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Articles Home » Music Talk » Michale Graves Interview
Michale Graves Interview

Michale Graves

Interview by: Nina McCarthy. Sr. Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio


I had a nice time getting to know Michale (and his band) when they played The Cove in Worcester, MA on the last night of their “The Beginning of End” Tour.  I enjoyed the in-depth discussion with Michale and Loki (Carlos Cofino, guitarist and Tour Manager) followed by some delicious meatballs and salad that some dear friends had brought them.  The show was incredible.  Make sure to catch them at a venue near you!




It was weird that I was at a local show last night and band covered “Dig Up Her Bones.”


CC:   That was a sign right there.


MG:  I like when life does that.


You were a 19yo NJ skater kid, how did you end up trying out for the Misfits?


MG:  That's a pretty good description.  Right place, right time.  I was in a band called Mopes and we were in the area and we were recording a demo in the studio in Lodi, New Jersey and the guys from the Misfits (Jerry and Doyle) were working on a project in the same studio.  They had worked there since they were kids.  Everybody knew each other in Lodi.  I was working on some vocals one day and the owner, who was also working on the demo stuff with me, simply said the Misfits were looking for a singer and that I should give them a call in order to audition and so I did.  There's a longer story, but that's it in short.


Then the rest was history.  What led you decide to join the Marines?


MG:  All the same things that most other people who join the military and take an oath. There's a couple reasons. From where I had come from at that point music had really dried up for me.  It was very hard to pay my bills and make a living and to put all the pieces back together and project out to a place where I'd be able to have a life that I wanted to be able to have.  I was in love and I was going to get married.  I wanted to have children and I didn't want to live in a small apartment for the rest of my life.  For lots of reasons I looked to the military: for that kind of support, and I looked to achieve excellence and I looked at it as a way to escape and get the hell out of the music industry and everything else I had been a part of.  It was a difficult time in my life.  It's a difficult time in my life to talk about.  It was a bit tumultuous.  I always tell people that none of that valour is mine.  It was a very crazy time.


After the Marines, obviously you didn't plan on going back into music then?  Was it something that was just in your heart and you were destined for it?


MG:  I really didn't know what I was going to do and what I wasn't going to do.  When I came home, because of my status with the military, I was given an option and I could have went into the service and serve full time, because I signed up as a reservist, and again, I was getting married and it was a hard decision.  You're looking at, I can go off to war or I can continue down this road in music that wasn't very fulfilling and I was miserable at.  I kind of stumbled forward and what I actually did, because I'm a spiritual man, I prayed about it and life led me into Burton County EMS Academy, where I became a medic for awhile and I held other odd jobs.  Eventually through that, from responding to car accidents and everything else I was doing at that time, led me to see where I would probably fit best in the world, by a set of odd circumstances and leading me into it.  My life is very Forrest Gump.  I'll give you an example and I'll bookend what I just said.  So, I'm in the car with my mother and we're driving somewhere and I have all these big decisions on my mind and one of them was, “Do I go to the EMS Academy?  Do I become a medic?” I was very interested in heavy rescue, which I eventually went into.  I turned to my mother and we're talking as we're driving, a car is coming down the road, in a town that my father is Chief of Police in, and literally flips over right in front of us.  My mother is a trained First Responder as well, pulled the car over and we jumped out of the car and extracted this guy from the car.  I'm thinking, “Maybe that's God saying, ‘Maybe you should go into this.’”  Going through that and working in that field, again what am I supposed to go, what am I supposed to be, leads to the story that I tell about me responding to the man who gets hit by the train.  It hit me that day in the back of the ambulance that my place in the world was to get to people before they stepped in front of the train.  And like I was told by a lot of guys back in the military, “Perhaps your place is fighting a different sort of war.  We got this with the bullets and the bombs.  Maybe you should divert your attention to this.”


That's very interesting because I was can EMT and I can certainly relate.  However, I never thought of helping people before they get to that point.


MG:  Before they get to that train! There's gotta be somebody there beforehand.


I read there were two reasons why your latest album was called When Worlds Collide.  What are those two reasons?


MG:  I didn't know that I gave two reasons.  There's lots of different allegories that I could extract from that.  Again, the first thing that comes to my mind is, my regular life, the bit of me that is Michael Emanuel and this crazy world of Michale Graves, and those two worlds colliding.  I notice a lot of duality in my life, so it's most reflective of that.


I think the other reason I read was the band around you, the history of all the musicians around you.


MG:  It's possible.


Tell me about the sequel to “Cry On Sat Night,” “Dying on Sunday Morning?”


MG:  When I wrote that song it never really had a specific narrative and it's not specifically about somebody.  It's representative of something dying, whether that's a feeling, emotion, a season in your life that is now past and gone.  It's like a spell that evokes grief and you don't necessarily know what it is and you just kind of feel it.  So, “Dying on Sunday Morning” is that same, that haunting, those times when you just sit by yourself and maybe there is something eating at you that it is literally eating at you where you are afraid to wake up in the morning and that third or fourth thought is going to be that thing.  So, “Crying on Saturday Night” / “Dying on Sunday Morning” is the encapsulation of that, for me at least.


Nine out of the eleven songs on When Worlds Collide were inspired from classic horror films.  The other two, “Dying on Sunday Morning” and “Diabolical” are the only two that aren't.  Tell me a little about “Diabolical.”


MG:  I wrote “Diabolical” when I was still in Little Rock, Arkansas.  I was doing very different work than I do as a musician and I was researching the Ebola virus and gathering information and data and there was this journal that was kept by a doctor that was treating patients.  Reading what the Ebola virus was doing to this patient was one of the most horrifying things I have ever read in my life.  The lyrics to that song are literally word for word what this doctor was saying about this patient, literally just melting away and dying and it was terrible.  Using that allegory to talk about the old story of a woman breaking a man's heart and she's viewed as so diabolical in your life that you're just melting down from it all.


When I was listening to it I was like, “Wow, he's talking about the skin literally melting off someone's body!”  That's intense.  Now, you are coming to the end of “The Beginning of The End” Tour, playing over 80 shows and criss crossing across the US.  What made you decide to do this tour?


MG:  It's really important for me at this point in my career that I raise the optics on the band and me as a performer and show the world and the industry what I'm capable of onstage in a genre that is still kind of underground in an industry that's kind of flatlined.  The band that I have and that Loki and I tend to, we believe can hang with any band out there.  We know that we can perform and that we are performing at a very high level.  I'm doing things onstage and I'm performing and singing the best I have in my entire career.  We believe that it's important to play and get in front of as many people as we possibly can and that's what we're doing.


Can you describe a typical Michale Graves live show and how you want people to feel when they leave.


MG:  Non-stop power, that's how it's described.  Non-stop power from the first note.  We bring you into this world that's narrated by myself and we introduce all the different characters in the songs.  There are classic Misfits songs, there's solo material that I have written, there's songs that span the  20+ year career that I've had and we just keep going, and going, and going.


You want to make a documentary about this tour, correct?


MG:  Yes, I am working on a documentary.  I am writing a couple of different film projects and one of them is a documentary about this tour and from that I'm developing the different characters, the Scarecrow Man, The Gas Mask Man, the Crimson Ghost character, the Lost Skeleton character and they are actual characters that are placed in the stories and the storylines of the songs that appear everywhere in all the works that I do.  So, I'm weaving a story and introducing and developing those characters through video and film.


That will be interesting to see.


MG:  I am also writing a film called Snake Farm that has nothing to do with music.  It's awesome.


I know you are continuously writing. Do you have certain point in the future that you think you'll feel like it's time to retire or are you going to rock until you can't rock anymore?


MG:  I'm definitely going to keep rocking until I can't rock anymore.  I love to write.  The compulsion, if you will, to communicate and be an artist and stand onstage, that fire is still burning.  I know I haven't achieved all that is slated for me.  I haven't reached the destiny point yet.  There is still more in store for me, I'm just getting started.


CC:  He's going to go until I retire.  His career is in my hands.


MG:  That's right!  But I'll be honest with you, as soon as I get to a point where I can scale back and not tour as much.  I have children and this life takes one away from those that you love physically for great amount s of time.


I watched an interview and you were saying how you were explaining to your children why you needed to tour and the greater good you were doing, so that they understand that.


MG:  Yes, now they are old enough to ask me.  My five year old asked me the other day, “ Daddy, why can't you get a job like so and so’s dad and you'd just be up the street?”  You can answer that in one way or explain it like I do.


Yeah, that was precious. Do you have any closing words?


MG:  I do.  I want people to take us as an example of how to live your life.  When you look back over all the things we've done, there are a lot of catastrophes in the timeline of Michale Graves.  I want people to remember that I and that WE live our lives, not as victims but as victors.  We live lives of victory and it's not how bad it is when we lost all our gear or this guy got hurt.  It's not about that, it's about how far we have come from those very dark places where we've had nothing and we dusted ourselves off and looked at each other and said, “Let's do this.  We're going to be alright.”  That's how we want to be remembered.


There's always a point in this business where people hit rock bottom and have to bounce up and carry on or give up.


MG:  Isn't that the truth?


CC:  I also want to add that this tour is ending, but in 3 short weeks we get to go right back out.  We're going to UK for 2 ½ weeks.  We come home from that, take a month off and Michale starts an acoustic tour that he's going to be doing for about a month.  Then after that, we're going back to Europe, do mainland Europe and Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Czech.


Non-stop, just like the show!


CC:  Then we're going to South America and then we're going to tour all of Canada.  The beginning of 2018 is going to be very busy. We are going to tour more of the world than we ever have.  It's going to be the world's first taste of what we have going on here.


You haven't toured Europe at all?


MG:  I did with Marky Ramone and also with the Misfits twenty something years ago.


CC:  So this is the first time those people will get to hear him sing those songs without the Misfits and with a band backing him.  2018 is going to be a whole lot of us reaching out to the world and getting out there.


I bet you'll have an amazing response over there.  I hear it's completely different.


MG:  It's going to be something!


I appreciate your time and safe travels.  I will be looking forward to your next time in New England.


For tour dates and more info:







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