Interview by Paul Salfen
For some journalists, it’s been tough interviewing the man known as Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, the legendary guitarist for punk heroes The Misfits. The 6’ 3” and ripped guitarist does interviews in the skull makeup, “devilock” in his face, no shirt, and arms folded, and media is often warned that he will give one-word or short answers, so it can seem intimidating. But tonight he’s decided to stand during the interview, which could seem more stressful, but he gets right to the vibe that sets the tone. “Yeah, I don’t sit anymore. I’m too old,” he says with a straight face. And herein lies the test. If you get his sense of humor and dry East Coast sarcasm and laugh often, you’re fine. “You don’t know if you’ll get back up,” singer Alex Story chimes in. “Yeah,” Doyle says, smirking and blowing a bubble with his gum. This of course, will give you an idea of his tone throughout, with quite a bit of smirking and laughter in there, showing that he’s really not that intimidating – and actually, quite nice after all.
Born Paul Caiafa in Lodi, New Jersey, Doyle is the younger brother of Misfits bassist Jerry Only. Taught to play guitar by Only and singer Glenn Danzig, he joined in 1980 at the age of 16, helping to finance the band by working at their father’s shop. He played on the band’s first full-length album “Walk Among Us,” their live album, “Evilive,” and the final album, “Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood,” before the band’s split in 1983. Although Danzig and Doyle have performed together over the years, Jerry was the missing link, who had been performing under his own version of The Misfits since a lawsuit in 1995 allowed him to use the name. But last year, the unexpected happened: what is billed as “The Original Misfits” played together for the first time in 33 years and have more gigs planned.
Between all of that, Doyle is starring in a movie, the subject of a comic series, and out on the road promoting his new album, Doyle II: As We Die on the Abominate World Tour.
AMFM Magazine: We’re excited about the new album. It’s better and even heavier. Are you ready to unveil it on the unsuspecting public?
Doyle: Yeah, we’re gonna unleash it on these motherfuckers.
AMFM: How is this album different?
Doyle: Uh, there’s one more song. 13 instead of 12. [Smirks] We’ve got a great new drummer on it, Brandon Petzborn [Black Flag]. We’ve got great guests like Randy Blythe from Lamb of God on this song called “Virgin Nutsack” [which is actually called “Virgin Sacrifice”], Michael Amott and Alyssa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy on the title track, “Kiss Me As You Die.” It’s on EMP, which is owned by David Ellefson [of Megadeth]. And it’s got a different album cover than the last one, so that’s what makes it different. It’s got two album covers – a shitty one and a good one.
AMFM: And you’ve got your own label now, Monsterman Records.
Doyle: Yeah, we joined with those guys because we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing and we signed smaller bands that they don’t want to sign – they do but they don’t.
AMFM: What bands are on there that are doing it right?
Doyle: I don’t know. I don’t even listen to music. I don’t know what’s going on.
AMFM: Music and the music business is in a strange place right now.
Doyle: It’s a business, man – and I want to know where my pink Cadillac is – and my fucking yacht. Where’s my mansion?
AMFM: With as much as your face has been on everything, you would think, right?
Doyle: You would think.
AMFM: But you do have your own action figure, which none of us will get.
Doyle: That’s true. But it seems normal to me honestly. I play with it all the time.
AMFM: How was it playing with The Misfits again?
Doyle: Um, it was really stressful – and really funny…and really normal.
AMFM: But of all the reunions, we never really saw that one coming.
Doyle: [shrugs and smirks – then laughs]I don’t know what to say about that.
AMFM: Will we see another one?
Doyle: I hope so.
AMFM: You’re starring in a new movie, Death Ward 13.
Doyle: That’s what I hear. Everyone’s asking that same question. I can’t say anything about it except that they’re paying me to kill people. I have no script and we haven’t done it yet. I don’t even know the character’s name.
AMFM: Well, we’re excited to see you kill some people.
Doyle: I could do it tonight if you’d like. If things go wrong…
AMFM: We recently saw you at Texas Frightmare Weekend and have been seeing you pop up at some horror conventions. What’s it like to stand there and get loved on all weekend?
Doyle: It’s crazy. Those things are crazy. There’s a lot of collectible fanatics there and they’re just nuts.
AMFM: Is it weird just having people walk right up to you? You don’t strike me as the guy that want to meet everyone. Doyle: Yeah, I like being away from people. When they’re right up in my grill, I don’t like it. It’s awful.
AMFM: Any tips on the workout regimen? You’re making the rest of us look bad.
Doyle: It’s just consistency, man. I’ve been doing it since I was 10, so that’s what? 58 years? [He’s actually 53.]
AMFM: And the vegan lifestyle? Doyle: Yeah, man. It’s better for you. I stay leaner like that so it’s good.
AMFM: Do how do you pass the time these days on tour?
Doyle: Sleep. We sleep like motherfuckers around here, boy. We wake up at Walmart, take a shit, and go to the show.
AMFM: What makes it still exciting for you?
Doyle: This is the only thing I want to do. We were talking about it yesterday, actually. What the fuck else are we gonna do? You see Black Sabbath and you see…I can’t think of anyone else old right now…Alice Cooper! What the fuck else are they gonna do? KISS! Look at Lemmy [of Motorhead]. He did it right up until he died and that’s how it should be. What the fuck, right?
AMFM: If you could go out on stage, maybe that would be the best way.
Doyle. Yeah. It’s fun. We have fun. It’s a hard job. It’s no fucking picnic. It’s hard.
AMFM: You’ve also been very active – and very funny on social media.
Doyle: It’s fun, yeah. I try to make it funny. I just enjoy it because it’s funny. But you do promotion these days and no one pays attention. You put up a picture of something stupid as fuck and they’re all over it. You know what I mean? [Laughs] “We’re playing here…” No one makes a comment. You post a picture of a dog that ate a balloon and he’s farting it out his ass and they’ll go crazy. They’ll all make a comment on that.
AMFM: What do you tell kids when they want advice?
Doyle: I just tell them don’t waste your life sitting in your room playing all those arpeggios. Learn how to write good songs and get a great singer – or fucking give up.
AMFM: So what are we going to hear tonight? You have quite a selection to choose from now.
Doyle: We’re going to get this sassy ass sexy man [points to Story]to sing you some love songs – if you’d like.
For updated tour dates and info on The Misfits reunion show, go to www.OfficialDoyle.com.