Stones Clones 1965-1968
Battle of the Bands Promo 1966
We won this cool trophy!
Misanthropes started at Marina High School in San Leandro CA as an outgrowth of the folk singing club. Too tame. Original members Nick Powers, Tom Brooks, Gene Chaves, Jay Kadis and Chris Leonard did a few gigs here and there, but things didn't get off the ground until a couple of personnel changes: Mark Resare replaced drummer Leonard, Chaves left, and John Rodrigues joined. Although we were mainly devoted to Rolling Stones covers, we also did Yardbirds, Kinks, Byrds, and Beatles material. We played local teen-oriented venues like the Penthouse in Hayward. Eventually, Misanthropes hooked up with Tom Brown as manager/booking agent and we started to get "real" gigs. Lots of high schools, and teen dances like Teens and Twenties, which booked rock shows at venues like the Rollarena in Hayward.
There were so many fine gigs, like the county fair where we got chased by cowboys, the IDES hall where we got chased by skinheads, the Alameda County Sheriffs who read us our Miranda rights in the parking get the picture: the H Leibes department store (they butchered our name on the radio for that one!), the Veteran's Hall in Vallejo (where we chased the promoter who didn't pay us), the American Legion Hall in South Lake Tahoe (we got to spend the night in the hall and screw around with the light show all night), the Father Bathrobe Incident (playing for a Mormon teen dance right next to a baptism in progress..."Turn it down some more" ..."It won't go below 0"), The Klassy Kat-A-Gogo (it wasn't) and the list goes on. Maybe the highlight was opening for Muddy Waters at the IDES Hall (he let me play his 'Tele!). We finally got to play the Fillmore Auditorium on a Sunday afternoon and were once voted the third most popular band in the bay area in some poll or other. Once the Fillmore got going, though, it squeezed out the little venues we played and things started to go downhill. Nick quit and was replaced by Ed Straehle. John quit and was replaced by Howard Kadis. Finally we all got tired of it and the band folded. There have been several reunions and reformations, but none has had the original spirit of the '60's.
Tom and Nick at The Penthouse 1965
Then there was the Musician's Union Local 510 San Leandro California... set up by the Portuguese Sunday-concert-in-the-park guys, old men who played marching band stuff. They didn't know what to do with rock'n'roll let alone 16 year-old kids. I was leader, so I got to deal with the contracts, 2% work dues, and business agents who snuck up on every gig we reported and tried to nail us for filing false contracts. Who the hell pays kids union scale for high-school dances? That's what I got for being the "responsible" member of the band. The union did get us occasional gigs no one else wanted like Juvenile Hall (saw a few "old friends" there!), but when promoters didn't pay us we were on our own. We eventually quit and Local 510 eventually folded...maybe there is justice in the world.
Tom Brooks shakes his "thing"
And transportation was minivans in those days. We started out using Tom Brooks' Chevy: a cavernous trunk that fit two or three bassman amps and a twin reverb. Mark Resare had a cool Studebaker for the drums and a person or two. Later, we used Tom Brown's Volkswagen van until it broke down on the way to a gig and we piled into his parents' station wagon...can you say sardines? Later, I got a '59 Chevy Biscayne 2-door station wagon. That was a mistake...
Jay, Nick, Mark, and John waiting for Tom
The '60s was a golden age for local or "garage" bands. It really hadn't been done before, so we felt like we were doing something new and different. Eventually, it was discovered that money could be made and the growth of the San Francisco scene propelled some bands to stardom and the rest to oblivion. Welcome to oblivion!
Where's Tom? ...wrestling practice!
There are really lots of 'Thropes stories (some of which we still dare not reveal after 30 years!) and I've just scratched the surface. I plan to consult other former 'Thropes and post pictures and other memorabilia...alas no sound recordings exist to our knowledge. This, of course, allows us to remember it as being much better than it probably was... We did once record a couple of songs at Leo De Gar Kulka's Golden State Recorders but we never heard the tape and don't know if it still (or ever?) exists(ed). There is an 8mm silent film of Misanthropes playing at Bayfair Mall in San Leandro, but it's kinda scary watching ourselves so young...

If, by chance, you might have some Misanthrope memories, we'd be happy to hear from you.