Best known for his stint as vocalist for the Misfits, from 1995-2001, these days Michale Graves has shed the skull face-paint and donned the guise of an earnest, roving troubadour.
It's the latest of several post-Misfits musical projects -- including Gotham Road and a collaboration with Misfits drummer Dr. Chud -- and the latest tour of duty for a politically conservative punk musician who, just a few years ago, shipped out with the Marines. Discharged with a back injury, he has continued to release solo records, including 2007's Illusions. The lyrics for several of that album's songs were penned by death-row inmate Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three, whose cause Graves has sought to publicize (along with Henry Rollins and others in the music community).
Graves' latest release, Illusions Live/Viretta Park, features live acoustic versions of the Illusions songs, with a couple old favorites thrown in, as well as demos of six songs recorded in Romania. Backed by spare acoustic strums, the disc is a showcase for Graves' fluid, dramatic vocals; it's no mystery why he was tapped to fill the imposing shoes of Glenn Danzig.
The album is also the first release on Screaming Crow Records, run by Pittsburgher Eric Corbin (whose previous label was Da' Core) and distributed through Ryko/Warner. Graves stops by the Smiling Moose for an acoustic set on Thu., Nov. 6, performing solo material as well as songs he wrote during his Misfits era. The show will be filmed, says Corbin, for a possible DVD.
Michale Graves with The Cheats. 7:30 p.m. Thu., Nov. 6. Smiling Moose, 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4668 or www.smiling-moose.com