Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein … sure it’s a mouthful but you can just call him Doyle. Undoubtedly the most iconic guitarist the Misfits ever had, Doyle is now on the road for Danzig’s 25th Anniversary Tour, joining Glenn on stage each night for a mini Misfits set that invariably sets the room spinning at a velocity previously unimagined as he stomps a swath across the stage. Ripped like a body builder and imposing as none-other, Doyle plays so hard that he bleeds and his equipment crumbles in his massive hands.
We caught up Doyle before the August 30th Danzig show at the Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City, California where he was happy to not only discuss the Misfits legacy, but his plans for “world abomination” with his latest release, Abominator. For a guy that’s not normally one for a lot of words, he’s clearly pumped for what lies ahead.
I heard that you did an in-store signing at Guitar Center down in Hollywood yesterday.
What was the coolest thing that you signed?
Some kid had a picture of me, I think it was from one of the festivals in Europe, it was a great shot. I’d never seen it.
Did he take it?
No, he said he got it off the internet.
Misfits fans are pretty enthusiastic collectors as I’m probably sure you know.
Oh my God. Thank God.
What do you have stashed away that would blow …
What happened to it all?
I moved around a lot and carried it around, carried it around, and I’m like, “What the … I’m never going to … what am I going to do with this shit?” So I sold it. That’s what happened to it.
Right now you’re on the road with Glenn Danzig, playing a bunch of Misfits songs. How does it compare being on stage with him now versus back in the eighties?
From Glenn? From the crowd?
What do you think it is about those songs that makes people go crazy?
They’re good songs. They don’t suck.
Speaking of Misfits songs, have you heard The Devil’s Rain?
And what do you think?
It’s not my taste in music.
Do you think if you were playing guitar on it that it might have turned out differently?
No, I would never play guitar in that. I don’t like the songs, I don’t like the style of music it is. I think it’s ballsy to change the style of what the Misfits are. Not many artists can actually change the whole style of what they’re doing and keep going. Like David Bowie always changed what he was doing and not many people can do that.
It’s difficult for a band to reinvent itself.
Fuck yeah. Especially when you’ve got a fan base that wants one thing, then you give them something that’s totally NOT that.
What does Jerry think about you doing the old Misfits stuff with Glenn?
I’ve never asked him.
He never said?
I didn’t ask.
What do you think he thinks? Do you talk to him?
Yeah, I talk to him. I don’t know. He asks “Hey, how did it go?” you know, “Great …!”
So you guys keep it on a brotherly level as opposed to a professional level?
Do you ever think that you, Glenn, and Jerry would ever reunite?
I’m in. It’s not me. I’m not the problem.
Who’s the problem?
One of the shows that you did with Glenn was at the Golden Gods Awards and if you look closely your guitar basically falls apart into pieces right at the end of the last song. What happened there?
I hit it too hard.
Was that one of your hand-made models, or was it one of the October [Guitar] models?
It was one that I made.
And what happened to the pieces?
They’re sitting in my studio in a case all apart.
Can it be fixed?
It’s looking tough man.
Can it be sold? Remember I asked that question about collectors.
I could sell it. I’m going to look at it again. I gotta just look at it and come up with a brain storm to fix it.
I noticed that one of the older guitars looked like one of the wings had broken off and you kind of bolted it on.
Yeah, I played it off. I played through the wood and it just … just like the one you see on the TV show, it just fell apart.
You and Steve Zing [Danzig bassist] go way back. I think he posted something on Facebook or Instagram the other day saying you’ve been friends for 43 years.
Do you remember the first time you met him?
It had to be in Kindergarten. I don’t really remember the actual moment. He’s always been there, you know.
Did you ever think that you guys would be playing music together someday?
No, but the funny thing is all the kids in high school used to make fun of me and him cause we were in punk rock bands. Like all the kids who were in bands who thought they were fucking rockers, you know. Playing Led Zeppelin covers and whatever the fuck they were playing. It was the seventies and the kids were like “Oh, punk rock. You guys suck. Blahblahblahblah.” We’re the only two still playing and we’re making a lot of money doing it so you can all suck my dick.
Steve tells stories about how when you were playing with the Misfits, he was the kid sitting there watching you guys rehearse. Do you remember those days?
Yeah, he used to sit on the garage roof next to where we would rehearse.
I guess the big news in your world is that you’ve got a new record out. Abominator.
Tell me about it.
Sure. We recorded it ourselves. I bought all the equipment we needed, and we learned how to use it, and we recorded for about six months and we realized we were doing it wrong and had to start over.
What was wrong about it?
We were having problems with just certain little things that we couldn’t fix because we didn’t have the right ProTool program. We needed a couple extra ones and then we got those and thank god Dr. Chud [drums] could figure all that shit out and he recorded the drums, I recorded the guitars and bass, and my singer did the vocals.
So, you actually played bass on the album?
Yes I did.
It’s been six years since the Gorgeous Frankenstein record came out for Abominator to come out. What took so long?
We wrote three records.
I was going to get there next. I heard that there were three records worth of material. What’s the plan with the other two records worth?
This is what happened … we recorded eighteen [songs] for this record, and we were going to mix it because we can’t mix it, you know. We can record it, you get good tones and good sounds, you bring it to a guy who can mix it … you’re good. So we went to Spin Studios in Long Island City and on the way to the studio, Chud just says to me, “You know, we’re giving them a half an album away for free.” And I say, “Yeah, you’re right. Just trying to do a good deed.” Because you know I got that Slipknot record and it’s sixty minutes long. I thought that was great. You know what I mean? It’s like, this is great! I love listening to this. That’s really cool. Ours was almost seventy. So I said, “Ok, tell you what … let’s just record six more of the songs and we’ll make another one, and we’ll have it ready to go.” They [the band] were waiting on me to finish because I’ve been doing this [Danzig tour]… I don’t have time. Plus, he’s [Danzig] got all my equipment with all his equipment and it’s flying all over the fucking place, so I don’t have nothing left at home to fucking record with. Everything’s out here. I gotta do I think between three and five tracks of guitar and bass and that one’s ready to be mixed. And it’s just as good as this one. We just took the songs and we split them up.
How’d you choose which ones went on which record?
I wrote them all down and we just kind of paired them up. We paired them up to the same vibe, same tempo, you know what I mean.
So you didn’t go for the heavy album and the light album…
…you tried to mix it … kind of balance them out?
No, we just did it. It took a minute. We were like, “What are we going to do? What are we going to do?” And we just fucking [makes writing noises]. We were like, “that looks good.”
And do you have a working title?
Any of the songs would be a great title. I think the best one so far is either … I like “Kiss Me As We Die” and I like a song called “Night of Sin.” Yeah, it’s got some really good stuff on there man.
Any idea when it will come out?
This one really hasn’t come out yet, so…
We want to start touring and not have to stop to go make a record. Just keep touring, and put it out and just keep going.
So, what is the touring plan?
We are looking at different booking agents right now. We want to open for Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot … you know, bigger bands … and go out with them for a while until we see that the crowd is our crowd too, and then we can jump off.
So hopefully this year?
We’re looking at November. We’re trying to get something for November. I’m done with Glenn on the thirty-first of October. And then we’re going to try and get something going.
As far as the touring line up, you’ve got Alex [Story] on vocals, you’ve got Chud on drums. What about bass?
If Graham is available we’ll use him because he’s solid, man. He’s a great player.
Is he out with Marky [Ramone] right now?
I think he is. I doubt he’ll stop doing that to do what I’m doing because I don’t know if I could pay him as much as Marky. Plus he’s got some business that he runs that, “Oh, I can only go for two weeks,” or whatever. It doesn’t matter. We’ll go without one. I’ll plug the guitar …
Yeah. If Steve could play that stuff. I mean Danzig’s stuff is one note on bass. But yeah, I mean… but Steve’s gotta make good money too. Steve’s got a lot of shit he’s gotta pay for.
And a day job as well …
Unfortunately, yeah. You know why we’ve got day jobs, right?
Tell me why.
… because everybody steals music online. It’s like, you like this band and you steal all their shit and they’ve gotta go get fucking jobs because you’re stealing all their fucking shit they’re supposed to be selling. Just pay for it. If you want more songs, pay for it. I always say this … If I had a motorcycle shop and I was making motorcycles and some dude came in and took one, is that a crime?
If you take our song, which is our product without paying for it, that’s a fucking crime. It’s bullshit. Give us a dollar. What the fuck?!
The sound of Abominator is pretty heavy. I would say it’s as much a metal record as it is a punk rock record, and way heavier than Gorgeous Frankenstein was as well. Going into that, is that what you were going for?
I’m just writing whatever I write. I write all the music, arrange it, I send it to Alex and he makes it into a song. He writes all the vocal melodies and all the words.
So what would Alex typically get?
He gets a totally arranged song, he gets a sheet of paper with the arrangement on it so he doesn’t have to figure it out. I’ll say, “Intro, don’t sing. Riff, don’t sing. Verse, sing. Pre-chorus, sing. Chorus, sing. Riff, don’t sing.” And at the end I just put, “Do whatever the fuck you want.” Because if he wants to sing on the riff, he’ll sing on the riff.
And would that already have drums from Chud on it?
No, no, no. Program drums.
And then Chud will come back later and …
He takes the program drums, puts that in, plays to that.
How much have you gotten involved in the writing of the lyrics with Alex?
I came up with one word: Abominator. I was driving down the street and we didn’t have a title and for no reason … I wasn’t thinking or nothing …I just blurted out Abominator. I pull over, I texted him [Alex], “What do you think of this for a title?” and he’s like “Fuck yeah, lets write a song,” and that’s the last song we wrote.
And that’s the first song on the record.
And probably the heaviest song as well. In terms of you’re guitar tone, very distinctive, very heavy, but very … I would say crisp in that way. How long did it take you to craft that tone?
I guess you could say from the start to now, but I always had that kind of sound, you know, scoop sound. I kinda think I invented it honestly.
Are you pretty particular about it?
Oh yeah! If it doesn’t sound right I can’t play it. What happens is you start squeezing the guitar neck so hard, which I already do, and you play harder to try and make it sound like you want but it doesn’t do it, you know what I mean?
Yep. Well, conceptually.
And then you get “Popeye arm” where you get all tight and you can’t do anything.
Yeah. It’s when your arm cramps up and all of a sudden your fingers don’t work and you’re just like “Oh my God!” It’s horrible.
I don’t think I’ve ever had that.
Well, you don’t play guitar. Yeah. It’s horrible.
I would think that your weight regimen might help with that? Or it’s a different set of muscles?
It might not help with it. [laughing]
Well, all these guys have got this really light touch and… I’m bleeding on my left hand from playing. Just from squeezing the fucking neck. Wrong. Everything I do is wrong.
How did you learn to play guitar?
Glenn. Glenn showed me the two barre chords and my brother showed me the notes on the big string. That’s it.
Ever had a lesson?
I tried to take classical lessons but I never practiced and I just couldn’t get it. The guy would show up and I’m like, “Just play something. Maybe I can get a riff out of there or something.” And he was like, “Ah, I’m getting out of here.” The only things that I know how to play are the songs I play. I don’t know anybody else’s songs. I might know three Ramones songs and an Iggy Pop song. That’s it. I don’t know anything else. I don’t know scales, arpeggios, G clefs … fucking nothing.
Back in May of last year, Glenn had a taping for the Danzig Legacy and I was lucky enough to be there in the audience …
You were there? That was great right?!?
The best part was when Glenn’s tooth came flying out of his mouth.
Yeah. That was fucking funny.
I remember you actually knew more of the songs than Glenn. So when people were yelling out songs you were saying, “I can play that, I can play that, I can play that.”
Some of them I couldn’t remember.
Is that going to come out some day?
You’re asking the wrong guy. He’s out of his mind.
So, back to Abominator, do you think that there will be a vinyl release?
Yeah. We’re doing double vinyl.
Yeah. So you can roll your weed on it like in the seventies. And we’re doing double because it’s going to have three songs on a side.
So it’ll be the 180 gram, 45 rpm?
It’s going to be the best quality. It’ll be 24 bit because that’s what we recorded, and CDs are put down to sixteen which has no sense at all.
Any idea when that’s going to come out?
We’re going to get them made soon. I got to go home and work on the art work with my cousin and lay it out, and I want to put different pictures on it, maybe from this tour, you know. We got Devil Man taking pictures like crazy so, you know …
He’s a good man.
Yeah. He’s a really good guy.
So, how do you stay in shape while you’re touring?
Well, today I did crunches and pushups. I could have went to the gym but they kicked us out of the hotel. They wouldn’t let us get a late checkout so, “Oh, you gotta go now,” and I was like “oh, fuuuck .”
You’re not one of these guys that brings the bench press on the bus?
If the bus picks me up, yes I do. I’ve got the blocks with the pin in them and I bring a bench.
Do you work out with Glenn at all?
Who can bench press more, you or Glenn?
You didn’t want to think about that, did you?
I don’t have to think about it.
Was there ever a time he could bench press more?
No. Hell no.
Not even like ’92?
Never! No, no way.
You’ve recently started using Instagram. How is that going for you?
Because I never took you as a social media kind of guy.
Well, this is what happened. My manager Bruce, as soon as he became my manager he started yelling at me saying “You gotta get a fucking iPhone,” because I had a flip phone. But then I dropped my flip phone and it turned white, and I was like, “Oh my God. What am I going to do?” They don’t tell you how to work this phone, there’s no book. What the fuck is that?!? I’m a fucking idiot, I don’t even have a computer. That’s the only computer I’ve got is that phone. So I figured out how to text her. I texted her and I’m like, “what do I do?” And she FaceTimed me. And the reason I didn’t want the phone… I didn’t want to pay for it. Because mine was fifty bucks a month and I was like, “fuck why do I want to pay all that money?” As soon as I seen her on there and it was perfect, real time, she’s laying in bed talking to me I’m like, “I don’t give a fuck what this fucking thing costs!” [laughs] It could be a thousand dollars a month, I don’t give a fuck!
It’s interesting to see the behind-the-scenes stuff like when your shoe broke.
That sucked. I could have gotten hurt. I texted those pictures to my daughter and said, “show grandma these pictures” … because she’d send me a pair of sneakers or something … “my shoe broke, you got to send me these ones. They’re in the fucking closet.” I sent those pictures to the company and the guy who I get them from I said, “talk to these people, tell them what the fuck I do. They got to glue that shit on better or sew it on as well.” I could have got hurt. I could have broken my hip, my leg. I could sue them. A shoe ain’t supposed to break like that. I got eight shows out of those shoes. That’s it!
You took a bit of a break between Gorgeous Frankenstein and Abominator …
No, I was writing the whole time.
Did you ever think about getting rid of the makeup and the devilock?
No. Remember when Kiss took their shit off? How’d you feel about that? I don’t even like Kiss and I was pissed! [laughs] It made them suck. Now they got nothing because their songs suck.
Well, they put the makeup back on …
Yeah. What happened to the crowds? This is what the kids are paying for so I have to do it. Here’s a perfect example … I have a friend, his name’s Ben. He met us in Corpus Christi. He came with his little daughter and I wasn’t dressed and she had the [Doyle] doll. And he’s like, “that’s Doyle right there,” and she wouldn’t come near me. She was horrified of me without the makeup on. So as soon as I got dressed, he goes, “could you come out and meet her now?” I came out and she comes running up and hugs me.
Do people recognize you when you don’t have your makeup on?
Is it because you’re wearing a “Doyle” sweatshirt?
No …. I don’t know how they do sometimes and I’m amazed that they do. There’s too many pictures of me without it on that goddamned fucking internet.
You don’t like having your picture taken without the makeup on.
I don’t like having my picture taken at all.
Not even on stage?
That’s fine. I don’t like to get recognized when I’m with my family. Just leave me alone, you know.
Are you still painting?
I don’t have time. I have a couple of really good ones that I was going to sell but I liked them so I kept them.
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