FLLR 039 - Misfit Toys

 

 

Misfit Toys - Too Short (version)

This is a bit different than the one listed on Discogs, and likely postdates the 1987 effort.
 
Left as (you guessed it?) tape filler on a New Order live tape.  Courtesy of BV who provided me his collection, and where this is taken from.

This doesn't include "Mirror Black (Shadows)" [A3] "Fade To Black" [B2] or "Promise Me" [B3], but instead includes "Someday" and "Domino".
 
Tracklist
 
01 Someday  [not on first demo tape]
02 Lost Then Found  [A2 on demo tape]
03 Domino  [not on first demo tape]
04 Tell Me (charted in 1988)  [B1 on demo tape]
05 The Ordinary  [A1 on demo tape]
 
They were short-lived college rock chartists, but quickly sank into obscurity again until inexplicably, they were rediscovered, which prompted the more recent activity online and this post, as I stumbled into these again.
 
A potted history:
 
"The Misfit Toys was founded in Maryland by Ed and Elizabeth Fusco in January 1985 with Dennis joining in May of that year and Mike a year later. The band split with the departure of Dennis and Mike in 1990, unfortunately before recording more studio tracks than the dozen plus it was already performing live though eight more were ready for the studio. Misfit Toys continued for several years with a new line up. The name was kept in use in Tucson Arizona and later in Cocoa, Florida with a number of personal but never recorded any additional material. Although several other bands chose to use the name, this is the original band The Misfit Toys having service marked the name in 1985 in Crystal City Virginia."

Ed's site has a few more links.   I'll imbed them here for ease of viewing.

He adds, "If you enjoy music with a dark sound please explore some of our other videos posted on YouTube. These include the bands two collage radio hits "The Ordinary" and "Tell Me" the band's extended play 12'' record that saw airplay on 235 radio stations across the United States. My personal favorite "Domino" is a rocker with intensity. We also have songs that are more "pop" with a tip of the hat to "Blondie". Apparent love songs such as "Promise Me" and "Someday" actually have lyrics about betrayal and heart break. The vocalist is Cuban though born in the USA and in homage to her Spanish blood I wrote a Gothic song with a Spanish flavor. The vocalist plays castanets throughout the song; something unheard of in the genre of Dark Wave. The song is named "Bells will ring". Some of these videos are from live sources including from audience members unknown to the band. The videos use studio recordings or recordings straight from the soundboard."

 

Promise Me (music video).  The first song the band wrote together.

"A terrific song with a great hook that tends to stay with the listener long after hearing it! The first song we wrote together and recorded twice with different band line ups. "Promise Me' was a staple of nearly every show. True to form Elizabeth's lyrics are not exactly a love song but convey insecurity and worry about unfaithfulness. Dennis wrote a beautiful, soaring guitar solo to perfectly complement the mood of the song. Mike's drumming keeps the song vibrant rather than simply keeping time as most drummers would do. I use this studio track to open up my never seen photo collection of the band in 1985-86 era when Elizabeth's hair was bleached, There are also a few photos taken while recording at Black Pond Studio in Rockville, Maryland and some publicity photo outtakes. I added a sort of psychedelic tone to the entire video beginning with an intro that is actually the song compressed and sped up considerable and placed behind a photo from the very first band photo shoot."


 

This Night (Rehearsal Video)

"A moody and moving track recorded in our rehearsal studio that never made it into the recording studio. Elizabeth's haunting keyboard blends beautifully with Dennis' understated guitar work over the moving bass line underscoring the vocals. Mike's drum work creates the foundation on which everything builds. "This Night" is a prime example of why Misfit Toys called themselves a 'Gothic Rock' band. Now the label tends to be 'Dark Wave'."

 
 
 

Paradise Place (Siouxsie and the Banshees) (live)

"A live soundboard recording of The Misfit Toys at 'The Electric Banana' in Pittsburgh, January 1987. Recordings of this song and the Banshees' "Christine' were widely traded in Europe in the late 80's among Siouxsie fans. As one fan in France put it he had never heard a band cover the Banshees. Misfit Toys were never a 'covers band' but in the early years had to do a number of alternative covers in order to catch the ear of club booking agents, In reality the originals were every bit as well written and performed. The band was influenced by bands they admired though never really borrowed from them. 'Gothic' music from the 80's was not for everyone then nor is it now, but it was the heartbeat of the band for a long time. "

  

Someday

"Studio track from the album "Too Short", Here the band ventured again into 'pop' music rather than 'Gothic' and the result garnered a lot of praise from the music world. The large fan base in the listening area for station WZLP Minneapolis were treated to an exclusive reel to reel tape of this song not long after it was recorded. It was great to have continual heavy air play at a commercial station in addition to the 234 collage stations across the country. Written by Ed and Elizabeth Fusco with Dennis Kapoyos writing a beautiful, tasteful guitar track and Mike Adams showing that drummers play an instrument and don't simply keep time. The song is a great example of how our four heads with different musical backgrounds could create music fun to play or listen to that is also commercially accessible. For this video I went through my collection of band photos over the years and put them into a sort of slide show and scrap book. The sources varied as does the quality but they capture the band at that time with that lineup at work and play. In my eyes a monument to creative, talented musicians."

 


The Ordinary

"A 2019 video of the song "The Ordinary" that was very popular on the radio in 1989 when the video was actually recorded. The song received airplay on 235 radio stations, mostly collage and in clubs across the country as well as being very popular live in concert. A limited edition 12" EP was released of this song with the label 'For Radio Airplay" and the other side was an extended mix of the popular club song called "Tell Me" - though certain locals chose to reverse the target audience. The Ordinary charted in CMJ for a total of 10 months, often leaving one station's play list while climbing another's. The song was written by Ed and Elizabeth Fusco with the drums by Mike Adams and the guitar written by Dennis Kapoyos. Elizabeth sang all vocals and played keyboards both live and in the studio. Other studio material was never released on the hope a major independent label would sign the band"


 

Dancing With Tears In My Eyes (Ultravox)

"Here is a very rare recording of the Misfit Toys performing Ultravox's song "Dancing with tears in my Eyes". This recording was made at a live performance in Washington DC . Interestingly the sound engineer that night was Mike Adams who would become our drummer in a matter of months when his other obligations were fulfilled. The recording is a split between the soundboard and an open air microphone. I have always believed the vocals by Elizabeth were superb as was Dennis Kapoyos' guitar work. The band sounds tight and the audience was in awe watching us play. A great job all round even though we didn't want to be known for our cover material."

 
There's also also a live set from Electric Banana from 16 Jan 1988, shared by bassist Ed Fusco on Soundcloud.  This has "Stop And Fade Into Empty Gardens" (track 1), "Bells Will Ring", "I Can't Go", and "Destiny" (tracks 5-7),  "Dark House", "This Side Of Paradise" (tracks 10-11) and "Invisible" -> "Heart Of Sand" (track 12).  
 
From the description:

Courtesy of Ed Fusco, bassist for Misfit Toys. Other members of this D.C. area band were Elizabeth Fusco (vocals, keyboards, and castanets), Dennis Kapoyos (guitar), and Mike Adams (electronic drums). A great show by Misfit Toys, also a unique one in that the band rarely performed "I Can't Go" live or used electronic drums.

His YouTube page has *quite* a bunch more things to discover.  I just wanted to feature the above since Ed's website has a distinct 20th century flavor which may cause some to foolishly ignore or ridicule the value of what he so generously has shared with the world.

Excitingly, I read that "As 2022 rolls around you will find the band hard at work recording not one but two albums. The first will close out the period of the band with Elizabeth Fusco as the vocalist and lyricist as well as keyboard player and percussionist. The planed album will combine songs from the album "Too Short'' no longer available with songs remaining from our recordings archive that include her. We are very excited to be recording an album of new and familiar material with our new vocalist - who is amazing! I will release more about her in the next few weeks. I am also constructing a new web site solely for the band."

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