Horror Business: Bellingham’s Misfits

Every Halloween for nine years in a row, Lance, Joe, Bo, and Derek converge at their practice space in a storage unit in the Alabama neighborhood of Bellingham, to begin assembling the components of a machine designed to rock Bellingham’s bar and all ages scene for one glorious Halloweekend. That machine, is Horror Business.

Horror Business has become a Bellingham institution. Lance, who also plays in the Bellingham band Caparza, used to work with guitarist Bo, and upon discovering their mutual interest in Misfits, they began discussing the possibility of starting a cover band. Joe, Bo, and Derek are three-quarters of the band So Adult, so they had previous experience playing with one another. Unfortunately, Joe won’t be joining the group this year due to schedule constraints, but regardless of the new lineup, Bo states, “Derek and I have been playing Misfits songs since we both got guitars,” so it seemed like a natural progression to perform a full set of Misfits material. But they don’t stop there.

This isn’t just a few guys playing some Misfits covers. Horror Business is about fully impersonating the band. In addition playing their shows in costume, they have studied recordings of live performances to hone the band’s skills, physical cues, and mannerisms. Bo states that “[Derek] does an uncanny Danzig impression.” “We’ve played in other bands around town, and people at the venue know who we are, but then we get there for Horror Business, and they’re like, ‘where you guys from?’”

In addition to their performance, the show itself promises to be a full on, riotous, horror punk, dancefest. According to Bo, “Halloween in Bellingham is absolute insanity. Breaking beer bottles, punching in the face, fake blood, and real blood have all happened, but none of it on purpose.”

Fortunately for Misfits purists, Horror Business only plays Danzig era Misfits songs. “The first year we thought about doing Dig Up Her Bones, or some of the other hits from Michael Graves… but we didn’t really feel like mixing the two,” says Bo. During our interview I mentioned that Misfits were playing at Studio Seven in Seattle in November, to which Lance replied, “that’s not the Misfits.” Derek adds, “You can’t go and watch the Misfits. You can see Danzig play with Doyle maybe, but it’s not going to be the same. You’ll never ever see the 1985 Misfits again… No matter what, if you saw Danzig singing Misfits songs, it would be in an arena, but we do it in a small club, and I think the close quarters produces a lot more energy. You can sing if you want, or you can get in my face.”

Currently the only show Horror Business has booked is Halloween night on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at The Shakedown, however they also plan to book an all-ages show some time near Halloween in Bellingham. Make sure that you see them because this is a once a year occurrence. “Expect to see our best
impression of the Misfits (circa 1980),” says Derek.