The Misfits Incident

Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?

Jason Lockwood: When I was a kid, you were basically forbidden to publicly enjoy the Misfits.

Kelly King: The Misfits came to town. There was big hype about how great they were. They were from New York. They had that foot-and-a-half-long piece of hair hanging down in the front.

Tom Flynn: It was 1982. It wasn’t the first time they came. It was the first time they came here as the starring band.

Kelly King: At the Elite Club, which is now the Fillmore.

Tom Flynn: It was a big audience, maybe a thousand people. One of those nights where there were six or seven bands on every show. They started playing, and immediately started yelling at the audience. I remember Glenn Danzig said something like, “I can see why they call this the land of the homos!”

Greg Oropeza: “The city of buttfuckers!”

Kelly King: “S.F., you’re a bunch of faggots!”

Tom Flynn: I had liked the Misfits. Most people at the show were into it as much as me. When he said that, I was like, “What a moron!”

Toni DMR: They were being really hostile, hocking loogies, kicking at people. They kicked Rachel in the head with their steel-toe boots.

Kelly King: They just got rained on with beer cans. Somebody hit Danzig in the eye with a can full of beer.

Tom Flynn: They had only played three or four songs.

Kelly King: The drummer jumped off the stage and attacked Tim Sutliff, of all people. He was pretty much the smallest kid there. Tim was just covering up his face and backing up and that guy Doyle took his big ol’ guitar and just swung it down with both hands like an ax and broke it over Tim’s head.

Jello Biafra: They left him in a pool of blood. The worst thing I’d ever seen at a show in my life by far.

Toni DMR: I saw Tim’s head split open. His skin split and flapped down to his ears. Split his entire fucking head open. You could hear the collective gasp of everybody, “Oh my fucking god!” And then all hell broke loose.

Kelly King: I totally freaked out and attacked Doyle. I jumped onstage and landed on top of him, but he was a muscle guy and just pushed me off. Then Wes Robinson and all his security guys grabbed me and the band disappeared backstage. I was just completely hysterical. I had done coke and I was drinking heavily, smoking pot—so I was totally out of control. They were holding me against the wall, saying, “Okay, just settle down, just settle down.” And finally I was like, “Okay, I’m cool.” They let me go, so I ran back onstage and started kicking in the drum kit. They grabbed me again and Wes was complaining that he was going to have to pay for the broken drums.

There was a big pool of blood. I smeared my hand in it and wiped it on my leather jacket. I don’t know why. I was just completely out of my head. I ran to the back of the club and Tim was there. They were holding towels on his head. This big security guy put his hand out to stop me and I grabbed his fingers and bent them over backwards. They finally had enough and shoved me outside onto the sidewalk, and it was raining. I just sat down against the wall and started crying. Somebody handed me a Lowenbrau Light. I chugged it and got into the back of Sam McBride’s car. I held on to that empty bottle all the way back to Berkeley. I had never been so freaked out in my life.

Tom Flynn: They came back out onstage—just the singer and bass player and drummer. And they started trying to play again, but then people just started throwing bottles. Danzig looked over and said, “Well, fuck you guys,” and left.

Toni DMR: I think they ended up locking themselves in a room somewhere.

Rachel DMR: We were hanging out in the back alley by the church, waiting for them to come out with their equipment. But they got wind there was a mob out there ready to kill ’em.

Kelly King: I think Tim’s mom sued Wes, but she never tried to press charges. The Misfits got away with it. Wes never had to pay for anything and Tim almost got killed.

Greg Oropeza: This led to a ban of the Misfits, an informal agreement between bookers.

Jello Biafra: MRR went after him about it and put a rather nasty cartoon about them about the incident, changing the Misfits infamous hairdos into penises, drooping across their heads. Mr. Danzig is not known for a sense of humor.

Tom Flynn: KALX used to play the Misfits all the time. After that show I’m sure they had some sort of board meeting.

Aaron Cometbus: It wasn’t just that the Misfits bashed in Tim’s head. They had also busted into an exhibit at KALX, which at the time was located in UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, and stole a bunch of skulls, which totally jeopardized KALX’s existence. Then they spray-painted a bunch of “Fuck you, Berkeley faggots” stuff on the sidewalk outside of Universal Records. They added insult to injury.

Jason Lockwood: Timmy Sutliff wound up being my best friend. We would hang out between the tennis courts behind the junior high. That was one of those hangout spots for the East Bay punks. One day, Tim pulled a two-inch sliver of wood from the guitar out of his scalp. It was months after he’d gotten out of the hospital.

Greg Oropeza: We had a show at Club Culture in Santa Cruz with Samhain. I was one of the promoters, but had no idea it was Danzig’s band. When he walked in, I had a fit. I was yelling, “No way, they’re not playing!” pleading my case to my partners. Danzig came up to me and asked if he could talk to me down by the river for a few minutes. I thought maybe he wanted to brawl, but he just wanted to have a beer and explain his side of the story. We sat on the banks of the San Lorenzo River and he explained that the night at the Elite Club was the worst night of his life. He said he was horrified by his bandmate’s actions, and would never play with him again. He said it was all an act that went too far and regretted it deeply.

Kelly King: I was bummed out for years that nobody did anything. Doyle could have killed him. He’s lucky he didn’t.

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