New Jersey-based Michale Graves cemented his reputation as one of the leading lights of horror rock when he became vocalist for the iconic punk band the Misfits after they reunited in 1996. As a young teenager, Graves cut his teeth singing with local punk acts, including Bambi Slam (aka Social Outcast) and Valmont, with little success. But while recording a demo with his band the Mopes in 1995, the studio's owner told Graves that Jerry Only and O.C. Doyle of the Misfits, who had recently regained the rights to the group's name, were looking for a vocalist for a new edition of the band. Graves scored an audition with the Misfits, and was invited to join the group in time for their 1996 reunion tour. Graves made his recorded debut with the Misfits on their 1997 comeback album, American Psycho, and also appeared on Famous Monsters in 1999. Graves parted ways with the Misfits in the fall of 2000, though he briefly rejoined the group for some dates on their 25th anniversary tour in 2001. Graves and Misfits drummer Dr. Chud had teamed up for a short-lived side project called the Lost Boys during time off from the band, and they joined forces to form the group Graves; they released an album called Web of Dharma before the group splintered due to differences between Graves and Chud.
Graves soldiered on with a new band, Gotham Road, which released an EP in 2003 called Season of the Witch, but the act split up when Graves volunteered to join the Marine Corps; shortly before shipping out, Graves cut a solo album for Horror High Records called Punk Rock Is Dead, which hit stores in 2005. A back injury earned Graves an honorable discharge not long after the album came out, and he launched a tour to support the record. In 2006, Graves released a second solo effort, Return to Earth, and began an unusual collaboration with Damien Echols, one of three young men known as "the West Memphis Three" who were convicted of murder in 1994 largely on the basis of their interest in horror fiction and heavy metal. Graves began writing music for Echols' lyrics, and started work on an album of their songs, which is expected to be released in 2007; Graves has also taken part in benefit tours to raise money for Echols' ongoing legal fight. When not busy with his music, Graves is an outspoken conservative activist; he's co-founder of the website conservativepunk.com, and made a memorable appearance discussing his political views on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. ~ Mark Deming