"Every person at this table, especially Dr. Von Renfield IV when he joined, talk about low points. When he joined, it was right after everything had fallen apart. His enthusiasm, I didn't have it. He carried the band for like a year, when I didn't feel like I could do it."
After an ill-fated Huntington show in 2010 for the release of "Stalk and Slash Vol. 2," the band lost The Fiend, Lucio and a mummy guitarist that night. (Both Lucio and The Fiend have been killed off and re-animated many times over.)
Over the course of 10 years and releases like "The Night THEY Came Home," "Bastard Sons of Ed Wood," "Stalk and Slash Splatterama" vols. I and II and last year's two-disc box set, "All the Stuff and Gore," The Renfields have displayed their affection for turning scary movies into fun, wholesome punk rock fit for all ages.
Winning new fans is a fun challenge, and it can indeed be a challenge given the gimmick of the members' costumes. Vincent recalled one particular experience.
"We played in Delaware, and we walked into this bar. They just stared at us like, 'Who the [expletive] are these grown [expletive] men in costumes?'
"And then we played, and everyone was our friends. That's what we like to do now, convert people who have not seen [the band]."
Dick Ramsses, wrapped in mummy bandages, seconded that.
"Walking into that bar was one of the most awkward experiences I've had with this band," he said. "There was a guy in the back of the bar talking. I know he was just being loud and obnoxious to get under our skin, talking about how he hates gimmick bands and dressing up.
"And it was so funny. We got done playing, and everybody seemed like they had a good time. Everyone was talking to us. It changed that guy's mind, I think. That's what I like."
"Some of the best shows we play, no one knows who we are," The Fiend added.
After welcoming the current Fiend on bass and lead guitarist Dick Ramsses in recent years, the band has attempted to steer its undead pogo punk hearse away from recording in "blood-curdling mono" like in the past.
Providing a theme song for Eamon Hardiman's movie, "Porkchop," provided the impetus for the band to go back and re-record some old fan favorites, like "Prom Night" and "Machete a Go-Go," as well as a few new ones, on "GO!"
"One of the things about the songs on this CD," said Dr. Von Renfield, "I've been in the band for like six or seven now. These songs are like my children."
At some points over the years, it may have appeared that The Renfields were dead. However, with perhaps a little help of some re-animating agent, the good doctor said "GO!" brings the band to a new beginning.
"These are not only The Renfields' greatest hits as far as I'm concerned, but there are four new songs, so it's like, 'This is what The Renfields were, and this is what The Renfields are.'
"To me, that's why we've put a year's worth of work into this album. This is our fresh start."
Reach Nick Harrah at wvrocksc...@gmail.com.