Tuesday, 30 April 2013

BBC Four - Jazz Night Starting at 8.30pm on Friday 10th May

8.30pm – Jazz 625. Slim Gaillard introduces the Dave Brubeck Quartet in a restored 1964 programme. Songs include Take 5, the first jazz record to sell over one million copies.

9.00pm - Queens of Jazz: The Joy and Pain of the Jazz Divas, charting the stories of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone and Annie Ross. The 60 minute programme "takes an unflinching and revealing look at what it actually took to be a jazz diva during a turbulent time in America’s social history".

The programme will feature contributions from singers: Annie Ross, Lisa Stansfield, Melody Gardot, Diana Krall, Madeleine Peyroux, Claire Martin, Anita Wardell, Barb Jungr, Carleen Anderson, Tina May and Gregory Porter.

Other jazz people who were inteviewed for the documentary include musicians Bucky Pizzarelli and Bob Dorough critics Gary Giddins, Dave Gelly, Alvin Hall, Loren Schoenberg, plus Holly Foster Wells (Peggy Lee’s grand-daughter) and George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz Festival.

10.00pm Jazz Divas Gold – archive performances by female jazz artists

11.00pm Legends: Ella Fitzgerald

12.00am Arena: Sonny Rollins – Beyond The Notes

10 Gibson Les Paul Stars of the 1960s

The 1960s was on odd decade, in some ways, for the Gibson Les Paul. Single-cutaway Les Pauls (Goldtops, Standards and Customs) were discontinued in 1960 and didn’t return to production until 1968: for the intervening years, the SG was Gibson’s main electric solid-body in production.

But by playing Les Paul Standards mostly built in the 1950s, these 10 players – many of them British - helped create the legend of the Gibson Les Paul: -

Eric Clapton

Clapton’s 1960 Les Paul Standard is the stuff of legend. Clapton’s playing on John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers’ Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton album of 1966 (forever after known as The Beano Album) was heady stuff - tuneful, searing and dynamic. Its impact resulted in “Clapton is God" graffiti on the walls and train stations of London, and did much to bring the sunburst Les Paul Standard back into vogue.


Clapton’s ferocious playing on tracks such as “Hideaway,” “Double Crossin' Time,” and “Key to Love,” still astound today. Sadly, this ground-breaking guitar was stolen from Clapton later in 1966 while EC was rehearsing with Cream for the band’s first tour.

Freddie King

It was the cover of King’s LP Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away, featuring King with his Goldtop, which inspired Clapton to buy his first Les Paul. And for his instrumental hit “Hide Away” (a hit in 1961), King warrants inclusion. Indeed, Clapton says King's 1961 B-side “I Love the Woman” was “the first time I heard that electric lead-guitar style, with the bent notes... It started me on my path.” “The Stumble,” “I'm Tore Down” and “Someday, After Awhile” all become key King tracks for 1960s Les Paul lovers.

Jeff Beck

Beck started playing Les Paul Standards in ’66 – inspired by seeing, yes, Clapton. Beck’s earliest was a ’59 sunburst Standard, all over The Yardbirds’ Roger The Engineer album and his own highly influential albums The Jeff Beck Group and Truth. He bought it second-hand it in London for £175.

Beck later himself stripped its ‘burst finish to a raw blonde… a sort of DIY ‘Goldtop’ if you like. Beck was already a huge fan of Les Paul, his music and original Les Pauls. 

The look of this one influenced the same treatment that Mick Ronson who starred with David Bowie in the 1970s. Beck’s famed ‘Oxblood’ Les Paul that he made famous in the 1970s is a different guitar: that’s a 1954 Goldtop refinished and modified.

Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page has been so loyal to LPs; his “Les Paul Legend” status fits any decade since the 1960s. His first was a black 3-pickup Custom he bought in 1964, and used it many of his early session recordings. You’ll still see him with it occasionally, but mostly in photo-shoots.

By 1969, (Led Zeppelin II era) Page had what he calls his #1 Les Paul, purchased from Joe Walsh for $500 in April 1969.  By the dawn of the 1970s, Page and Gibson Les Pauls would be synonymous. Alongside Clapton and Beck, Page was the third Yardbird to re-popularize Les Pauls in the 1960s.

Hubert Sumlin
As sideman to Howlin’ Wolf, Sumlin became his own legend. Pat Hare and Willie Johnson are the guitarists that play on much of Wolf’s early ‘50s output but by ’57 or so, Sumlin was playing lead guitar. A hugely idiosyncratic player, Sumlin used his ‘50s Les Paul Goldtop to superb effect on a host of Wolf classics and was held in supremely high regard. The hugely influential “Spoonful” (1960) features Sumlin on guitar. Sumlin’s most famed guitar was 1956 Les Paul Goldtop with P-90s and a Tune-o-matic bridge.
Interesting fact #1? When Eric Clapton was invited to guest on The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions album in 1970 (which you thought would be honour enough), Clapton said he would not show if Leonard Chess didn’t send also Hubert.

Interesting fact #2? When Sumlin passed away in 2011, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards insisted on paying all funeral expenses. Which brings us to…

Keith Richards

The Rolling Stone was actually one of the first Brit players to widely use a Les Paul in the ‘60s. His ’59 sunburst originally belonged to John Bowen, guitarist for Mike Dean and the Kinsman, and it was he who fitted the Bigsby. He later traded at London’s Selmer Music Shop in late 1962, where Keith bought it.

Keith’s ’59 Bigsby-loaded Les Paul was his main guitar of choice in the early years of The Rolling Stones, famously seen during their debut performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Keith also used the guitar to record some of The Stones earliest hits including,  “Little Red Rooster,” “Time is on My Side,” “The Last Time,” “Get Off My Cloud,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and "Satisfaction".

Richards also lent it out. Jimmy Page used it on at least one mid-’60s sessions and Eric Clapton used the ‘burst in 1966 with Cream at the Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival. In 1967, Keith sold the guitar to his future Rolling Stones bandmate Mick Taylor: you can see Taylor playing it in the movie of the Stones at the infamous Altamont Speedway in 1969, Gimme Shelter.

Paul Kossoff

In the late 1960s, Free’s Paul Kossoff was another Les Paul devotee of the U.K blues-rock scene. His main recording guitar was a ’59 sunburst Les Paul, Koss also played his 3-pickup black mid-50’s Les Paul Custom through Marshall and Laney amps and other Les Paul Standards.

Peter Green

Another Brit who used Les Pauls to stunning effect in the Brit blues boom was Peter Green. His ’59 burst had a distinct, sweet tone due to a pickup mod. Green says he reversed a magnet in the neck position humbucker while tinkering with the guitar: another tale has a repairman accidentally re-winding a pickup in reverse. But its “out of phase” tone became legendary in the late ‘60s with Fleetwood Mac. Green later sold the fabled LP to the late Gary Moore.

Michael Bloomfield

Chicago’s Mike Bloomfield played an early 1950s Gibson Les Paul Goldtop on Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited. But as with Eric Clapton in the U.K, Bloomfield’s use of a sunburst proved highly influential in the U.S. His ’burst was a 1959 Les Paul Standard bought from guitar expert Dan Erlewine, then guitarist for Michigan band Prime Movers. The Gibson Custom Shop later recreated every detail as the Mike Bloomfield 1959 Les Paul Standard.

Bloomfield played his ’59 burst in the Electric Flag, on Super Session and The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper, and on Live at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West. Vintage guitar expert George Gruhn credits Bloomfield’s Les Paul playing as kick-starting the collectors ’burst market in the U.S.

George Harrison

The Beatles’ George Harrison was usually associated with other guitars, but his “Lucy” Gibson Les Paul remains an icon. It was used by Harrison on many latter-day Beatles recordings, and was given to George by Clapton – there were a lot of Les Paul love in 1960s England! 

Like Beck’s blonde LP and Neil Young’s “Old Black,” it was another refin. It was originally a 1957 Goldtop with Bigsby vibrato that belonged to Lovin' Spoonful's guitarist John Sebastian, then Rick Derringer, then Eric Clapton. EC gave it to George as a gift in August of 1968… only for Clapton to himself play it on The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” a month later.  Harrison used it in the "Revolution" promo film and the sessions for Let It Be and Abbey Road. It was the guitar Harrison played on The Beatles “Something,” and it was still in George’s possession when he passed away.


Northern Soul Allnighter in Stoke on Saturday 11th May

Richard Weight v Paul 'Smiler' Anderson - Eddie Piller's Modcast interviews both today

Richard Weight
Paul 'Smiler' Anderson
Eddie Piller says he is, “Recording a brand new MODCAST today (30th April) with authors Richard Weight and Paul ‘Smiler’ Anderson – should be a cracker. Got any questions for us to bring up, also any gigs on or shout outs, let us know!!!”

There is a contact form on the Modcast website at www.themodcast.co.uk or you can contact Eddie via Facebook.

This will either be incendiary if the right questions are asked, or could fall flat if the interviewer plays safe (not really likely with Eddie though).
My questions to Richard Weight would be: -

 1)   Why is the section on the original Mod scene a collation of previously released interviews from earlier books as many of us were hoping for new research and interviews to come to the fore?

2)   As an historian, are you disappointed with the large number of factual errors in the final text (I would be happy to work with you to assist with corrections for a reprinted version)?

My question to Smiler would be: -

How long have you taken to write your book, how much of it is new and original material and how much of it has been taken from previous works (as most of the 'teasers' via Facebook look like unpublished photos and interviews, which would be a really exciting development for the Mod scene)?

Monday, 29 April 2013

Scottish Mod Rally to Ayr - May Day Bank Holiday Weekend

The Strypes - New Dates Added to 2013 Gigs

3rd - LEEDS, UK - Cockpit (Ages 14+) £5 SOLD OUT
4th - GLASGOW, UK - King Tuts - TWO SHOWS!
Matinee show (Doors 5pm, On stage 6pm, Ages 14+) SOLD OUT
Evening show (Ages 18+) SOLD OUT
10th - HAMBURG, Germany - Indra (Ages 14+) €8 www.hamburgkonzerte.de/the-strypes
14th - LONDON, England - 100 Club (Ages 18+) SOLD OUT
17th - BRIGHTON, England - The Great Escape www.mamacolive.com/thegreatescape
26th - NEWCASTLE, England - Evolution Festival
3rd - PARIS, France - La Cigale (supporting The Stone Roses)
7th - NUERBURGRING, Germany - Rock am Ring Festival SOLD OUT
9th - NUERNBERG, Germany - Rock in Park Festival
20th - BRISTOL, England - The Fleece (Ages 14+) £8
thestrypes.seetickets.com (Presale 1st May, General sale 3rd May)
21st - LONDON, England - Islington Academy - MATINEE SHOW
UNDER 18’s ONLY - Doors 4:30, Band On Stage 5:30, £7.50
thestrypes.seetickets.com (Presale 1st May, General sale 3rd May)
21st - LONDON, England - Islington Academy - EVENING SHOW
OVER 18’s ONLY - Doors 7:15, Band On Stage 8:30, £10
thestrypes.seetickets.com (Presale 1st May, General sale 3rd May)
27th - WOLVERHAMPTON, England - Slade Rooms (All Ages, Under 16s with Adult) SOLD OUT
28-30th - GLASTONBURY, England - Glastonbury Festival, John Peel Stage
5th - MANCHESTER, England - Castlefield Bowl (supporting The Courteeners)
6th - BELFORT, France - Eurockeennes Festival www.eurockeennes.fr/index.php/tickets/e-tickets
10th - STOKE, England - Sugarmill (Ages 14+) £8
thestrypes.seetickets.com (Presale 1st May, General sale 3rd May)
11th - PRESTON, England - 53 Degrees (Ages 16+) £8
thestrypes.seetickets.com (Presale 1st May, General sale 3rd May)
12th-14th - BALADO, Scotland - T In The Park www.tinthepark.com
25th - OXFORD, England - Academy 2 (Ages 14+) £9
thestrypes.seetickets.com (Presale 1st May, General sale 3rd May)
26th - HUNTINGDON, England - Secret Garden Party
27th - BROMYARD, Herefordshire, UK - Nozstock Festival
9th - HALDERN, Germany - Haldern Pop Festival
22nd - CARDIFF, Wales - The Globe (Ages 14+) £10
thestrypes.seetickets.com (Presale 1st May, General sale 3rd May)
24th-26th - READING / LEEDS, England - Reading Festival / Leeds Festival
5-8th - ISLE OF WIGHT, UK - Bestival
8th - TOKYO, Japan - Ebisu LIQUID ROOM
9th - TOKYO, Japan - Ebisu Liquid Room
15th - FUKUOKA, Japan - Drum Be-1
16th - OSAKA, Japan - Umeda Club Quattro
17th - NAGOYA, Japan - Nagoya Club Quattro

The Karla Milton Collective – ‘Jack Is Back’ (Heavy Soul) Single Review

This release, the debut single from The Karla Milton Collective, is the ‘live’ favourite, ‘Jack Is Back’, issued on CD and 7” single by Adam Cooper’s Heavy Soul record label.
My purchase, on CD format, contains 3 songs which all demonstrate the smooth vocals of Karla Milton and the excellent musical abilities of this band.

‘Jack Is Back’ is a really good choice for the A-side – an up-tempo soul track featuring a Hammond, horns and percussive assault with a bpm that lends itself to becoming a popular dance number. In my minds’ eye I can picture a room full of like-minded individualists all dancing along to the intensity of this beat as though their lives depended on it.

Track 2, ‘Spend The Night’, is more laid back in pace and allows the listener to chill-out a little after ‘Jack Is Back’. There is something about this song that had me thinking of mid-period Style Council. This is a good song that grows on you more and more with every play.

The third song on this collection of originals is ‘Hiding In The Shadows’ which lifts the temperature and pace once more with its thunderous horns and Hammond, creating a catchy soul/funk workout.

As a fairly recent band on the scene (although, individually, having a long history playing in other related bands) it is good to see The Karla Milton Collective ploughing their own furrow with their soul/funk sound and impressive array of musical talents; taking risks rather than sticking to safe ground, and moving the musical goalposts of the current scene further out. Now what we need is a full length TKMC album and a tour to coincide.

Paul Hooper-Keeley invited to speak at the University of Warwick’s ‘Subjectivity and Subculture’ Symposium in June.

I am delighted to announce that the University of Warwick has invited me to deliver a presentation on Mod in June where I will join Dr Rupa Huq, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Kingston University, and Dr Shane Blackman, Professor in Media, Art and Design at Canterbury Christ Church University, who will be giving keynote papers at the symposium. 

Theories of subculture - emerging primarily from within the Chicago School in the early Twentieth Century, and from the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) in the 1970s and 1980s – have tended to characterise subculture as the collective cultural and social practices of disenfranchised young working class males. However, in recent years scholars have challenged this definition, arguing that subcultures are inhabited by a diverse population, and that these spaces may not be as cohesive as earlier theorisations suggest.

Scholars have addressed this issue by pursuing research into ‘marginal subcultures’. This work sheds light on how people are able to organise their cultural practices around specific modes of subjectivity, but there is, to date, limited engagement with how people negotiate a variety of subject positions within the same subcultural environments.

This one day symposium focuses on how subjectivities are managed by subcultural participants and by those who research such spaces. It seeks to facilitate a dialogue about the intersectional and reflexive considerations of subcultural research, placing particular emphasis on the implementation of innovative methodological strategies.

The symposium will address the following questions: -

1)   Are marginal subjectivities always disempowered within established subcultural environments?

2)   To what extent should contemporary subcultural researchers challenge the definition of subculture as a form of ‘marginal’, or ‘disenfranchised’, collective cultural participation?

3)   What are the primary epistemological concerns within the field of subcultural studies at the present time?

4)   How can we as researchers develop innovative methodological approaches to the study of subjectivity and subculture?

5)   What does the future of subcultural studies look like?

Noddy Holder reminisces about his life in a new show (including playing R&B in the 60s, wearing Mod suits and Slade being a Skinhead band).

This is an important year for Noddy Holder, as he celebrates three major anniversaries. It is 40 years since he first bellowed “It’s Chriiiiiistmaaas!” and Merry Xmas Everybody went straight to number one in the charts. It is 50 years since Noddy made his professional debut as a musician, on leaving school in Walsall. And it is 60 years since he first sang in public. He was just seven when he got up on stage at Walsall Labour Club in 1953.

“My dad was a window cleaner and part-time singer round the working men’s clubs,” remembers Noddy. “The Labour Club was his local. In those days it was like a version of karaoke, they had a pianist and a drummer if you were lucky and anyone could get up and sing or tell a joke on Free and Easy Night, usually a Sunday.

“My dad called me up from the audience because I was used to singing round the house. I did I Believe by Frankie Laine, which was number one at the time, and I brought the house down. I got a taste for applause and it was downhill all the way from then on! “But I could never have imagined that I could make a living out of singing or still have success 60 years on.”

Noddy is reminiscing as he’s going on the road with his show An Audience With Noddy Holder, playing “intimate venues so I can see the whites of their eyes”. DJ Mark Radcliffe will be asking the questions and he’ll also answer posers from the audience. He’s kicking off in Telford and Redditch, but hopes to return in the autumn with a Birmingham date if it goes well.

 “Mark Radcliffe has been on at me for years to do something like this,” says Noddy. “I worked with him for eight years on his Radio 2 show and was always coming up with stories. He’d say ‘I’ve not heard that one before, people would like to hear these tales’. “I put it off but this year he was badgering me so much that I gave in.”

It wasn’t that long after his stage debut that Noddy formed a band. The Rockin’ Phantoms was born at TP Riley Comprehensive in Walsall when he was just 13.
“We played weddings, youth clubs and pubs, doing cover versions of pop hits of the day,” he remembers. “As I left school to turn professional, the band morphed into The Memphis Cutouts which had more of an R&B vein. “We were taken on by Steve Brett, who was quite a local celebrity. He had a TV series in the Midlands called For Teenagers Only. His backing band left him so we became The Mavericks.” In 1966, Noddy was persuaded to join The ‘NBetweens by Don Powell, which eventually became Slade.

They sold 50 million records and had 18 hits between 1971 and 1991, with six number ones including Mama Weer All Crazee Now, Cum On Feel The Noize and Merry Xmas Everybody. “Merry Xmas Everybody has become an iconic Christmas song, and I’m very proud of it,” says Noddy. “It went straight to number one on its first day of release and stayed there for five weeks – it was still there at the end of January 1974. But we never dreamed it would still be going strong 40 years later, no way! “If anything, it’s even more popular now. Kids come up to me who have performed it in their school concerts. It’s great to know that new generations are learning it.”

Glam rock is in vogue again, thanks to an exhibition at Tate Liverpool. It includes several huge photographs of Slade, though not Noddy’s top hat with mirrors. “That’s in a bank vault,” he reveals. “It’s very precious to me – you can’t value something like that, it’s priceless, but I’d never sell it anyway. “I keep getting asked to loan it to exhibitions but I lent it out once and it came back damaged, so I’ll never do it again.

But Slade weren’t always a glam rock band – Noddy remembers a time in the late 1960s when they were skinheads. “All the other bands looked the same so our manager told us to take on this new fashion,” he chuckles. “It really shocked the TV and radio people, they were scared of us with our shaved heads, but it got our name known.”

Noddy then became famous for having lots of hair, particularly on his face with those bushy sideburns. When cyclist Bradley Wiggins won Olympic gold last year, he said: “I don’t think sideburns have been this popular since Noddy Holder.” “I took it as a compliment,” says Noddy. “He’s a smart cookie, and that’s how I used to dress, in those Mod suits.”

In the 20 years since he left Slade – “I got bored with the travelling, I thought we’d done everything we could with the band and I was getting offers to do different sorts of things” – he’s had his own radio show, provided a voice on Bob The Builder, acted in The Grimleys and made a cameo on Coronation Street.
His voice is used in the lift announcements in Walsall New Art Gallery and he was the third person to be inducted on to the Birmingham Walk of Stars.

Noddy is clearly looking forward to his show An Evening With..., especially the Midland dates.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of people I know turning up asking embarrassing questions, but that will be part of the fun,” he smiles.

* An Evening With Noddy Holder comes to Telford Oakengates Theatre (01952 382382) on May 9 and Redditch Palace Theatre (01527 65203) on May 17.

Paul Weller and The Strypes teamed-up for a special Record Store Day performance

Paul Weller teamed up with Irish newcomers The Strypes for a one-off performance at London's Rough Trade East last weekend (April 20th) as part of the shop's Record Store Day celebrations.

Headlining the shop's day of in store gigs, which also saw performances from the likes of Frank Turner, King Midas Sound and a separate set from The Strypes themselves, Weller enlisted guitarist Josh McClorey and bass player Pete O'Hanlon as well as Miles Kane's drummer Jay Sharrock to join him for a 30-minute set.

Entry was by wristband only and saw fans queuing from 4am in the morning to gain access to the completely sold-out event.

Kicking off with The Jam staple 'In The City', the intergenerational band then stormed through a number of Weller's solo cuts including Record Store Day release 'Flame-Out!', 'Fast Car/Slow Traffic' and 'Kling I Klang'.

Weller then introduced the other two members of The Strypes, singer Ross Farrelly and drummer Evan Welsh, joking that they were "on loan for one day only" for a run through of 'Woodcutter's Son'.

The band then continued with a cover of Larry Williams' 'Slow Down', Weller staple 'From the Floorboards Up' and recent album title track 'Wake Up The Nation' before exiting to huge applause and then re-entering for an impromptu encore of 'Route 66' with Farrelly taking lead.

Speaking before the gig, guitarist McClorey expressed his enthusiasm for the event, stating that their set earlier "was packed out. There were loads of kids down the front and it was just a really good vibe and a good day." He also explained how their collaboration had come about, informing that, "we did a gig last year together at Abbey Road, we supported him for that so that's how we met. Then his manager just called up and asked whether we wanted to do something for Record Store Day. I'm a massive fan of The Jam and of his solo stuff so it's great."

Fans were also in high spirits about the gig, with James, 24, from West London telling us that he'd "stuck around for a few of the bands at Rough Trade today, but Weller was something else. Record Store Day is great because it really gets people caring about shops like this." Joe, 48, from Sheffield also said that he'd come all the way to London for the instore and to get Weller's release, adding that "It was great that he got The Strypes up. They've really got the whole young mod thing going, they remind me of Weller when he was younger."

Paul Weller played: -

'In The City'

 Fast Car/Slow Traffic'


'Kling I Klang'

'Woodcutter's Son'

'Slow Down'

'From The Floorboards Up'

'Porcelain Gods'

'Wake Up The Nation'

'Route 66'

US Theatre production, ‘MODROCK’, will Premiere in June at El Portal Theatre

The blurb for this production says, "The era of the British Music Invasion comes alive in "ModRock," a new musical, which is having its world premiere engagement beginning Wednesday, June 19 (press opening Sunday Evening, June 23) at the El Portal Theatre. "ModRock" is set in the vibrant, swinging London of the mid 1960's - a time when styles and cultures clashed, the British bands ruled the pop charts and all fashion trends emerged out of Carnaby Street.

 "ModRock" tells a timeless story of star-crossed lovers from the rival "Mod" and "Rocker" factions through 20 classic songs from the era including "We Gotta Get Out of this Place," "For Your Love," "Tired of Waiting," "Bus Stop," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "Sunny Afternoon," "Time of the Season," "Downtown," "I Can't Explain," "Dedicated Follower of Fashion," "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me," "A Summer Song," "You've Got Your Troubles," "I'm A Man," "Where Are They Now," "I Only Want To Be With You," "Cool Jerk," "There's A Kind of Hush," and "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying".

"ModRock" was created and has a book by Hagan Thomas-Jones and features a young cast of 12. The director is Brian Lohmann, the associate artistic director of the Impro Theatre. He directed Dickens UnScripted at the Broad Stage, LA Noir UnScripted at Theatre Asylum, and at the Odyssey Theatre Tennessee Williams UnScripted and was co-director of Shakespeare UnScripted at Theatre. The musical arrangements are by David O; musical direction by John Ballinger; scenic design by Joel Daavid, and casting by Michael Donovan CSA.

Tickets, starting at $44, are on sale at the El Portal Theatre at elportaltheatre.com, or by calling 1-818-508-4200."

For more information visit www.modrockmusical.com

Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Strypes: 'We always knew that you had to practise for months, get in a van and do 200 gigs…' - Guardian Interview

There's a temptation to slip into strange behaviour when interviewing teenagers. These old interviews, eh, guys? BO-RING! It makes you wonder what Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson had to put up with in their early days. With the exception of One Direction, child pop groups are a rare form of entertainment now, like beauty pageants or circuses. But as the Strypes show, the novelty in looking at a small, perfect version of something that is usually bigger will always be thrilling. Their first single Blue Collar Jane broke from YouTube into the world of Later… with Jools Holland, Noel Gallagher has been seen at their gigs and, not for the first time in the last 10 years, rock'n'roll is said to be saved. If only the lead singer would speak!

Sixteen-year-old Ross Farrelly is the most striking member of the Irish foursome, for his voice – a big pub-rock blast without the slightest hint of a transitional wobble – and for his big sunglasses, which he wears at all times on stage like Roy Orbison. "That came from when he did his first gig," says guitarist Josh McClorey (17) who appears to speak for him. "He was quite nervous and he didn't really know where to place his eyes." Ross opens his eyes very wide and pushes his lips together, fingering the corner of the table in the Marylebone cafe. "He can't leave school yet," continues Ross. "He's got a couple more months but he's barely there, he just goes in when he can…"

The rest of the band, aged 16 and 17, dropped out of school in October last year just before they were signed to Elton John's Rocket Music Entertainment Group. "People think he came to our house," says Pete, who plays with his bass slung up round his throat like John Entwistle and chats like an old man on a bus. "He did actually come to a gig in Brighton – a lot of people thought it was an impersonator. We'd been travelling around Ireland for months before there was any talk of record company interest, so it's not this big shock. It looks that way to the outside world – which is why people have this idea that it can't be real."
The Strypes have already come in line for a degree of message-board sniping because they model their sound on Dr Feelgood, the Yardbirds and the Animals (among others) and have not invented a music utterly new to the human ear. Their live show is a bowel-shaking rhythm'n'blues explosion delivered with humour and vim, betraying an obsessive interest in the musical heritage they're mining.

They've been playing together in the drummer Evan Walsh's bedroom since they were 13 and 14; they grew up in the town of Cavan in Ulster, famous for its railway connections and its closed, contemplative order of nuns. They played a lot of festivals, Pete explains – by which it becomes apparent he means family days out, "opposite the bouncy castle while the announcer is going: 'The Gaelic under-14s match is starting…'"

"We always knew that you had to practise for six months, get in a van and do 200 gigs and play everywhere that would have you," says Josh, and that's what they did, driven by Evan's dad, Niall, the band's official "guardian". In October 2011 they put a self-made EP on iTunes and the next day it was top of the blues chart. Various record contracts were discussed over a nine-month period until they got the one they wanted. Which still doesn't answer the question of why 14-year-olds decided that Chas Chandler and Lee Brilleaux would become their musical heroes, and how they found out about all this stuff in the first place. Is this where Spotify comes in?

"We didn't have Spotify in our day," corrects Pete. "We always loved the 60s and 70s bands," says Josh, "but then we researched the stuff they were covering on YouTube – Bo Diddley, Howlin' Wolf, Charley Patton. Now you've got Jon Spencer, Jack White, Gary Clark Jr – it's a trail that never runs out."
Is it depressing to hear people going on about how there's no good new music? "It is all new to us," says Josh. "Actually I'm inclined to agree that the past looks a lot better," says Evan. "And it's interesting, that whole discussion – it is all a kind of documentary for us."

You wonder what Roger Daltrey might have said in an interview at 16. Young musicians are not starry-eyed today, if they ever were – they know how fast the public's attention moves on. Still, I can't help but ask them about their introduction to the rock'n'roll lifestyle, the girls and the backstage shows. As soon as do, I feel like one of those 1980s children's TV presenters in dungarees leaping up and down for an invisible audience. "We don't have backstage parties," says Evan. "I can't speak for the lads, but I go to bed. I drink a lot of water and go to bed. I'm quite set in my ways."

Saturday, 27 April 2013

The Guardian's Martin Horsfield says, “There's a new breed of Mods in the UK: it's just a pity their music is no good”

Martin Horsfield of The Guardian says, “Mods rule! Whether it's Sir Wiggo modelling his spring/summer collection for Fred Perry, Miles Kane headlining the NME tour, or Martin Freeman still on our screens fighting off the evil dragon Smaug (obviously a metaphor for some dirty greaser), representatives of Britain's most enduring subculture have never been so prominent.

The Swagger - Mod band???

With the O2's British Music Experience now using the mods' RAF roundel, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the movement – which started with late-50s Londoners adopting the Italian suits they saw on Blue Note jazz sleeves, and adopting the scooter as a neat way of nipping through Soho after hours – was in danger of being blunted by the mainstream. Yet visit clubs from Glasgow's Friday Street to Brighton's Mod For It, or look at YouTube footage of recent scooter runs and you'll see a new generation of cappuccino kids. March even saw 16 clubs join forces to raise £50,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust, promoting a new breed of mod bands called things like the Swagger and the Brassic. There's only one problem: they're rubbish.

If you were looking for a reason, Oasis, forever riding on the fishtails of Paul Weller in the 90s, didn't help; the "Modfather" had ceased moving forward after the Style Council's ill-fated but entirely logical detour into house music. The Gallaghers were pictured on scooters, publicising their Earls Court gig, and Mods now seem to equate Britpop (mainstream, nostalgic) with modernism (elitist, forward-facing). Mod bands who dress the part but favour Britpop over black music and its myriad mutations – and admittedly your writer has only anecdotal evidence, though it's the sort of thing mods argue over, a lot – are like a Jpeg of a photocopy of Liam's bumcheeks.

Mod's aesthetic has influenced every aspect of British culture, its Bauhaus-inspired lines visible in everything from Terence Conran's furniture to Wayne Hemingway's housing estates. We've had a Mod home secretary (Alan Johnson) and a Mod TV chef (Stacie Stewart); only in music are they letting the side down. While it's asking a lot for any act to match the Who's riot of pop art ideas or the Small Faces' psych-soul surrealism, it's a contradiction that Dean Rudland, music editor on Eddie Piller's excellent Modcast, has given some thought to. He reckons the scene is actually healthier when there aren't any mod bands. "If you walk around saying 'I only like music made by Mods', you miss out on the most Mod music," he says.

It's a great theory but can mod be meaningful without meaningfully modern music to accompany? Discussing seminal mod clothing brand Fred Perry's ongoing series of gigs – recent guests King Krule and Tom Vek; not a tonic suit in sight – its head of marketing Richard Martin said: "We want to blend the history of where we came from with a contemporary edge." Mods: your smart little subculture is in danger of scootering into a dead end.”

Friday, 26 April 2013

John Smedley 'Mill Sale' Announced.

John Smedley are having their ‘Mill Sale’ on Friday 17th & Saturday 18th May.

For more details check out the John Smedley Blog at www.johnsmedley.com/blog/

Steve Cradock - New Solo Album 'Travel Wild - Travel Free'

Steve Cradock releases his third solo album, ‘Travel Wild – Travel Free’ on 16th September on Proper Records.
He says, "It's really melodic and sounds quite 60s. It's a bit modern sounding but also quite psychedelic. It sounds f****** amazing. There are better songs and better production than my two previous albums. I’ve got a song called ‘It’s The Magic Hour’ which I think is the best song I’ve ever written, and there’s another song called ‘I Am The Sea’ which I think is a real stand-out track as well. ‘Travel Wild - Travel Free’ is the name of one of the songs on the album.

Peggy Jane iPhone covers available now!!!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Spitfires announce June tour.

Maiden Voyage Tour

Friday 21st June - The Blind Tiger, Brighton

Saturday 22nd June - The Water Rats Theatre, London

Monday 24th June - Swadlincote Ski Centre, Derbyshire

Tuesday 25th June - The RS Bar, Sheffield

Wednesday 26th June - Bumper, Liverpool

Friday 28th June - Pontins Camber Sands Holiday Park

'Sussed' Fanzine - Issue 3 Out Now!!!

'In The Crowd' - 100 Unseen Pictures Of The Jam out 16th May

On May 16th Marshall Cavendish & Delicious Junction publish 'In the Crowd' – a new book by celebrated photographer Derek D'Souza.

The book features 176 pages in full colour, with over 100 unseen images of The Jam.

Looking back over the shots, Weller said "These pix bring back so many memories. It's nice to see these pix in print after all these years!"

Pre-order 'In The Crowd' now at www.amazon.co.uk or reserve a strictly limited numbered edition by contacting jon.abnett@phoenixphotosetting.co.uk

Derek D'Souza will be signing copies of the book at Pretty Green's Carnaby Street Store on Saturday 18th May, between 11am and 1pm.

Brett 'Buddy' Ascott to drum for The Moment in 2013

Legendary Mod drummer (and top Spurs fan), Buddy Ascott, is to play drums with The Moment in 2013.

So far Buddy has ruled the drum stool for The Chords, The Rage (I still have a pair of his broken sticks from the Lincoln Mod Rally in 1985 where The Threads supported them), Pope and Mod super-group Speakeasy, as well as being drummer in the 'house' band for the Mod Aid 20 single.

On top of that, he is a really nice guy too - looking forward to seeing Buddy with The Moment in 2013!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

David Bowie 1965! 7" EP – did anyone pick this up on Record Store Day?

Did anyone manage to pick up this excellent 7" EP on Record Store Day (20th April)?
Unfortunately this EP, along with The Strypes and Paul Weller 7" releases, were not available in the nearest handful of participating stores to me - which kind of defeats the point of the day and undermines the support that they are trying to attract/retain!!!
The David Bowie 1965! EP is a 4-track 7” which collects together both of the singles Bowie released in 1965, with The Manish Boys and The Lower Third respectively.

If the release seems at all familiar, that may be because it’s been available since 2007 as a digital release. The EP was also released in the same 4-track vinyl format in 1979.

David Bowie 1965! EP 7” Record Store Day exclusive

7” black vinyl (World excluding US & Canada)


1. The Manish Boys – I Pity The Fool

2. The Manish Boys – Take My Tip


1. Davy Jones & The Lower Third – You’ve Got A Habit Of Leaving

2. Davy Jones & The Lower Third – Baby Loves That Way

The Moment 7" 'Goodbye Tuesday' available to pre-order now!!!

News has just reached the Modernist Society Blog from the Heavy Soul HQ that the new 7" single from The Moment, 'Goodbye Tuesday', is available to pre-order now from www.heavysoul45s.co.uk ahead of its official May release.

It is advisable to pre-order quickly (as I have already done) as this is a limited edition pressing and once they have gone, they're gone, and you'll have missed out.

The Moment are also featured in a special 'Classic Mod Band' supplement that comes free with the new edition of the Heavy Soul Fanzine and includes an exclusive new interview with main man, Adrian Holder.