The Horror-Punk Icon Shakes Up a Local Venue
by Ethan Duran
October 2018

Doyle shreds his custom guitar among fans the night before Halloween. - photo by Emily Sisson

Doyle shreds his custom guitar among fans the night before Halloween.
photo by Emily Sisson

On October 30 a crowd of punks huddled out of the rain and into Milwaukee’s Miramar Theater to watch the eponymously-named metal band Doyle fill the venue with heavy riffs and beatdown breaks. Opening for Doyle were a cadre of local Milwaukee punk rock bands, including The Dead Morticians and Beaker. The main attraction was Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein and his frontman Alex ‘Wolfman’ Story as they brought back an old-school and wild philosophy through newer and heavier music.

The hard rock/metal act that formed by von Frankenstein and Story out of the ashes of their previous band, Gorgeous Frankenstein. Von Frankenstein is best known for playing guitar in the Misfits throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, becoming a macabre icon in punk rock history. The band is made of von Frankenstein on guitar, Alex ‘Wolfman’ Story as their vocalist, Brandon Strate on bass guitar and Wade Murff on drums. The tour that brought them all to Milwaukee was the As We Die Abomination Tour, supporting the album “Doyle II: As We Die,” which was released last year.

On stage, Story’s ‘Wolfman’ nickname showed as he violently thrashed to the music, ran back and forth and jumped off of the stack of cabinets with the Doyle icon painted on them. His howling scream on stage was so loud it went beyond the drums and bass that were already reverberating off the walls.

On the other side of the stage, von Frankenstein lumbered over everyone in his barbed wire pants, platform boots and skull makeup. His heavy downstrokes on his custom guitar made it look like he was pawing the crowd with his massive hands. In the back, Murff rained hell with his double base pedals and Strate’s electric movements matched the tempo of each song. Red lights from overhead gave a demonic look to the band as they played.

Both Story and von Frankenstein are very disgruntled as musicians, especially in this electronic age of downloads and shared videos. von Frankenstein isn’t a fan of the Midwest in general and said that his favorite part of touring in the Midwest is leaving. To widen the scope, von Frankenstein says he isn’t a fan of touring in the US at all.

According to von Frankenstein, he’s had better fan experiences touring through other countries. Over the summer, the band toured through the UK and Europe. “People singing the words to our songs, that might be the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” he said, chuckling as he taped his fingers before the show. “You know as entertainers, we keep the world from killing each other.”

Story isn’t a fan of the crowds in the US either, outside of LA and New York. He takes his disaffection for the YouTube generation further. “They’re spoiled brats,” He said. “It’s like the Roman Empire or something, they sit up there saying, ‘Entertain me,’ with their little phones to show their friends or whatever. They forget to live in the moment.”

In his Southern, profanity-smothered twang he went on. “Nobody gives a fuck about the fuckin’ art itself, and it’s like you’re up there killing yourself to entertain them.”

Story said that he was looking forward to touring South America, saying it was because people down there had nothing to lose. “You go to other places and they still appreciate it, they get down, they get rowdy, they get into it. It’s what you want, when you’re up there putting all your energy into it. You want some energy back,” he said. “If they can’t give you that then fuck off, stay home. Watch it on YouTube.”

Von Frankenstein concurred with the rant. “Don’t get me started. You don’t have enough tape in that [voice recorder].”

While in the tour bus, von Frankenstein dropped a piece of advice for aspiring musicians who wanted to start bands of their own. “Don’t sit in your room practicing your arpeggios and your G-clefs and scales and all that bullshit. Have some fun and get laid.”

“Study structures of songs, learn how to write good songs, get a great singer, have a great look and have a fuckin’ great performance,” von Frankenstein said. “It’s not about playing, you know. It’s about the song.”

Before leaving to play the show, von Frankenstein said he wanted to see a crowd that was into it and to see [Story] boogying down. Despite its small size, the crowd in Milwaukee gave a lot of love to Doyle that night and cheered even as they left the stage. Doyle’s next show in Wisconsin is expected to be in Madison on November 24, at the Ruby Lounge.

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