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The Misunderstood were a psychedelic rock band originating from Riverside, California in the mid-1960s. The band moved to London early in their career, and although they recorded only a handful of songs before being forced to disband, they are considered highly influential in the then-emerging genre.

Creem magazine, in their September 2004 review, wrote, "The saga of the Misunderstood is one of the most unbelievable, heartbreaking, and unlikely stories in the entire history of rock."

Classic Rock magazine's June 2010 issue stated, "The truth is that this band (The Misunderstood) 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."

The band began in 1963 as one of many garage bands formed in the US in the wake of the British Invasion. They moved to London in
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THE MISUNDERSTOOD albums / top albums

THE MISUNDERSTOOD Golden Glass album cover 2.67 | 2 ratings
Golden Glass
Proto-Metal 1984


THE MISUNDERSTOOD Children of The Sun album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Children of The Sun
Proto-Metal 1981


THE MISUNDERSTOOD demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

THE MISUNDERSTOOD re-issues & compilations

THE MISUNDERSTOOD Before The Dream Faded album cover 4.14 | 3 ratings
Before The Dream Faded
Proto-Metal 1982
THE MISUNDERSTOOD The Legendary Goldstar Album / Golden Glass album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Legendary Goldstar Album / Golden Glass
Hard Rock 1997
THE MISUNDERSTOOD The Lost Acetates 1965 - 1966 album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
The Lost Acetates 1965 - 1966
Metal Related 2004
THE MISUNDERSTOOD Broken Road album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Broken Road
Hard Rock 2005


.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
You Don’t Have to Go
Metal Related 1965
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Can Take You To The Sun
Proto-Metal 1966
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
You're Tuff Enough
Proto-Metal 1969
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Children Of The Sun / I Unseen
Proto-Metal 1969
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Never Never Had A Girl (Like You Before) / Golden Glass
Proto-Metal 1969




Album · 1984 · Proto-Metal
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This album was one that never should have happened. That’s not because it’s a bad album, but it shouldn’t have ever been released as The Misunderstood. First of all, it only includes one member of any of the three previous line-ups including the classic line-up.

The Misunderstood is an underground legend. They were on the cusp of success when the U.S. draft stole their singer, Rick Brown. The band had struggled to find success first around their home state of California and later in London. All the while, the U.S. draft dogged them. First they lost one of their original guitarists, who upon being shipped off to Vietnam, killed himself because he didn’t want to kill others. They were fortunate enough to replace him with steel guitarist, Glenn Ross Campbell. Playing R&B with the Yardbirds as their main influence, the addition of Campbell and his special home-rigged lightshow made The Misunderstood stand apart from other Riverside, CA bands. They happened to get noticed by British DJ, John Peel while he was working in the U.S. and he helped them record an album of material on acetate to be pedalled around to local radio stations and record companies. When success alluded them, he encouraged them to head overseas to London where he was certain their music would be a hit.

Before leaving, however, bassist Steve Whiting had to go for his health inspection (he failed by pretending to be hard of hearing). Then singer Rick Brown got his notice. The band went on ahead to London and Brown followed a few weeks later. The band in the meantime had struggled with a poor manager and switched to a better one who got them hooked up with a wealthy investor who was looking to spend money on a rock band. Once Brown was there, guitarist Greg Treadway announced his departure from the band because of the draft. By another stroke of luck, the got English lead guitarist Tony Hill on board and the band’s song writing took a turn toward the spectacular. They recorded six songs in the fall of ’66 that got them labelled as “The sound of ‘67”. But then Brown got drafted by the U.S. army, and the band got shafted by their management as they felt that signing the band was a mistake and a loss for them without their singer. The band members returned home and Campbell later got a job cleaning industrial sized pots for a restaurant.

One day while he was using a new cleaning solvent to clean the pots, he noticed that his skin was dissolving. He rushed home and covered his hands in Vaseline and gauze and a few days after received a call from The Misunderstood’s original London manager asking if he’d like to return to England and try to get a new version of the band going. And that brings us to this album here.

The classic Misunderstood had been an R&B band gone psychedelic. They wrote songs that were actually more like the sounds of ’68, they were so advanced. But this line-up was pieced together in order to try to capitalize on the previous band’s good name. Campbell brought over singer Steve Hoard whom he had known in one of his previous bands before The Misunderstood. A new band was assembled and a recording session plus live performances were scheduled. The problem for this new line up was that The Misunderstood had become a potentially up and coming hit maker in 1966 as a heavy psychedelic band with R&B roots. Now the psychedelic peak had passed and thanks to Led Zeppelin there was a renewed interest in the blues. The (new) Misunderstood recorded an album of eight songs, five of which were distinctly blues-based songs with Campbell’s steel guitar solos and Hoard’s blue-eyed soul singing. There’s some sax and piano lurking on the album as well. It’s not bad music at all but it’s certainly not metal.

Two tracks “Keep On Running” and “I’m Cruising” feature more heavier distorted guitar and can more realistically be considered within the parameters of 1969 proto-metal. However, it’s the title track that is the real point of proto-metal interest. The song was recorded in the studio live, entirely ad-lib. The management and label said they wanted a psychedelic song and that was all. Campbell began playing something on his distorted steel guitar and the others, vocalist Hoard as well, just followed. Lyrically the song is a bit lame but musically it is quite a monster. Campbell lays out some ultra-heavy riff early in the song and plays some wild steel guitar while the drums and bass deliver a very solid heavy psych backing. Hoard’s rough-edged soul voice becomes darker here as he sings an impromptu ode to his glass of whisky. Though not a song for the mainstream airwaves, the heavy and dark guitar riff could have inspired Black Sabbath had they heard it.

Management had the band touring the local circuit and members became disenchanted with they way things were being handled. The Misunderstood soon fell apart again though not for the last time. This album here has some decent music, though I honestly think the band should have begun with a different name. If you want to check it out at all, it’s available on iTunes.

THE MISUNDERSTOOD Before The Dream Faded

Boxset / Compilation · 1982 · Proto-Metal
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When it comes to sixties garage rock and electric blues, you often have to dig around to find evidence of proto-metal. I've recently been listening to quite a few garage bands from the U.S. and freak beat bands from the U.K., and though there are some excellent songs with loud guitars, power chords and distortion, for the most part the music is very similar to The Who's power pop material of their early years. It probably rocked on stage but comes across as pretty lightweight in the studio.

One band that made its way into my CD collection only the other day is The Misunderstood. This album here begins with six tracks that the band recorded in London in 1966. As I listened for the first time, I could not believe what I was hearing. This music was from 1966? Well, yes, the recording sound and guitar sounds and everything else sounds like '66, but the style of music does not. To say that The Misunderstood were so far out in their own field is no understatement. Comparisons have been made to The Yardbirds and it's true that both their older blues music and their 1966 recordings resemble The Yardbirds. The Misunderstood began as a dedicated blues band with Glenn Ross Campbell's steel guitar giving the band a sound that the British Invasion bands didn't have. The second half of this disc includes seven songs recorded in 1965 that clearly reflect the sounds of the early Yardbirds with Eric Clapton. In particular, the band's take on The Yardbird's "I'm not Talking" is a fantastic rendition with speedy and loud guitar playing that abruptly stops and becomes laid back swaying blues before suddenly changing into a more aggressive and speedy version the the original song which was gritty and rough to begin with. (A longer version of this song appears on another album.)

Yes, The Misunderstood proved themselves to be masters of blues, and one account mentioned on the website tells of how they were threatened by a group of young white men accusing the band of being "nigga lovas" after they emerged from a black bar after having wrapped up a show. Just as things came to standoff, about twenty young black men came out of the bar and surrounded the band. Pulling out pipes and knives, they said they were ready to take on any honkies that were causing trouble to their white friends.

So, the music from 1965 is very Clapton era Yardbirds with the greatest distinction being Rick Brown's white soul vocals (that someone said sound like Eric Burdon had swallowed Howlin' Wolf whole!) and Glenn Ross Campbell's steel guitar. But the real treat is the first six tracks.

Though only two minutes long on average ("I Can Take You to the Sun" is 3:38 because it has two parts), the songs are at the very least as interesting as any of the Jeff Beck era Yardbirds with regards to aggressive guitar playing. And like The Yardbirds there is the use of exotic scales derivative of India and the East except that for me I find them to sound almost gimmicky with The Yardbirds; here they fit in quite naturally. But more than that is the overall use of distortion, power chords, gruff and shouted vocals, crashing symbols, and rhythm changes within songs. I had recently been considering how garage rock was separated from early metal by its simplicity - two-minute songs and a simple riff - versus the often more complex nature of metal compositions. But here we have a band who in 1966 were already employing mounting tension, crashes of power chords, abrupt changes to slower, atmospheric music with steel guitar, and back to harder hitting music. "I Can Take You to the Sun" mixes lighter psychedelic rock with heavier and halfway through switches to an simple acoustic piece with vocals. It's the kind of stuff that wouldn't really start to appear until late 1968 or 1969. At times I feel this truly is a very early proto-type for heavy metal. There are a few moments when even singer Rick Brown sounds a bit like the great grandfather (in a pop music time scale) of Glen Danzig. And you'd be amazed how well that steel guitar works with heavy psych.

The sound quality is surprisingly good, as good as many recordings intended for pop world domination in '66. The band was under the guidance and support of their manager, John Peel, who would later become a famous DJ and a host of British music TV programs. The earlier blues recordings are not so clear, however, having been taken from the only extant acetate pressing. No matter. If it's blues you want, there are other albums that have more of The Misunderstood's early recordings while they were still in California.

It's interesting to note that the British addition to the band, rhythm guitarist and song-writer Tony Hill, later went on to form High Tide, who are sometimes considered a precursor to progressive metal. The Misunderstood lost Rick Brown to the army draft (and what a story he has to tell after that of fleeing to India, becoming the disciple of a swami, hiding out at an old ruby mine, and discovering a book that relates precious stones to the nine Vedic planets - you can read snippets from the book on the Misunderstood web site). A new version of the band recorded an album in 1969 that features some really heavy guitar sound, and once again a version of the band formed in the early eighties and recorded some hard rock / punk tracks.

I rate this album four stars but this is for the first six tracks. The blues tracks are good and all but the London recordings are the real gems when it comes to proto-metal. I have yet to hear anything like this from 1966 and for all the elements present here in these songs I recommend fans of really early heavy music, heavy psychedelic rock, acid rock, and basically loud and slamming sixties guitar rock to give this a listen.

One final note, the iTunes version of this album has only the seven songs from 1965. From what I have seen, this CD is the only Misunderstood album that has these six tracks from London, 1966.


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