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 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | 4 Comments »

Interview with Mark Alchin 2009

(The Clones, The Reasons Why)

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

I totally loved it. When The Clones first started playing live in early 1978 it seemed like there were still a lot of heavy rock bands playing around the local live scene. It took a while before we noticed more punk-ish/new wave type acts doing gigs either on the same bill as us or otherwise.  It was incredibly refreshing to discover bands like Young Modern, The Transistors and others doing more melodic stuff

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

There definitely seemed to be….it was a bit difficult to judge though as we really only noticed ‘scene’ people turning up to the more inner city and inner suburbs shows. When we played further out of the city we hardly saw punks, mods or others at gigs. I clearly remember the first night we played at French’s Tavern on Oxford Street (September 1978) and there being a lot of punks in the audience which was brilliant, we really responded to the energy of the crowd and they seemed to like us which was a surprise as we were still doing a lot of 60s covers at that stage. (The mod thing happened a little later but we did notice a few people who had followed us around in the punk scene started to become a part of the mod scene.)

It seemed quite sudden though that at some city shows we suddenly got very big mod audiences (in the second half of 1979 and into 1980, especially when we played with bands like The Proteens, The Introverts and The Riptides).

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

As I lived in England from 1958–1966 the 60s music scene was all around me. My sister was a Beatles fanatic and I remember it seemed like every time you turned the radio or TV on you would hear or see them. 60s music was pretty imbued in my system by the time I started collecting records in the early 70s in Australia and I went out and got all the Beatles albums; discovering all the album tracks was a thrilling time indeed!

Then, when I started being involved in bands, all the other guys were Beatles nuts too so we naturally leaned that way in terms of the style of music we played. But it was when John Salway joined us and we became The Clones in 1978 that our ears were really opened through John’s influence to a lot of other bands’ lesser known songs. The Zombies, The Easybeats and The Searchers were all bands that John introduced us to in depth and, out of all those influences, came the sound of the band.

A little later we started getting into the more melodic punk/new wave artists like Elvis Costello/Nick Lowe/The Records and Squeeze and some of these influenced the originals we were writing.

Q. When did you get into the mod scene? Did you go to the Royal Standard and Sussex?

We (The Clones) started to notice mods turning up to our shows during 1979 and we were really impressed with the dedication of the mods in turning up to our gigs and dancing – sometimes it was hard for us to get people dancing in pub gigs but the mods were always willing to get down the front and give it a blast

We were so knocked out with the mod look that we started to wear ties and proper shirts on stage for the first time!

The first people I remember coming along and talking to us at a Clones gig were Tony Rowe (‘Skid’) and the late Phil Ticehurst (‘Bones’); they were lovely guys and really liked the band.

Then, when we played at places like Glebe Town Hall, Chatswood Charles and Highwayman’s Hotel in Hornsby heaps of mods would turn up and make the gigs very memorable

John and I went to the Sussex a few times during this period and watched some bands though I couldn’t say exactly who I saw…that’s when I first met people like Glynn Williams & Steve Dettre.

Q. Can you give us a potted history of your bands before the Reasons Why, particularly noting the Clones.

There’s a good chronological history dating back to 1973 (!) at: http://www.theclones.net.au.50megs.com/The%20Clones%20Page%2020%20Chronological%20History.html which leads up to me joining the Turnaround. I don’t think I could put it any clearer than that web page.

Q. The Clones broke up just as the mod revival scene really started to take off. Did your followers segue into the mod scene and the Reasons Why? How different were the Clones from the Reasons Why and what was the difference in your fan base?

The Clones disbanded at the end of 1980. The first Reasons Why gig [when we were called The Last Word] was at the San Miguel, Cammeray, in January 1983. Because The Clones had started to get a name in the mod scene before we split there was a bit of publicity about the new band and there were mods there to see us from the beginnings of The Reasons Why.

The main differences between the Clones and The Reasons Why were that John Salway wasn’t with us and so I was the main songwriter and singer whereas in The Clones John and I shared those roles fairly equally. Also, when we started the Reasons Why we were determined to start out with a greater percentage of original songs than in The Clones and we pretty much achieved that.

As for the fan base of the two bands, it seemed to me that the Reasons Why evolved into a more popular inner city band – we certainly did far fewer suburban shows than the Clones did. As I mentioned, the mods were there from the first Reasons Why gig and we managed to keep that going through until we split toward the end of 1987.

Q. Can you briefly fill us in on how the Reasons Why came together and who was in the band (various line-ups are listed at the bottom of the interview).

The Reasons Why [originally called The Last Word] was formed during late 1981 as a three piece band with myself on bass & vocals, Noel Sharpe on drums and Ian on guitar – we formed the band after The Clones broke up and after I’d spent a while playing in The Turnaround. Noel and Ian really wanted the three of us to do a musical project again so I left The Turnaround and we started rehearsing an entirely new set of my originals with a couple of Ian’s and some covers.

Around the middle of 1984 we got James Rothery in the band on bass guitar and I switched to rhythm guitar. This gave us a little more range in terms of arrangements and James stayed with us until the band split. The only other line-up change was when Noel left and Ed Codsi came in on drums.

Q. What kind of music did the Reasons Why play? Was it mainly covers or original material? Did you start with covers and bring in the originals later, or did you have originals ready to go at the first gig?

As I mentioned earlier, the Reasons Why were determined to have more original songs than covers from the beginning. We spent quite a while rehearsing before our first gigs as The Last Word and so we were able to have around a 50:50 ratio of covers to originals from the beginning. As time went on and we started playing on bills with other bands (where you get to play just one long set instead of several sets over a night) we were able to play up to 70 per cent originals in those situations.

Q. What demo tapes or singles did you make, and who produced them?

The only singles released with me on them were:

The Clones – ‘Tired of Hiding’ (Alchin)/’Happy I’m With Her’ (Salway) (RCA – June 18, 1980)

Produced by The Clones and Tony Grose

The Turnaround – ‘Let’s Do It’ (Voglino/Jeffrey)(Festival – I played rhythm guitar and did harmonies on this but not credited on the sleeve as I left the band before it was released)

The Reasons Why – ‘In The End’* (Alchin)/’Big Words’** (Alchin/Rothery)/’Undecided’** (Alchin) (Phantom Records – released 1987) [*produced by Eric Vandersande & The Reasons Why/**Produced by David Price/Mixed & engineered by Eric Vandersande. Produced by David Price & The Reasons Why]

I also played rhythm guitar and did harmonies on the track ‘Turnaround’ (Voglino/Jeffrey) (by The Turnaround) which was on the Starstruck film soundtrack and produced by Mark Moffat

Demo tapes by The Clones and The Reasons Why are very numerous and there is probably too much detail to go into here. In those days most bands did a lot of demo recordings whenever they had the chance.

Probably the most memorable demo experience I had personally was a three track recording with the second Reasons Why line-up produced by John Bee at the main EMI Studios in Sydney. The tracks from these are all available on the Reasons Why MySpace and Facebook pages.

Q. Did you or any band members consider themselves mods and live a mod lifestyle?

James (Rothery) and I were the only two in the Reasons Why that took up the mod fashion and some aspects of the lifestyle. Later on Ed Codsi joined us and he had already been part of the mod scene as a band member and personally.

Q. Where was the Reasons Why first gig? Which other bands (if any) did you play with?

The Reasons Why’s first live performance was at the San Miguel Inn in Cammeray, Sydney, on 1 January 1983.  At the time we were called The Last Word but had to change the name after a short while due to a Melbourne band called The Last Words.

We got the name The Reasons Why from John Salway who had formed a band with that name, but to my knowledge they didn’t play gigs (or perhaps just a few) under that name

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

Definitely the Trade Union Club was a huge favourite but I also loved playing at Mosman Hotel, Paddington Green and Newtown Leagues Club.

Q. What was the atmosphere like when playing at the Sydney Trade Union Club or the Cellar at the Mod all dayer, or other key mod venues?

The Saturday nights on the first floor of the Trade Union Club were always fantastic – memories of those have really stayed with me; the atmosphere was brilliant at those gigs with the audience standing directly in front of the mics with no stage creating a barrier. The audience were just right there and it made it much more immediate and exciting for us I think.

I liked how we got to play 4 Saturdays in a row there each time which allowed us to try different songs out including new ones etc.

The all-nighters/day-nighters were amazing too – the ones at Newtown Leagues & East Rules Club stand out in particular, so does the early one we did as a 3 piece at Ermington! The main thing about the atmosphere at the all-dayers or daynighters was the buzz with all the different bands on the same bill and the excitement from the crowd, people really seemed to be there to soak up the ‘special’ event feel of those shows – even though most of the bands had regular gigs it wasn’t that often that so many bands that all appealed to mods played on the same bill.

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

Noel, Ian and I reteamed with John Salway in the early 1990s as the Groovediggers which was about 80% original tunes. We only played 6 gigs before splitting up again! James joined a jazzy, funk type band (Wax Jambu) in the early/mid-1990s. I joined Bang Shang a Lang (70s/80s covers) on bass in the middle of 2000. The lead singer of Bang Shang a Lang was a long time mate of mine, Mark Mulligan, who used to front the Transistors & Finger Guns back when the Clones & The Reasons Why were playing around Sydney

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

The Introverts in general/Greg Noyes vocals; Mark Mulligan of The Transistors/Finger Guns (not mod as much as powerpop but a great songwriter & performer); John Salway (vocals & songwriting & bass) (The Clones/The Touched/The Persuaders etc.); Musicians: James Rothery (bass); Peter “Fiji Banana” Iacono; Ed Codsi (drums); Don & Gary Hosie (great front men/performers in their various bands). I also loved The Go & The In Crowd as live bands.

TRIVIA QUESTIONS

Favourite contemporary mod band (can be more than one): If this means contemporary as in during the 80s then it’s The Introverts and The In Crowd

Favourite contemporary mod/powerpop song (can be more than one): Girl on Page 3/Standard Days – The Introverts; Happy I’m With Her – John Salway (The Clones); Last Forever – Mark Mulligan (Finger Guns)

Favourite sixties/mod band: The Beatles; The Kinks; The Who; The Zombies

Favourite sixties mod song: Mary Anne with the Shaky Hands (The Who); Away from the Numbers (The Who); So Sad About Us (The Who); I Can See For Miles (The Who); You Really Got Me (The Kinks)

Favourite mod singer (sixties or contemporary): Local, Greg Noyes (Introverts/The In Crowd); John Salway (The Clones/The Persuaders/The Touched). Overseas: Ray Davies (Kinks), Colin Blunstone (Zombies)

Favourite mod/60s album (sixties or contemporary): Revolver (The Beatles)

Favourite mod wardrobe item or mod accessory: suede desert boots (!)

Favourite mod nightspot: Hip Hop Club, Tom Katz Cafe &  Sydney Trade Union Club

BAND MEMBERS

THE CLONES

March 1978 – December 1980:

John Salway: Rhythm guitar/vocals

Ian Puckering: Lead guitar/vocals

Noel Sharpe: Drums

Mark Alchin: Bass/vocals

Note: John Salway left the band half way through 1980 then The Clones

continued as a 3 piece band before splitting towards the end of the year.

THE REASONS WHY:

Line-up I 1983–1984:

Mark Alchin: Bass/lead vocals

Noel Sharpe: Drums

Ian Puckering: Guitar/vocals

Line-up II 1984–1986:

Mark Alchin: Rhythm guitar/lead vocals

Noel Sharpe: Drums

Ian Puckering: Lead guitar/vocals

James Rothery: Bass/vocals

Line-up III  1986–1987:

Mark Alchin: Rhythm guitar/lead vocals

Ed Codsi: Drums

James Rothery: Bass/vocals

Ian Puckering: Lead guitar/vocals

(Mark Alchin interviewed by Ariana Klepac, 2009)


Posted: November 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | 3 Comments »

INTERVIEW WITH ANDY CHASE 2009

(The Go, The Clues, The Interceptors)

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

Rohan De Meyrick, Nick Samios, Kevin Raccani and Myself were part of the Mod scene when we first met. We were friends and had mutual musical tastes. Kevin and I shared a flat. One day he said that Rohan and Nick were getting a band together and they had asked Kevin to sing. Kevin was not sure if he could do it. As I had played bass in the Eskalators and lead guitar in the Reaction I was a bit more used to the whole idea. I turned up and then persuaded Kevin to join after a brief flirtation with a harmonica player called Paul who was also from the scene. After the first nine months the band lost Nick Samios but picked up Bassist Jim Robinson from the Key. We payed as The Go for a couple of years; the last being at Eastern Suburbs Aussie Rules Club in late 85.

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

No. I played in the Eskalators in the Rudeboy scene, and The Reaction headed up by George Koumbis with Jim Merryweather and Matt Sweeney.

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

I listened to the Who at the age of 4–5 in about 66–67. My sisters were all Mods in London so I remember their boyfriends coming over with their scooters and them playing records. Influences include: Small Faces, The Move, The Action, The Jam, Secret Affair, Dr Feelgood, Eddie and the Hot Rods, The Records.

Q. What is your response to the statement ‘The Go were a Mod cover band just playing to the Mod scene’?

Indeed we were a Mod band playing (mostly) covers for the Mod scene. It is the “just” I find difficult to deal with. At the time I started hanging around the scene the “Hosie Gang” had moved on from the current scene circa 82 ( a very small and fragmented one). At that time the bands that were playing enjoyed the crowds and the revenue that it generated but they really did not care about “MOD” and all that it meant – no disrespect to them but that how it was. The Go DID. So to say “just” playing the Mod scene is where I disagree, It was an honour to be one of the crowd whilst being up on the stage. One thing I know I can say with confidence is that The Go did what they set out to do, although it had limitations – we lived the dream. A MOD band playing for MODS. The other bands tried to crack the music business and didn’t get there. That’s why we were rough as guts because we were pleasing the dancing crowd that paid to get in and not some fanciful record label that would water down the raw energy and take away our reason for being. MOD – LOUD and PROUD!

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

Yep. ‘Leaping in the Dark’ (Drug related – going too far). ‘Here to Be Scene’ – Being a MOD in the Sydney scene. ‘There Will Be Time’ – about all those that were once MODS but had decided to stay home by the fire. ‘One Step Ahead’ – Dealing with the tall poppy syndrome that affected The Go in particular.

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

Good question. The Sets look was fresh in the minds of the older guys and so they just weren’t interested because of the “split” and they distanced themselves from us. This look and feel was designed to celebrate the Hosie Model and be unashamed of the past. It was a conscious decision.

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

Myself, Kevin, Nick, Rohan and later Jim were all MODS. The drummer Graham was not, but liked the vibe and sounds.

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?

As above Rohan, Nick, Jim, Kevin and Myself were in the scene before the band was formed.

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

The first Go performance was at the Mod alldayer at Newtown Leagues Club, October Long Weekend 1983. My first MOD performance was at the Vulcan Hotel in 1982 with the Reaction when I replaced Andrew Vaughan (formerly of the Sets).

My other Bands:

The Clues (Rohan de Meyrick, Jim Robinson, Matt Sweeney, Andy Chase) 1985–1986

The Interceptors (Jason Wilson, Steve Gorgzica, Jim Robinson, Andy Chase).

Q. What (if any) were your favourite venues to play and why?

Trade Union Club 85. Favourite Venue. Why: Kevin and I stood for the board of directors because of the invitation of Dennis (General Manager of the Trade). The sheer weight of numbers got us elected onto the board. The agreement with Dennis was that if we brought the bodies he would give us the first floor to control. We took over and started booking bands from that point. We had a secure “pro-MOD venue” where we were able to Ban Doc Martens, people with “bonehead cuts” and punks. It was MODS plus anybody else that behaved to our standards. We also had people watching the scooters parked out front of the venue. Like it or hate it – It was our venue.

Q. Does a particular gig stand out in your memory?

Richmond Club Melbourne 85. Mods from Adelaide and Perth came as well as most of the new Sydney crowd.

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

Yes. When we started out in the scene it was a closed shop. If you didn’t wear the correct clothes you were laughed at, treated like a leper and frozen out. All of the friendships revolved around “boyfriends and girlfriends” living in Mod households. The Go (especially Kevin and myself) went out of our way to include new people to “spread the word”. By the time The Go finished there were people coming from the suburbs from North, South East and West. They came up with their own scooter clubs (Bulldoggies, for example) and had their own styles. I can say, hand on heart, The Go gigs were the catalyst for this new wave of people. Pre Trade Union we used to go and play at the Quarrymans hotel in Ultimo. This was a small and intimate venue where you could not help but mix in as there was no room to be snobbish or elitist. It was a great time, there were new people every week.

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

Rohan de Meyrick joined Stupidity. Later Rohan talked to me about forming a new band. That’s where the Clues came from.

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

Loved the feeling of “One Scene”, especially when we were under siege from skinheads and the like. Just being out with the numbers on a Saturday in town. Great fun. Scooter runs were good as were the Night Clubs where we danced and grooved our shoes off. My biggest regret is that people mistook the organising of this as an attempt to “take over” or “be the Face”. The sad part is the people who stood around and criticised never did anything for the scene. Only for themselves.

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

Richmond Club in Melbourne Easter 1985. Plus a gig at the Trade where we had the Sets play a set during the night. It was my attempt to get the old Sets crew to see us, and the new younger guys to see the Sets. It worked and was one of the great moments of my time in the scene.

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

On stage in Melbourne Nick Samios jumped onto the fold-back mid “I Can’t Explain”. He fell backwards and landed straight onto his back. He never missed a note!

During the skinhead ban, Mark Howie (a north shore Mod) was in the crowd with a false skinhead cap on. From the stage Kevin and I thought we had some “boneheads” in the crowd and were about to call security to get them out. Luckily we realised what he was up to.

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

It is still there and has a place in history, despite the people that try to pretend that it was insignificant. The only thing that is different is that when we were in the scene, the passion was driven by the need to have what was not available easily. When you did get it (be it music, clothes or scooters) it felt great. These days nothing is new, nothing is hard to get and nothing unique.

TRIVIA QUESTIONS

Favourite contemporary Mod bands: The Jam, The Chords, Secret Affair, The Prisoners, Small World, Squire

Favourite contemporary Mod song: ‘It’s Too Bad’ and ‘I got By In Time’ – The Jam

Favourite sixties Mod bands: The Who, Small Faces

Favourite sixties Mod songs: ‘I Can’t Explain’ and ‘So Sad About Us’ – The Who

Favourite Mod singer: Anthony Meynell

Favourite Mod album: ‘All Mod Cons’ – The Jam

Favourite Mod wardrobe item or Mod accessory: Boating blazer

Favourite Mod nightspot: The Freezer, Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

(Andy Chase interviewed by Winston Posters, 2009)


WATCH THIS SPACE!

Posted: November 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | 1 Comment »

As there was such a MASSIVE response for stories and quotes for Stark Raving Mod! and the editors weren’t able to fit everything in, we will now include some of the longer stories (in full), together with interviews from leading Australian Mod band members.

To start the ball rolling, we will feature the interview that Winston Posters did with Andy Chase from The Go, in 2009.


Posted: October 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | No Comments »

STARK RAVING MOD! TO HIT BOOKSHOPS IN NOVEMBER

Stark Raving Mod! will be distributed Australia-wide as of November. Look out for it in your local bookshop, music store or scooter store. The book would make an ideal Christmas gift!

The t-shirts, scooterist posters and badges can still be obtained from Ariana Klepac Publishing Pty Ltd.

(Watch out for upcoming Christmas specials, to be advertised on this site in November.)

For any queries contact Ariana Klepac on ariana@akpublishing.com.au


Posted: June 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | No Comments »

Adelaide ex-Mod revivalist, David Robinson, reviews Stark Raving Mod!

When I was younger, so much younger than today, I was a mod.

I suppose I still am, although I am probably not quite as sharp as I might be. I sometimes wonder what 17 year-old David would make of the 2010 version. It was a great part of my life, coinciding with that awakening that (sometimes) occurs as we pass from childhood to adulthood. New music, good clothes, scooters, and self-respect. Wonder years, indeed.

I am, as many of my friends would know, a part-time scribbler, and my work has appeared in various newspapers, magazines and newsletters both in Australia and England. Yesterday was another great moment, with the arrival of a very welcome package. My literary efforts have now appeared in a ‘proper’ book – Stark Raving Mod!, put together by Sydney-siders Ariana Klepac and Winston Posters. It has been some time in the making but the result certainly makes me happy. It is a wonderful collection of anecdotes, recollections and photos from those heady mod revival days. Not only do my contributions appear throughout, which is pleasing in a self-centred kind of way, but I truly believe that this tome is at least as good as Richard Barnes’ Mods!, an English retrospective released many years ago and still held up by many, including myself, as the benchmark.

The press has been favourable, and the book has its own site. Buy a copy if you are into music, fashion, youth, and/or lifestyle.

Aaah. Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.

David Robinson, June 2010


Posted: June 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | No Comments »

THE I-94 BAR WEBSITE REVIEWS STARK RAVING MOD!

STARK RAVING MOD! THE AUSTRALIAN MOD AND SIXTIES REVIVAL 1979-86 By Ariana Klepac and Winston Posters

You won’t read a better dissection of an Australian sub-culture than this. It’s well-researched and generously illustrated, and all the more readable because it’s viewed through the eyes of the participants. “Stark Raving Mod!” focuses on Australian mod life in the ’80s with a fair focus on Sydney. The scenes in other cities are touched on but much of the source material is from the authors’ own backyard. The scene’s birthplace and heart was Sydney, which was also home-base for its bible, the very professional zine “Shake and Shout”.

Most sub-cultures exist in the “here and now”. “Events”, as most people understand them, are few and the history is not strictly linear. The Australian mod movement was no different – it was mostly about the appearance and disappearance of bands and venues – but it also had some significant events. One was the 1981 trip to Melbourne by the Sydney contingent, which was the catalyst for a split in the ranks when the newer recruits rejected the dominance of the established leadership. I knew about that one before reading the book because I worked with a leading light of the scene. I even went to a party at the Wollstonecraft house of The Face, Sets singer Don Hosie. I’m sure there were some wild times there over the years but that one was a bit of a snore.

It’s an oral history but “Stark Raving Mod!” is no “Please Kill Me!” in its digging of dirt. The authors come to celebrate mod, not bury it. Any sordid stuff is out of view (most mods have kids of their own these days) and the use of chemical assistance to function all through a weekend is hinted at, rather than spelt out. There’s acknowledgement of the emergence of sexism, in a matter-of-fact way. The tales are all told in snapshots – first-person vignettes grouped thematically – and the impact is that “Stark Raving Mod!” is an appropriately hyperactive read, never sitting still.

Mod was undeniably largely about fashion. “Stark Raving Mod!” chronicles Saturday morning searches through second-hand stores. You can argue that being obsessed about dressing a certain way requires a high degree of conformity and you’d be right to some degree, but equally so if you said this was punk’s Achilles heel too. Of course a few people took it all way too seriously – but you tend to do that when you’re young. I well remember the way some mod girls bit like bull terriers on the letters page when a Sydney writer for RAM magazine penetrated the Sussex Hotel scene and used the word “insular”.

The other thing mod was about was the music and there’s ample coverage of the bands that mattered. The striking thing is that so few of the bands you’d regard as “classic” mods, Little Murders apart, left any substantial recorded legacy. There were the Allniters and although they were ska-pop, you could argue that they had their beginnings in the scene. Dynamic Hepnotics always seemed more grounded in R & B, and if lots of mods hitched a ride on the Sunnyboys wagon, so did plenty of punks. But that’s one of the strengths of “Stark Raving Mod!”: it strays outside the strict boundaries that some might have wanted to set, even touching on Sydney’s briefly thriving psychedelic scene as well.

In the end, mod was about having a good time rather than changing any agenda. Despite what some would tell you, most musical movements are. “Stark Raving Mod!” conveys the good times well. Without gilding too many lilies, it also acknowledges that the lines between mod and other sub-cultures (especially punk) were pretty blurry – even when it came to violence around the fringes. If you were there you’ll want this. If you weren’t you might want it anyway.

The Barman

13 June 2010


Posted: June 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | 1 Comment »

Another review of Stark Raving Mod! from UK mod website Sohostrut (review by Tony Clark)

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 by Ariana Klepac and Winston Posters.

128 Pages of Pure Mod Revival, but not in the vein of another look at the UK during the Mod revival, this is all about the thriving scene that was set in Australia.

As Seen Before

It seems that the Mod Revival in the land of Oz, was based around small scenes that managed to somehow bring themselves together to form a massive scene, not an easy feat when there is so much distance between you. Reading the text here it all seems very much like the UK of the time, although tweaked a little to make it its own.

Glossy
The Introduction and opening photos could well lead the reader into thinking it was exactly what it is not, a British bible, of course there’s a Weller photo why wouldn’t there be ? His influence crossed the water.. but the opening pictures tell the tale very early on of how much ‘their’ scene was to that of ‘Ours’. It’s a Glossy affair as well, it looks classy very much like its contents.

A Different Scene
Where the book differs from the many UK based Coffee type Mod books is that it from the start focuses on the Venues and people and events that helped shape the scene, and the way they are talked about I could envisage myself there being part of it all, it works that well.

Little Ditties on Paper
Much of the writings are taken from longer pieces that the Eds have used bits from, getting to the point of what was being said by the writer. There are excerpts from Mods/Skins and Punks, all the factions that were also around at the same time and whom without doubt from reading came together in one way or another at various gigs or events or by fighting.

Bands and Yet More bands
It was a scene that was made up of many bands, and each one is here in Black and White, with pictures and record releases, band members and fans.The scene was set in 1980 by a band called The Sets, whom I had heard of, who turned into Stupidity and were featured in the UK on a Countdown Compilation of the oz scene which was owned at the time by East London Mod Eddie Piller.They were fronted by two brothers the Hosies and by reading you are told basically that these boys were at the forefront of the Revival they helped to shape it.

A scene that looked the same on the outside
The Pictures of Sweaty Gigsyoung Mod blokes and Girls on Scooters, the club scene all look like any other set of photos from the time they could have been taken anywhere that had a big Mod scene, but often the Glorious Black and White shots,lead the way to thinking they would not have looked out of place in Richard Barnes Mods Book, they are that good. 

What have I missed
I bet loads, but it’s well written, the photos are fantastic, the writings of the Ex-Mods are interesting. I guess it was written and type set to make it feel that it could be about any Mod scene anywhere and in that it works. What it does do however is guide you through what seems to have been a really neat thriving scene. It was a scene, full of dedicated people,talented bands and a love of all things MOD..Anyway from the input in this book It still is full of Dedicated ex Mods whom loved every Min of the Oz Mod Revival.

So

Australia is a place that has changed very much over the years, Sydney very much like London,do kids yearn to see live bands that much now in little clubs, when they have I-Pods and I -tunes ?? .It works well I recommend this book to everyone..Yeah Its that good I hope I have done the book and its writers a little justice.

Tony Clark June 2010


Posted: June 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | 1 Comment »

Eddie Piller, 80s Mod revivalist, former Stiff Records producer and founder of the Acid Jazz label, reviews Stark Raving Mod! for Modculture

Before I start this review I should declare an interest in the antipodean mod scene. I first dipped my toe courtesy of an invitation from Shake and Shout editors Steve Dettre and Glyn Williams back in ’82. I’d saved enough money to go and see the Saints live. My favourite band, in their home territory (I should point out that Small Hours, those Mods’ Mayday veterans were co-formed by Kym Bradshaw, the Saints original bass player and lifelong mod). It was an exciting prospect and I stayed up on Sydney’s north shore for a month.

Australia, where the sun always shone, the clubs were cool and the Lambretta was always ready to spirit me home after cocktails at the Regent Hotel. In short, the stories that I’d heard about the Sydney mod scene were unbelieveable, it had developed in a regimented way under the direction of a small coterie led by the undoubted face and singer with the main NSW mod band The Sets, Don Hosie. Hosie had dictated the mod terms, influenced by Meaden’s interview with Steve Turner, Hosie had picked up on both The Jam and the interview on a trip to London in ’79. His personality and interpretation of Meaden’s message undoubtedly led the Sydney scene.

In short, I’d left London disillusioned by our scene but returned undoubtedly rejuvinated. What was it about Sydney that made that happen?

Stark Raving Mod! is a book that answers that question for me but also puts me right. In ’82, I’d assumed that mod was only based in Sydney. Well it wasn’t. The rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne was intense and is well portrayed here. The book tells the story of the Aussie revival nationally, Adelaide, Perth and even Canberra all get a look in. Stark Raving Mod! took me back to those days. Dozens of individuals I remembered as friends represented in both image and words. The book is a snapshot of statements taken from across the scene. Limited at most to a few hundred words, the contributors’ review succinct points and memories. Impressively included are the memories of a skinhead girl who recounts tales of bullying young mod girls and worse, quite unashamedly. It reminded me that in all scenes, politics and violence lurk just beneath the surface and in my 6 trips to Australia in the mod ’80s I saw more than enough of both. This fractured element comes through in the book. Brilliantly articulated and stunningly illustrated with photos and artwork from the time, Klepec and Posters provide what has to be the ultimate appraisal of the mod influence in ’80s Australia. Every band, fanzine, nightclub and record release are mentioned with astounding detail.

You didn’t have to be there at the time to get the passion, intensity and flare of the participants. Basically, the book is a mirror image of our own scene, different in places but oh so similar in content. Stark Raving Mod! is a milestone in that it is the first genuine document of a mod scene that was inspired by our own revival, but grew up on its own terms. I loved it…

Eddie Piller, 7 June 2010


Posted: June 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | No Comments »

GREAT PRESS COVERAGE FOR STARK RAVING MOD!

The following newspaper article on Stark Raving Mod! has now appeared in the following newspapers and online media: The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, the West Australian and WA Today:

THE MOD SQUAD

While many Aussies were embracing beach culture and rocking to Barnsey and Farnsey, a sub-culture of youngsters was suiting up and buzzing around on souped-up scooters.

These young hipsters were the vanguard the 80s Mod revival.

Dressed in tailored suits and Winkle Picker shoes and sporting short, edgy hairdos, Mods rode around on motorised scooters smothered in lights and mirrors and trawled op-shops for the vintage outfits of their 60s predecessors.

They went to gigs where they sweated the night away dancing in their preppy jumpers, suit jackets, skinny ties and ankle freezer pants.

The bands that kept them dancing included The Introverts, The Sets, Division 4 and The Little Murders.

The era is captured in Stark Raving Mod!, a book on the 80s Mod revival by Ariana Klepac and Winston Posters.

“The biggest challenge was maintaining the highly groomed look throughout a night of dancing, scooter riding and general mayhem,” Julia De Meyrick, a former Mod is quoted as saying in the book.

“The Mod look was developed in the cold, grey backstreets of England and was totally unsuited to the Australian climate.

“In many ways that is why we were attracted to it – our pale faces, neat hair and ultra-smart clothing were a massive rebellion against the scruffy beach culture most of us had grown up with.”

Mod, or Modernist, was originally used to describe modern jazz followers in the 50s, who later mixed with the bohemian coffee bar scene of Britain in the late 50s and 60s.

Rejecting the drab post WWII fashions, 60s Mods were influenced by American Ivy League college style and the suave Italian look.

At first it was only middle-class youngsters who could afford the look but its appeal eventually spread to working class youths Britain and Australia who wanted to dress up.

The manager of Mod band The Who, Pete Meaden, first coined the phrase that would become the Mod dateline.

“Clean living under difficult circumstances.”

This phrase still rang somewhat true to 80s mods, Klepac says.

“In Australian during the eighties it’s all sloppy joes and thongs and beach culture, so that clean living thing really still made sense to Mods,” she says.

“They felt `well we are wearing a suit and whenever we go out we make a real effort, we would never go out in thongs’.”

The Mods of the 80s had a love-hate relationship with other new wave sub cultures that sprouted up in Australia around the same time, finding rivals and friends alike among the Punks, Oi Skinheads and Rude Boys with whom they shared a cultural space.

When fights broke out between the groups it’s wasn’t about drugs, money, ethnicity or turf, one of the contributors to Stark Raving Mod, Winston Posters says.

“Rather (it was) over fashion sense and differing tastes in music,” he says.

Another former Mod, Cath Farlow, says she occasionally found a “secret solidarity” with Punks.

“I remember looking around at a whole bunch of yobs on a bus I was on and then meeting the eye of a Punk guy on board who winked at me and rolled his eyes,” she recalls in the book.

“Considering the amount of fighting with one another that our two cultures were involved in, I got off the bus feeling elated by our secret solidarity.”

While Mods still exist, the movement isn’t nearly as big as it was in its heyday.

“There is just not that live music circuit, that is actually what made Mod flourish,” Klepac says.

“But today it is just not like that, everyone is on iTunes and MP3s.”

But that doesn’t mean there’s no nostalgia among the grown-up Mods of the 80s, who are still taken back to their youth by the sound of a Vespa.

“Ever since the Mod days I have wanted to recapture the smell of dusty second-hand clothes, stale beer and two strokes,” former Mod Jonny Browne says in the book.

“Oh to once again revel in the cat-calls and pointing that my haircut and clothes evoked on the streets of Parramatta in the early 80s and feel the again the special pride that only continuous and cretinous yob abuse can bring.”

THE 1980s MOD REVIVAL IN TEN WORDS

Scooters

Winkle Pickers

Go Go Boots

Amphetamines

Op Shops

Quadrophenia (a movie by The Who which was hugely popular with Mods)

Live Music

Union Jack (worn by many Mods)

Tailored suits

Skinny ties

Stark Raving Mod is Available online through Ariana Klepac Publishing Pty Ltd rrp $59.95.

AAP



Posted: June 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mod | No Comments »

Stark Raving Mod! plugged on Stuart Coupe’s FBI radio show ‘Tune Up’

Today Stuart Coupe gave a plug for Stark Raving Mod! on his fabulous FBI Radio show ‘Tune Up’ which specialises in cover versions. In today’s show the theme was Mod and Ska, and Stuart’s guests included Greg Noyes from 80s Mod and power pop band the Introverts, and Martin Fabok, founder member of Australian Ska greats the Allniters. Listeners were treated to an hour of Australian and UK Mod and Ska revival bands from the 80s doing covers of great soul and RnB tracks, from the Introverts covering the Animals’ ‘It’s My Life’, and the Allniters playing their chart-topping version of Bobby Bloom’s ‘Montego Bay’, to the Chords thrashing out Sam and Dave’s ‘Hold on I’m Coming’.

For a run-down of the playlist, follow the link below and go to Tuesday 12-1pm and click on ‘Tune Up’.

http://www.fbiradio.com/content.php/100.html

Stuart Coupe’s show ‘Tune Up’ is on every Tuesday at 12  noon on FBI Radio, 94.5 FM.