MISERY OBSCURA is a monolith of a photographic documentary covering three decades of time as seen from the unique perspective of Eerie Von, through his eyes and camera lens. To the fans, Eerie has been a relatively mysterious individual who stands at stage left, sometimes impending, largely staying to himself delivering a throbbing bottom end to what’s usually the best performance of the night. His presence upon first meeting is intense, as he’s an incredibly charismatic individual. So as a fan, it’s a bit curious to read his words, being so candid as he begins the adventure as an enthusiastic 16 year-old fledgling photographer summoned by his high school fiends, the Misfits, to come shoot promotional images of the band. The first of such, actually, for the band and Eerie. His stories about his early photo shoots with the Misfits convey a description of an evolution that both he, and the group of eager artists, might’ve been vaguely aware of, and the impact of the events that were transpiring around them. At the same time, he’s probably not so aware of the growing impact he’ll have as an artist in his own right, proficient in a multi-media capacity.
Before actually reading the first word of MISERY OBSCURA I decided to open the book with my eyes closed and point to a random page to see where I’d land. There was a page of photographs that included a great happenstance live shot of the Misfits’ Doyle whipped around with an apparent expression of rage fighting to surface. It turns out he was checking the set list out as he played. The two-fold takeaway is: 1) pictures aren’t a reliable form of definitive information 2) that MISERY OBSCURA is going to be full of coolest shots of some of the most influential rock bands that most people probably haven’t seen yet. It turns out that it was the case. The stories that pair up with the photos grab your attention and challenge you to refrain from thumbing through to simply look at the pictures.
Through it all, we’re able to stand as silent witnesses, retrospectively. He caught it all while he was living it. Highly exclusive shots that include pivotal live performances of the Misfits and Samhain, the largest comprehensive collection of photos galvanizing his own first band, Rosemary’s Babies, the first ever Samhain stills taken in Glenn Danzig’s apartment, shots from the first Danzig recording sessions, the list goes on. MISERY OBSCURA might be a proverbial view from the front row much of the time, but that’s only from the point of view we’re used to, as fans. Through MISERY OBSCURA, Eerie allows full access with a complete dissection of the years on the road, backstage, and behind the scenes of a rich life and career that helped shape the history of modern popular music. How many people get similar opportunities to produce such raw and profound art in the moment that definitive cultural events are taking place?
MISERY OBSCURA was originally released in 2009 by Dark Horse. Bazillion Points is responsible for this enhanced reissue. You can purchase MISERY OBSCURA through Aggronautix by clicking here.