The Misfit Toys™
In Between years and In the Present Day
The division of the band from it's core members does not mean nothing was happening. The songs continued to be written and worked on through several line ups the there were no long intervals of inactivity. A new drummer and several guitarists made their way to practices in the basement studio.You can read for your selves how the years passed for Dennis and Mike in their interview segments on this web site. No one turned their back on music and only the fans can determine if other works of music touched them the same as The Misfit Toys. Elizabeth continued as the lyricist and as her life changed so did her words and musical influences. If anything Ed's musical influences moved backwards as he found little in the music of the 90's or new millennium to interest him. He actually found a lot of music to his taste he had never been exposed to while it was current, Naturally that music influenced his writing. Ed maintained the Misfit Toys library and self-released two CD's. One was titled "Too Short" and featured the songs from the cassette plus several more tracks that were well known by those who regularly attended their concerts. Prior to that release fans had been trading the songs that were broadcast on radio during interviews. The CD release actually updated the recordings and were all final mixes.
The other album officially released on the band's own "Rising Moon Records" was titled "Noises from the Basement". This was essentially a collection of the songs typically performed at concerts. It is all original material since they had stopped playing anything but their own material in 1987. The songs were all recorded in the band's basement rehearsal studio and were engineered there as well.
As the years rolled along much to the dismay of the new band mates, frustration set in and clouded the horizon where that had once been the glow of a future for the band.Ed and Elizabeth pulled up states and moved to just outside Tucson, Arizona. The music scene was nearly invisible in spite of Tucson's reputation for pretty Co-eds and and University of Arizona being labeled a 'party school'. It can't be confirmed by me but it is often said that like things repel from each other and opposites attract. It took almost a year to learn that a number of famous musicians had 'retired' to Tucson and I met a couple with one becoming a good friend. People were making good music there but there was certainly a lack of venues to play in. The 100-120 degree temperatures certainly discourages out door concerts. Many big name acts by-passed Tucson all together and performed 125 miles North at Phoenix. Ed and Elizabeth loved the city, the people, the weather and the food but without live music and performing more than a few times a year tarnished Tucson's gleam. They sold their house and moved to Central Florida a few years later. It is ironic that large corporations moved very large facilities from Southern California to Tucson the year after Ed and Elizabeth left. They literally doubled the population and destroyed the graphs of wages earned. The median wage for a male 25-35 the year they moved there was just under 24 thousand dollars a year. The workers from IBM, Hughes and others companies paid their workers very high wages in California in order to keep just above the high taxes there. Moving to Tucson encouraged the employees to have new housing and as a result there was a new standard for Tucson. All of these people needed retail sources for food, home and garden as well as everything else that doesn't come with a new custom built house. So there was an enormous retail boom as well as one in housing and construction. I went back in 2020 and the city was difficult to recognize .Eventually Ed and Elizabeth had a parting of the ways and no new music was recorded and only one album released. On rare occasions Ed would either jam with like minded musicians or sit in with a band on bass. His heart was still on the songs that had been ready to record but the departure of Mike and Dennis curtailed. With the new drums and bass it was like beginning again since they had to learn the material and Ed and Elizabeth had to become accustomed to new styles of playing their songs. Record labels that were interested in The Misfit Toys wanted to hear them perform at show cases on New York and unfortunately the band had to decline since they were unable to reproduce the songs on the demo tapes the A&R people had heard and were interested in.
In 2017 Ed looked up Mike on FaceBook they found not too much had actually changed. The both had a lot of miles behind them with Mike ending up married and in Georgia not terribly far from Atlanta. He had continued his friendship with Dennis and actually had gotten together with another friend from high school a few months prior to my contacting him. The three had played some familiar songs and then returned to their distant homes. Dennis was in Seattle and married with two small children. After a few months of playing "catch-up " Mike contacted Dennis to see if he would be interested in joining the band again.
During the middle 20-teens Ed has begun working and publishing music videos of the band's songs. The first was actually recorded on video tape in 1988 at an amusement park outside of Baltimore named 'The Enchanted Forest . The tape had remained unplayed and unedited since then but after attending collage majoring in graphics design Ed felt more than qualified to edit the footage into a decent Music Video for the song "The Ordinary". Without promotion the viewership was low. That is perfectly logically since the band had stopped touring so long ago. Amazingly new music lover found that video and others Ed has edited and posted to YouTube. Fans found Ed's email address in the YouTube Profile and contacted him from places as diverse as Brazil, Scotland, Portugal and Riga Latvia.
The members agreed they wanted to release an album of the songs they had prepared to record in the studio but never did. In 2020 it was common practice for band mates to never see each other face to face and simply record each part and send it through the Internet to the person charged with producing the album and mixing the many components. The only snag was a vocalist. Mike and Dennis felt Elizabeth would be the best person to sing the songs again while Ed felt she is now too old. In truth she is about the same age as Robert Smith of The Cure, Siouxsie, from Banshees fame, and her childhood friend Joan (Larken) Jett, all of whom still tour. After discussion it was decided she would be asked first before finding a replacement. She declined so the search was on.
No one can argue that Elizabeth hadn't a great voice. In spite of her diminutive, 4 foot 11 inch frame she had a lot of lung power. Her vocalist heroes were all male. They included Ray Davies, Roger Daltrey, Alice Cooper, and Elton John. The only female vocalist I recall her enjoying was Terri Nunn of "Berlin". She liked to warm up her voice by singing Berlin's "Pictures of You". People who have never seen her often try to compare her voice with that of Grace Slick. In the 9 years I knew her before there was a Misfit Toys band I was completely unaware Elizabeth had an amazing talent for lyrics. We wrote our first song together in 1985 and the phrasing is all hers. The song, named "Promise Me" was one of three originals performed at the first live performance of the band. I am unaware of Dennis's history when it comes to writing music but he wrote a beautiful solo for the song and Promise me has held up fine over the years and doesn't sound dated. The band had many songs co-written by Elizabeth that they wanted to record so the big problem was who could fill her ( tiny ) shoes ?
Ads were placed and vocalists who had recorded solo were all approached but most declined and others just didn't fit the band's sound. One young woman in Austin managed to rip off the band's money they had paid her up front and steal the recording gear she had been loaned with which to record multi-track . Ashley will not be forgotten .
An online company where the musical services of vocalists, musicians, song writers, producers and engineers can be hired for one song or an album's worth was used and over a few months several were sent a song as an audition. Finally one young girl was settled upon based upon how she sang the song named "The Haunt". That song was the topic of a short film written, produced and directed by Ed Fusco and starring a young actress named Kate Lynn Moore. Kate would become the face and figure associated with the Misfit Toys ever after 2021.
The Misfit Toys new vocalist is Victoria Vizhanska; stage name Victory Vizhanska. Unknown to the band when she joined them she was only 16 years old. She lived in Kyiv, Ukraine and had some experience singing though mostly cover tunes in self made videos. The band sent her a 'scratch' recording of each song one at a time and she took it to a local studio where she recorded the vocal track and then returned the recording to the band. After about two months Putin decided to put a stop to her recording for us and aimed bombs and artillery shells into Victoria's neighborhood. After much effort to convince her, she and her mother along with two cats left Kyiv and ultimately arrived across the border into Poland. After settling in Victoria once more resumed recording the vocals for the remaining songs.
In late Autumn the recording had been completed and the songs were being mixed. The band had earlier discussed whether to release the album as one or two. There was enough material on hand to release an album of all old recordings featuring Elizabeth on vocals, keyboard and percussion and another album of material with Victoria. Then too was the question of releasing the recordings only to streaming services or to also release them on CD or vinyl. In recent years vinyl has far outsold Compact Disc recordings but is it a fad that will soon die out? Then again new automobiles and computers no longer come with CD players. People tend to listen to Sirius or other satellite radio or to streaming services they subscribe to. The question was quite the dilemma.
Ultimately it was decided to release one album that would contain 4 songs with Elizabeth's studio vocals and 8 with Victoria's. The vinyl record was turned down and a CD would be manufactured in it's place. In order to draw attention to Misfit Toys and away from bands competing or airplay a special presentation box would be made to house the CD and be given to select radio stations or persons in the music business. Inside the box would be not only the CD, but also a poster of the CD's cover - which is taken from a scene in the Haunt short film. The box would be the size of a record album; 12 inch by 12 inch and depending on whom the recipient would be it would contain the poster and press release material and even lyric sheets. The box was designed by Ed along with the CD jewel case graphics and their completion would coincide. The album, named "Closure" was released to streaming services around the world on January 9. The CD and boxes were ready for distribution or sale on February 2. Now it is a matter of waiting as the promoters and distributors do their jobs. The band is doing what they can to see that any perceived audience has access to the album. Both small wattage listener supported radio stations and major non-commercial stations are being emailed with information and sample tracks in a hope to entice more stations to download the entire album and make it available to their listeners. Early statistical analysis has shown a higher than expected number of listeners across Europe as well as in Brazil, India and Columbia. New Zealand and Australia have not been ignored, nor has Singapore and other stations generally overlooked by American bands. Anyone anywhere who broadcasts or DJs is welcome to contact the band for media and press kits. Furthermore all are invited to check the Misfit Toys YouTube channels for new videos. We are happy to supply Cds for distribution as 'give-aways' or in some cases our wonderful tee shirts. Feb. 10, 2023
It is unwise to pay a lot of attention to reviews Thay can generate a swollen head or spread a feeling of depression thinking the band can't make the grade. On the other hand, when a review comes in that shows the reviewer obviously listened all the way through the song and listened intently then I will give it a degree of credibility. here are a couple that came in today I decided to share with fans.
Indeed it feels as if the vocalist has gone deep in her intense feelings of dread and desire, life and death. This marvelous song creates amazing images back in our minds. The mood is really dark, yet uplifting in a way, as in a kind of reverse redemption. Delicate sounding by the Misfit Toys, the combination thrills us in a hopelessly comfortable way. Well played and recorded, as well as an honest studio work and shaping. We'll be happy to talk about possible partnerships and for the time being we'll soon share this song on Instagram stories.
We Write About Music
Thanks so much for requesting us to review your song "Swept Away". The vocals are really what sold us on this song the most. Not that the rest fell flat or anything, but they certainly overpowered the instrumentals in a good way. I am impressed by the emotional message of your music. I think there is something which can touch the soul of each of us. Will be interested in exploring more from you all. Additionally, we'd love to stay in touch on Instagram or TikTok for all your new releases.
Certified Bop Magazine had this to say about our song
"This side of Paradise" Certified Bop Magazine
What a radiant, rhythmically compelling journey "This Side of Paradise" takes us on. There's a clear echo of the Jangle Rock era in your sound, a fond nod to the mid-60's Byrds-style resonance that elevates the spirit, and you've made it entirely your own. It's a refreshing reminder that music can uplift without the need to carry a heavy message. Your rhythmic guitar lines are a blissful undercurrent, beautifully accentuated and underlining the natural buoyancy of the track.
Your vocals are impressive, effortlessly cascading over the instrumentals, creating a harmonious blend that indeed lifts one's spirits. There's an airy quality to your voice that resonates with the relaxed charm of the song, quite the departure for your band but a successful one, in my book. I am so taken by this delightful tune that I'll be sharing it on my Instagram to spread the joy!
As you venture into future creative decisions, remember the unique touch of
lightness in "This Side of Paradise" that stands out in a world that
often leans toward the more intense side of the music spectrum.Best Regards,
Skylar from Certified Bop
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