Last night, punk icon Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein and his band ravaged Saint Vitus with a set of songs both new and old for metalheads and punks alike. Beer cans sailed through the air; agitators flailed in an aggressive circle pit; and I know for a fact I was not the only female participant relishing the intimate setting. (At 50 years old, Doyle is as ripped as ever.)
The band Doyle are the sort of group who go for broke onstage, leaving behind nothing but sweat and spit after playing their hearts out. The man Doyle cuts a more mysterious figure, beginning with his dichotomous personality and extending to the reality that many Misfits fans are unaware that he even has a band.
Suspecting there might be more things about him that people didn’t know, I spoke to Doyle, his lead singer, Alex Story, and his girlfriend, Alissa White-Gluz (vocalist for Swedish metal band Arch Enemy) prior to the show. I wanted to know what makes this guy tick (and, to be honest, I wanted some juicy tidbits, too). By the time I got around to asking him his favorite sex position, I felt we’d really made progress in the getting-to-know-you department. But of course we talked about music, too. Here’s the list of ten things you probably didn’t know about Doyle.
1. He didn’t name his new band, but he composes all the songs. Calling the project Doyle was Alex Story’s idea. “We had started working together,” says Story, “and by the time we were ready to make it a band, I didn’t see any point in continuing with the name [Gorgeous Frankenstein] that he had been using, because what we were doing was so much significantly different than that. So I told him we should just strip it down, make it simple, call it Doyle so people know what they’re getting.”
Their songwriting process begins with Doyle creating guitar, bass, and drum parts for each tune. Then Story adds vocal melodies and lyrics inspired by a list of topics Doyle’s scribbled on a scrap of paper. (“Strippers, Satan,” Story says, ticking off items on the list. “I thought it was hilarious, so I just made a point to make a song about each one of those things.”)
2. Doyle doesn’t just play metal — he literally makes stuff out of metal. “I’m a machinist. Metal machinist,” says Doyle (often a man of few words). The shop in New Jersey owned by his father, Gerald Caiafa, is called Congruent Machine Co., and it’s still there. Doyle made his own guitar, including parts fashioned at this shop.
3. He tried to wear his trademark devil lock hairstyle in this high school yearbook photo. “I had my devil lock on,” he explains, “and the photographer made me move it for one shot, and then he made me laugh. There were actually pictures with the devil lock, but they wouldn’t allow that in the book for some reason.”
4. He’s been vegan since January 1, 2014, thus dispelling any notion that vegans can’t be muscular. Girlfriend Alissa helped convert him to veganism from a meat-eating diet. “Every time we’d go out to eat, we’d go to a vegan restaurant, and I didn’t know what any of the things were, so she would order two or three things so I could try it. Every time I would taste it, I would just look up at her and go, ‘Holy shit. This is so fucking good.’ And then she showed me what they do to the animals and all these fucking manufacturing plants and how fucked-up we are to them. I like animals, so it was really hard to watch that…I’m so much healthier [now]. I feel it’s ethical. It isn’t just for health reasons; it’s for not leaving a big carbon footprint of myself, you know, a trail of fucking death and destruction.”
5. He’s extremely shy, especially with women. “I don’t have any game at all,” he claims. Alissa concurs: “I intimidated him, actually.” She says one of the biggest misconceptions about him is the idea that he’s a scary dude. “He’s super-gentle,” she observes, “and I think most people are so afraid of him, they’ll never get to see that side of him.”
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6. But he morphs into a different person onstage. “[I] turn from Clark Kent into Superman or turn from Bruce Banner into the Hulk,” Doyle says. “The same thing with my girlfriend. We’re sweethearts, but as soon as that foot sets on the stage, we flip a switch automatically, and we become very fucking violent.”
Story agrees: “When he puts that [stage makeup] on, that’s like warpaint or something. It’s like he’s going into battle. He literally transforms himself.” Story remembers reading about Doyle in magazines as a kid. “You’d hear these stories about him, like he’ll ka-bong motherfuckers over the head with the guitar and shit. He just seemed like an animal, like a monster.”
7. So it’s a good thing that when someone once threw a knife at Doyle, he didn’t find out about it until later. It happened during a Misfits show in the Nineties. “My guitar tech picked it up and showed it to me,” Doyle recalls. “It was about a six-inch blade, and it was bent on the end, and he said, ‘Look what these motherfuckers threw at you.’ It hit my cabinet. I told him, ‘If that thing had stuck in my chest, I would’ve pulled it out and stabbed every fucker in this place.’ ”
8. He benches 275 pounds but doesn’t think that’s heavy. “I don’t fuck with no heavy weight no more,” he says. “I’m done with that shit…I use about 85 percent of max. I don’t max out, because that’s how you get hurt.” He concedes that he’s still pretty strong “for a human” and adds, “I don’t need to be able to pick a bus up. Not yet, but if I have to, I’ll pick it up.” And no, he’s not on steroids.
9. He doesn’t like touching people. “I don’t like touching people I don’t know,” he says. “People are dirty. They’re filthy animals. I hug my girlfriend and my kids, and that’s it, man.”
10. His favorite sex position is very straightforward. “In,” he says, cracking up. “I like to be in.”