The Misfits Would Be Arrested on Halloween in New Orleans
Today on Rock N’ Roll True Stories they take a look at the time the punk rock band The Misfits were arrested for grave robbing in New Orleans on Halloween. . Check out the full story below
In 1982 the punk rock group the misfits released their first studio album Walk Among Us. Their first actual studio recording was Static Age, but that album took almost 20 years to release, but that’s a story for another time. Also happening around this time was that the band released their first Live record called Evilive in late 1982. During the same year the Misfits were on tour across America and had a stopover in New Orleans. Following their show in New Orleans the band members would be arrested. What happened?
On October 17, 1982 the Misfits were in New Orleans to play a show and following their performance the group and their opening act The Necros as well as about 30 of their hanger ons including stripers ventured out to one of the City’s historic cemeteries known as the Saint Louis Cemetery. The historic location is made up of three roman catholic cemeteries and most of the graves were constructed in the 18th and 19th century. The cemetery is notable because the graves sit above the ground and the cemetery is on the national list of historic places and part of the Lousiana african american heritage trail.
Why was the band there? Well the band members were on the search for stray bones and a nineteenth century voodoo figure known as Marie Laveau. Laveau was a hairdresser of mixed ethnicity and was well known for supposedly having psychic powers. Italso was said that she had inspired a 1970’s era marvel comics character of the same name. Unbeknownst to the band she was buried in Cemetary Number 1, but they were in Cemetary number 2.
It was late at night around 3 or 4 in the morning when the band and their entourage entered the cemetery. Members of a nearby housing projects could hear noise coming from the graveyard and called the police.
According to bassist Jerry Only a friend of the Misfits named Sky, who he described as “about six-foot, eight-inches tall, and weighs 350 pounds. He used to kill people in Afghanistan for money. He used to have us do stuff like unload guns to see who was the fastest with a revolver and shit.
After the show, he was like, “Hey, there’s a cemetery around the corner, let’s go.” It was all these old mausoleums above the ground. These little stone buildings where the bodies rot in a year. We pulled in around 3 or 4 in the morning in this bad section of town where there’s a murder every night. Before you know it, the cemetery is surrounded by cop cars, and all I hear is “Hey, Dracula, get your hands up on the wall!” We tried to run, but they flushed us out.
We weren’t bein’ destructive, just curious. But they weren’t playin’. They locked us all up. They stole my German daggers. They took all our cameras and left our vehicles open like we’d been robbed by locals. We spent the night in jail and got out of town. MTV had just started, and the next day we got a call that we’re on TV for grave robbing in New Orleans.
eyehategod singer mike 9 williams who was only 15 at the time was with the band the night they were arrested in the graveyard. He would recall
“We were there for what probably felt like half an hour, but was probably closer to 10 – 15 minutes before the cops surrounded the place. We saw the patrol cruiser searhlights and people scattered everywhere trying to get to their cars. I just happened to be at the edge of the cemetery where the cop cars were. That’s when they nabbed me and I saw them walking the Misfits over one by one Glen and Jerry in handfcuffs.
In total that night eighteen people were arrested, but the opening act the Necros were able to convince the first officers who arrived on the scene that they weren’t part of the trespassing party. Of the eighteen people arrested only fifteen could be charged since several were under the age of 18.
The underage members of the party would be bailed out by their parents while the misfits would spend the night in jail. According to bassist Jerry Only the band was given a choice. Go to court to fight the charges or plead guilty and play Florida to continue the tour so according to Only “We chose goin’ to the beach,
The morning following the arrest a local newspaper in New Orleans ran the headline Punk Rock Musicians arrested in cemetery. The article also mentioned how the band members wore “dramatic face paint” and how the band’s album offered a an opportunity to buy a t-shirt showing the moment president JFK was assassinated.
A month following their arrest the misfits returned to new orleans for their court hearing and were scolded by the judge and basically told to stay out of new orleans. And paid a fine of a few hundred dollars.
The band also lost one of their most prized possessions once their vehicle was seized the night of the arrest. They had brought along with them a set of free weights that were now missing after the police returned their van to them following the night they spent in jail. The police had left one of the doors open to the misfits touring van in the cemetery following their arrest possibly drawing some unwanted attention. It’s also possible the cops pillaged teh van. Not helping things was that the band’s touring van featured a giant drawing of spider mans face on the side door. What’s funny is that the band’s musical equipment in the van was left untouched as the thieves only seemed interested in the free weights or perhaps the cops