

Q: Beautiful, dark and seductive women, are a great inspiration for many (well-known) songs you wrote, such as "Dig Up her Bones" (my favorite), even now in your solo projects. I like the intro Skel-pira does. How did you came up with this concept? Looks cool, like a new Elvira version. Tell me more about this mistress :)
A: Skel-pira was a creation and idea that came from Mark Stuart from Hydraulic-Entertainment. There hasn’t been a relevant horror host like there was in the old days if you will, and we really wanted to create a character in that vein of Elvira or Vampira. Skel-pira will return.

Michale Graves getting tattooed by Travis Broyles

Q: You've been on many creative journeys after the Misftits times. Well known, as a very direct and honest person, who doesn't care about other's opinions, (typically punk:) Do you think that there are a lot of American Psychos fed up with the political correctness out there? How much of an anarchy spirit we have left?
A: I think there are plenty of American Psychos fed up with political correctness, so much so that we see a significant push back to that sort of thing. I think the anarchy spirit is natural to humans, and so the closest we get to freedom within ourselves the more the anarchist spirit comes out.

Q: I LOVE the fact that your music journey has something more than just singing and giving autographs! :) You took part of the "Paul Festival of Peace" in Tapma, FL where you tried to bring the old school punk movement to the masses that promotes liberty, embracing the differences between people etc. I've heard a lot, even about some charity part... Tell me more.
A: I wound up not being a part of that festival, but supported what they wanted to achieve. . Behind the scenes throughout the years I have done a lot of charity work; from visiting old people, to playing music for the homeless, to volunteering and coaching in the town that I live in. I’m not one that needs public credit, and so a lot of my charity is private that I don’t feel a need to boast about.

Q: On your website I can see a lot of touring dates. Busy always, what is the next project you work on?
A: The next project I work on.. I plan on more videos, and more working on films this summer. I’ll be back to the recording studio for a new album this November, and the acoustic version of When Worlds Collide is imminent!

Q: Do you prefer being solo just with your guitar creating the magic, or the Graves band continues to rock on the stage?
A: That’s a tough one. I guess I prefer the solo with just my guitar because it is powerful in a way that most people don’t have the opportunity to experience. It’s a different power and experience that you get when you see the full band. It’s not any better or worse, but I think people are incredibly moved by the acoustic performances in particular.

Q: The punk-rock era is maybe dead, at least what was known as an old school movement. Bands like "The Sex Pistols", "Exploited", "Black Flag", "NOFX" and many more. We've seen lots of crazy stuff for sure and some of them got even on the edge of destruction. You're not on that edge, love it. Now as a father of two, would you be ok if your daughters want to follow your steps in the music industry? :) They will have a good mentor!
A: I will support my daughters in most any path they choose, like my parents did for me. Whatever choice I make in my life, like any choice my daughters make, I expect them to strive for excellence and be the best people they can be, and in doing so like my parents taught me, the greatest way to honor the life that they’ve been given.

Q: A question from my readers... Any possible Misfits reunion? Pleaassee say something :))
A; I am open to it and would be excited for a Misfits reunion, and if it was in my ability to make it happen I would. Mostly that process needs to be started by Jerry Only, and he holds the key to making that happen. I’m all for it and from what I know so is Doyle. All we need is Jerry.

Q: Any message to all the young punks out there?
A: It is of the utmost importance to educate your mind and understand the world that we live in through history, as well as current events. You cannot or will not find truth in music or punk rock if there is not an intellectual side to it.

Mr.Graves, Thanks a lot for the interview.
I have many more questions, but let's just stop for a while. :)

I'm gonna keep following your new projects and hopefully I will be around the stage singing your songs with skull painted on me!
Keep up with the journey! You're truly an inspirational person.

All the best,
Iva Green