Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In The Spotlight--Misunderstood

Misunderstood joins our great Punk & Ska Night 3/13
Being punk ain't easy.  Being punk and a girl is even harder.  And being punk, and a girl, and in your teens, is probably more than most people could handle.  Misunderstood's Lyn-Z Riot has seen it all, from bandmates that wouldn't stick around, to being heckled while playing the local bar.  And she, and the band, have persevered through it all and are now starting to hit their groove.  

"Misunderstood was put together when I was 15 because I loved Joan Jett, and I loved what she did, and wanted to start my own band. She made me believe that since I felt different I could be different, and play punk rock music," she says.  Starting the band was just the beginning of the challenges.  "I have had a good amount other members in the band these past 5 years. I just never could find anyone who would want to stick around," Lyn-Z says.  Though over the past year, finally, that has settled down.  "Brandi has been in the band for almost year now and Drew has been in the band since June. They are definitely the best band mates I have had in the band."

Disinterested crowds, lousy venues, and loudmouthed haters have all had to be overcome.  "Bar shows are usually the worst, just something about 2 of us out of the 3 being girls makes guys want to yell at us and tell us we stink at what we do.  There are different kinds of punk blooming out, hardcore, pop punk, punk rock. Its definitely interesting in playing with other punk bands, because usually their fans hate us because we are not like the band they came to see."  Sorting through all of that however has uncovered some great places to play.  In addition to stalwarts like Indianapolis Melody Inn and McGuffy's in Dayton, the band points to a place called Club Soda in London Ohio.  "The feeling of walking into a venue and feeling like you're not being used to just make the venue money, that you're actually a musician and that they want to help you out is amazing. Club Soda has respect for the musicians that walk in there and play their stage," she says.

Over the years the band has been able to find more and more places to play, last year gigging 47 times.  This year should prove even bigger.  "We have played 8 shows so far in 2012. We have almost 30 more booked and working on confirming more," which includes a pair of shows here at the Galaxy coming up.  It all started with a show at The Sorg Opera House in Middletown, before moving on to places like The Outlet in Richmond, and open mic nights around the area.  "Then I got asked to play a place in Cincinnati called The Blue Rock Tavern when I was 16. I started playing The Blue Rock about every other month and it started to feel like everybody enjoyed what we were doing because we were playing with Punk bands," she says.  The highlight so far was playing Bogart's.  "That was a really cool experience especially since my 4th concert I ever went to was there, and it was Joan Jett. Being able to be on the same stage as Joan Jett is a dream come true."

Rock this!

That Joan Jett influence is certainly heard in the band's work.  "My influences when I write are usually Joan Jett, Brody Dalle and Hunter Valentine. I do think me being a huge Joan Jett and Brody Dalle fan that it does come out during live shows and in the songs. I don't try to copy them, but they are a big help in how I write and how I present myself on stage." The writing is a collaborative effort though.  "When we write a new song we usually write it all together in my garage in Richmond Indiana. We just start jamming and I start to write a guitar riff and it goes from there. The past two new songs that will be on Misunderstood's new cd "The Right Words Can Break A Heart" were written that way. Stupid Love Song was written by the drummer and me just jamming one day and we both started playing and it became a song."

In addition to holding the band together and playing shows to crowds of sometimes mixed enthusiasm, Riot also started her own label, "Riot Love Records".  "Misunderstood is the only band on label right now.  I started it because I thought it would be easier to put out Misunderstood's albums and info on my own label then trying to get signed to someone else. With the label we don't have to worry about other people telling us what to do, we can do what we want."  She is open to other artists joining the label as well, saying, "I'm up for anybody hitting me up though if they are interested in being on the label. I can't promise a lot right now just because the label is just starting up, but I can definitely help get shows and help get bands in a studio."

When it's all said and done, the label, the changing cast of band members, the occasional crowds that just don't get it, everything works out for the best when they play a great show.  "We love playing all age shows though, it's so fun to play in front of kids, it makes you feel like you're doing something right when they come up to you and say that you're awesome." And playing live is much more rewarding than even making a great recording.  "It's so much fun to have someone to react back to you. Especially when someone digs your music and you can tell, its one of the greatest feelings. It definitely makes me play better when I know there is at least one person rocking out to us in the crowd," she says.

You and your friends can make it more than just one person rocking out in the crowd by joining us for this great lineup on March 13th.  Joining Misunderstood will be Survay Says! Atomic Potato, & Ice Cream Socialist Party.  This show is all ages, kicks of at 7pm, and is just 5 bucks.  Come hang!  Thanks to Lyn-Z for taking the time to answer our questions, and we'll see you at the show!

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