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The Mod Thing...

We get asked sometimes "what made you be a mod band?" which is a fair enough question, along with "sounds nothing like mod music" (only from haters to be fair). Another good one and I quote some knob head's comment on our video for 'Eye of the Hurricane', "Looks like a wannabe Paul Weller who smokes 60 a day who's dragged his three mong mates in". I even saw someone who I wouldn't necessarily call a mate, but certainly someone who used to support the band and who I shared numerous social events with endorse one of these hateful parasites. So I thought I'd basically give you all a rundown on how and why we are a mod band.

The pub I grew up drinking in, in Enfield - the legendary Tommy's Bar was a well known local Spurs pub. All that mattered to everyone in there including me (apart from a geezer called Spanner, the only Arsenal fan allowed in there on match day) was Spurs. Everyone lived and breathed our beloved Tottenham and everything revolved around either going to the game or who was gonna be watching it in Tommy's. One Sunday, the older lot who drank in there came in as soon as the pub opened at midday looking far more suave than on an average Sunday. Usually there was more Stone Island, Lacoste and Ralph than a Regent Street stock room, today though everyone had made an obvious effort. On top of that, outside was a couple of lairy, colourful scooters... something was going down today and me and my mates wanted in! "Sunday best scooter rally boys, over Capel Manor... bitta music, few beers, come over" said George. We made our way over there and as soon as we walked through the gates it was like we'd been transported out of Enfield and landed in a random field somewhere in 1963. There was more scooters than I'd ever seen anywhere in my life, somewhere between 10-20 clothes stalls selling what I thought at the time was completely outrageous clobber, shirts with the biggest, pointiest collars on them, shoes that I'd still think were 'out there' on a London fashion week catwalk. I did recognise one thing though, when I was 11 my old man bought me a green Lambretta parka, not the same but similar to the one I'd just seen on this clothes rail, I loved that parka but my old man in true Derek Trotter style wrote my pissing name in it, obviously I'd got a load of stick and didn't want to wear it after that, I'd love to have it back now though! Anyway, after getting pissed all day, watching the Small Fakers and trying to take in as much of this new scene I was visiting for the day as I could, we trotted off back to Tommy's and stuck the Beatles on the jukebox for the rest of the night. Next day I was telling my old man about it. He was born in '62, smack bang in the middle of the initial Modernist uprising and was the perfect age for the '79 revival. He never committed himself to any of the youth movements of the time my dad, but he was able to aid me in going down the rabbit hole of mod music and fashion. I distinctly remember this geezer at Sunday Best, he had (what I thought was just shiny at the time) a tonic suit on, a collarless white grandad shirt, pukka pair of rectangular sunglasses with an absolutely pristine haircut topped off with a polka dot scarf that stopped at the top of his stomach. I thought "Cor he looks the bollocks, I wanna get myself one of them scarves". Anyway, as it turns out the older lot just go over there annually when the festival's on for a break of routine, so with no friends, family or fuck all remotely linked to the mod scene, I'd forgot about it after a week or so. Fast forward a couple of years to circa 2009, I was with a few mates down Old Spitalfields Market on Commercial Street in the east end, not doing anything in particular, just having a look round the shops and stalls. We'd wandered into Fred Perry and there it was, if it wasn't the same one it was bloody close, that polka dot scarf I'd seen that dapper geezer wearing at Sunday Best so with no second thought, I bought it. Now this presented a problem, as much as I loved this scarf and wanted to wear it after paying £75 fucking quid for it which was over a days money to me at the time, it didn't really go too well with pastel coloured Lacoste polos or Stone Island jackets. I nipped on to Google when I got home and typed in 'what goes with a navy polka dot scarf?', or something like that anyway. Up came numerous pictures of blokes looking like the scooter boys from Sunday best, in amongst them were Miles Kane, Liam Gallagher, Paul Weller, and a few other rockstars. In that moment I'd decided this was my look, my old man told me about this shoe shop down Brick Lane called Blackman's which had been there all his life but wasn't sure if it still was. My luck was in - 5 pairs of desert boots, a pair of Chelsea boots and a pair of Brogue's for 250 nicker! I mean, fuck knows how they're still open selling shoes at that price but thank god they were because I was a piss poor, skint apprentice at the time. I've still got those Chelsea boots now and minus a few scuffs they're as good as new, unbelievably good quality regardless, never mind them being £35 or whatever they were.

Now it's roughly 2013, my mates had well gotten used to me dressing differently to them by now so that was well out of the way. I was playing what I think was my 3rd or 4th ever gig as a solo acoustic act. I had the white baseball styled top on you can see in the above pictures, the navy polka dot scarf, navy jeans and brown desert boots. The organisers, John and Dan who I'd gotten to know said to me as I walked in with my guitar "looking very mod today Dan, you been up to Adaptor?". Adaptor was and still is a local modernist and rudeboy clothes shop run by who I call uncle Phil, absolute top bloke who would chip off the rough edges of my mod image. "The beards gotta go Dan", "Undo that bottom button before you leave this shop" he'd say. When the band first acquired the current line up, we were already leaning towards a mod angle, Keeno had a proper 60's Keith Moon style hair cut, Jamie's old man's a mod who's influence had obvious rubbed off on him, Andy loved a Fred Perry, his uncles also play locally in a band together and always look the part. So when we started working with Silky (our manager) and were deciding which route we wanted to go down in terms of fan acquisition, it was a quick, easy and painless decision that we'd fully commit to being a mod band by necking our drinks in the Dog & Whistle and heading straight up to see uncle Phil at Adaptor to buy some stage wear in the form of four suits. Well, it was three as I'd already bought the purple tonic suit I wore in the video for 'Eye of the Hurricane' a few months before for a wedding. Sidenote, I love Motown, mainly my mum's influence with her being completely Tina Turner fucking bonkers. I love the Ronette's, Marvin Gaye, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Diana Ross & The Supreme's and pretty much anything under the Motown banner. I love The Jam, Sound Affect's and Setting Son's are two of my favourite albums of all time, but I also love The Sex Pistols, The Beatles, Oasis, The Libertines and The Stone Roses. There's people out there who'd question my credibility as a mod for liking those bands, if that sounds like you and you're reading this I have a question. Do you like Block 33's music? If the answer is yes then it's a bit of bloody luck I like those bands isn't it? They've been a massive influence on my songwriting and inspired me to want to be in a band. If the answer is no then why the fuck are you 400 words into my blog? Piss off! Sorry guys, just had to get that off my chest... Almost four years on from the band becoming part of public consciousness, the modernist look and style still completely captivates me, male and female. Not that I've got any intention of growing a beehive and slipping into dogtooth dress, I just think it's the most eye catching and stylish look that's came from any subculture and probably ever will. I could scroll through the numerous books and magazines I've got indoors over and over again picking up on new details and ideas for my next purchase. I've got my eye on an absolute corker of a whistle for the 100 Club gig, hopefully work picks up a bit before then 'cos its a small fortune. Anyway, I don't ride a scooter so the Transit will have to do for now, I can't tell you what track four is on a Purple Hearts bootleg from the arse end of 1979, and I've got no intention of shaving 3 times a day because I've got a day job, I'm busy and the skin on my neck is extremely fucking sensitive, once every 3 days TOPS! That said, I am a MOD and always will be! Over and out... Dan x

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2 commentaires

I never understood the exclusive tribal nature of being a mod or a punk or a rude boy or whatever.. TBH I was a punk back in the day, but have grown up with a real eclectic taste in music. I love what you guys are putting out, the DOG P boys too.. but I also love a bit of Frankie Valli (Opus 17 - what a tune), 80s synth pop, Cable Street Collective.. I even have Morecombe & Wise “ bring me sunshine “ on my party playlist… although I refuse to listen to the “4 songs on a loop” meaningless Capital Radio type crap that purports to be “popular music” these days. Not sure why I’ve just blathered…


Great blog Dan,Keep them coming mate KTF

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