Eric “Eerie Von” Stellmann may be the ultimate ascended fan. A high school student in Lodi, NJ in the ‘70s, he was pals with one Paul Caiafa, whose older brother Jerry was the bass player in a fledgling punk band called The Misfits, and so it was that Stellmann’s immediate social circle was ground zero for all horror-punk to follow. Caiafa eventually joined his brother in the band, under the name “Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein,” and eventually, Von himself would play bass on some Misfits recordings, moving on in 1983 with singer Glenn Danzig after that band’s breakup to form the similarly themed but darker and more metallic Samhain, and then Danzig’s eponymous metal band, who did very well indeed. (Small world: Von left Danzig in the mid ‘90s, and his vacated bass slot was eventually filled by Dangerous Minds’ own Howie Pyro.)
Like a lot of creatively inclined kids, the young Eerie Von was an avid photographer, and he amply documented The Misfits. As it was with all of the great punk rock photography, Von recorded images of great future significance just by dint of having been in the right place with a camera, but to say so is no slight to his talent—as you’ll see below, Von’s superb eye for composition and drama is undeniable, whether the band was posing or performing, and even in candids. Some of his images are very familiar to Misfits/Samhain/Danzig fans, and some have gone largely unseen, but they were collected several years ago in the book Misery Obscura: The Photography of Eerie Von (1981-2009), which has recently been reprinted in a deluxe hardcover by Bazillion Points. It’s an altogether nicer edition—sturdier stock, recalibrated color, and forewords by Killswitch Engage’s Mike D’Antonio and Minor Threat’s Lyle Preslar.
Bazillion Points have graciously allowed us to share a selection of Von’s early Misfits photos. Enjoy.
More Misfits after the jump…