The Misunderstood
"...quite extraordinary, and rather astonishing story..."---Lenny Helsing

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The Misunderstood
The Misunderstood story from Before the Dream Faded album
The quirky Misunderstood book
The Misunderstood Script "I Unseen"
The Misunderstood Novel-in-progress, "I Unseen"
The Misunderstood on MySpace
The Misunderstood in Wikipedia

Description

A gripping and spaced out autobiographical novel about the early life of Rick Brown, detailing the story of his 1960s era group, the Misunderstood, and their evolution from local garage band heroes to trailblazing psychedelic icons living in the heart of Swinging London. Read how the band's heart was ripped out on the eve of their success when Rick was drafted into the US Army, about his daring desertion from boot camp, his escape to a new life in a primitive ashram in North India, and his subsequent adventures as a hunted fugitive. Befriended by India's elite but forced from sanctuary as US authorities close in, he climbs the Himalayas, taking shelter in a secret ruby mine guarded by 115 year-old Kali Baba. Torn between the love of two competing gurus, as well as Kali Baba and beautiful Tanny, he is driven over the edge into the mysterious Asian underworld.

"There's no disputing that it's an extremely entertaining read - and I can't wait to see the promised film."---Phil McMullen, Terrascope On-line Reviews)

"A most engaging and thoroughly fascinating read. It's edge-of-the-seat stuff in a lot of places, and would certainly make for a thrilling and captivating appearance up on the silver screen.---Lenny Helsing, Shindig Magazine


First he gets murdered - then his adventure begins

The train begins to slow for the next station stop. But wait! Looking ahead I see smoke. There is a riot at the next station. It’s in flames and swords and crude hatchets are swinging. Bodies, some limbless, are hacked and strewn about the area up ahead. A bullock cart is placed on the tracks by the mob to stop the train. The mob sets fire to the blockade...Whoa!

With a jerking sensation and sound the train gradually picks up speed again. There is no alternative but to keep going and crash through the barrier. Hang on! With a violent crash the train charges into the blockade throwing fire everywhere. We’re all jolted on the roof. Some passengers fall off. I see fellow travelers impaled by crude spears and hacked with blades by the raging mob. I got to hold on here. HOLD ON! - ‘Unnh!’ The train is too strong. The engine knocks aside the burning bullock carts and keeps on going, faster, towards the Holy Land of Rishikesh at the foot of the Himalayas.

I pick myself up after being thrown on my back by the loud crash. Many of my fellow squatters are gone, fallen into the madness. The roof is half empty. Oh, thank God! He saved me again. Looking back I see the burning station growing smaller as the train moves on... I cling to the roof of the train, the engine smoke choking, catching in my throat. I cough: ‘Akh Akh!’ ‘Hey Bhagavan, meri raksha koro!’ - Oh God, protect me! The Sun is setting quickly as the train continues chugging along the open landscape and darkness overtakes the sinking daylight. God, it’s getting cold!

Bricks and big rocks begin to rain down onto the ghats. Some of the Indian women jump into the river. My God, they’re going to die! Some people are hit by the bricks. ‘Yikes!’ There is pushing and some of the crowd falls into the river. Others are trampled under foot as the evil bastards invade this sanctuary striking at anyone they can kill.

I look up and see some of the hooligans running down the steps. How can I stop them? Oh God, am I ready for this? I stand up holding my trident and beg the rioters to stop killing, ‘Nahi nahi!’ Suddenly a certain shot is fired into the crowd. It’s like all sound stops except the echo gun blast: BLAM! I hear nothing but a zinging sound and see a bullet coming, spinning toward me. Thaaap! ‘Ulp!’ I feel choked as something hot rips through my neck. ’Akh ghh!’ The force of the bullet knocks me backward off the bathing ghat into the swirling current with a splash. All is black. Am I blind? ‘Huh? Kya hum mar chuke hai?’ - What, am I dead?

I can make out a shaking light and hear the approach of suction noises. Like howling wind. I feel racked with a chill. ‘Ahhuh?’ I hear my rapid fearful breathing, fast thumping heartbeats, growing fainter. I grasp out. Where am, ‘huh?’ I feel like I’m hanging onto a cliff made of ice. Cold. I helplessly slip off with a sickening falling sensation. Then the noises. Oh man! Talk about scary! Howling wind and suction sounds. I see the blackness form into a glowing orange-pinkish winding tunnel and I’m helplessly swept through the twisting flow. Past old memories – hazy flashes: orange robed sadhus, forests, family members, baby stuff, the kind face of a mother turns into ice. I’m dragged, rushing through the glowing tunnel...

‘Hey, er, check out this little trick I came up with,’ Glenn says to Greg. Glenn reaches into a small, battered suitcase next to his amp and pulls something out. It’s a light bulb. ‘I’ve been conducting some experiments with light and sounds,’ he continues.’ We all look at each other like, ‘Uh oh.’ Glenn checks himself, not wanting us to think he’s a square or something.

‘Anyway, I soldered a bulb from a brake light onto a guitar jack.. Now if I plug this thing into my speaker output..’ Glenn plugs a light into the back of his amp, ‘..and one into yours, Greg.’ He reaches behind Greg’s amplifier. Greg’s like, ‘Hey! That thing’s not gonna blow up my amp or anything, is it?’ ‘Oh no. At least it shouldn’t – providing the output transformer has sufficient..’ Glenn checks himself again. Greg looks skeptical and nervous. Steve and I snicker to ourselves. Finally Glenn is ready. ‘OK, let’s do that last number again and, er, hit the lights would ya, Duane?’

Click. It’s all dark. We start playing ‘You Don’t Have to Go’ again. As the music gets louder the lights in the back of the amplifiers glow brighter and then dimmer along with the volume of the music. It’s an eerie effect in the darkened room and we’re all excited. Greg looks over at Glenn and nods with approval at the improvised light show, as the music continues. Oh man, visual music! Rad! Poof! Suddenly there’s a soft explosion, a flash, then darkness. The music stops. I hear Greg’s anguished voice, ‘Oh, man! Not my friggen amp!’ Then Frank: ‘Dude! Not my friggen house!’

We blast out about twelve blues numbers and finish off with ‘Goin’ To New York.’ What the? When we stop playing the crowd is silent. Jeez! Gulp! Then all at once the audience swarms around the stage pulling us down and hugging us and buying us drinks. I spot Steve with a group of blacks. One dude tells him, ‘Way I figga, yo all playin’ betta blues than old Jefferson las’ night.’ ‘Thanks, we love the blues,’ Steve smiles. Another black dude says, ‘Man, y’all the blues brothas, fo sho.’ All the other blacks start talking at once and they’re all slapping us on the backs and praising us. God! Look at friggen John Peel! What a huge grin!

After the gig, as we’re outside loading the stuff into the Uhaul trailer, two carloads of white-trash rednecks screech to a halt in front. One is a pick-up covered in primer, the other a Chevy convertible. Three rednecks jump out and come over to us. One asshole pushes me, and Steve immediately jumps in between. ‘Sh*t, what you pansies doin’ here in nigga land?’ this dick head asks. Steve’s like, ‘Man, it’s cool.’ He points his thumb over his shoulder toward the front of the club. ‘We just played here, in this club.’

This other redneck looks surprised. ‘Man, what? Y’all played here? Fer them niggas? What y’all, some kind-a nigga lovers or somethin?’ ‘Come on man, we’re a band,’ I plead. ‘We’re not against anything, except war!’ Another redneck shouts, ‘Bet you nigga lovers think y’all hot shiit! Huh?’ ‘Naa man, it’s cool, no big deal,’ Steve and I try to cool down the scene, but these dirtbags won’t let go. ‘Ta hell with you, whatcha call my buddy?’ one screams. ‘Nothin, man, nothing!’ It turns into a pre-fight standoff as the 10 rednecks start toward us.

Thinking fast, I glance around, spot Aladdin’s ‘magic lamp’ on the street, I quickly pick it up, rub it, make my wish, and...‘Poof!’ In a cloud of smoke twenty black dudes come pouring out of the club and surround us. Ouuuuo! Heavy! ‘Bad To The Bone!’ Yeah, crank it up!

One brother shouts, ‘Hey white buoy! What cho all doin messin with our soul brothers hea?’ He turns to a huge black dude and says, ‘Hey Leroy, cho think we goin’ burn some white trash taa-night?’ ‘Shit, blood! I ain’t prej’dist or nothin,’ Leroy slurs in perfect Jive, ‘but I just hate honkies!’ First dude is like, ‘Yeah man, time for some turkey jerky! Whatcha say, bloods?’ All the black guys start shouting and some pull out knives, and some lead pipes, which they show off.

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?’ 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, ‘I’M NOT TALKIN’ 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. 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.

Steve is pissed at this cold attitude: ‘Bad publicity? Surely that’ll be good publicity for us. Nobody supports the war. Even the Beatles spoke out against it.’ ‘Good publicity for the group, yes,’ responds the lawyer, ‘in the eyes of certain segments of the public at least. But it won’t reflect well on the Phillips-Fontana organization. They’d say we were harboring a fugitive. It could make things rather sticky with some of our American affiliates too.’ ‘It’s out of the question,’ interjects Baverstock with authority. ‘We’re overlooking a very important factor too. If the group takes off here – which I believe they will – we’ll want to break into the American market. The group will need to tour there. No, no, we need to find another solution. There could be millions of pounds at stake here.’ ‘Precisely. So what do you propose?’ asks Peter.

Another of the lawyers has been examining my draft notice. ‘There could be some legal recourse,’ he says. ‘Mr. Brown is a uniquely talented individual, and he is legally contracted to our organization. As such a cause could be made for his exemption on the grounds that he is a necessary, skilled worker under contract to a respected international corporation. If we prepare the necessary papers and affidavits I’d say we’re on fairly solid ground.’

‘Yes,’ Jack agrees, ‘It’s just good business sense – even the Yanks can understand that. They respect money above everything else, after all.’ ‘Don’t we all?’ quips Peter. Everyone in the room chuckles at this remark with the notable exception of us five band members. David picks up the ball. ‘And Mr. Brown and his group are also under an exclusive management contract to our company. All this is in writing and legally binding.’ ‘OK,’ Peter adds, ‘so between our legal chaps and yours we can put together the necessary paperwork and your people can file it over there in the States.’

Jack glances at his lawyer. ‘I should say so.’ Then he looks at me, ‘Looks like you’re off the hook, kid! You can just concentrate on making music for us instead of running through the jungle shooting the Viet Cong! I’m thinking, What the hell is a Viet Kong? Some kinda huge Oriental monkey? ‘Well, not quite,’ says the lawyer, still looking closely at my papers. ‘Mr. Brown will have to present the paperwork to the US draft board in person.’ I hear my voice on Planet Mars, ‘In person?’ ‘You mean go back there?’ Tony looks stunned. ‘Yes.’ ‘There’s no way around that?’ asks Jack. ‘I’m afraid not.’ I’m thinking out loud, ‘But what if...?’

BRRRRRINGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! Huh? What the f**k? Is that a fire bell? Are we on fire? I sit up. WHAT? I’m sleeping on the top of an Army bunk bed! It’s dark. BRRRRRRRINGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! All the lights turn on ...blinding after the dark room. The goddamn bell stops. WHAM! BAM! The two doors burst open and huge booted drill sergeants come marching in like the giants from hell. The four marching drill sergeants stop in the center of the barracks and one of them, a huge black DI bellows out, ‘Well well, lookie hea! You all regular sleepin’ beauties! Well I got some baaad news fo’ you! I ain’t no Tinkerbell, ya hea? Now we gonna have some fun tonight.’

I look out the window where it is pouring with cold rain and blowing cold wind. Huh? The wall clock says 2 A.M. ‘Listen up!’ he continues. ‘We all goin to daa Nam. Ya hea? We goin over there an’ hunt Charlie! And that Charlie he a baaad muthafucka! Well, it ain’t so tidy over there, an’ one day you all gonna thank me for this here trainin.’ ‘Gee, thanks! Do you take rainchecks?’ I wonder to myself. ‘Now git outta yo bunks and hit the deck, on the double! NOW you candy-ass sons-a-bitches! NOW! MOVE IT!!’

The four sergeants start walking up and down the barracks banging their sticks and long flashlights on the bedposts. The racket and noise is terrible, I stumble out of bed, ripped on two hits of lightning. I glance around the barracks and it looks like the 4th of July, with fireworks exploding inside the room. I’m like, ‘Oh! Maaaan! Oh MAN!’

The huge black drill sergeant walks up to me. I’m standing next to my bunk in long white winter underwear and socks – it is cold! The huge Sergeant puts his nose against my nose and shouts, ‘Private Brown, is you ready fo’ some mo’ basic trainin?’ He then turns to face the double line of dazed recruits. ‘Private Brown here is gonna take us fo’ some BT, ain’t that right, Private Brown?’ I try to reply but can’t find my mouth. ‘Speak up, soldier!’ Jeez, now I can’t even find my face. Sh*t! Me who? With a loud smack, the Sergeant slaps my ear with his flashlight, causing me to see stars. ‘Muthafucka we gon’ party ta-night! All right, everybody lets get outside to da parade groun’. Now let’s move it, soldiers, double time, now, move, move!’

At the top of Brahma Hill, behind the Sriji Temple, is the sacred Temple of Anger, Maan Mandira. Later that day, I’m sitting on the dirt floor of Maan Mandira talking with Ramesh Babaji. Ramesh wears only a loincloth. He has just blown my mind. ‘Big killer monkey?’ I gasp. ‘Yes, yes!’ he warns me. ‘You must beware! My old mother was bitten. Now she is in Koshi hospital. This monkey is mad! And he is bloodthirsty – so dangerous. Did you see the wound on Shaki Charan’s shoulder? It looks like a lion bite; so many stitches.’ Macho me, I put on a brave face: ‘Gulp!’

Ramesh continues the horror story: ‘The Vrajavasis want my permission to poison, but I cannot agree. They may do as they please. I was attacked but I drove him away somehow. You must be very careful when going downstairs to bathe. He may attack.’ I’m thinking, if you consider this monkey dangerous then you should see my friggen high school in Riverside, dude! But what I say is, ‘Ulp! I’ll be careful.’

At the foot of Varshana Hill and below Maan Mandira is a small bathing pond named Krishna Kunda. It’s early the next morning and I’ve finished bathing and mantra meditation and I’m ready to return back up the hill. I wave to the local children who all know me. They come running over and hand me me a staff-like spear that is sharp at one end. ‘Yeeaah danda lea-jya!’ (Here, take this spear), the kids offer with big smiles all around. I take the spear and thank the boys. ‘Bahu dhanyavad!’ (Thanks a lot!). All the kids just giggle.

I start walking up the stone steps to the hilltop temple of Maan Mandira. It is deathly quiet. The hill has dark green forest on both sides of the stone stairway winding back up to the top. The silence gives me an uneasy feeling, but by the time I’m about halfway up I start to feel more confident. Suddenly though, all the monkeys start shrieking and shaking the trees. I quickly look around and spot the dreaded killer monkey bounding toward me at full speed.

I raise my spear just in time as it stops the big monkey just three meters in front of me. Whoa! This monkey is twice as big as any other monkey I’ve seen, and he’s ready to pounce. He bares his fangs and hisses like he really hates my guts. I’m shaking inside. Face to face with death. A standoff. Slowly I start to walk backwards up the steps. The killer monkey follows, ready to jump. I walk up a few more steps and the monkey continues to follow. Man, this is bad!

Sure enough Paul returns that night on the Kathmandu bus, and he catches up with us at Kali Baba’s dhuni fire cave. ‘So that’s it, man,’ he tells us, ‘the end of an era. The club is closed and Randy and the others are still in jail. I talked to Mohan and he says they didn’t find the guy they’re after. Man, it’s good we split that night because the next morning they swept the whole valley.’

Paul’s also got something for me, a telegram addressed to me ‘c/o Nepal Bank.’ He’d spotted it tacked to the notice board at the bank. I take the folded telegram and open it. Holding it close to the fire I read it to myself. Whoa! I must look confused, or amazed, or surprised. I start laughing. ‘Who’s it from, Hrisikesh?’ asks Dev. I’m laughing and shaking my head. ‘Oh man, it’s from our godbrother, Shyam, and you won’t believe this.’ I hand the telegram to Devananda who looks carefully. He too starts chuckling, then holds up the telegram for all to see. ‘“DISCOVERED RUBY MINE COME IMMEDIATELY”… Oh man, Hrisikesh, that’s too far out!’

‘Ruby mine! Where?’ Paul’s greedy ears twitch in anticipation. ‘Says here Hyderabad,’ I tell him. ‘That’s in South India. Man I’ve never been there, but it seems Shyam needs me, like, now!’ ‘Whatta ya gonna do?’ asks Dev. ‘I gotta go! Man, ruby mine? Unreal!’ ‘How? You got no papers?’ Dev reminds me. I think. Let’s see… ‘Well, I’ll walk in through Birganj,’ I begin. ‘Then I guess hitch a train to Hyderabad. I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but it’s a dead end here. And this is just too cool: a ruby mine!’ ‘What about me, Hrisikesh?’ asks Dev. ‘I don’t wanna go to India.’ ‘That’s cool. I travel faster alone. You better stay here with Paul and Kali Baba.’

Turning to Kali Baba I ask, ‘Kali Baba, kya aap ke saath Devananda reh setkt-hai?’ (Baba, can Devananda stay here with you?) Kali Baba laughs. ‘Woe toe teak hai! Tum kahan janna?’ (Sure, that’s OK! Where are you going?). I explain to Kali Baba the amazing news about a ruby mine in India. With a sparkle in his eyes, he just grins. Seems like he is not impressed. I bow to Kali Baba and ask his blessing: a thumb smear of ashes. Yeah! I get up and begin to exit the cave. ‘Don’t worry, guys, I’ll be back loaded with rubies.’ Paul and Devananda both speak in harmony: ‘Cool!’

Next thing I know I’m on an old bus driving down the curvy mountain roads. At Birganj I make my nighttime jungle-trek, crossing the land border into India.

I pull out a book and show it to him. ‘Ira, this Sanskrit book I just bought and Kali Baba both say there are nine gems and these gems are astrologically related to nine Vedic planets. Like ruby for the Sun and pearl for the Moon… do you know about this?’ Ira reaches into his knee-high bookshelf and pulls out a big heavy book and lays it on the table. I look at the title: ‘The Secret Teachings of All Ages.’ ‘This has all the answers,’ says Ira seriously. He leafs throug some back pages, then through some front pages, and finally opens the book near the center and looks it over closely. ‘Here’s your answer, my friend!’ he says, pointing at a paragraph. I take the book and begin to read.

‘The rays of the celestial bodies, striking the crystallizing influences of the lower world, become the various elements. Partaking of the astral virtues of their source, these elements, when properly combined, contribute much to the well-being of man.’ ‘Wow!’ I exclaim. ‘Please continue.’ Ira prods me. ‘The philosopher Agrippa has described in “Three Books of Occult Philosophy” the basic preparation of astrological rings as follows.’ I take a deep breath before going further. ‘When any star ascends fortunately we must take a stone and herb that is under that star, and make a ring of the metal that is suitable to this star, and in it fasten the stone, putting the herb or root under it, not omitting the inscriptions of images, names and characters, as also the proper suffumigations.’

I’m blown out. ‘Wow! This is it! Gems are for planets; gems for the good planets. This is how to make real talismans. Ira, this knowledge is a great treasure. It’s the jeweled secret!’ Ira smiles as he closes the huge book. ‘Indeed, Hrisikesh, that’s why this book is called the “Secret Teachings of All Ages.”’


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Tel: (619) 337-1966. Email: uglythings@znet.com

The Misunderstood
The Misunderstood story from Before the Dream Faded album
The quirky Misunderstood book
The Misunderstood Script "I Unseen"
The Misunderstood Novel-in-progress, "I Unseen"
The Misunderstood on MySpace
The Misunderstood in Wikipedia