I'm not from these parts. New Jersey, that is. But I'm here 5 days a week, so it is my ongoing quest to understand this state's charms, idiosyncrasies, and motivations.
I posed a question to Jersey-native Mike Lupica the other day, unwittingly sending out shockwaves that could be felt as far as Flemington: why aren't The Misfits a source of regional pride in NJ, while Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi are practically on the state legislature?
Now there's the obvious argument of underground vs. top 40, but for some reason, The Misfits don't seem to merit even a footnote in the NJ User's Manual. As Bill Zurat puts it, there are only a few NJ bands that are appropriate to hear blasting out of a Camaro with its windows rolled down cruising LBI, and The Misfits are definitely Camaro-worthy. So where's the mall graffiti already?
L.A. is proud of Rollins, S.F. still loves Jello, and NYC named a street after Joey Ramone. I want to know why NJ doesn't step up and own its incompetent punk icons. Like I said, I'm not from these parts.
Lupica set off an inflammatory discussion on the WFMU e-mail list:
Subject: who best represents new jersey?
1. bruce springsteen
2. bon jovi
3. the misfits
Please provide evidence for your argument. This email sent as an extension of an in-house argument currently in progress.
Click the link below to read responses from various WFMU DJs (names have been removed to protect the innocent), and feel free to post your own answer or attempt to further derail this discussion in our comments section.
- Bon Jovi. Reason: The Hair.
- I think it's unfair to not include Skid Row, the Feelies, the Nerdz, Little Steven, Denim and Leather, Red-Headed Boogie Child, Shooting Blanks, Fat Kid Fishing, Exxplorer, Every Other Thursday, Dogs of Pompei, Drunk Uncle Bob, Secret Cervix, Ironia, Knuckle Sandwich, Whine Cellar, and perhaps the most unthreatening name for an otherwise heavy/dark band: The Dangerous Dingleberries.
- My vote is for Xex.
- Don't forget Monster Magnet.
- My dark horse would be Eddie Rabbit ...
- Connie Francis. oh the humanity
- 1. A.O.D.
2. X-Ray Burns
4. Four Seasons
- So by this logic, Mike, the answer to your original question is The Misfits. Because A.O.D. + X-Ray Burns + Detention + Four Seasons = The Misfits
- The Smithereens. Just because.
- I think any one of the bands that was on "New Jersey's Got It?"
- sinatra, count basie, redman, gloria gaynor, latifah...
- In 1994, while on a vacation trip to Virginia, I stopped at the Appomattox Court House, where Robert E. Lee surrendered to end the Civil War. It was June & pretty hot & humid. We stood and listened to various college kids, wearing the garb of the time described a day in the life, in 1865. This one kid, wearing a woolen gray uniform, represented a young reb, who wanted to dissuade Gen. Lee from surrendering. He was pissed, in a punk kinda way. We moved on to another part of the story. About 20 minutes later, I see him walking along, and he's wearing a Misfits t-shirt. As he walked by, I mention to him that I found it humorous that he be wearing that, and I mention that they were from my old hometown, Lodi NJ. Now, I must admit that I knew of them, but wasn't a fan, or knowledgeable about their music. But his reaction, which bordered on maniacal, really impressed the hell outta me. It was on par with meeting someone from Liverpool, or London in the mid 60's. One of the things that he was working to save up for was to make a pilgrimage to Lodi. After awhile, I couldn't shake the guy. The town that i remembered pretty much sucked. I didn't have anything positive to share. But I gotta say, the experience & the guy'spassion, is something that I'll never forget. So, from out Lodi way, I gotta point to Danzig & Co.
- Every answer is right, and we could totally start an east coast west coast war here. Draw a map of tiny little NJ and start sticking in pins:
The shore: Springsteen
The armpit: Bon Jovi
Bergen County: Misfits
Up a little higher Bergen County: The Fiendz
Now a little to the left (geographically of course): Niblick Henbane
Hit the burger king a little to the south: Marianne Nowottney
Dunno about that wasteland b.t there and Trenton, and I'll defer to Mike on Trenton
Essex County: Dalek and hippie cover bands
Union County: I don't think they listen to music in Union County.
New Brunswick: Instant Death
Somerset County: The Ruins (different band, waaaay)
That wasteland b.t the Pine Barrens & Delaware: Danielson
- I don't know if it's an odd reason, I think it's pretty simple - the Misfits were never that big to begin with. And they certainly are much bigger after their breakup than when they existed, and even though the name is still out there, there is the mystique that the classic lineup has never reunited.
They played VFWs in Jersey City and Teaneck while Springsteen and Bon Jovi played Giants Stadium. Plus the two superstars, at least early on, went out of their way to make New Jersey a part of their platinum-selling act.
- Good Charlotte - Clifton area (or Electric Frankenstein)
Sinatra/The Bongos/Yo La Tengo - Hoboken
Kool & the Gang - Jersey City
Smithereens - Rahway/Carteret
I'd say Essex County is up for grabs - you gotta consider Naughty By Nature and Ted Leo!
Camden County - Ben Vaughn!
- vote for me and i will make sure that they put a vending machine (Snapple, NOT coke or pepsi) in the caf, and all seniors will get off-campus privileges for lunch and study hall.
- in a different era i vote Lawrence of Newark Larry Young.
- Warren County is actually a part of Pennsylvania that we annexed sometime in the forgotten past and probably prefers Live, Styx, Fleetwood Mac, Kansas, April Wine and dozens of other bands that continue to play stadiums and race tracks across the Delaware while forced to hope for an appearance at BB King's or Club Bene once they cross over to this side.
Sussex and Morris prefer cover bands that perform Bon Jovi and Springsteen songs.
- Will somebody give it up for Salem? And hey, has anybody actually heard of Cumberland County?
- Nope sorry a little to the left is Passaic County. To the South is Morris County but Morris and Marianne Nowottney are not exactly a match; The Nerds, yes, Marianne Nowottney, no. And Warren County is not the wasteland between Morris and Trenton, Warren is the wasteland
between Morris and where America starts.
- Blue Sparks from Hell. Very popular in Sussex.
- David S.Ware = Plainfield, NJ
- King: Charles Addams
Queen: Tara Reid
Their regal spawn...
- feelin real jazzy today
Bill Evans = Plainfield, NJ
- The Critters?
1910 Fruitgum Company?
Freddy Cannon singing "Palisades Park"
- Bon Jovi.
I remember being GLUED to MTV when they had a contest to give away Jon Bon Jovi's boyhood home in Sayerville, NJ...which had to be to be *the* coolest place on earth in 1988. Their album, "New Jersey," made the state a fantasy land.
I was a pre-teen in the midwest, hopelessly in love with Mr. Bon Jovi, with 6' posters of Jon Bon Jovi plastered on my bedroom wall.
It's taken me a over a decade to reveal this. Once those posters came down, it was a dark secret. I still have them, though, rolled up in the closet of my parents' place. Things like that just can't go in the trashbin.
Plus, looks like Bon Jovi has recently become a NJ tourism ambassador
Editor's note: Lo and behold, I met a random NJ native over the weekend in NYC, dressed in full Misfits regalia (ok, so it was just a hoodie)! See, it wasn't all just a dream...