TASCAM: The Misfits formed in 1977, broke up in 1983, and got back together after 33 years in 2016. Talk about the beginnings and evolution of the band over the years.
Doyle: Well, in 1977, I was 13 and my older brother was in a band with Glenn (Danzig). When I graduated eighth grade, my brother brought me a guitar. Glenn showed me the bar chords, and my brother showed me the notes on the A string and the E string, the big strings. And that's all I've ever learned. By the time I was 15, I was recording with them.
TASCAM: The story of how you became the guitar player in the band is really unique.
Doyle: Well, their guitar player didn't show up to do one of the records. I was there because I was a roadie for the band at that time. I happened to have my gear there, my guitar and my amp, because it sounded better than his and he was going to play through my stuff for the recording. Glenn just looked at me and said, "Fuck it. You play it," and I played it.
TASCAM: Do you remember your first show with the band?
Doyle: I was 16. We played Irving Plaza with Screamin' Jay Hawkins opening. So here we are, what seems like eons later in 2016 and we’re playing places like The Forum in Los Angeles, which we sold out faster than any event there ever before. Including all those classic Lakers playoffs games and championships. We sold it out in like five minutes.
TASCAM: You guys sold out Madison Square Garden in New York, as well. Right?
Doyle: Yeah. We sold out the Garden. But The Forum was our first headlining arena show ever, and we sold it out in like five minutes. We did the Garden after that and sold out there too. We sold out the Prudential Center, the Allstate Arena. I can't even remember the names of the other places.
TASCAM: Talk a little bit more about the band getting back together in 2016 and the shows. Once things open back up for live events and concerts after the Covid-19 period, do you have any plans to continue doing the Original Misfits shows?
Doyle: Well, actually, we had a Misfits show booked for early May in Mexico. We were going to do a bunch of shows this year. We were looking at Halloween and doing a little run and all that. Right as the pandemic was spreading, I had my band, Doyle set to tour with Life of Agony. I flew all the guys in, rented the bus, had the driver drive it out here from Indianapolis. We loaded the bus, loaded the trailer, drove five miles down the road and got a phone call that the tour was canceled due to the Corona virus.
TASCAM: That’s had a big impact on all musicians.
Doyle: Yeah. I mean, all of us musicians are basically unemployed now. And it could be for up to two years. We don't know. I mean, my girlfriend's also a musician. And we're both just like, "Ow" right now. You know?
TASCAM: I wanted to ask you about the business, particularly with touring being on a hold for an indefinite period. You started out in '77 with The Misfits, and the business was very different then. At that time, tours were an expense that were used to basically promote the sales of albums and records. The recordings made the money, and the tours were kind of an expense to promote the album and get the album sales. Now, that's completely flipped around, where touring has really become the money engine of the business. Talk a little bit about that flip and how touring is now sort of the main focus, and a bit part of both The Misfits and Doyle’s business.
Doyle: My singer, Alex Story, from the Doyle band, he put it the best. "We're just a traveling t-shirt company using jingles to sell the t-shirts." It’s really frustrating because a lot of people illegally download music and don't buy it. They think, "Oh. It's just one. It's just one." The more you do that, the less these bands could make music, because now they have to go get jobs to survive. You know what I mean?
TASCAM: So touring really is the bread and butter for you.
Doyle: Yes, The only money we make is through touring, because streaming is such a fucking crime. I get so angry talking about it. Who the fuck are these people that come up with the streaming and pay us one-millionth of a cent per play? They are operating basically like a radio station. That's exactly what it is. It's a fucking radio station where you hear what you want to hear. So pay us radio station fucking rates. You know what I mean?
TASCAM: Sales of units, like CDs and vinyl, have almost gone away, right?
Doyle: Nobody buys hard copies anymore. I mean, luckily, I come from The Misfits, and all the fans are hardcore collectors. So I could put the same album out with 15 colors, and they'll buy every one of them. You know what I mean? They love it, and they'll buy the records. But you get all these other people, they don't buy them. It's horrible, man.
TASCAM: And the current state with the Corona virus has only made things worse, right?
Doyle: Yes. You know what I'm hoping happens from this virus? That the whole world realizes we have to stop eating animals and farming them, number one, and the fossil fuels and all this shit. We're just killing ourselves. We're just a parasite, and the planet's getting rid of us. That’s what's happening.
TASCAM: Very interesting that you mention that. Let’s explore that a little bit more about the animals. I know you’re an advocate for veganism and a strict vegan. Share a little bit more about your feelings about how eating meat is actually impacting our world moving forward, and what changes we need to make with that.
Doyle: We need to stop farming animals. You can't kill all these beings and have them all on top of each other in disgusting, dirty, filthy, germ-ridden, infected fucking places and then eat them. What the fuck you think's going to happen? You know? We're eating fucking antibiotics when we do that. We're eating hormones. We're eating fucking feces. There's feces, are all over those animals. They'll take the cow, cut it open. If there's cancer, they cut that little piece of cancer out, and they sell it, with the mentality that “you can't waste it. It's product.” It's fucked up. You know? We need to stop doing that, and we need to change the oil. The fuel has to change. We need to change the fucking fuel, and we'll be all right. You know? But everybody's got to do it.
TASCAM: So it’s a mindset shift that everybody needs to embrace.
Doyle: Hopefully, from all this, that all changes, and a lot more people go vegan. We're feeding all the animals all the fucking food, you know, and they're pissing and shitting everywhere. That shit's fucking toxic. We're killing ourselves with them. It's so stupid.
TASCAM: With a mindset shift, can good come out of this?
Doyle: I hope people appreciated entertainment more, movies, fucking music after this. Hopefully, they start buying music and realize, "Hey, this is a fucking job for musicians," because nobody's fucking working. We're all doing fucking livestream jam videos. You know what I mean? You like music? So come to shows, buy shit, support us. We need it. If we didn't have music in the time right now and movies, it would be a fucking apocalypse.
TASCAM: Let's switch gears for a second and talk a little bit more about the music, The Misfits reunion, and the start of your solo career in Doyle.
Doyle: The Misfits started again in '96. We got a new singer and a new drummer, and we made a couple records on Geffen and Roadrunner. And we toured for a while. Touring was good then. You know? We would play 1,500, 2,000 seats a night, sold out every night everywhere we went, so it was good.
TASCAM: Were you touring as a solo act, or with other bands?
Doyle: We would tour with Anthrax and Megadeth and all kinds of bands like that, and it was good. Then, that broke up, and then I started playing with Danzig again in 2004. And that went through 2013. On that tour, we'd do this Danzig and Doyle thing, and we'd do like a Misfits set. That went over well, and we kept doing it and kept doing it. Glenn called my manager and said he booked some shows, and my manager said, "Hey, Glenn booked some shows to do some more Danzig and Doyle."
TASCAM: What was your response to that?
Doyle: I says, "Tell Glenn I won't do it." I said, "I want to do The Misfits. It's time to do the Misfits. Tell Glenn, ‘you did Samhain (Danzig’s band), and you did Danzig. It's time to do the Misfits. I think it will be huge.’"
TASCAM: Were you touring as Doyle at that time?
Doyle: Yes, I was on tour with my girlfriend. She's the singer for a band called Arch Enemy, and they were playing in California, Los Angeles. Me and my manager took Glenn out to eat, had a meeting with him. I told him, "Yo, man, you did Samhain. You did Danzig. It's time to do the Misfits," and he didn't say no. He was just like, "Okay. Once we clear up a couple, a few things here, we'll get that done, and we'll talk about it." Then, I come back and tell Jerry, "Hey, Glenn's into it." Then, I go back and tell Glenn, "Jerry's into it." The next thing you know, they're calling me, saying, "Hey, we're doing some shows." I was like, "Fuck yeah. Let's do it."
TASCAM: So The Misfits did get back together, but eventually, you kind of went out on your own from there. How did the solo career evolve?
Doyle: I just started writing a bunch of music, and I put ads out for musicians in Los Angeles and on the East Coast. Got a lot of fucking try-out CDs, and the only one I listened to the whole thing was the one Alex sent me with his band Cancerslug. Every song was great, and his voice was great.
TASCAM: Did you reach out to Alex at that point?
Doyle: Yes, I just called him up one day. I had about 12 songs with no words. I decided that if I'm going to write music, I'm going to write in arranged music, and I'm not going to do something that is not my forte, which is vocal melody and words. I'm going to let somebody who's better than me do that, and he was great at it.
TASCAM: And he was open to that.
Doyle: Yes, he was. I called him. I said, "Hey, man. You want to write with me?" He's like, "Fuck yeah," and he goes, "Send me what you got." I said, "I'll send you one or two at a time so I don't overwhelm you. I want quality, not quantity." You know what I mean? He was actually walking into a Danzig show in Houston when I called him, and yeah, and then we started writing. We wrote for like four years.
TASCAM: That was for the “Abominator” album, right?
Doyle: Yeah. It was Abominator, and then we did the second record, which was called “Doyle II: As We Die.” We recorded them both at the same time on the TASCAM.
TASCAM: Talk a little bit about how the process worked, because it sounds like you did the music first, and then you brought the music to Alex to work on the lyrics. Talk a little bit about how you got those original music tracks down and how you got started using TASCAM gear to record.
Doyle: Well, in the '80s, I bought a 4-track TASCAM, and I started using that. It became so much easier to write songs. I didn't have to explain shit to the drummer, because I bought an Alesis SR-16 Drum Machine, and I learned how to program it. So instead of trying to explain it to the drummer who has no idea what the fuck I'm doing, I would program it and say, "This is how it goes." I'd just hand everybody the fucking song rather than try and teach it to them. You know what I mean? Then, I moved to the TASCAM 488, which was all the demos for all the Doyle records. I would send a CD to Alex with the instrumental tracks.
TASCAM: What would Alex do with the tracks?
Doyle: He would sing into the microphone on his computer in his car in the Walmart parking lot, because he had no gear! He had headphones from an airplane, only one side. Actually, he said it lagged, so he would have to sing in the wrong spot to line it up. I asked him, "What kind of gear you got?" He goes, "I don't have any gear." I'm like, "How the fuck are you doing this?" Then, he told me. I'm like, "Are you out of your fucking mind?" Then, I bought the TASCAM 2488, and I bought him one. So I could just send him the fucking CD, and he would have the tracks. Then, he could make his own mix to sing to, and he would sing it all in his fucking pajamas with his Chewbacca slippers on drinking a bottle of Jack in his kitchen!
TASCAM: Well, that's rock and roll for you! Based on this process, you sound like a DIY musician, somebody that likes creating music organically. Talk a little bit about your recording and writing process.
Doyle: Okay. What I do is I usually make riff recordings. I write a riff and put it in my phone. I got like 5,000 riffs in my phone. Then, I piece them together, or I'll write a whole song in one shot, which happens sometimes. I'll write it down. I'll say what the notes are on the recording so I don't have to figure it out, because if you don't put it down as soon as you write it, you forget the rhythm hand. You'll remember the notes, but the rhythm is the song, in the riff. You know what I mean? So I get them down, and then I sit there, and I program the drums, and I play the riff. I make sure the kick drum's right. I write all the drums. I write all the bass. I write all the guitars. I arrange the whole song.
TASCAM: And then it goes to Alex?
Doyle: Yes, I send it to him, and I write a list out of what each part is, so when he's listening to it for the first time, he doesn't have to figure out, "Is this the chorus? Is this the verse?” I write it out, "…Intro, don't sing. Riff, don't sing. Verse, sing. Pre-chorus, sing. Chorus, sing. Riff, don't sing." You know what I mean? Then, at the end, for the lyrics, I just write, "Do whatever the fuck you want." I let him have total reign of the words and all that shit, and he just does it.
TASCAM: And it obviously works!
Doyle: I don't take it away from him, because he's great at it. You know? Every time I send him something, it comes back, and I listen to it. It's a song I've never heard in my life, and I'm sitting there reading the words. I get the biggest smile on my face, because it's fucking amazing, and I don't hear me playing it anymore. Now, it's just a song I can actually listen to, because I didn't write the song. I wrote the music. And I don't hear the music anymore, because now it's a fucking song. So I get to enjoy it.
TASCAM: Right. It takes on a life of its own once you start adding the lyrics. So you've done the original tracks on the TASCAM 2488, with the guitar and the drums, and you've given it to Alex, and he's put on vocals. What happened with the song from there? How did the production process continue to get to a final product?
Doyle: From there, we go to a studio. I have guy, Spin Studios in Long Island City, New York. I go in there. We put all the CDs in. We'd lay all the tracks in, and we'd just start mixing it. You know? On the second album, we did live drums on it, so we brought the drummer in. We set the drums up. We did that, and then, sometimes, we'll do some vocals over. That's it. Then, we mix it, and we master it, and we put it out.
TASCAM: Okay. So your process at that time was pre-production on the TASCAM 2488, and then the final production went into more of a master studio environment where you have mastering equipment and things like that, where you can sort of begin to produce everything.
Doyle: Well, the guitars, bass, and vocals, usually, we keep it right from the TASCAM 2488. It's all done. We just put it in and mix it. I’m not an engineer or mixer. Like I said earlier, when somebody's better at something than you, you let them do it. You know what I mean? That's why I let Alex write all the words and stuff. He's better at it. You know? So I let somebody who mixes better than me mix it. I don't know frequencies. You know what I mean? I'll sit there and tell you if it's right or wrong and how to pan everything and what tracks should be where and this and that during the producing, but I can't EQ that shit. I don't know how to fucking do that. It's too much. That's too much to learn. I was going to learn all that. Then, I'm like, "I should be writing songs, not learning how to mix."
TASCAM: Let’s talk about your signature sound, including your custom Annihilator guitar, which you built. It’s a unique instrument, and also unique that you play through an Ampeg SVT, which is typically a bass rig. In the pre-production process of recording on your TASCAM 2488, and now with your TASCAM DP-24SD and DP-32SD, talk more about the process of recording the guitars.
Doyle: I set up my whole live rig, and I mic it for like a week. I'll play some. I'll be deaf. I'll go home. I'll come back the next day and do it again. You know what I mean? Move the mics around, play, wait until I'm deaf, then, I’ll be like, "Okay. Come back tomorrow and see what it sounds like." Because after a while, your ears are shot, you know what I mean?
TASCAM: Do you do this by yourself, or with an engineer?
Doyle: I'm doing it by myself. I go into the little booths I made. Then, I go back and move the mic, and then play and record it again. I use all eight tracks every time on the 2488. All eight mic inputs on the 2488, every time.
TASCAM: What mics are you using to record the sound?
Doyle: On the first two albums, I used all Shure 57 Betas. Now, I have the Sennheiser 421. I'm actually going to start recording for the next album very shortly. I'm setting up to record now.
TASCAM: Do you find the TASCAM 2488 and now the DP-24SD and DP-32SD easy to work with?
Doyle: Here’s my process. With all the TASCAM products I’ve had, if I open the book and read it, I’m like, "I have no idea what the fuck they're talking about." You just got to start in and start recording, and as soon as you come to something you need to know how to do, that's when you look it up. It’s very easy that way. It makes sense. Then, you just keep going.
TASCAM: Do you also use a computer and DAW for recording?
Doyle: No, I still don't own a computer. The reason I like using the TASCAM products is I want something that would work like a cassette deck that I can learn very quickly. I did learn it very quickly. The TASCAM gear is very easy to work.
TASCAM: What about EQ and things like that in the pre-production process?
Doyle: I don't even use the EQ when I record on the TASCAM units. Everything's flat. I mic it the way I like the sound flat, so I'm not fucking with any EQs. That way, I don't have to go back and fuck with this EQ or that EQ, you know what I mean? I don't have to remember anything. It's all fucking flat. You know? I get the sound I like. I get a good tone. When I record it flat, I can mix it.
TASCAM: Going back for a second, what was the first TASCAM recorder that you used, do you remember?
Doyle: I don't remember the name of it, but it was like 1987, I would say. It was a 4-track. Whatever that unit was, that's what I had.
TASCAM: And now you still use the 2488 for pre-production as well as the DP-24SD and DP-32SD.
Doyle: Yes, I have both, as well as the 2488. Right now, the DP-24SD is the one I have in America. My DP-32SD is in Canada. That's where I'm going to go record once they open the fucking border. I'm going to get the fuck out of here, go do it there. I haven't recorded a fucking thing yet. I'm still working on guitar sounds, so all I have is mics plugged in at this point.
TASCAM: So you’re testing out sounds.
Doyle: Yes, the record buttons are on, and I'm fucking around with shit, trying to get it so it's a sound I could track to very well and make a direct track. That way if I want to re-amp, I can bring all my amps to the studio, just set it up, plug it in, sit in the booth, and say, "Move the mic here and there," and get it right. You know what I mean?
TASCAM: Let’s talk about touring for a second. I know the Covid-19 pandemic has put things in limbo. You’ve had a bunch of dates re-scheduled, including a tour of Australia that was scheduled to go out in just a couple of weeks. What are your plans once things begin to open up again? Will you go back to international dates, or stay in the U.S.?
Doyle: We did reschedule the Life of Agony/Doyle tour for the States in September and the Australia tour for September, but I don't think that's going to happen. I don't think things will start opening up until maybe next June or the end of 2021, honestly. I'm going to go with whatever is happening. I mean, if the Misfits book a tour, that's what I'm doing. If the Misfits book anything, even if I have a tour, I’ll cancel my shit, and I go.
TASCAM: So The Misfits would become your priority over the solo touring and recording for now.
Doyle: Yeah, for right now. It’s because, with The Misfits, the shows are huge. The fans, there's so many of them. You know? It's great. You've guys like me and John 5, who play with Rob Zombie and Manson and the Misfits. We go out and tour together. It's maybe 1/10 of the people that come to the show come to see those other bands. They are really there for The Misfits. You know what I mean? It's crazy.
TASCAM: Talk a little bit about the audiences, both in the U.S. and internationally. I saw an interview where you had an interesting perspective on the differences in the audiences between Europe and Australia or Japan versus the US. And how the U.S. audiences seem a bit more jaded and entitled. Talk a little more about that.
Doyle: When you're playing in the United States, you look at the audience, and they're all kind of looking at each other for reactions. Like, "Is this cool? Am I allowed to like this? Should we get into this?" The U.S. audiences don't go off like European crowds do. Europeans are real music fans. That's why all the giant festivals are there. You know what I mean? There are all these promoters that try to do these festivals here in the U.S. We just don't do them, because here in the states, we don't know how to do the big festivals safely. Look as far back as Woodstock. People were getting raped and murdered. What the fuck is that? You do a whole summer in Europe, nobody gets hurt. You know? And the crowds are great, too. I mean, they go mental. South America, insane. They're insane. They go crazy. Mexico, great, great, great, great crowds. United States, not so much. You know? I'm not saying they're bad fans. They just don't go off at the shows like these other places do. You know what I mean?
TASCAM: You’ve toured all over the world. What are some of your favorite venues or countries that you've played in because of the fan response?
Doyle: Japan. Russia was great, Germany. I really like all the European countries. South America's insane. It's so crazy. Mexico's great. Australia, I've only been a few times. I like Canada, but I can't get into Canada with my band, because we're harboring the criminally insane, so we're not allowed in (laughs)!
TASCAM: Let’s talk a little bit about your lifestyle and commitment to veganism. You’ve even got your own Vegan protein powder that you sell on the website. Talk a little bit about the commitment to veganism from a lifestyle perspective.
Doyle: I was introduced to veganism in like '97. I ran into a friend of mine, Toby Morse, the singer of H2O, in Europe at a festival. He told me, "I got to get some fake bologna." I'm like, "What the fuck is fake bologna?" He's like, "I'm vegan, so I need this bologna. It's made out of tofu." He explained to me what veganism was. He's like, "I don't eat any animal things." I really got into it after that and the only thing I regret about being vegan is not doing it earlier.
TASCAM: So you completely changed your lifestyle and eating habits.
Doyle: Yes, after that, I was on tour with Danzig, and I met my girlfriend on tour. She was vegan, and we started dating. She came to New York, and we were running around in New York. I had to get her back to an airplane to go somewhere, and we were starving. So we're running around the city, and it's getting late. We're starting to panic, and she said to me, "If we can't find me something to eat, we'll find you something to eat." I was like, "Fuck that. I'll never eat anything in front of you that wigs you out," so I never did. Every time we'd go out to eat, I didn't know what anything was, so I would say, "Just order. I don't even know what these words are. I don't know what the fuck this shit is." Everything I had ever eaten that was vegan was so good, I would take a bite and look at her and go, "Holy shit!" You know?
TASCAM: So it’s not only healthy, but you also really like the taste of the vegan meals.
Doyle: Yes, that's what got me first, was the food. It's so much fucking better. It's so much better than processed meat food and shit. When I was a meat eater and I would go out to eat, so I went out to eat 10 times, 9.9 of those meals I thought sucked, and one was okay. I always wished I would have eaten at home. With veganism, I go to 10 vegan restaurants, 9.9 of them are great, and one of them is really good. You know what I mean?
TASCAM: How did your signature vegan protein powder come about?
Doyle: I got the idea because I got sick of paying for it. It's so fucking expensive. I'm like, "Why don't I just fucking make my own, and I don't have to fucking buy it anymore." You know? I was trying to do it for a couple years. I went to a few manufacturers. They sent me samples. It wasn't coming out how I wanted it, and then I started using this Conscious Muscle one. I started becoming friends with the guys, and they would send it to me and sponsor my tours with it.
TASCAM: And eventually you created your own version of the powder?
Doyle: Yes, we made our own company together, which is Vegan Monster Protein, and we have a whole different product than theirs. You know? I'm trying to make it more likable for people who eat Whey protein, because most others taste like milkshakes, because they're made out of milk. Mine has a fucking shit ton of protein in it, and it's great, man. We're coming up with two more flavors. We're working on the labels right now. I'm really excited about it, because that, to me, that's a bucket list thing, to have my own protein. I just can't wait to have it.
TASCAM: Before we end up, let’s jump back to the music and your influences and how you got started on the guitar. I read that an early influencer was Johnny Ramone. Talk a little bit about him as an influencer and then some of the other guitarists or performers over the years like Alice Cooper that have been real influencers on you.
Doyle: Well, before I played guitar, I listened to a ton of music. I would listen to Jimmy Page, and Joe Perry, and Ritchie Blackmore, and Mick Ronson from David Bowie and Alice Cooper. Those guys were great in Alice Cooper's band, and I loved the Alice Cooper thing. Pretty much, I look the way I look because of Alice Cooper. You know?
TASCAM: Were you into punk rock at the time you started playing?
Doyle: Yes, Once I started playing, of course, I was into punk rock at the time, so Johnny Ramone was a big influence. Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols was another. One time, I was doing an interview, and some guy told me, "Steve Jones sucks." I was like, "What the fuck did you say? I'm sorry. He's the best punk rock guitar player ever. What the fuck are you talking about?" Generation X, love that band. The guitar players are great in that.
TASCAM: But you count the Misfits as an influence on your playing style also, right?
Doyle: Yes, basically, my main influence was the Misfits, because I would watch them in rehearse in the garage. I learned to play guitar with a set of 16s on my guitar. It was like 16, 20 wound, 30, 40, 50, and 62. That was my gauge in E. That's how I learned to play. I'd watch those guys play, and it was all downstrokes, so that's what I played. To me, that's it. That's why I play the way I fucking play. You know? It's because of that, and yeah.
TASCAM: Do you consider yourself a guitarist first or a songwriter first?
Doyle: I'm influenced by great songs. I'm very impressed with people who can shred billions and billions of notes. I like to watch it and just be like, "Holy shit. Holy shit," but I would rather hear a nice melodic solo that moves in a good song than that. You know what I mean? That's impressive. I'm about songs, man. I like good songs. I want to write good songs. I don't care if I could play. You could be the sorriest sap in the fucking world. If you're playing good songs, you're the shit, man. You know what I mean? You can be the best guitar player in the world and play in a band with the fucking worst songs ever. What the fuck good is that? I always say it's called a “song,” not a “music.” It's a song. You know?
TASCAM: Thanks for your time Doyle. I hope this quarantine thing ends soon so you can get back to being out there on tour.
Doyle: Thank you so much, man, and thank you for the great TASCAM products. I love TASCAM!