Tuesday, January 20, 2009

All Mod Cons

I ride a G.S. scooter with my hair cut neat...

The Mods (short for Modernists) were part of a British subculture; a lifestyle of the youth that began in London in the 1950's and peaked in popularity in 1960's. The Mods had a unique style, adopting trendy Italian and French fashions; Italian jackets with narrow lapels, thin ties, mohair suits, sweaters, zoot suits, clothes featuring pop art such as jackets made from the union flag, French style haircuts, even bowling shoes. They drove scooters instead of motorbikes to protect their clothes from being stained. They wore military coats over their clothes to protect them from the elements.

The Mods rivals were the Rockers, who were more akin to greasers. The Rockers wore leather jackets and rode motorcycles.

[Are You a Mod or Rocker?]

One of the early Mod bands was The High Rollers. They're manager was a bloke named Peter Meaden who was a Mod. He wanted a Mod band and directed their first single Zoot Suit/I'm the Face toward the Mods. A Zoot Suit was a style of suit popular with that crowd and a Face or Ace Face was kind of a leader in the Mod culture. The single failed to chart and the band changed managers and their moniker to The Who. With their edgy sound and wild stage show they became very popular among the British Mods. Their blend of anthemic rock and rhythm and blues would become known as "Maximum R and B".

Pete Townshend would later write a rock opera about the Mods in The Who's 1973 classic album Quadrophenia. The story of Jimmy, a schizophrenic Mod who suffered with four personalities (each represented a member of The Who).

[The Who - I Can't Explain]

Another popular Mod band was The Kinks.

[The Kinks - Gotta Move]

In the late 1970's The Jam lead the way for a Mod revival. The trio from Surrey, England flashed their Who and Kinks influence like a calling card. The album titles reflected the Mod influence; This is The Modern World, All Mod Cons (short for "all modern conveniences", a play on words). The Jam was very popular in Britain, but they never achieved the same success in the states.

Also in 1979 the film version of Quadrophenia was released. The film true to the original Quadrophia story line documented the feel of the original Mod movement of the 60's.

[The Jam - In the City]

I recently discovered the Len Price 3; direct descendants in the Who, Kinks, Jam family line. Listening to their 2007 release Rentacrowd reminds me of the early Townshend written singles and early Jam records; very Mod indeed.

[Len Price 3 - Rentacrowd]

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