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 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | No Comments »

INTERVIEW WITH Kevin Raccani 2009

(The Go)

Q. The Go were a post-Sussex Hotel band. Could you give us a brief history of the band.

I believe the foundations of the Go were laid when the remnants of Rohan, Nick and Graham’s band, the Klues, joined up with Andy and Paul. I joined the band slightly later when Paul decided to leave. A number of members came and went, like Ed and Matt playing drums, James replacing Nick on bass, and Dave taking over lead guitar duties from Rohan. The band split after a couple of years of great gigs.

Q. Was The Go your first foray into sixties music as a band?

It was. I had always liked that style of music and I had always sung, much to the annoyance of people around me, but The Go was the first real band that I’d joined.

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

I had grown up with a dad that played trumpet and most of my older siblings either played an instrument or owned a burgeoning record collection, so I had a great exposure to wide range of music. I listened to a lot of Tamla stuff, a little blue beat and a lot of rock, but I loved what I heard from the Who and had a good friend from school that said that I’d be a Mod before I knew it. I avidly read the NME, and loved all the 70s English bands such as Elvis Costello, Stiff , Two Tone and the like. I realised that Mod music would align with what I was already into, but there were so many new bands that I’d not heard of that were in the Mod-Powerpop bracket that I was introduced to after becoming a Sydney Mod.

Q. What do you say to the statement ‘The Go were a Mod cover band just playing to the Mod scene’?

The simple answer would be ‘yeah’ and ‘so what’ (ha ha). We did do a lot of covers, but we did write quite a few originals, too. Our treatment of songs, like ‘Unchain My Heart’ and ‘Monkey’, were not mainstream, so we weren’t copying original treatments parrot-fashion. I was happy playing to the scene, belting out songs that our friends knew and would enjoy. They came to know the original songs we played, too. Had we been ‘discovered’ that would’ve been grand, but being able to entertain friends was the coolest thing about The Go.

Q. Did the Go play any of their own material and was it about being a Mod in any way?

Rohan, Nick, Andy and I all wrote songs for the band. The songs were either written in Mod-tones or about Mod in some way.

Q. Looking back do you think the band needed two lead singers?

I think that our voices complemented each other quite well, just as the songs we sang lead on were songs that supported our different vocal timbres – and it was easier to load the gear with the extra pair of hands (ha ha). Maybe you could ask some of the audience?

Q. Did any band members consider themselves Mods, or did you just like the sixties fashion?

Well, I can only speak for myself really and probably Graham, the band’s original drummer, who was a friend of Rohan and Nick’s. I don’t think he was a Mod, Paul was, I definitely was, and I think most of the subsequent members that came along were, too.

Q. 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?

I was into Mod before I knew of the Sydney Mod Scene, living in Fairfield NSW, which was tough, especially riding around on a GP200. I found the Sydney Mods later and joined the Go quite a while after that. I think most of the other band members heard about openings in the line up through the scene, so it was granted that the guys were joining from the scene and were already Mods. (Put it this way, I don’t remember the Go advertising when guys left the band.) Graham was the original drummer when Rohan and Nick had formed the Klues. He was a cool guy and didn’t convert to Mod.

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

I don’t recall, actually. Possibly, the Cellar at Newtown, but I’m not sure. I didn’t play with other bands, which I am regretting as I get older.

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

I loved playing at level 1 of the Trade Union Club because the band was on eye level with the crowd. There was a lot of interaction between the band and the crowd because of that. When we toured Melbourne and played to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney Mods that was an absolute highlight. Singing to a sea of Mods is a memory I’ll take to the grave. There seemed to be hundreds of Mods in the venue and to have them cheering and dancing to our music was fabulous. It was the highest I have ever been.

Q. Would you say there was a difference in the Sydney Mod scene at the time when The GO started and the time you broke up?

Definitely. There was a steady erosion in Mod values in my opinion, and people were going to see bands that weren’t exactly M.O.D. Leather jackets started creeping into the scene and it started to lose its value to me, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

Q. When The Go broke up, did any of the members form new bands or merge with other bands?

Yes, Andy started a couple of things with James, as far as I know. I am not sure about all the other guys, but I believe that Dave went into giving music lessons after playing the George Harrison part in a Beatles tribute band.

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

The camaraderie with the lads would be top of the list, and being a part of something unified in fun that at the same time was separate from the mainstream was also a special part of it. The fact that you immediately had something in common with someone in a Harrington and French crew cut isn’t a common thing. I realised that a lot of us had come into the scene from outer suburbs with these mutual interests and in the main, we all fitted together.

Q. What would you say was the highlight of your time with The GO?

Playing Melbourne aside, it would have to be every gig in front of the Sydney Mods really.

Q. Do you have a yarn about a good (or bad) moment from your time with the Sydney Mods?

I couldn’t really pick one out of all the years of bands, scooter runs, fights and fun. I remember my 21st birthday night out, as Mike Landers led me and about thirty other riders down King Street in double file, and the entire street gaped as we rode by.

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

If you know your bands and musos, Mod-oriented bands form quite a list within the Australian music industry. They may not have been Mod bands themselves or wanted to play exclusively to Mods, but having some Mods attending their gigs would certainly have bolstered their audience. Mod seems to cycle every 20 years with like bands enjoying some success in recent years, too. They don’t appear as sharp as we were, but they appear dedicated to some style at least.

Q. The Trade Union Club on level one was a late Mod hang in the mid 80s. Could you describe what the vibe was like back then?

Andy and I were on the Board of Directors of the Sydney trade Union Club with a couple of other young guys, and a number of old farts. Sure, we weren’t solely responsible for support of the music industry, but I’ve just taken a walk through my Modrabelia and the gigs that we helped to arrange there, were a who’s-who of Australian acts. They had an additional outlet for their music that they may not have had if it wasn’t for our efforts. A number of Mod bands had gigs there and some of them enjoyed a residency where they were seen, not only by Mods, but the wider Sydney youth. Remember, it was often three floors of pure entertainment.

BAND MEMBERS

Vocals: Kevin Raccani, Andy Chase, Paul Ruby

Guitar: Rohan de Meyrick, Dave Woods

Bass: Nick Samios, James Robinson

Drums: Graham Day, Ed Codsi

TRIVIA QUESTIONS

Favourite eighties Mod band: So many greats, but Secret Affair and The Chords stand out. I had a large blue beat collection that was enjoyed at home, but never really while I was out.

Favourite eighties Mod song: Secret Affair’s ‘One Day in Your Life’

Favourite sixties Mod band: The Who

Favourite sixties Mod song: ‘The Kids Are Alright’

Favourite Mod singer: I always liked Ian Page’s voice

Favourite Mod album: The ‘Who the Fuck’ bootleg

Favourite Mod wardrobe item or Mod accessory: The suits, ties, collar and tie pins, and my GP200

Favourite Mod nightspot (for leisure, not gigging): The gig room at Strawberry Hills when The Introverts were laying it down, and the sweat was running down the walls.