Richard Shaw Brown rsbj66@...
Sun Dec 2 13:28:46 CET 2007


(In 1966) The Misunderstood 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".


CHAPTER 34: Pandora's Box

Would you believe? We start out pretending to be English, and we
actually become a British band, in real-live London. 'How in the world
did that happen?' you wonder. Well, it all started with John Peel, at
Hollywood's crazy Pandora's Box rock club. A mighty wild night that
would really change our lives.

We're on stage. The club's lights are out. The only light is the
flashing coming from behind our amps. We're playing The Yardbird's
classic, 'I'm Not Talking' � in OUR style. And we're just coming to our
long freak out solo, where we leave the stage with music on auto-pilot.
No sh*t!

The music suddenly jerks to a halt, and into the microphone I shout,

Then the band comes in together�CRASH!�and again jerks to a stop. I
finish the rap, 'THAT'S ALL I GOTTA SAY!'

Drum roll�. Feedback: 'Bhuzzzzzz' Whoa, here we go. Glenn begins
amazing shrieks and screeching sounds in Indian raga style, and all the
guys get their guitars feeding back in different tremolo speeds, some
fast, like 'wah wah wah', some slow, like, 'woo woo woo.' The guys
remove their guitars, lean them against their amps, and we all jump off
the stage into the audience, leaving the guitars feeding back. Moe is
the only band member on stage, keeping the beat. The lights flash in
sync with the screaming feedback, accompanied by Moe's pounding drums.
The scene is unreal. 

Me and the other guys go behind the crowd to see how it looks. It's
spectacular! Mind-blowing! The bartender even closes the bar to watch
the spectacle of the world's first-ever psychedelic light show. We all
stand with him looking as our unattended guitars wail away in
controlled feedback, the likes of which Hollywood, and the world, has
never seen.

John Peel is standing with the band, and has to shout into my ear to be
heard. 'Rick! RICK! Look at the crowd!' We both see the crowd,
hypnotized, all their eyes on the near empty flashing, screaming stage,
their mouths just hanging open...

'Ha!' I laugh. 'Looks like the Misunderstood are better off stage than
all the other groups are ON stage!'

John is straining his voice to tell me, 'Rick, I know we've tried the
record companies here. All they want is what sells: pop music!'

The stunning sounds suddenly get louder. Glenn has climbed back on
stage and starts an Indian raga-riff, making it feed back even more.
Moe keeps the steady beat, along with Steve who also joins in again.

I'm still standing behind the crowd with John. I ask him, 'What? What
did you say?'

'I THINK YOU SHOULD MOVE TO LONDON!' he shouts into my ear.

'What? What about London?' I holler back.

'The band should move to London! My brother Alan can help!' John

Duh! Dumb me, I'm like, 'Where's Alan?' - or better yet, 'Where's

'He lives in London, so does my Mum! I come from England, remember?'

But I don't reply. Instead I weave my way through the crowd � the
people are so amazed by the musical drama that they don't even notice
me � and I jump back onto the stage to join the other band members.

I take the shrieking bongo drum off the head of my microphone and we
jerk to a halt. Again I belt out, 'I'm not talkin'!' CRASH! 'That's
what I gotta say!' And we're back into the song again, blasting at full
volume. All amps set on volume 15 (out of 1-10).

After the sustained noise of the feedback the music is even more
powerful, and the audience are really getting into it. Bitchen! YEAH!

I glance at Glenn, and he has a look like, 'Wow! Have we stumbled on to
something here, or what?'

Moe is shaking his hair, spraying sweat into the lights.

Greg is bouncing up and down as he plays his guitar. His head hits the
roof of the low stage sending down a small shower of plaster.

When the 10-12 minute song ends there is a moment of dead silence -
'gulp x 5' - then the audience breaks into a loud roar of sustained
applause, surging towards the stage. We're all smiling in a dazed,
bemused kind of way. Greg is rubbing his head, which he's surprised to
find has blood from where he'd hit it. In the audience, John Peel is
looking on like a proud father figure. 'Yo Papa!'

After the gig we're on the way home. Greg is driving, Steve in the
passenger seat, I'm leaning forward between them; Moe and Glenn sit in
the back, crushed between all the equipment.

'So it's simple,' I'm telling them. 'John can fix it all up. His mom
lives right in the middle of London, we can stay there. His brother's
an actor or something � he's totally connected � he can hook us up with
a manager, maybe even a record deal.'

'So, what are you saying?' asks Steve. 'We just like pack up everything
and fly to England�'

Greg interrupts, '� and become an overnight sensation, hang out with
the Beatles and the Stones, and then conquer the world�'

'Well, yeah. Basically.' I prod, 'What would you rather do, sit here
and rot in Riverside? None of the Hollywood record companies will even
give us the time of day. We gotta go for it, dudes!'


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