From scooters to ski pants, from white lipstick to winkle pickers, STARK RAVING MOD! is a celebration of the 60s-revival Mod subculture in 1980s Australia.

Posted: November 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | No Comments »

Interview with Joe Genua 2008

(Division 4)

Q. Can you briefly tell the story of the evolution of Division 4?

I was attending UNSW and I had just started to learn to play the drums. It was the height of punk and I wanted to play in a band. Kieren Fitzpatrick had placed an ad on the university notice board and I answered it.

Q. Was Division 4 your first foray into mod/sixties music?

Yes it was. I was vaguely aware of 60s music – not particularly mod, but in general, but i did know the Small Faces and The Who. My background was more glam. I used to love The Sweet.

Q. What got you into the mod and 60s revival sound? What artists (old and contemporary) influenced you?

Well to get into punk meant you picked up on the 60s references so again particularly The Small Faces and The Who. Then of course more contemporary for the time was The Jam which I really got into. So one thing leads to another and when you have a voracious appetite to discover you go on an endless search. Punk was sort of petering out when Division 4 started to get together and the mod movement was gaining notice. Like most young people you want a sense of belonging particularly when you set yourself up out of the mainstream therefore mod, and the inspiration and creativity of the music, drew me into being one. Well at least I thought I was one, LOL!

Q. Did any band members consider themselves mods, or did you just like the sixties fashion? Were any of the members mods before you got into mod music and before you met other Sydney mods, or did you merge into that scene once you started gigging around?

No in total honesty when we started we weren’t mods and of course we weren’t the first mod band either. That kudos belongs to The Sets. However becoming friends with our audience and getting inspiration from them and of course wanting to play for them we merged into the scene and became part of it. I cannot speak for the others but I considered myself a mod, yes.

Q. Where was your first mod gig? Which other bands (if any) did you play with?

The first mod gig we did was The Sussex Hotel in the city. I think it was 1979. It wasn’t our first gig – that was in a hall in Darlinghurst – but it must have been our second or third, I’m not sure. We supported The Sets at that gig at The Sussex.

Q. What (if any) were your favourite venues to play and why? Does a particular gig stand out in your memory?

I used to love The Mosman Hotel also The Governor’s Pleasure and The San Miguel stand out. It was a combination of good memories and a good vibe at each of the gigs. Time plays funny things with your memory but I remember one night we played as headliner at The Strawberry Hills in Surry Hills then rushed down to play The Strand Nightclub in the city. I think the first was great and the second was a disaster or it could have been the other way round, LOL.

Q. What was the atmosphere like playing at the Sussex pit?

Raw, electric, alive. You knew you were at the start of something. It was really underground and the room was tiny but shit it was great.

Q. Would you say there was a difference in the Sydney mod scene at the time when Division 4 started and the time you broke up?

Yes naturally there was. At the start it was more friendly and people and bands were more cohesive and supportive. Later on egos got involved and there were separate camps and it fragmented. I went on to greatness of course but I don’t know about the rest, LOL.

Q. Can you tell us about your interactions with Steve Marriott and how that all came about?

It is one of the highlights of my life. I was cultural affairs officer (no jokes please) at UNSW for The Students Union. I put on gigs at the Uni. I heard Steve was touring so I organised an interview which we did at Selinas. As the interview was finishing I asked him if he would produce our next single which was going to be ‘Watcha Gonna Do About It’. Never worked out of course.

Q. What aspects of mod and the mod scene appealed to you and which (if any) didn’t?

Being tribal appealed to me, the friendships, and of course the music. Music is everything to me. I got into the fashion as well and it’s always been an influence on me, in its approach if not its look.

Q. What would you say was the highlight of your time with Division 4?

Meeting Brad, Kieren, Mark and Ian.

Q. Division 4 toured with the Sets to Melbourne on the mod invasion weekend in Easter 81. What do you recall about that crazy weekend?

Playing at The Electric Ballroom and posing, LOL.

Q. In your opinion, do you think that the mod scene was a flash in the pan or has it had any lasting influence on Australian music and pop culture?

Well by definition the mod scene of 79-82 was influenced by the original mod scene. The scene of 79-82 also had its influence on Britpop in my view as well. In an Australian context yes it has its influences.

Band Members

Kieren Fitzpatrick, Brad Fitzpatrick, Joe Genua, Ian Schofield, Mark Jago, Anthony Howell-Smith, John Salway

TRIVIA QUESTIONS

Favourite sixties mod bands: Small Faces, The Creation, The Action, The Who

Favourite sixties mod songs: Don’t Burst My Bubble (Small Faces), I Can See For Miles (The Who)

Favourite mod singers (sixties or contemporary): Reggie King, Steve Marriott

Favourite mod album: The Small Faces

Favourite mod wardrobe item or mod accessory: 3 button jacket, cravat

Favourite mod nightspot (for leisure, not gigging): When you gigged you had no leisure, LOL, but I do remember Talking Tables at Newtown.

(Joe interviewed by Winston Posters and Ariana Klepac, 2008)