The BIG Über Rock Interview: Michale Graves Print E-mail
Written by DJ Astrocreep   
Saturday, 10 February 2018 04:20

After a long time away, Michael Graves last month finally got back to British shores and toured a collection of both his solo and Misfits work. I grabbed the chance for a quick chat with Michale before the gig, to ask about his time in the legendary horror punk band, his creative process and plans...

 

Michale Graves

 

“It's wonderful to be here after a lot of years!” he told me.

 

It's your first time solo in the UK, I think?

 

Yup!

 

You had another tour booked in the past, that got unfortunately cancelled last minute.

 

Yeah, we were actually just talking about that. My memory of that is kinda cloudy, 'cos it was such a crazy time, but yeah, that's the truth. We were supposed to come over here a bunch of years ago, but it just kinda fell apart.

 

You did come over with The Misfits though...

 

I think the last time was probably 1999, the ‘Famous Monsters’ tour. I did a little bit of touring with Marky Ramone as well, a couple of years back. But yeah, the last time I was really here with this music was 1999.

 

Were you aware of much of the back catalogue of The Misfits when you joined?

 

No. I wasn't. I was a skate rat. When I was young, it was still in the days of mix tapes and everybody would hang out and we would listen to cassette tapes. I knew ‘Skulls’, I was familiar with the likes of 'I Was Turned Into A Martian', but when I ran into those guys and got the opportunity to audition for them, I didn't know the extent of their catalogue. I remember buying the ‘Collection 1’ CD and listening to the music… I got about three or four songs in and I remember hearing ‘Horror Business’ and I knew - I said it to myself in my mind then - you know, I was born to be in this band.

 

How did it feel joining them (The Misfits) when you'd had a listen through?

 

Misfits Famous Monsters coverI felt good. I always felt like I was trying to get into the band, even when I was in the band. I was constantly working on being in the band. I didn't have time… I was 20 years old. I didn't really have time to really take it all in. It wasn't until five years later, after ‘Famous Monsters’, where I took a break and a deep breath and it all sorta caught up to me. I had the writing responsibilities, being a young guy, this still fell on my shoulders, so I needed a point to just focus on, to get what I needed the band to get where I believed they should be and we should be.

 

Is there a big difference between your writing and recording style, between your solo work and The Misfits?

 

As far as the process goes, it's pretty much the same. I sit down and I try to write, it's basically the same movements, if you will, as it was back then, but again, I was a young man. I walked through that door and met those guys, I was 19. I got into this huge, new world, that's like a big pond, and now I'm almost 43, so the process is the same, but the emotions and the filters, if you will, are quite different.

 

How is it that you go about writing for your own work?

 

Again, the same way that I've always sorta done it. Let me back up, back then in The Misfits, when I'd have a notebook. I'd hear these melodies in my head. I would have lines of lyrics that would just come into my head and I'd just write them down. That stopped, I guess sometime in my 30s, where I heard less in my mind, so now, when it's time to write, I really have to get myself into the mindset and concentrate on the emotion that I want to bring out. They say music is the language of the soul, so it's not like I write specifically about an incident, it's more something where I'm trying to get an emotion across. I think that I find when I listen to the catalogue of my music, a lot of it is very abstract. For example, 'Crying On Saturday Night', that isn't a story really about anything, it's an abstract painting, where it's just different emotions, themes and allegories. It's like a spell when you listen to it. It just makes you feel something.So that's what I do, I really have to get into a headspace as an older person *laughs*

 

Are you currently writing any new material?

 

No, I'm really not. I wrote one song when we were out on the American tour, but my focus right now has been on performance, on getting on that stage and performing at a level that no one's seen before. Really trying to raise the bar on the level of my performance, so that I can keep resetting the bar.

 

To keep pushing yourself to improve and get better?

 

Yeah.

 

Who were your influences when you were getting into music?

 

I've never been a cliquey person. My taste in music is very eclectic. I can say John Denver inspired me and then click all the way to the other side, and there's Ozzy Osbourne, there's David Bowie. When I was young, I loved listening to Bowie, to Pink Floyd, but at the same time, I love listening to Bily Joel records and love listening to soundtracks from movies. I was a theatre kid, so I love music like that. It's the emotions in everything. It's much more the emotions than any style or anything else. If I hear something and it moves me, then it inspires me. As far as vocals, I was always a big fan - this always gets a laugh from people - of U2. I love Freddie Mercury and how big Freddie was in his voice.

 

The full performance aspect of him?

 

Yeah, right! So yeah, I'm influenced by a lot of things. I never just wanted to be just one person, I never looked at, for example, Mick Jagger and said I wanna be just like him.

 

Finally, if you could tour with anyone, dead, alive or whatever, who would you love to tour with?

 

I would love to tour with Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters. Maybe The Doors too!

 

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