Mission Impossible came about when a group of like-minded friends attending St Day Youth Club got together and decided to form a band. The band was initially formed by Graham Farley and Tony Richardson, who were both at school together. Russell went to a different school and was invited to join the band through Graham.
Starting out around 1965/66 the band performed covers of the latest pop hits for the local teen dances. After a year or so of practicing things started to pick up and the band began to secure fairly regular gigs around Cornwall.
Graham was the first to leave the band, due to 'artistic differences'. Original guitarist Tony Richards left the band to be replaced by Gerald Gunn and the band started moving away from pop into the increasingly popular soul direction. They soon became a regular fixture at the local night spots and like many local bands signed up with Bodmin’s BCD Entertainments, who would line them up with plenty of live work.
They would soon become one of the most popular bands in Cornwall. Despite still being in school they were often playing out live 6 or 7 nights a week and were also building up their own fanbase (mainly consisting of girls from Camborne Tech!).
There were plenty of outlets for live music at the time and the band would play throughout Cornwall at the bigger venues (Winter Gardens, Blue Lagoon, Flamingo, etc.) supporting some of the big name bands visiting as well as playing at village halls for local dances and Young Farmers gatherings. They would also regularly venture into Devon and secured a gig on Newquay’s Fistral Beach as part of the annual visit from the Radio One Roadshow.
Mission Impossible supported The Casuals just as their song Jesamine hit the top spot in the charts. Another memorable gig was at Gunwolloe fishing cove for the Navy. This was Friday night before Culdrose Air Day, which had Jimmy Saville opening it. The band were booked alongside the band Confusion, who played a lot of Hendrix Covers. Mission Impossible was the first band on and played their set (2 hours).
They then sat back to watch Confusion when the heaven's opened and the outdoor gig was rained off. After helping the band pack away a tarpaulin roof was erected and Mission Impossible came back to do another set. After the gig they met Jimmy Saville who thanked them for stepping in and playing again.
Tuckingmill Pavilion, Camborne 1967
As the 60’s progressed, the band started moving into a rockier direction, and also started to introduce their own (albeitcrude) lightshow. In 1968 the band entered the annual beat contest at Truro City Hall, now known as “Top Group Championship of Cornwall". Each band was expected to play two songs, and they chose a cover of The Doors, ‘Light My Fire’. In an attempt to upstage the competition the band chose to introduce their own Who-style pyrotechnics, which consisted of excesses of lighter fluid.
Unfortunately fluid leaked over the stage and curtains and during the grand finalehalf the hall went up in flames. Needless to say the band didn’t win, although they did received a front page story in the West Briton. The original Mission Impossible disbandedshortly after this gig.
Three members of the final 'Mission Impossible'invited Mike Harwood to join them in 1968 as Lead guitarist. Steve Newman and Robert Robins decided they wanted to continue with a band after disbanding Mission Impossible and while camping in Snowdonia decided to form a new band. Russell Dodge came back on keyboard but, with Rob moving to drums, they still needed a lead guitar player.
With Mike on board the band became Society's Child.