DOYLE WOLFGANG VON FRANKENSTEIN
Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein stands 6’3,” and is like a creature that stepped off of the screen, cut camera to his ripping the screen open, as he keeps playing his massive electric guitar; large heeled boots, no shirt, with abs bulging out, his masculine face painted white, and a black devil's lock hanging down in front of his nose. Yes, it is a show. Yet, he can play rocking guitar. There is music going on here. His persona has been this way for a while, so if you don't like it, well, you can just....Let me explain.
The 1970’s was a decade of scary films: Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Exorcist, Halloween, Scars of Dracula, to name just a few. Doyle and his brother must have been hooked. Out of this decade spawned a band called the Misfits. Bam! This band created a new sub-genre out of Punk Rock, Gothic Punk. This brand of punk featured horror film themes, punk rock, and imagery. The Misfits were made up of: Glenn Danzig on keys and vocals, Jerry Only (Doyle's brother) on bass, and drummer Manny Martinez.
For six years the band released singles and albums, until one day, Jerry Only asked his brother, Doyle, to join the band as their guitarist. Soon after, successful albums of theirs were Walk Among Us in 1982, and Earth A.D./Wolf's Blood in 1983. To put it plainly, the Misfits had their footprints cemented in “hardcore punk” in the early 80’s.
By 1995, the Misfits still had Only and Doyle, and the new band members were singer Michale Graves, and drummer Dr. Chud. The band released the albums, American Psycho in 1997, and Famous Monsters in 1999. The band dissolved by 2000.
What did they sound like in the 80’s? You can tell that the Ramones came out of the 70’s along with this band. Rebellious punk, shout choruses, pumping straight four beats, and something any college kid would want to scream and dance to for hours. By the 90’s, the Misfits slowed down their sound a bit, added darkness and depth, and still had driving beats, and the shout backups; always, with Doyle’s ballsy riffs stringing the songs together.
By 2005, Doyle created his own band for the album, Gorgeous Frankenstein, and moved to Las Vegas. He continued on; cutting through with driving riffs, and the dark-toned song creations of steel on wood. In 2013 Doyle created his solo album Abominator. His new band was called, Doyle. He also had Alex Story (of Cancerslug) work with him as the lead singer. Also, Dr. Chud of the second-era Misfits on drums, and "Left Hand" Graham on bass.
Doyle's latest album, As We Die, features: Alex “Wolfman” Story again on vocals, Doyle on guitar, Wade Murff on drums, and Brandon Strate on bass. The album is a rocking blend of tunes like Hope Hell Is Warm, with Alex’ signature screaming vocal. Lyrics are dark and pointed, like “Run for your life, fight to survive, your only hope is to die.” Their singles are catchy. Headhunter and Land of the Dead is an assault of riffs, while Dreaming of Dead Girls, is dark, catchy metal. At a live show, fans enjoy Alex and his wild undertones, like when he says things like, "I'm dreaming of dead girls (laughing)," and breaks into that title tune, as fans laugh. The crowds dig him, and like watching Doyle's show, too. As for this latest alubm, Love Me Like Murder, clearly pays homage to the Black Sabbath sound. The album is infectious, and catches you off guard.
Here are some facts about Doyle, though I didn't ask him about it, so suck eggs, here it is:
Doyle’s real name is Paul Caiafa.
He was born in Lodi, NJ. (Lodi, NJ is a small town you can drive through in minutes).
On September 2016, for the first time in 33 years, Danzig, Only, and Doyle reunited for two headlining shows at Riot Fest, also with drummer Dave Lombardo and second guitarist Acey Slade. They reunited again in New Jersey, in 2018.
Doyle’s former wife is Stephanie Bellary, from the champion wrestling tours, also called "Gorgeous George," or "George Frankenstein." They were married for about 12 years, and have a daughter, Boris.
Doyle has a 20 lb. custom made guitar he calls the “Annihilator” (it is heavy)
Doyle is very anti-drug, alcohol and tobacco.
Doyle also has three sons (Isaac, Pauly, and Louis); referred to as “the sons of Frankenstein.”
The album was independently produced and released by Doyle's own Monsterman Records.
Doyle started dating Arch Enemy, vocalist, Alissa White-Gluz in 2014. They are still going strong.
Here is how our interview went:
During a busy week, we had a schedule conflict when this went down. The email got to me marked “Urgent: The band's name is: DOYLE, aka…Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein." I reread that part. I read it again.
I did my research, and it was interesting. I like Dracula movies, I like old horror films. Why is this guy's face painted white? He is 6'3," why wear platforms? Oh, right, Frankenstein, I get it. His rock persona was created by him during the 80’s with the Misfits and he has kept it since.
I have to admit, I was a bit nervous. Here is why: He didn’t want for us to ask him questions about his ex wife, the Misfits, or even his latest album cover (what could I really ask him about with that, how his eyes are glowing)? We get calls from PR people a lot. We were not used to barriers like this. Not asking about the Misfits would be tough. Especially since he made his name through that band. I decided that I just wanted to crack his shell. I mean, he has a devil lock hanging down the front of his face, and man, his rock persona screams “notice me,” while his personality is subdued and more in line with a tough New Jersey guy. One thing ran through my mind as I did this interview, something my dad used to say (his having been from Patterson, New Jersey), “You can take the man out of New Jersey, but you can’t take the New Jersey out of the man.” Very true, read on.
ME: Hey Doyle! How’s it going?”
ME: (seems nice, cool) Where are you?
ME: Nice, how is it going in Oklahoma?
DOYLE: I haven’t left the bus yet (laughs)
ME: (laughing) So this might be like a country tune, I get to talk to you while you sit on a bus in Oklahoma?
DOYLE: Yep.(Ok, Doyle, my joke is bad, let's move on).
ME: We’re really glad that we get to talk to you tonight, and congratulations on the As We Die album, and the tour. This is Tru Rock Revival, I don’t know if you knew that. The new album sounds very cool, rocking!
ME: This is the online magazine, Tru Rock Revival.
DOYLE: Oh. (Did his PR person give him our info?)
ME: (ooh....This is a tough one and he is speaking quietly.) Ok, Let me turn up the sound so I can hear you. How is the As We Die tour going?
ME: Do you prefer Europe or the US better, what do you like about each?
DOYLE: I like the shows and the crowds and the people better in Europe, and I like the convenience of Walmart in the United States.
ME: (laughing) Do you like the midnight people at Walmart, I myself find them interesting?
DOYLE: Um, I don’t know. We wake up there, go to the bathroom, get a little to eat.
ME: Do you like Walmart or Target better?
DOYLE: Target is fine, I just don’t like the United States.
ME: Do you think Metal is received better in Europe?
DOYLE: Yah, it is received better everywhere but here.
ME: What has happened to Metal over here, from the 90’s on, do you think?
DOYLE: Cell phones. Everybody ignores the shows, nobody goes. And when they do they just record it.
ME: Monsterman Records, your label, are you signing other artists on there now?
DOYLE: Yah, we signed a couple of artists.
ME: Can you tell me about who you have signed?
DOYLE: I won’t.
ME: (I wanna freak him out, and start loudly whining as a joke, but I don't). We’ll just have to find out, huh?
ME: What style are those bands doing?
DOYLE: I don’t really handle that part of it. I just do my thing.
ME: Were you a roadie before?
DOYLE: When I was a child, yes.
ME: How old were you?
DOYLE: Let’s say, age 13.
ME: How did you get that?
DOYLE: I just did it for the Misfits.
ME: How old are your kids?
DOYLE: 21, 19, and…17.
ME: When you look back, could you see your kids doing that, too, ever?
DOYLE: Not at that age, no.
ME: How were you able to do it?
DOYLE: I think I was born a MAN. Full grown.
ME: Interesting. What was your first moment that you knew you had to be in rock music?
DOYLE: I don’t remember, I just always liked to be around music. I didn’t have any friends so that’s all I did, I just listened to music.
ME: Why no friends? Shyness?
DOYLE: All of that, and the maturity of my age.
ME: I think maybe in the Arts -musicians can seem that way, or feel removed. When did you first realize you had made it, that a-ha moment?
DOYLE: I was touring with Megadeth. I’m playing, and I see my shadow all the way on the wall.
ME: You just forgot it was you?
DOYLE: I don’t know, I look out and I see my big shadow.
ME: Must’ve felt wild. You wear makeup, why the white makeup on your face? Does it help you, how does it make you feel?
DOYLE: It is just, that is the way that I think it should be done. The way I look, the way I play, the way I sound, is the way I think it should be, so that is what I do.
ME: Have you ever had anything with a fan, over the years, that was a wild encounter with a fan ever?
DOYLE: Um, not really, I mean, you’ll get annoying fans, asshole fans, fans that want for you to punch them in the face.
DOYLE: They don’t say it, but they make you do it.
ME: Have you had people hold you back from doing that?
ME: What is the worst thing a fan can do to you, that would get you to go through the roof like that?
DOYLE: I don’t know, man. They think they can touch you, and hit you, and grab your guitar while you are playing and ….they think that they can do whatever they want. I’m a musician and not a prostitute. I don’t go to their job, jump around and touch their shit.
ME: Personal space, I get it. So you wouldn’t go jump into the audience, body surf or do that, right? (throwing him a joke)
DOYLE: If I go into the audience, it’s to kill somebody.
ME: (laughing nervously now, eh, did NOT expect him to say that) But you love them anyway, right?
DOYLE: (no response)
ME: So, let’s say you are a fan, and you run into someone you idolize, have you had this happen a lot?
DOYLE: Of course, but they usually know my name first.
ME: Have you gone over and told them that you liked them?
DOYLE: I did that to Ace Frehley, and then I felt bad that I did it.
ME: I hear a dog barking, (damn I never got to ask him why he was upset about Ace, but you fans can ask him) is your dog on the bus?
DOYLE: Our singer’s dog is on the bus.
ME: OK... Speaking of singers, how is your girlfriend doing, how is her music going? Do you get to see her? Is that easy or tricky?
DOYLE: Well, with this long, stupid tour we’re doing....I saw her Thanksgiving, and I’ll see her at Christmas - cause we will be off. I’ll see her the 22nd thru the 24th.
ME: Great, glad you guys can do that. So, what is your typical routine each day? Fans like to know it. How is your schedule on tour?
DOYLE: I wake up, I have coffee and oatmeal, I shit.
ME: (Wait, what?) OK, I didn’t ask you, but thank you for sharing that with us.
DOYLE: Ah, then I shave, I do crunches, and I work out. And, after that, I eat, I put on makeup on for 4 hours, and I do the show.
ME: How do you deal with getting restless?
DOYLE: It’s a job, you get up and do it.
ME: What keeps it interesting, do you explore the towns, or relax, ever, and have down time?
DOYLE: I won’t do that on the road - unless I’m with my girlfriend, cause otherwise I could care less. (Aw, he is about sharing with her)
ME: How about the design of your guitar?
DOYLE: I made it from scratch, and I make my shit the way I want it to be. Also, my own speaker cabinets, I make as well.
ME: What are you proud of that makes it easier for players, with your style of guitar?
DOYLE: I don’t know what makes it easier, it is designed for me.
ME: I know nothing about designing guitars, so when you go about doing it, what are some aspects you would warn about, or some basics in how to approach it?
DOYLE: Well, it all depends on the shape of the guitar. It is mathematical, like building a chair. If the neck is off, then the bridge is off, or the nut is off, it throws it off. All of it is whatever you wanna do.
ME: It looks beautiful, how light is that?
DOYLE: It is not!
ME: How many lbs. is it?
DOYLE: Close to 20 lbs.
ME: Whoa man, but you’re in shape, so it works out.
ME: What drives you to do music? Tell me some things. Or do you not think about it?
DOYLE: Basically, when I meet people who just go to a job and come home, it is not interesting to me, it makes me have nothing to talk to them about if they have no goal. I mean, if you have no goal in your life to do something, or you aren’t a musician, I really can’t have a conversation with you.
ME: So, you like being in that arena, and staying in that arena, and that’s it for you?
DOYLE: Well, I love music, and I like doing it, and it's better than working some shit job.
ME: Has music healed you, or helped you grow, do you think?
DOYLE: I guess so, yah.
ME: Can you maybe explain some ways it has?
DOYLE: I can’t. (Aw, we were just getting somewhere.)
ME: OK, I figured I‘d ask. When I talk to artists, I hear everything. Some people feel it is a release and they get excited, some people feel it is lonely when they go dig down deep, how is it for you when you write music?
DOYLE: Ah, it’s easy. I just , every time I pick a guitar up, I try to write. I don’t play things that I’ve already written or, I don’t know anybody else’s songs, cause I don’t even know anything more than 2 chords anyway. I don’t know scales or anything. Whatever’s comfortable. I don’t think, I just let my hands move around.
ME: I hear you. Cool. What do your kids think about your music?
DOYLE: They think it is cool. Sometimes I take the boys on the road. They went to Europe last year, that was cool. Id like to take them all, once we get a little more money going here. So that they can see the world. More from a tour bus than in school.
ME: It is priceless, that will stay with them forever. Who influenced you in your family?
DOYLE: My mom had the 50s’ songs, when we were little. We used to play her records. That’s what got us into music. Then we got our own stuff. Once we got a little older, it was David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Queen.
ME: All amazing. How is she about your success, or you walking that path in music, now?
DOYLE: She is always supportive of it. My dad was like, “You guys are idiots.” He had racehorses, and one time we went to the track, and he had our Misfits hat on, cause he is bald. So, some kid went up to him and said, “Wow, you have a Misfits hat on!” and he couldn’t believe someone knew who we were.
ME: From then on, did you get any kind of respect, or was everyone still "an idiot?"
DOYLE: Right before he passed, he had a machine shop we all worked in. And I was recording Abominator. And I would work recording after work hours every night. So he was like, “Wow, you’re really working hard down there.” He wanted to hear it when it was done. So I went to his house, and put it on, Abominator came on, he said “Wow, that actually sounds really good, better than your brother’s stuff.” (starts laughing)
ME: (laughing) Wow, that had to feel pretty good, ya gotta admit, right?
DOYLE: Yah, it was cool. He got supportive right at the very end.
ME: It happens with many artists, it takes a while, parents sometimes, it takes them a while to get the idea, see that you are serious.
DOYLE: Well, I had been doing it since I was 18. What was I, fucking, 48, and I’m still doing it?
ME: I hear ya. So, your kids, any of them wanna go into music and follow that path?
DOYLE: You know, I didn’t push it, and now I wish I had pushed one of them to do it- so I’d have a drummer.
ME: (laughing) Do they excel at music, or just like other things?
DOYLE: My daughter does a lot of Art. She wants to be a cartoonist. I get her all the software, and all of that shit. The other guys, they don’t know what they wanna do yet.
ME: If you had advice to give to younger musicians here in the States, what would you say, from what you have learned?
DOYLE: Do bands, respectively. I would tell the guitar player, 'Don’t sit in your room learning arpeggios, and G clefs, all that bullshit.... Learn and study great songs, the arrangements, get a great singer, have a great look and perform great.'
ME: That is saying a lot in today’s world. What do you think about all of the shredding, the double pedals and intensity?
DOYLE: Well, if I see the kids playing Eruption, it is impressive, cause they are kids, but they didn’t write it. As far as all of the shredding, I like watching it, and listening to it. It is amazing to me. But you don’t need any of that, unless it is great, and it's yours, and you have that “IT,” yet you have to have that. Make music.
ME: What about tribute bands, or classic bands with different singers or players?
DOYLE: You mean switching people out?
DOYLE: Well, if the singer is no longer around, or is not in the business, then it is cool, if it is as good or better. Look at Iron Maiden, they changed singers for the better. Or Arch Enemy, that is great, too. (cute, he is pitching his woman now).
DOYLE: It happens, and it is hard to replace the singer.
Me: If you could meet someone legendary, dead or alive, you could bring them back, who would you want to meet?
DOYLE: Ah, probably David Bowie.
ME: Wow, yes. I hear you there. And if you put together a band around you, and you could create anyone in your band. past and now?
DOYLE: Ah, I have no idea.
ME: (laughing) Nobody you could think of, eh?
DOYLE: So many good ones, I don’t know.
ME: Who do you listen to?
DOYLE: I listen to so much shit on shuffle, man.
ME: New ones?
DOYLE: I don’t think so, let’s see...The newest I have is the Hedonists and, Lamb of God.
ME: All great, ok.
DOYLE: I don’t go look for other bands, I’d rather be writing a song, than worrying about other people’s shit.
ME: Do you collaborate?
DOYLE: Yah, we had three guests on our album. And I wrote for Alicia’s album. I’d collaborate with a lot of people, just to do it. I think we’ll have some guests on our next album, 'cause that was fun to do.
ME: That's great. Ok now, so Jets or Giants?
ME: Aw, man. No....We suck here, cause we are Dolphins fans and it's eh....Anyway, keep in touch with us, what are you doing in 2019?
DOYLE: Um, we are working on festivals for Europe, Japan and South America. We're also putting some singles out for the next record, and to shop it to a bigger label than my own label.
ME: Send us what you've got!
ME: We like the new album, and thanks so much.
DOYLE: Ok, thank you so much.
ME: Reach us when you visit So Fla!
Doyle: Sure. Take Care.
Abbe Davis, Music Journalist
Tru Rock Revival Magazine
"I'm not a prostitute, I'm a musician"
Abbe has written for Fortune 500 companies. She is the also the
lead singer/songwriter for her own hard rock originals band, Sordid Fable. Abbe’s goal is to support original music and Rock and Roll forever.