Friday, 17 August 2012

Paul Hooper-Keeley to speak on Youth Subculture at University Conference

On behalf of ‘The Interdisciplinary Network for the Study of Subcultures, Popular Music and Social Change’ (a cross-disciplinary research network for scholars and students interested in the relationship between subcultures (in all their forms) and the wider process of social, cultural and political change), I have organised a Symposium on ‘Ageing Within A Youth Subculture’ at the University of Derby. 

The Symposium, sponsored by the ‘Centre for Society, Religion & Belief, will be held between 1pm and 5.30pm on Friday 9th November at the University of Derby Enterprise Centre, 37 Bridge Street, Derby.


Dr. Paul Hodkinson (Goth)

Dr. Pete Webb (Punk)

Dr. Patrick Turner (Hip Hop)

Dr. Samantha Holland (Alternative Women)

Dr. Nicola Smith (Northern Soul)

Paul Hooper-Keeley (Mod)

In addition, Alan Fletcher (original 60s Mod and author of the Quadrophenia novel and the Mod Crop trilogy) will be the special guest for the second part of the event – an interview/round-table/Q&A session.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

New 'All Mod Icon' out on 6th September

The new issue of Paul Weller/The Jam magazine, ‘ALL MOD ICON’, is out on 6th September 2012.
Pre-orders are from 9am on Monday 20th August.
 This strictly limited edition will cost you £4.99 + £1.20 P&P (Total = £6.19) in the UK via Pay Pal to but email for details of overseas shipping rates.

The Action – Book Launch Update

News has just reached us here at the Modernist Society Blog that the long awaited book on legendary 60s Mod band, The Action, (please see our full report in a previous post) is now scheduled for release towards the end of September. 

In addition, there will be a special launch event in London in early October at which all people who have pre-ordered the book will be invited to attend.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Who have no plans to tour ‘Quadrophenia’ in the UK

As you will note from a previous post on ‘Modernist Society’, The Who have announced a massive tour of the USA & Canada where, from early November 2012 until the end of February 2013, they will be playing ‘Quadrophenia’ plus a number of their hits.

With the ‘Director’s Cut’ box set of Quadrophenia being released late last year, and the recent BBC4 ‘Quadrophenia’ night showcasing a documentary on the making of the album, a screening of the film and a ‘live’ concert from around that time, my hopes were raised of seeing ‘Quadrophenia’ played ‘live’ in the UK either this autumn or circa Easter 2013.

There the trail went cold – had no information of any dates other than the aforementioned North American shows.
Taking matters in to my own hands, I contacted Nicola Joss, Pete Townshend’s PA at Eel Pie Publishing, to see if she could shed any light on the matter for me. Disappointingly, her response was, “There are no plans at the moment for UK dates next year, but please keep an eye on”

So there you have it – loads of dates in North America but no plans for any shows at all in the UK. If, like me, you would like to see The Who play ‘Quadrophenia’ in the UK in 2013, then I suggest you join me in contacting to let our voices be heard ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’ we can!!!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Issue 2 of ‘Sussed’ Modzine Out Now

Having made quite an impact with issue 1, I was pleased to see issue 2 landing on my doormat. Produced by Joe Moran and Ray Gilligan in Dublin, it uses the sub-title, ‘A user’s guide to modernism’. 

With a heavy focus on the Irish scene, we are treated to an excellent interview with Irish face, Hugh Burns (The Keepers etc.). There’s a regular focus called ‘The Junction’ on current Mod clubs in Ireland and plenty of reviews of the latest Mod friendly music and fanzine releases from around Europe. 

There’s an ‘essential’ listing on Boogaloo and Latin tracks and a look at Mod girl fashion entitled ‘La Mod Feminine’. Bands including Towerbrown and Resoul are featured and there’s an exclusive on Leonardo Flores’s epic coming of age Mod opus, ‘Young Birds Fly’. A focus on Ska’s influence on Mod and an article called ‘A Mod Life in Shoes’ makes this a very entertaining read. 

For details of how to buy your copy, email now!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Mod Theme to London Olympics Closing Ceremony

The London 2012 Olympics came to an end last night with the closing ceremony having a distinctly Mod theme running through it, emphasising the influence that the Mod subculture has had on this great nation of ours over the last 50 years or so.

Early on in the proceedings we had Madness on a lorry driving round the Olympic stadium playing ‘Our House’ (whilst Lee Thompson had one of his sax flying moments again). Shortly after, the whole stadium was jumping and dancing to the sound of Blur’s ‘Parklife’.

Emerging from a London black cab in the middle of the stadium, Ray Davies gave the world a fine performance of ‘Waterloo Sunset’; one of the greatest songs ever written and quintessentially British.

The sound of two strokes could be heard as a Mod scooter crusade entered the stadium and the Kaiser Chiefs gave us their version of Pinball Wizard. Fantastic to see those Mod’ed up iconic Italian machines and our greatest ever youth subculture getting the recognition it deserves.

There was plenty of dross on the night too (including some of the rubbish we all avoided throughout the eighties) – but I’m not going to dwell on that.

Back to iconic British classics and you don’t get much better than the great ‘Wonderwall’, this evening performed by Beady Eye (I wonder what Noel made of that!).

And the big finish to the whole event came courtesy of The Who, running through a cut down ‘Baba O’Riley/See Me, Feel Me’ sequence before the magnificent ‘My Generation’ to end proceedings.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

King New Breed R&B Volume 2 - Review

It’s been a long time coming following volume 1 (10 years, according to the accompanying notes), but Kent’s ‘King New Breed R&B Vol. 2’ has certainly been worth the wait. Opening with the excellent ‘Love Man’ by Hal Hardy and the Billy Cox Band, this collection from the King, Federal, Hollywood and Deluxe imprints immediately takes you to Manchester’s legendary Hideaway Club that has championed original R&B dance music of the late fifties and early sixties and has taken the modern Mod scene forward as a result. The tracks on this particular collection spread across the period from 1955 to 1967.

Second up is ‘I’m Tore Down’ which is classic Freddie King - you can hear so much of his influence and playing style in Eric Clapton’s latter day phrasings. The blistering start to the album continues with Lee “Shot” Williams’ ‘When you Move, You Lose’ and the catchy, whistled melody, of ‘Send Me A Picture’ by Mel Williams.

All 24 tracks on this collections, compiled by Ady Croasdell, are winners, with my personal favourites including ‘You’re Gonna Drive Me Crazy’ by Dolph Prince, ‘Geneva’ by Eugene Church, ‘Why Did We Have To Part’ by Herb Hardesty and ‘Say Hey Pretty Baby’ from the incredible voice of Lulu Reed. If you’re into this genre, which I most certainly am, then there’s plenty here for everyone.

As always with Ace’s releases on the Kent label, there is a 12-page comprehensive booklet with the CD that details each and every song included and is illustrated with many fine photos of the artists and the original record labels. It’s fantastic that, some 45 to 57 years later, some of these great recordings and performers are getting the attention denied to them the first time round. A big thank you to Ace/Kent for releasing this wonderful album – but please don’t make us wait another 10 years before Volume 3 is released.

Friday, 10 August 2012

The Monkees Announce New Tour

LOS ANGELES – Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork return to the concert stage this November for a historic, twelve-date tour of the United States. These performances will mark their first concerts together since 1997. The jaunt kicks off at Escondido’s California Center for the Arts on November 8 and wraps at New York City’s prestigious Beacon Theatre on December 2.  

The trio’s shows are set to feature a selection of their classic hits (such as “Last Train To Clarksville,” “I’m A Believer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday”), deep cuts from their first five platinum albums (including some performed for the first time since the 1960’s) and fan favorites from the soundtrack to their cult film classic Head and their Emmy®-award winning television series. The show will encompass a full multimedia evening of music, rare films, and one-of-a-kind photographs.

Since the dates fall forty-five years on from their epic struggle to become legitimate music makers, the concerts will be highlighted by a set performed by just Nesmith, Dolenz and Tork. In 1967, the year the Monkees outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, they issued two #1 albums (Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd) which primarily featured the Monkees as a self-contained, musical unit. Each evening’s trio set will showcase numbers from these albums and present the Monkees’ electric garage band sound that they developed on their mid-1960’s tours. To open and close the show, the Monkees will be augmented by a stellar crew of players to play the hand-picked setlist each evening.

These dates comprise the first U.S. Monkees tour to feature Michael Nesmith since 1969. He has reunited with the group over the years; his last stateside concert with the band was a rare private show in support of 1997’s Justusalbum. These dates also follow the unexpected passing of their musical comrade Davy Jones in February. Plans call for Jones to be saluted in the show’s multimedia content.
Although Davy’s absence will undoubtedly be felt by the Monkees and their fans, these concerts will be an opportunity to share their memories amidst the music and the movies that brought them together.

Moreover, the band look forward to performing for their many new fans who have discovered their music through repeats of their TV show on Antenna television, classic rock radio, or via social media. One thing is for certain, these concerts will be a once-in-a-lifetime series of shows that are not to be missed.

The Monkees 2012 Tour Dates 
8                California Center for the Arts               Escondido, CA
9                The Arlington Theatre                         Santa Barbara, CA
10              Greek Theatre                                    Los Angeles, CA
11              Flint Center for the Performing Arts        Cupertino, CA
15              State Theatre                                    Minneapolis, MN
16              The Chicago Theatre                           Chicago, IL
17              Lakewood Civic Auditorium                   Cleveland, OH
18              The Center For The Arts                      Buffalo, NY
29              Keswick Theatre                                 Philadelphia, PA
30              State Theatre Regional Arts Center        New Brunswick, NJ
1                The Paramount                                  Huntington, NY
2                The Beacon Theatre                           New York, NY

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Kinks 'At The BBC' Box Set

The Kinks 'At The BBC' box set is due for release on 13th August and will set you back about £40 for this full edition (there's also a cut down, double CD, version available).

This limited edition collection of 5 CDs and 1 DVD box set brings together a raft of sessions and live recordings from throughout the band’s career including the rare concert and unheard session recordings.

The DVD includes the band’s sought after appearances on Top of the Pops and the Old Grey Whistle Test a well as concerts from throughout the band’s career.

This is a first for the band as these recordings have never been available in one place before. With comprehensive notes by Peter Doggett who tells the story of the bands history at the BBC as well as being mastering by Kinks aficionado Andrew Sandoval. 

Fully supported and endorsed by the band – The Kinks at the BBC ”is a triumphant collection of the defining moments of a truly seminal British band, as witnessed, broadcast and archived by the voice of the nation, the BBC."

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

'Ray' Movie on Sky Tonight

‘Ray’ is being screened tonight (7th August) on Sky Modern Greats at 8pm – your digital boxes need to be set for Sky channel 310, Virgin channel 410 or HD channel 440. 

Jeff Shannon says on Amazon that, “Jamie Foxx's uncannily accurate performance isn't the only good thing about Ray. Riding high on a wave of Oscar buzz, Foxx proved himself worthy of all the hype by portraying blind R&B legend Ray Charles in a warts-and-all performance that Charles approved shortly before his death in June 2004. 

Despite a few dramatic embellishments of actual incidents (such as the suggestion that the accidental drowning of Charles's younger brother caused all the inner demons that Charles would battle into adulthood), the film does a remarkable job of summarising Charles's strengths as a musical innovator and his weaknesses as a philandering heroin addict who recorded some of his best songs while flying high as a kite.  

Foxx seems to be channelling Charles himself, and as he did with the life of Ritchie Valens in La Bamba, director Taylor Hackford gets most of the period details absolutely right as he chronicles Ray's rise from "chitlin circuit" performer in the early '50s to his much-deserved elevation to legendary status as one of the all-time great musicians. Foxx expertly lip-syncs to Ray Charles' classic recordings, but you could swear he's the real deal in a film that honours Ray Charles without sanitising his once-messy life.”

Monday, 6 August 2012

The Pretty Things - New 7" Single

The Pretty Things new 7" is out now on Fruits de Mer Records (and also available via The Ugly Things magazine). It combines a stunning new live version of their classic R&B track 'Honey, I Need' (taken from their 2010 gig at the 100 Club, where they played the whole of their first album for the first time ever - soon to be released by the band on vinyl) with a previously-unreleased demo of 'I Can Never Say', found on a 1965 acetate - a real archive find!  

Quite possibly the UK's finest ever R&B/psych band with a new release that shows they're still brilliant live 40-odd years on... 

1,200 copies of the 7" have been pressed on white, red and black vinyl.  

You can catch The Pretty Things live on the following dates: - 

Fri 24th   Half Moon, Putney, London, UK 

Fri 15th   Herzogburg Festival, St. Veit/Glan, AUSTRIA. 

Fri 5th     Zwickau, GERMANY
Sat 6th    Hamm, GERMANY
Sun 7th    Bonn, GERMANY
Sat13th    Zaal Overburg, HOLLAND
Sun 14th  Harmonie, Bonn, GERMANY
Thurs 25th  Irish Centre, Leeds, UK. 

Scandinavia/Netherlands dates to be added here – maybe 4/5 more shows 

Sat 17th  Brussels R&B Club, Brussels, BELGIUM
Thurs 22nd  Fredericia – Bruunske Pakhus, FINLAND
Fri 23rd  Svendborg – Kulturhus Svendborg, FINLAND

Shindig! Issue 28 - Out Now

Shindig! 28 is out now with the new issue being a ‘USA 60s PSYCH SPECIAL!’ 

The main feature is THE STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK. The first part of the group’s story is well written and described by Shindig! thus, “Their roots lie in LA's complex garage band scene and their legacy continues to hinge around their 1967 US No. 1 single. Yet somewhere in between these two extremes beat the heart of a visceral, experimental rock band whose instrumental prowess dazzled, whose recordings remain high watermarks of late '60s psychedelic harmony pop and whose star continues to ascend, even as its core members celebrate their 45th year together.” 

Also in this issue is a really good interview with Edgar Jones of The Stairs (and a previous member of Paul Weller’s band around the time of ‘Heliocentric’), and ’50 Essential US Psych Albums’. 

Other features, probably of a lesser interest to Mod sensibilities, are features on New York label, Mainstream Records, The Fallen Angels, Clear Light and Crystal Syphon. Plus, of course, there’s all the latest news and reviews for retro fans.

Eddie Piller & Wayne Hemingway talk Mod on Channel 4's 'Sunday Brunch'.

Did you spot Eddie Piller on Sunday Brunch on Channel 4 this weekend? With the media focus on Mod in full swing now that Bradley Wiggins cycling heroics have brought our scene back into the spotlight, Channel 4’s ‘Sunday Brunch’ show was the latest media attempt to focus on the Mod scene. 

We had Wayne Hemingway and Eddie Pillar on the show to discuss Mod – thank goodness Eddie was there to give the piece some balance and factual correctness. Hemingway was banging on and on about cycling being ‘the’ Mod sport and how popular it has been on the Mod scene for the last 50 years. Firstly, what’s it got to do with Wayne, who was a New Romantic back in the day (why do we have to suffer him again and again in documentaries and pieces about Mod culture?), and secondly he’s missing the point that it’s all about sport when it is actually about the aesthetic and getting the right look. Within the 60s Mod scene (and thereafter), with Mod fashions moving quickly, cycling shirts were worn, as were Fred Perry tennis shirts, golfing jackets and bowling shoes for their stylistic qualities. Amusingly, when asked about this, Eddie said (with tongue firmly in cheek) that the sport of Mod is darts – qualifying this with the fact that in the sixties darts was played in suits and ties. Furthermore, he also said he had asked Bradley Wiggins about cycling and Bradley had said it was nothing specifically to do with Mod but purely his job! 

Hemingway also focused on 3 pairs of the most hideous shoes you could imagine, stating that these were part of the new Mod look, hanging on the fact that they were Hush Puppies. I detected a wry smile from Mr Piller at this. 

Eddie made a great point that you can’t be a 45 year old punk with any credibility, but the Mod style is classic and timeless and can work for those that originally saw Tubby Hayes at the Flamingo Allnighters through to today’s youth who are listening to Miles Kane. Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer, hosts of Sunday Brunch, appeared to have more of a clue than Wayne Hemingway, observing that the smart Mod style has allowed Mods over the years, in bespoke suits, to look better than their bosses in the office – subversion from within. 

Well done Eddie, the voice of reason. Media companies – please stop using people from outside of our scene to talk about it as all you are doing is reinforcing a number of erroneous stereotypes!!!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Daily Telegraph asks, “Isn't Bradley Wiggins a bit old to be a Mod?”

Once again we are subjected to lazy journalism on the Mod scene from an outsider without a clue. This time, the Dailey Telegraph’s Guy Stagg (whom we are told “blogs about the fringe arts scene & the relationship between culture and politics”) asks, “Isn't Bradley Wiggins a bit old to be a Mod?”
His first pearl of wisdom is, “Which are you: Mod or Rocker? If you have an answer to that question, then you are probably past it.” He continues, “Subcultures are a teenage phenomenon, but as a result they grow old very quickly. Mods and Rockers used to terrorise Sixties seaside resorts, but now they are harmless piece of nostalgia, as antique as Teddy Boys or hippies.”

Here we go with the Mods & Rockers seaside clashes again – if he had done any research then he would have realised that there had been at least 3 waves of Mod prior to 1964 and that the seaside disturbances were encouraged by the media and carried out by the hangers-on who had joined the Mod bandwagon only after the media had focused on it and sent it overground via shows such as ‘Ready Steady Go’ etc.

He asserts that, “thanks to Bradley Wiggins, Mods are enjoying a comeback. The “Modfather”, as he is apparently known, owns several Lambretta and Vespa scooters, and has collaborated with Fred Perry on a range of cycle tops that pay homage to Mods' neat, effete tailoring. Without doing down his extraordinary success in the Tour de France, if every young trendy starts sporting three-inch sideburns, we will only have Wiggins to blame.”

Never personally heard Bradley called ‘The Modfather’ – I thought the media types had that reserved exclusively for Mr. Weller! And the Mod scene never went away – being underground normally frees us from this kind of journalistic drivel, but we can’t blame Bradley Wiggins for that.

Guy believes that, “Subcultures are ways for teenagers to work out their identity. Adolescents adopt a style to make up for the gaping holes in their personal experience. Subcultures give you a tribe, with a bunch of hobbies, friends and opinions thrown in. As embarrassingly pretentious as the result might be – I was briefly a New Romantic, three decades late – they are a necessary part of growing up.”

Subcultures of a stylistic nature often do start in our teenage years, but there’s no reason they cannot continue throughout life (and much evidence that they actually do), as much recent academic work in this area is focusing on (including my own Doctoral research for the University of Derby).

He tells us, “Subcultures begin as something edgy, inspiring bands and fashion labels, but then become mainstream and lose their appeal. When I was growing up the trends were grunge and boho; now the cool kids are hipsters. But as soon as Topshop started selling skinny, pastel jeans, the look was out of date.”

Guy does have a valid point here, although for many of us the appeal isn’t lost and the scene continues to develop (just hear how the musical trends of the Mod scene have changed to a more R&B vein due to the influence of The Hideaway Club and the discovery/release of rare and unreleased tracks). I think it is well documented how the fashions of the original Mod scene progressed from week to week so even youth subcultures in their ‘first flush’ are not static scenes.

Stagg continues, “Before long those teenage devotees have grown up and the subculture becomes a tragic trip down memory lane. Dressing like a teenager into your thirties just looks like a Peter Pan complex. Mods still exist, but they are now balding divorcees who ride around complaining about mortgage payments and pension plans.

Unfortunately Bradley Wiggins is one of them. Of course he’s got the scooters and sideburns, but he's also got a job and children. Mods are unlikely to pedal anywhere, and especially not across 2,000 miles of rural France. Given all the time Wiggins spent training in the Lancashire hills, and cycling up mountains for fun, he probably has few opportunities to hustle round Brighton in a parka, chewing on amphetamines and picking fights with people in leather.

Wiggins, like all the other modern-day Mods, is actually a collector. The look is just a vintage whimsy, like Elvis Presley records or Art Deco wallpaper. The sad fact is that all subcultures, no matter how daring, end up being museum pieces in the garages of middle-aged men.”

How can it be a tragic trip down memory lane when we haven’t gone away in the first place? And with Mod styles, unlike many other subcultures, being a classic look (no Guy, we don’t all run round in Parkas looking for a fight), how can wearing a bespoke suit in your thirties (and forties) look like a Peter Pan complex? And just for the record, I have a full head of hair, am happily married and am quite comfortable with my mortgage and pension arrangements (as is my Mod wife) – getting older and gaining responsibilities does not destroy my brain cells to the point of not wanting to still wear nice clothes and listen to good music (unlike Stagg, who admits to having being a late ‘New Romantic’ – his photos in dodgy clothes with bad hair styles won’t stand the test of time when he looks back on them, but my Mod photos from the late seventies to the present day most certainly do).

So modern day Mods are just collectors and museum pieces according to Guy Stagg in his patronizing and condescending manner (tell that to The Strypes who are all circa 15 years old and have just released a superb authentic sounding R&B 7” EP on Heavy Soul Records) – he has completely missed the point and clearly doesn’t realize that this is not a hobby but a way of life. He throws in some sexism too by totally discounting all of the females on the Mod scene and contends that we chaps continue our Mod leanings in our garages – not really an obvious place to wear your bespoke threads or listen to some cool music.

And as for poor old Bradley Wiggins, who has won more Olympic medals than any other Briton, surely he can be into whatever he likes without this sort of media nonsense.

I had to smile at one of the readers' comments to Guy Stagg’s blog that, on seeing the picture of him, said, “Your barber must really hate you”. That says it all.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Blues & Rhythm - Issue 271 Out Now!


PRE WAR PIANO BLUES: Black Bob Hudson by James Goodwin

THE BLUES TODAY! James Kinds by Mike Stephenson

CHICAGO BLUES LEGENDS: Walter 'Shakey' Horton by Ray Templeton

POST WAR GOSPEL RARITIES: The Bogard Brothers by John Glassburner and Alan Young

Plus: Chris' Curiosities; Burnley, Moulin, Memphis In May Blues Festivals; Jackie Kelso, Herb Reed, Lou Pride, Doc Watson obits; Reviews include: Billy Boy Arnold, Lefty Dizz, Johnny Rawls, Ike Turner, Mississippi Juke Joints.