Bobby Steele - The Undead
Most of us remember Bobby as the guitarist for the Misfits but the man is more than that, let the man himself reveal, who is Bobby Steele.
In your own words, who is Bobby Steele?
Starting with the tough ones – eh? It’s hard to say. I’m a fighter, and a survivor. I’m my own person, and I don’t let anyone influence my opinions – even when it means blacklisting. I like to have fun, and I try to avoid people who take life too seriously. I’ve come face-to-face with death, and spit in its eye numerous times – so I take every day as if it could be my last.
You have a band called The Undead, could you tell our readers alittle
We’re the band that launched one of the most famous Arts communities in the world – the East Village. In January, 1981, this now famous neighborhood was a wasteland. Even hardened criminals cringed at the mention of coming here. I’d been banned from the rest of the New York club scene – so I needed to start a new scene. I talked the owner of the speakeasy (an illegal bar) nearby, and convinced him that I could draw better than the jazz and blues bands he was booking. Within three months, A-7 was one of the most popular hangouts in New York, and the cast of Saturday Night Live were there regularly. That’s how it all started.
Within 2 months of our first gig, we were opening for the likes of the DEAD KENNEDYS, and were playing shows from New York to Philadelphia.
You were part of the legendary Misfits during the years 78-80, good
stories you could share?
I don’t know where to start. I’ve finally asked Joel, our current drummer – and a successful journalist – to help me write my book.
You’ve all heard EVIL LIVE, and what they said about me that night…. I’m preparing to release THE UNDEAD’s set from that show, and I think Fiends are going to have a whole new opinion of the MISFITS vs UNDEAD battle of the bands. Where the FITS sounded like total shit, THE UNDEAD sounds almost like a record, we were so tight.
The Undead have been around for 20 years, how do you see your bands
We just celebrated our 25th anniversary. I just turned 50…LOL… and I got really ill last year, and haven’t recovered yet. I won’t be strong enough to tour outside the New York area until 2008, and that’s when I’ll have the new album ready for release. In the meantime, I’m releasing a reissue of DAWN OF THE UNDEAD in July 2006; the Live December 17, 1981 album in October/November; a collection of unreleased ‘studio’ recordings for next spring; and a solo album of old standards sometime later… all as a buildup to the next all-new album.
What bands have influenced you in the past? And what new bands do you
I grew up on THE BEATLES, and original MOTOWN groups in the 60’s. In the 70’s I got into Alice Cooper and the N Y DOLLS. Jimi Hendrix was a major influence, too. I learned to sing by impersonating Bob Dylan.
As far as new bands – if they’ve got a major release, they suck. I look at this pussy-assed shit that’s being pawned on us as punk rock, and it makes me wanna puke. Actually, the most recent bands that I actually loved – were these four bands that played support for us in Derry, Ireland. I don’t think any of them were more than 16 years old –and it was the best experience I’d had since being banned from MAX’S Kansas City.
And there’s one band that I met in Barcelona – AZERO – that are excellent, too.
During your career you have toured alot, best and worst experience on the
The worst experience was our last European tour. We got stuck with this awful German guy, named Marcus… he’d boasted he had this tour van that sleeps 7, and has plenty of room for gear. And he said he had top notch grear. We agreed to pay him 150 Euros/day. On the first day, he showed up 12 hours late, in a broken down, very old Mercedes that could go faster than about 80K/Hr. We missed the first show. We would’ve made over $1,000 pounds if we’d done the show – the turnout was so big. We barely made it to the next show. He left the guitar amp behind after we played Sheffield. Then it got bad. He’d lost us quite a lot of money, because we were always late for gigs, and he refused to drive to some. He started driving very drunk. Money was low, and band morale was low. When we got to Spain, Marcus pulled into this small town – and told me I would have to give him 6,000.00 Euros, or he would leave me in the desert. Joey and Roxy didn’t back me up. Joey saw an opportunity for himself – and for the rest of the tour, I was a hostage – being forced to use my credit card to extract thousands of Euros. By the time the tour was over I had lost over $16,000.00. When we got home, Joey tried to steal my apartment.
There were a lot of favorite experiences… like playing the Holiday In The Sun Festival, in England, walking out to a huge, empty room – and by the time we got to the second verse of the first song it was packed with about 2500 people.
In the era of the internet, there are alot of rumours spreading around,
what is the funniest you´ve hear about yourself?
This one’s been going on long before the internet, but my favorite rumour, is that I died in 1981. I ‘died’ again in 1995, I was told. That put a real damper on my night, so I went home.
Alot of legendary bands are doing re-unions, what do you think about
I’m mixed. For instance – I always hated QUEEN, but a friend showed me the QUEEN+ Paul Rogers DVD, and it was great. THE MISFITS one is about the most ridiculous ever, but I really can’t knock what I saw of the Dead Kennedys with Brandon Cruz,other than to say it’s not the same without Jello. So much of them, for me, was his stage antics.
I’m just surprised Jerry wasn’t able to talk Marky into calling the band a RAMONES REUNION.
Punk rock has changed alot during the years, In your oppinion what is the
stage of punk rock today?
In the U S, it’s almost dead. The scene’s been taken over by rich kids and jocks. You can’t be a punk, not ever having been the odd man out. You can’t be a punk if life’s been easy and you’ve had it all handed to you.
Last but not least, your views on Jerry Only and his little circus
called the "Misfits"?
I think you said it well… it’s a circus. What’s really stupid about his greed, is that he doesn’t think. If he had any brains, he’d have realized that the smart thing would’ve been to release the Box Set, Static Age… and then the MAX’S CHRISTMAS original version; and not tour. By 1998, Glenn would’ve seen the potential, and a real reunion – of the 12 HITS MISFITS – with me and Doyle on guitars would’ve been possible. Instead of playing to 1,000 to 3,000 people/night, we’d be headlining arenas. We could’ve done one world tour and each of us would walk away with enough money to do our own thingAll text contained herein; © 2006-2007 Talesfromtheshadows. All Rights Reserved.