An autobiography in song, The Great Unknown comprises a collection of stories, poems, and drawings, along with a triple compact disc set of songs which has been produced by Peter Mitchell and his younger brother Ian Mitchell. Their work together includes membership of several lyrical rock bands in the eighties and nineties.
The Great Unknown tells a story common to musicians based in a country where the population base will not sustain a particularly large industry - where the costs of promotion outweigh potential returns in the home population. This story is not unique to the music industry - it is a tune often sung in the film industry. However, unlike the film industry, the music industry with its smaller budget requirements has not attracted the government support of the film industry. The dilemma is an ongoing one facing independent and major record companies alike - how to capture a great live band and package them up appropriately so they might take their place in the age of video rock. A dilemma solved by relatively few bands - Midnight Oil, INXS, Hunters and Collectors are the exception rather than the rule. Mitchell's band, Captains of Industry, was not to enjoy the airwave space captured by the few elite bands. A change in fire restrictions changed the face of live music in pubs and caused the demise of many a good band. As Mitchell says himself : 'Many of my problems in life are the bitter fruits of this frustration. I have used it to excuse and justify all I have become. It is time to lay it to rest.' In laying it to rest, Mitchell offers it to us, the readers.
Most of the poems, which also served as lyrics to music composed by Mitchell, are accompanied by the author's notes.