The Misunderstood

Bangkok, Thailand
Artist / Band / Musician
Psychedelic / Blues / Metal
Fontana Records (UK), Cherry Red and UT Records
The Greatest Lost Band of the 1960s The Misunderstood were a psychedelic group originating from Riverside, California in the mid-1960s. They moved to London in 1966, with the assistance of their manager, John Peel. In UK they recruited Englishman Tony Hill on guitar, thus forming an international rock-music group, preceding Hendrix. Creem Magazine, in a September 2004 review, write, "The saga of the Misunderstood is one of the most unbelievable, heartbreaking, and unlikely stories in the entire history of rock." Record Collector Magazine, in their July 1999 issue, write, "The Misunderstood were a band of immense talent. Their debut single, "I Can Take You to the Sun", stands as one of the most powerful and best psychedelic singles ever released." In his "Peelenium" (Greatest Songs of the 20th Century) John Peel lists The Misunderstood for 1966, as follows, PEELENIUM 1966: 1. Leonard Cohen - The Sisters of Mercy, 2. The Beatles - And Your Bird Can Sing, 3. The Misunderstood - I Can Take You To The Sun, 4. Jimi Hendrix - Red House, 5. Otis Redding - Try a Little Tenderness. Richie Unterberger, author of Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll, writes, "The Misunderstood recorded material for Fontana that stands as a pinnacle of early psychedelia." Recently Goran Obradovic of POPISM radio wrote about the Misunderstood, "(they) were way ahead of their time, practically inventing the psych genre." Rock Music critic Jade Hubertz wrote in a 1998 review, "When it comes to the Misunderstood, I have no shame and offer no apologies. "Children of the Sun" is the GREATEST psychedelic track of all time and it's CRIMINAL that the band was taken down in its prime." Originally a surf band from 1963-1964 consisting of George Phelps on lead guitar, Greg Treadway on guitar and keyboards, and Rick Moe on drums. In 1965 Rick Brown joined as lead vocalist, and shortly thereafter Steve Whiting was added as bass player. This line up changed its name in 1965 to The Misunderstood, and started playing The Yardbirds style blues and rave-ups. In 1966 Phelps quit and was replaced by steel guitarist Glenn Ross Campbell. From then on their sound became what they termed as "acid blues", with feedback and steel guitar played in heavy style. They were popular in the "Inland Empire" and even played at Pandora's Box on Sunset in LA, about which John Peel told Index Magazine in 2003, "If I had to list the ten greatest performances I've seen in my life, one would be The Misunderstood at Pandora's Box, Hollywood, 1966. It was the only time I've seen an audience reduced to impotent silence". Not able to break out of their land-locked small town situation, their cause was taken up by KMEN Radio DJ John Peel (John Ravenscroft) from England, who convinced the band to relocate to London. The band arrived in UK in early 1966, but Treadway quit and was replaced by Brit Tony Hill, formerly lead guitar for UK's The Answers, thus forming an international (USA and UK) band predating The Jimi Hendrix Experience. They played the Marquee Club, and were almost immediately signed to Fontana for whom they recorded six tracks, most notably "Children of the Sun" and "I Can Take You to the Sun", written by Hill and Brown. A wealthy investor, David Swainson, arranged to manage the band after they split with Nigel Thomas. Dick Leahy of Fontana signed and produced the band. The Misunderstood played a live gig at Phillips Building next to Marble Arch before about 50 members of the media who were invited to the record launch of their first single, I Can Take You to the Sun / Who Do You Love. They played straight through 4 songs in order of "My Mind", "The Trip (Inner Space)", "Children of the Sun", and "I Can Take You to the Sun". The media response was overwhelmingly positive. The Misunderstood were poised for major success. But shortly after record launch, while the band was busy with interviews and other PR, singer/songwriter Rick Brown was drafted by the US army for the Vietnam War. Brown ended up escaping from boot camp and hiding in India for 12 years, until he was granted amnesty in 1979. Without their lead singer and frontman, the band ended up in disarray and broke up. Tony Hill went on to form High Tide (and currently an outfit called Fiction), whilst Glenn Ross Campbell achieved success in UK with a band named Juicy Lucy, before touring backing Joe Cocker. Years later, with Brown's return to America, he along with Campbell formed a band, Influence, and recorded two songs for Rough Trade Records in 1983, their single No Survivors / Queen of Madness, before they moved away from the US - Campbell to New Zealand, Brown to Bangkok. The Misunderstood music was promoted by late, great DJ, John Peel, throughout his entire career, and as a result The Misunderstood and their UK line-up tracks have become cult classics, coming in 6th place (ahead of Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd) in Record Collector's 2004 book 100 Greatest Psychedelic Records. Recently, in 2004, Ugly Things Records (USA) released another full album of previously unreleased tracks named The Lost Acetates 1965-1966, that received International media coverage. A motion picture screen play (The Misunderstood: WGA 977444) about the Band and Rick Brown's adventures was written by Rock Historian, Mike Stax (Editor of U T Music Magazine) in 2002, and is under revision. A 580 pages novel: "Like, Misunderstood" - based on the script was published in October 2007. Recognition * "I Can Take You To the Sun/ Who Do You Love" was included in "100 Greatest Psychedelic Records", a 2004 book published by UK's Record Collector Magazine. * In September 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine called them, "the American Yardbirds". * In a recent release of early John Peel "Top Gear" shows on BBC he is recorded as saying on air, "This ("I Can Take You To the Sun" by The Misunderstood) is to my mind the best popular record that's ever been recorded" * Hartbeat! magazine 20: "Top 100 Singles" - lists The Misunderstood. * British music critic Nigel Cross lists the Misunderstood twice, at third and forth place (ahead of their mentors, The Yardbirds). * Mojo's "100 Greatest Psychedelic Classics" lists The Misunderstood. * The Misunderstood are listed on Digital Dream Door's "100 Greatest Psychedelic Albums" List. * Ptolemaic Terrascope's Top 100 Albums lists The Misunderstood. * Mojo Magazine's (April 2009) "I Can See For Miles: A-Z" lists The Misunderstood for "M". * "The truth is that this band were so far out on their own, so individual and innovative that you can only wonder at the set of circumstances that conspired to prevent them from becoming the iconic name that was surely their destiny." ~ Classic Rock Magazine on honoring The Misunderstood at 18 in their June 2010 list of "Cult Heroes" * Noted Rock Historian Richie Unterberger at the end of The Misunderstood chapter in his book, "Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll", writes, "This is not just overlooked psychedelia, but a tantalizing glimpse into directions that were never fully explored in rock music as a whole before the Misunderstood's tragically premature demise. Believe it" Ref.
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