Doyle: Unleashing the beast within
by Rusty Conner
I’ve always heard the old saying: Never meet your heroes, they’ll always disappoint you. Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein is an intimidating individual, both in appearance and stage demeanor. At their recent Houston, TX date, I saw Doyle shove someone, who climbed on stage right in front of him, off the stage with such force I’m surprised the poor fool didn’t suffer from whiplash. The scene was both comical and frightening all at once. However, if you ever get an opportunity to meet “The Beast,” you’ll find another aspect to The Misfits’ iconic guitarist. I wouldn’t say a gentler side, but a less intimidating one. Doyle is a great guy. Period.
I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with him and Alex Story about their new band, simply called Doyle, and other subjects that happened to surface in our conversation…hot sauce and Texan pride among others. This was the interview the teenage skatepunk in me was waiting decades for, and the night did not disappoint. So much for old sayings.
Lone Star Metal: It seems you and Alex are a perfect songwriting match. How does the process work with you guys?
Doyle: “He [Alex] writes the songs and the melodies, and I just write the music.”
Alex: “So he composes fully worked compositions with guitar, bass, drums and all that, and sends them to me. Then I vomit retardation over the top of it and turn it into songs.”
LSM: Doyle, what is your inspiration for the riffs?
Doyle: “A pink guitar. My daughter’s pink guitar. I walk around outside in my underwear playing it waving to the neighbors,” he said with a smirk.
LSM: Is there a certain musical boundary you won’t cross, i.e. this sounds too punk?
Doyle: “If it’s too hard I throw it in the garbage. Even if it’s great, but impossible for me to play, I’m like ehhhh.”
Alex: “We want to be a loud band. We want it be stuff we can really rage to on stage. So we kinda keep it simple, keep it focused and write badass songs that you wanna go off to.”
LSM: Doyle, I’ve heard you mention many times it’s about having good songs. What’s your definition of a good song?
Doyle: “Gotta like it. It gets stuck in your head, and you wanna hear it again. So that’s a good song.”
Alex: “Music like this appeals to the primal part of people. It goes back to people sitting around fucking fires, beating on fucking drums, and acting a goddam fool. It resonates with that part of you. Like any art, it doesn’t matter how complex or how simplistic, it all serves a certain purpose. Ours is to kinda like to get in touch with that more raw, ugly side of people.”
LSM: “Abominator” was the only lyric you said you wrote on the album. What does that word mean to you?
Doyle: “Just that word. I dunno,” he laughed. “We were looking for a title, and I was driving down the street. I wasn’t even talking to myself in the car, you know like you always do. I just said ‘Abominator’ and was like,” he then slammed his foot down on the imagined brake. “I texted him [Alex] and said what do you think of this?”
Alex: “The next song we did was that song, which is the title of the album, and the lyrics are exactly the recording I did right then. I just went and free flowed over it, so the song on the album is that exact song. That was it.”
LSM: What’s your favorite song from Abominator?
Alex: “I like ‘em all. We must of wrote 40-50 fucking songs, and I don’t think there was one I didn’t like.”
Doyle: “Same. I don’t really have one. I think they’re all great, too.”
LSM: You mentioned 40-50 songs. How is progress on your second Doyle album?
Alex: “We’ll try to get it out this year. We had recorded a bunch of songs for Abominator, and we kinda let it take shape for what it was. We had a few tracks left over, and we decided we’d record some more, maybe retouch a couple of those, and put out a follow up. So, we’re working on those. All we gotta do is get the drums down and we’re ready to go.”
LSM: Is it going to be on Monsterman Records again?
Doyle: “Uh…probably. We’re gonna shop it to a couple of labels to promote it and distribute it. You know to get help like that. The problem that we have is that I think we only hit like 5% of Misfits fans that know we have a band.”
Alex: “I mean he’s got fans all over the fucking world, but we’re on a budge [budget].”
Doyle (interjecting): “We gotta eat!”
Alex (continuing): “ We got zero promotion, so that’s why we’re out playing these shows to get the word spreading that he’s [Doyle] doing something. Hopefully it’ll get around.”
LSM: Is Monsterman going to be put to the side?
Doyle: “We’re gonna produce the records and pay for them, then hopefully have these other companies distribute them and promote them, get us on the festivals…blah blah blah. You know, get the word out. We don’t have that vehicle to get the word out, which is fucking doe reh mi [money in other words, which we all could use – Ed].”
Alex: “The product’s there, the band’s there, the loud performance is there…it’s just a matter of letting people know that it’s there. It’s all trial and error. We have a bunch of options open, but we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing, so it’s all just trial and error.”
LSM: Compare the Doyle who first joined The Misfits to The Beast in front of me. What’s changed?
Doyle: “Not too much,” he laughed. “Maybe I got stupider…probably. Gained a little weight.”
LSM: Still fit as a fucking jackhammer though!
Doyle: “As a fiddle…a goddamn fiddle!” he laughed again.
LSM: How did you get into making hot sauce?
As soon as I asked the question, tour manager Robin busts out the Made in Hell hot sauce with a bowl of chips for me to sample. Doyle can’t help but compliment her on her readiness with the sauce. “I’m impressed,” he remarked.
Doyle: “A friend of mine, Danzig’s personal assistant, made me a bottle of homemade sauce. I’d never eaten hot sauce in my life, and I ate the whole fucking thing. It was a mason jar. He said yeah let’s go into business, but he never got off his ass unfortunately. The money man wouldn’t wait for him. Three months I kept asking him, send him a goddamn sample. Cuz once he tasted it, he’d be shelling out cash to do it. Then he said fuck it I found somebody else. I went to this guy at Haunted Hot Sauce. We came up with a formula that we liked. I told him what I wanted in it, and what I wanted it to be, so we made a recipe.”
LSM: So you were instrumental on what Made in Hell was, and it’s not something you put your name on?
Doyle: “Of course.” At this point I pause to taste the hot sauce, which is fantastic and highly recommended. Doyle then challenged me, “You’re a Texan right? Then you better take a shot of that my man.”
LSM: Let me get through the questions and I’ll take you up on that.
Doyle: “Well that’s the whole idea. You drink the hot sauce now, so you can get the fuck outta here.” Doyle commented with that smirk again.
LSM: Dr. Chud is no longer in the band, [I’m asking this question in between bites] which came as a shock to your fans. Long story short, what happened?
Doyle: “He didn’t want to do it. He had all the opportunities in the world to do it. He didn’t take ‘em, so he stayed home.”
Alex: “We got a better fit now.”
Doyle: “Yeah we got the right fit, I think, now with this guy [referring to Brandon Pertzborn].”
LSM: You had “Tiny” step up…
Doyle: “Tiny filled in. Chud bailed I think a day and a half before the tour started. I had people getting on a plane in, like, two hours to fly out. My manager said what the fuck do I do, so I said give him an hour. If he didn’t call back in one fucking hour then you bring Tiny…fuck ‘em. He didn’t call, and I gave him every opportunity to do it. Fuck ‘em…next question.”
LSM: Now it seems you have a new kid on the skins. How did you find the new kid Brandon, who seems to be somewhat of an unknown?
Alex: “He’s fucking 20 years old and played with everybody on Earth already. He just did a tour with BlackFlag and was in an opening band that was opening for us. He was interested in playing with us. He just wants to play, and is an amazing drummer. He came in with no rehearsal or anything and just killed it. We played the Whiskey–”
Doyle: “–And it was the best show we ever had.”
Alex: “Its gotten better every show…every night.”
Doyle: “Everybody that was there; Glenn Danzig, Johnny Kelly, Kenny Hickey, everybody that was there came up to me and said that fucking drummer killed it. That was the first time we ever played with him. It was insane,“ he laughed.
LSM: Doyle, you’ve had a distinct image since The Misfits that you have not strayed from. What inspired your look? How have you developed it over the years?
Doyle: “Albert Einstein. He wore the same fucking suit; had ten of the same suit, so he didn’t have to think about nothing. If I’m going to an awards show, I know what I’m wearing. I don’t have that problem.”
LSM: You’ve said that Alice Cooper is a big influence on you. Is the Doyle we see in makeup the same Doyle that shops at the grocery store?
Doyle: “Yeah pretty much. I’m not killing you right? I’m not on stage,” he chuckled.
LSM: Is there a mindset you have to get into before performing?
Doyle: “No, as soon as you touch that stage man your fucking brain flips over. As soon as that first foot touches it.”
LSM: What about the Wolfman?
Doyle (interjecting): “He’s always on,” he laughed. “It’s full moon city with this guy.”
Alex (shrugging): “I think everybody’s multifaceted, you know. You can’t pigeonhole anybody down to one aspect of their being, but when people come to see us they want to see the fucking animals. They want to see the fucking gorillas at the zoo. They come to see the Freakshow, so we get up there and give them the fucking Freakshow.”
LSM: Your sound, Doyle, is just as much a part of your identity as your look. I guess my main question is; What made you decide to plug into an Ampeg instead of anything else?
Doyle: “More. I like more. What’s a Marshall head? A 100 watts right? What’s an Ampeg head? 300 watts.” He shrugged as if to say there’s your answer.
Alex: “You pretty much just have to stand in front of that amp, and you’ll understand why he does what he does.”
LSM: You’ve confessed to not knowing a lot about guitar, yet you’re considered a guitar icon. Do you consider yourself an icon?
Doyle: “I don’t get it. I know more about the building of a guitar than playing it.”
LSM: Let’s talk about the Annihilator then.
Doyle: “I drew it on a paper bag book cover, like your mom makes for you in high school. I saved it, and I started to make guitars. This buddy of mine came into the shop [for those who might not know, Doyle works in the metal machine shop owned by his father when not shoving people off the stage] just off the street and started making a guitar, and was fucking up. I said gimme that thing and just started making it. I took that fucking drawing and put the Iceman [Doyle’s Ibanez guitar of choice before his own creation] on the floor was like holy shit it’s fucking perfectly to scale.”
LSM: What would you be doing now if music wasn’t a part of your life? Would it be the machine shop?
Doyle: “Hell no! I dunno, I don’t want that road. I’m not taking that road.”
LSM: Who are you listening to these days? Besides Arch Enemy…[this last statement was made because just on the other side of a curtain next to Doyle was his girlfriend, Alissa White-Gluz who now sings for Arch Enemy, relaxing and presumably listening in. When I mentioned Arch Enemy, she simply leaned forward a bit and gave me a warm smile].
Doyle: “Besides Arch Enemy? Not too much. I like Slipknot, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, David Bowie…I listen to everything. What were we listening to?” He looked to Alex. “Goatwhore, Kreator, Motorhead…all kinds of shit. I just like good songs. I don’t give a fuck.”
LSM: What about Sleeze? [Doyle’s son sings for the band]
Doyle (laughing): “Needs a little work.”
LSM: What about you, Alex?
Alex: “Same shit I was jamming when I was 15. Not a lot has changed. Problem right now is you always depend on the next generation to create the next evolution of music, but these days kids aren’t starting bands. They’re wanking off on Guitar Hero, or putting together syncopated beats on a laptop and calling it music. I think there is a stagnation period right now, which is ok because usually good shit comes after stuff like that. Right now though, there’s an overabundance of people calling themselves bands and calling themselves musicians that aren’t really producing shit. There’s a whole emptiness of a generation that aren’t being musicians. Right now we’re in the shitty period of music, to me.”
LSM: Last comments…
Alex: “Pick up the album. Come out to the shows. You might surprise yourself and have a good time.”
Doyle: “Stop stealing music, and stop watching us through your goddamn phone.”
LSM: Thanks guys so much, and I’m going to get the fuck off your bus now.
Doyle: “Yes please. Get the fuck off our bus,” he stated with a now-familiar smirk.
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