OFF THE SHELF—“King of an Empire to the Shoes of a Misfit”

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

King of an Empire to the Shoes of a MisfitFor many years I kept a journal. While a lot of it has become dirt and dust, I still have entries that date as far back as…well, when I was barely a man. After that I started writing live so that others can see it for no apparent reason than to solidify the idea that I’m a fucking madman…because I don’t care what people think any more. But that, of course, is not something I’m going to delve into with much detail in a book review. I’ve read, in later years, some of those old entries. I have come to the conclusion that much of what I wrote back then was utter shit. Much of what I write now is utter shit, still, but that’s besides the point. But back then I was a fledgling writer, barely with the sheen of green buffed off my cynical frame. While I may find some tidbits of decent verbiage in there yet, most of it will also become dirt and dust eventually. A journal is for personal reflection, after all.

Which brings me to wonder why Myke Hideous would publish King of an Empire to the Shoes of a Misfit, which is nothing more substantial than personal reflections on the journey of being the frontman for some bands. While some may find it enlightening as to just how fucked up touring can be for anyone who is longing for the rock star way of life, it is run through with pedantic scrabblings and uninteresting (to anyone but the author) reflections.

Myke Hideous is/was the frontman for Jersey’s The Empire Hideous, a gothic rock outfit that began in the late 80s and continued into the 90s. Empire has appeared at quite a few clubs and it’s not surprising that you would know the name if you were anything part of the scene at this time. Chances are you might have bumped into Myke during a romp through Newark’s Pipeline, or NYC’s Limelight or The Bank. Chances are I have and didn’t know it. Building up a following for their flair of on-stage antics, scenes of self-mutilation and introspective lyrics, The Empire Hideous went on to build themselves at least a little notoriety in the day.

But what I found most interesting is the movement of Empire’s Myke Hideous from the front runner of Empire, which disbanded in 1998, to the frontman of The Misfits. Yes, really – Danzig’s early punk band of almost invasive notoriety. Was I a Misfits fan? Of course I was, at least passively. It was hard not to be as part of the scene I was in. I didn’t know Myke Hideous fronted for them, probably because I started listening to other bands by then. But it’s true…Myke fronted for them as they toured Europe and South America as the band attempted to regain lost fame after Glenn Danzig left years before.

It was at this point of Myke’s memoirs that it did become more interesting as a book. While it got a bit boorish with woe-is-me style verbiage, admittedly it is a journal and memoir of a person so you do need to expect that. The trials of touring are heavy indeed, and I won’t pretend to know more than the occasional U-Haul trip to a local dive. I won’t attempt to know what it’s like to lock up your entire previous life in storage, leave your cats at a friend’s and jump on a plane not to come home for months as you tour on a never-ending trip through hell and Europe, hitting country after country and playing club after club. From small 200+ crowds to huge stadium-level festivals, Myke gave The Misfits his all as a lead singer for the group only to be pretty much fucked over by the Misfit Machine of Jerry Only.

But did it need a book? That’s the question. If you’re a fan of Myke Hideous’ and/or his work with SpySociety99, The Empire Hideous and/or The Misfits, you’re going to pick this book up from 1st Books Library whether I say so or not. And maybe if you are a big fan of his, then this book is quite what your after – the memoir of a man whom you admire as an artist. But being only vaguely familiar with Empire and SS99, and not even aware of Myke’s trip as fronting for The Misfits, it was only mildly interesting and gave me a little bit of what it’s like to tour – but shot through with ramblings that are only interesting to the man that wrote them.

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“King of an Empire to the Shoes of a Misfit” by Myke Hideous
Published by 1st Books Library
Copyright © 2002 by Myke Hideous
ISBN: 1-4033-8024-4

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