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: January 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | 2 Comments »

Interview with Glyn Williams

(The Coathangers) 2009

Q. What did you think of the local punk/new wave scene around 1979–80?

I first got interested in punk after buying Anarchy in the UK on the intitial EMI pressing and then sought out like-sounding bands in Australia, picking up I’m Stranded by the Saints, Radio Birdman, Psycho Surgeons, Horizontal Action and You’re So Boring by the Rocks. I found it all exciting and as a result of the influence of Andrew Vaughan (Sets, Stupidity) found myself playing bass. Venues like The Grand, Stagedoor and Garibaldis became the places to hang out, along with key record shops like Record Plant, Phantom and White Light.

Q. Would you say there was a crossover between punk and the 80s Mod revival scene?

I think a substantial number of the 80s Mods came from the punk scene but the two were not necessarily compatible. Those that drifted towards Mod were more attracted to the RnB side of punk, alongside The Jam and The Jolt.

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

I was introduced to it all via Don Hosie and these included The Who, Small Faces, Action, Dr Feelgood, Tamla Motown and Nine Below Zero.

Q. How did and when did the Coathangers form and who was in the band?

The band formed out of a school band called Dave Vomit and the Dilated Pupils. Glenn Mabbott (who came up with the name) was vocals, Andrew Vaughan guitar, myself on bass and Steve Duncan on drums. Steve auditioned for us and only got the gig because his wife looked like Debbie Harry! We only survived 12 gigs but released a cassette called Emanations from a Wardrobe. Andy and I then formed Donna and the Daydreams playing songs like Frustration by the Purple Hearts and Heatwave by Martha and the Vandellas. That lasted only a short while and I then formed The Original Sound with Paul Berwick, who went on to Happy Hate-Me-Nots, and Stuart Hooper ex Sets.

Q. What was the connection between the Coathangers and the early Mod scene?

Andrew Vaughan’s parents owned the Royal Standard Hotel so we had a gig whenever we wanted. Andy and I started going to The Sussex to see the XL Capris and The Klerks and that’s where we met the Hosie Bros and Steve Dettre who I ended up running the fanzine Shake n Shout with.

Q. What did the Coathangers play? Was it mainly 60s covers as well as some new wave faves?

50% were originals with a mix of Modern Lovers, The Ramones and Stooges.

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

I think it was around November 1979 supporting The Thought Criminals, Pop Mechanix and another band at The Stage Door Tavern. Along the way other bands that played with us at The Royal Standard included The Sets, Introverts, Trans Love Energies and The Particles.

Q. Can you tell us about the vibe of the fledging Mod scene at the Royal Standard and Sussex?

It was just exciting to be part of it but I don’t think you realised at the time the way it grew and developed. It was just where you wanted to be. Didn’t want to be anywhere else!

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

Unfortunately I never actually played at The Sussex except to get on stage with The Sets and do a bit of dancing!

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

I just loved being out with a large group of people that you got to know listening to some fantastic music.

Q. You and Belinda Green often go-go danced on stage with the Sets to the point where you became almost part of the band. How did this come about? Did you take time to go off and learn 60s go-go dance moves?

Got the moves from watching Beach Party movies actually and then modified them. When the stages were big enough then we would become part of the The Sets and in fact toured Melbourne as part of the act. It all basically ended when Gary Hosie said there were too many egos on one stage! I tended to agree with him. Personally, I just found it a great way to meet girls.

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?

I don’t think it really had any impact on Australian music. While there were a number of great singles released, sales were not really huge. Something’s Happening by Stupidity, for instance, sold 1250 copies and was the fifth biggest independent selling single in 1983.

Q. In your opinion who were the ‘stars’/standout musicians and performers of the 60s-influenced/Mod Australian music scene?

People like the Hosie Brothers, Rob Griffiths (Little Murders) and Mark Alchin (Clones) but from a communication point of view then Steve Dettre was a major influence with newsletters and Shake n Shout. The key label was probably Fabian Byrne’s Method Records. Other bands that had that Mod/garage feel that I loved were The Sunnyboys and Flaming Hands – basically anyone that released a single on Phantom records, the greatest Australian label ever!!!

TRIVIA QUESTIONS

Favourite contemporary Mod band: Really into Swedish garage at the moment such as Caesars and Hives but also Greenhornes, Black Hollies. Very excited that The Godfathers are back together. In the 80s it was Stupidity, The Sets, Little Murders, Prisoners, Makin’ Time, The Jam, Dexys etc

Favourite contemporary Mod song: Geno (Dexys Midnight Runners) and anything The Sets and Stupidity did in the 80s, along with the bands listed above

Favourite sixties Mod band/sounds: The Action, Tamla Motown records, The Who

Favourite sixties Mod song/s: I’ll Keep on Holding On, The Action; Competition Aint Nothin, Little Carl Carlton; It’s Torture, Maxine Brown

Favourite Mod singer/s (sixties or contemporary): Gary Hosie (Sets), Rob Griffiths (Little Murders), Mark Alchin (Clones/Reasons Why), Graham Day (Prisoners, Prime Movers, Planet, Solarflares and The Gaolers)

Favourite Mod album (sixties or contemporary): Shake and Shout compilation on Survival Records, Ultimate Action (The Action) or anything by The Dentists or Prisoners.

Favourite Mod wardrobe item or Mod accessory: Got to be my Parka!

Favourite Mod nightspot (for leisure, not gigging): Lismore, Sussex, Alibi, Stranded, Arthurs and Don Hosie’s house!


  • Steve G Dunkin

    The drummer's (me) name was Steve Dunkin !! (not Duncan). His wife's name is Robyn. 

  • arianaKlepac

    approved