The Misfits Restoration Project

The misfitsMisfits sound quality is awful on all formats. It’s frustrating. In theory, you should be able to go follow up any fast heavy song with “Where Eagles Dare.” But you can’t because, in comparison with almost any other punk or hard rock songs, it’s a delicate raindrop.

The Misfits recorded their classic albums over 30 years ago during rushed sessions in discount studios. They were largely unknown while they were together and that their post break up popularity is mostly due to Metallica covers. But other equally old and obscure bands have much better sounding music. As a random example, Rose Tattoo’s debut album has Dark Side of the Moon-level fidelity compared to the Misfits.

And while Rose Tattoo is a good, dirty Australian boogie metal group, the Misfits are American treasures. They deserve better.

Somehow the Misfits didn’t benefit from the ‘90s re-mastering mania when record labels polished up their back catalogs for CD. Supposedly the songs were re-mastered they were collected for a box set in the ‘90s (shaped like a coffin!) but you would never guess that from hearing them.

But they still sound like they were dredged up from the Titanic, probably because they were remixed by Glenn Danzig and Tom Begrowicz. Begrowicz is evidently a huge Misfits fan and has archived and curated demos, photographs and band history for decades. He sounds like a total chiller but not exactly the professional sound-scaper a project of this importance requires.

I am not a recording engineer but judging from information on Misfitscentral, sessions it sounds like the band used professional equipment.

The Misfits recorded “live in the studio” directly onto two-inch multi-track tapes, usually with 8 or 16 tracks. A multi-track tape plays and records in only one direction and has a certain number of tracks or channels onto which music is recorded. For instance, a song on an 8-track tape might have three tracks devoted to guitars, one for bass, one for vocals, one for drums, and two for background vocals. Multi-track tapes include almost everything recorded during the session, from the band talking to alternate takes of the songs.

Sounds like there should be enough there to work with. Unless there isn’t? Anybody know better and want to set me straight?

Do I need to do a kickstarter for this or something? I feel like I shouldn’t. Can’t alleged Misfits superfan Rick Rubin give an intern $50 to turn some knobs?

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