SUSSED a user’s guide to modernism Issue #003 €4.00
Inside.... THE RIOTS Russia’s Finest Speak HERITAGE BRANDS Style & Substance MARY QUANT Profile of an Icon POSTMOD Rewriting the Rule Book REVIEWS Records & then some...
....and much more
FOR MODERNISTS BY MODERNISTS
he past eight months have seen an increase in the mainstream media's focus on Mod due in no small part to the Wiggins phenomenon and the London Olympics. Should it be welcomed? If the coverage scratches the surface and delves no deeper then it’s fluff and useful only for wrapping chips, if it takes it to a deeper level and is not condescending then that'll do nicely. But either way once the current spotlight is dimmed and focus is moved elsewhere there will still be a culture of Modernism thriving. And yet maybe now is an opportune moment to take stock of what Mod means in this 21st century. Is there a split coming between pre-millenium Mods and those who arrived just before the fin de siecle? Is there a schism with Mods and Post Mods moving away from each other? One tribe mohaired, slim and nodding to the sounds of Jazz, Soul and RnB the other a bit baggy, shaggy and rolling to the sounds of Post eighties Brit pop and its sixties influences? And if this split exists who then are the true keepers of the flame? Contributor Noel Kavanagh provides some food for thought.
Elsewhere in this issue: Niall Gilmartin expounds on Modernism's impact on gender identity. Polly gives us an exclusive peek into her Mary Quant collection and details the rise of this most amazing woman. Regular contributor Fiona D gives some pointers on achieving the perfect made up look. Angela at Carnaby Streak talks to us and tells us what her label Carnaby Streak is all about. The best Mod band in the World The Riots talk ahead of their new LP release and with eight pages of reviews plus fashion, music and art there should be enough here to keep you busy until Sussed #4...
THE MISERY OF THE ROYAL PLAYBOYS The Dynamics -v- The High Numbers
THE RIOTS Russian Mod Band Profile
THE ART OF MAX GALLI Rome Mod artist showcased
RADIO RADIO Mod radio online and interview with Warren Peace
KNOW YOUR HERITAGE The history of a few old faves
OUR MAN IN NAPLES Dean Swift gets kitted out
CARNABY STREAK Vintage styling for the modern girl
MARY MARY YOU’RE ON MY MIND Profile of an icon
POSTMODERNIST MODS Noel Kavanagh gets deep
LE BEAU VISAGE Fiona Dennison gets the 60s look
MOD, GENDER & THE POLITICS OF STYLE Gilly investigates
MEN OF NORTH COUNTRY Interview & album review
REVIEWS A round up of singles, albums, mags and weekenders
Sussed is brought to you by Joe Moran and Ray Gilligan. Cover Girl: Michelle Farley (cheers girl!). Photo by Rory Farrell and Michelle Farley Contributors: College #9 Blog, Dave Meehan, Geraldine Fahey, Fiona Dennison, Ken Mooney, Marty McAllister, Niall Gilmartin, Noel Kavanagh, Paul Davis, Polly, Rob Gilligan, Tom Stafford, Wayne Massey If you’d like to contribute to future issues or have your band or club featured or just to let us know what you think contact: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.facebook.com/susseddublin
the misery of the
ROYAL PLAYBOYS P
By Paul Davis
aul Gaugin once said "Art is either Plagiarism or Revolution” and the 60s was rife with both. Copyright laws then weren’t as stringent as they are today and so, artists “borrowed” riffs, choruses, complete lyrics and backing tracks and, as talent show pundits are fond of saying, “made it their own”. Probably the most famous occurrence of this on the Mod scene is The Who and The Dynamics debacle...
The first vinyl release by Messrs Townshend, Daltry, Moon and Entwistle was Zoot Suit/I’m The Face under the guise of The High Numbers on the Fontana label in July ‘64. This is, beyond a doubt, the rarest record in the entire Who catalogue, as only 1000 were pressed and only 500 were sold. Irish Jack, given the task of shifting a load of them, remembers putting some down the back of an old piano for safe keeping. Unfortunately the piano, and presumably its contents, went to the dump and significantly increased the price of an original. The songs on the record, however, were anything but. Having changed their name from The Detours to The Who in February ‘64, a name change came once again under the management of 60s Mod Ace Face, Pete Meaden, most popularly known for coining the phrase describing the Mod ideal as, “Clean living under difficult circumstances”. Meaden had an image of The Who being the focal point of the Mod movement and had them change their name to The High Numbers - a representation of their stature in the elitist, hierarchical Mod movement and then presented them with two songs that he wrote, both of which conjured up the imagery and ideal of the Mod lifestyle.
There was and still is a slight problem with this. Pete Meaden may have written the lyrics for each of the High Numbers sides the label credits P. Meaden and even The Who's website states “Written by Peter Meaden” - but he didn't write the music. Now it’s well known where the music was lifted from but for a very long time and in quite a few music journals, it was said that the backing track to Zoot Suit was a copy of Country Fool, the flip side of The Showmen’s hit, It Will Stand, but that’s not the case. The original music for Zoot Suit was taken from The Dynamics 1963 release of Misery on the Big Top label which, it is speculated, was given to Meaden by resident Scene Club DJ Guy Stevens. The Dynamics however were a Detroit vocal group and, as with most of the recordings in the 60s, the musicians were never credited. The band responsible for the backing track, were Michigan combo The Royal Playboys.
The Big Top release however, wasn’t the original issue. Misery/I’m The Man was released locally in Detroit on the Fox label where the credits said “The Dynamics with The Royal Playboys”. Unfortunately, as Al Savage, guitarist with the Playboys told me, by the time the tracks made it to New York for the Big Top national release, The Royal Playboys were dropped from the credits and no explanation was given. The writing credits on Misery go to G. Stratton and A. Wilson, so although only 1000 copies of the original single were released and not a lot of royalties could be gleaned from that run, over the years the song was released on the Quadrophenia film soundtrack, has been reissued as a CD single and has appeared on The Who’s boxed set “30 years of Maximum R&B” and in all cases, there would have been massive worldwide sales but, as Meaden is still credited as the writer,
it would appear that the royalties would have gone to his estate. The flipside of “Zoot Suit” is another appropriation of an American R&B song. Slim Harpo’s “Got Love If You Want It” is stripped bare of its lyrics and the backing track played note for note under “I’m The Face”. Whether Slim Harpo ever got any royalties for that too I am unaware of. To add another crease to this already mixed up royalty machine, Pete Townshend is reputed to have said that he never heard The Dynamics single before Zoot Suit was recorded and that it is not, in fact, him playing lead on the single, but a session musician. There may actually be some truth in this as it seemed Meaden was running this particular show (he’s credited as co-producer too) and, although it is definitely Daltrey’s vocals on both tracks, he said in a recent BBC documentary that Pete has never been in the studio while he cuts his vocals, Daltrey won’t allow it. That said, it does seem strange that when The High Numbers entered the studio to cut their first ever record, they didn’t bring their guitarist, the very person whose frenetic playing gave them their unique live sound and made them so popular on the Mod scene. Whoever did play guitar on Zoot Suit, it is not only strange but totally unbelievable that they could have got the exact same sound as The Royal Playboys without having first heard the track.
All of this comes back to the ever too common practice in 60s America of treating their musicians like second class citizens. This happened all over the US but was quite prevalent in Detroit where many musicians needed to moonlight at other
studios to make ends meet. The record company bosses were only interested in promoting the vocalists, who were quite well paid for their efforts if the record was successful, and the musicians were kept on the industry standard session wage. In the documentary “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown” an interviewer asks people in a record store, who were the band who played on those Motown hits and nobody can answer ‘The Funk Brothers’. The travesty of top quality musicians not being recognised for their efforts was finally put to rest with “Standing In The Shadows” as the musicians were finally lauded for the contribution they made to popular culture. But there are still others out there like Al Savage who created a sound that was so popular it crossed the Atlantic and was reworked into another song but with no mention of the source. At least when The Stones were making their first records, they acknowledged their inspiration, or Brian Jones did, in fact he insisted on it.
Not having written the music, The Royal Playboys would not gain any monetary reward from the credit change but it should be noted, if not on The Who’s website – and there have been ample opportunity in the past 48 years - then in the general footnotes of music history, that the instantly catchy guitar riffs of Zoot Suit were not a product of a London born guitarist, or by a Detroit group called The Dynamics, but came from the hand of a native of Dearborn, Michigan who unknowingly set the wheels in motion for one of the biggest and most enduring rock bands of all time
ormerly known as ‘The White Trainer Community’, ‘The Riots’ have quickly built up a following both at home in Russia, and in the West as Power-Pop maestros and have a string of excellent releases already under their belt.
Lead singer Sasha Bolotov took time out of a busy schedule to speak to SUSSED....
What’s the current lineup of the band?
It’s a classical three piece outfit: Sasha guitar, vocals, Kirill - bass, backing vocals, Alex - drums, backing vocals. We sometimes use additional instruments for recording and do some sort of experimenting with different lineups from time to time but normally we play gigs in this line up - we’re pretty sure there’s no need to change anything and we will carry on this way. When did you form the group?
The band was originally formed in 2003 in Perm, Russia under the name ‘Bank Holiday’. It was a four piece band and we were playing Brit pop influenced by Oasis, Blur etc. Then we moved to London where the band broke up due to different reasons. But it was there where we got heavily inspired with a true British phenomenon – Mod culture. So coming back home we decided to reorganize the band under a different name and chose another direction in style. As a result we formed ‘The White Trainers Community’ in which we first time stuck to the three piece line up.
How was new band and new direction received?
The band quickly gained success and pretty soon after the release of the first EP ‘This Town’ we were invited to play some gigs in Moscow. Those gigs led to a record deal from one of the Russian majors’ sub labels. In autumn 2007 then we released the debut album ‘The Long Play’ (which was rereleased on vinyl as a 5th anniversary edition by TFA records in November 2012). After that the 7” single ‘Modern Boys’ was released and off the back of that we played numerous gigs in Russia and Ukraine.
Why the name change?
Being Honest there was some high tension between the label and the band which led to a decision to stop any further collaboration with the label and to change the name. the problems with the label was not the only reason to change the name. Pretty soon we realized that it was a rather shitty name to be honest. When we started out as ‘The White Trainers Community’ we were semiMods semi-Casuals and we had tight relations with local football hooligans who were at those days our main and massive support. We also regarded ourselves as SUSSED 6
football hooligans and that defined our choice of the band’s name. But by the time the problems with the label started to occur, politics appeared on the terraces and split the unity that existed before. I bet you know what I mean. We were absolutely apolitical and never wanted to have anything in common with this shit so we decided to quit. This decision had also an impact on changing the band’s name as the previous one lost its actuality so to say.
TWTC had an album and a 7" released - how was that received?
Both of them gained great success and were well received by both audience and critics. Numerous reviews praising the band appeared in magazines such as Rolling Stone, Billboard etc. It was then when we were defined by Rolling Stone as ‘the most British band in Russia’. You certainly sound very British
Yes, we’ve always been keen on British music or what we call British wave. Music from the 60’s to some of the modern stuff. And though each of us listens to many different types and genres of music of various ages and periods from all over the world our hearts are always there in Britain. And among this huge quantity of music I listen to, my all-time favs are Mod Revival, New Wave, Power-Pop and so called Punk ‘77 and this is what me and the lads want to play. For instance, I loved the Jam a lot long before going to London but didn’t know much about Mods or that the Jam could be defined as a Mod revival band because I didn’t even know about the scene and simply called it new wave. But then in London I got acquainted with the Mod phenomenon much closer, learned a lot of stuff about it and I have to admit that this was the love from first sight. Before coming to London I simply didn’t know that I was a Mod, though I had already been one. What’s the Mod scene like in Russia?
It’s not big I need to say. But if you’re a Mod living in Moscow you’ll always have a chance to have a good time. There are Mod
allnighters, Soul allnighters, Garage allnighters, trad Skinhead allnighters, Mod/Jazz allnighters and other parties and gigs which can be interesting for a person who regard oneself as a Mod. But to be honest that even in Moscow there are not so many Mods around, just a fewT The Riots are sponsored by Fred Perry how did that come about?
We can’t call it a sponsorship in the way many people understand this word but we get an informational support from them and they always invite us to take part in their events. I think it’s a quite natural and essential collaboration as we go the same direction and us and them we are here to promote Mod culture all over the world. Outside of the Mod scene how is your sound and image received?
Well, people like it no matter if they are Mods or not. And I think it’s great. Yes, I’m a Mod. Yes, what we play may be described as Mod revival (as well as New Wave or Power-Pop or even some people call it Indie) but our music is for everyone. At least for those who like good music and have a good taste in it.
same. Power-Pop, New Eave, Mod Revival. Well, maybe only the Mod Revival term is used by those who are more into Mod stuff? The Riots have been touring in the west for a couple of years now. Tell us about that experience...
We had a small tour in Germany last September. It was our first European tour. It became real thanks to Time For Action records and Moonshake Booking Agency. Those were fantastic two weeks we spent on the road and during which we had two days in an amazing studio in Hamburg – Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! studios’ – where we started recording some material that hopefully will be released someday as Hamburg sessions or something like that. But that was just a start. A little practice before doing something big. Some new material? Do tell us about that
This March we’re releasing our new LP ‘Time For Truth’ on TFA records, which will be the debut one for The Riots and so we will be off for one month and have a small European tour supporting the album.
I described The Riots to a friend as "sounding the way the New Wave scene should have sounded - pure Power-Pop". Would you agree?
So what countries are you intending on including on this year’s tour?
If all works out fine, as some of the dates are still not confirmed, we will play in five countries this time: Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria and Czech Republic (about 20 dates!). So let’s keep fingers crossed that all the dates will be confirmed as soon as possible and we can start promoting the album and the tour. Hope to see you lot in March somewhere there along the tour! Cheers! Keep The Faith!
recommended listening: ‘Sell Out’ http://www.myspace.com/thewhitetrainerscommunit y/music/songs/sell-out-40-edit-41-mp3-81048137 ‘Tomorrow’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3bL6yNnxXQ
‘Out of Controlt’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXwhHKm3SVM
The White Trainers community LP has been rereleased and is available from www.timeforaction.de - get details from email@example.com
Again thanks to our friends: Michael from TFA records and Laiki from Moonshake Booking Agency. We also plan to have a limited edition of a special tour single that will be sold only throughout the tour in the venues where we will play, like we did in September, but I’m not sure at the moment if it becomes real or not. We’ll see.
Sure! As for me from the musical point of view it’s all the
ome Native, Max Galli is an accomplished artist and designer who lists womankind as one of his main sources of inspiration. His work is unapologetically retrospective and right up our street. Sussed is delighted he took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us and showcase his work...
I’d say “yes and no”. I published them through Lulu.com, that works exactly like every other publisher, but gives you the chance to be completely independent for anything regarding pre and post publishing, making a competitive, bookshop-looking product, and also guarantees you get the right royalties. This gave me an unprecedented freedom to the way I wanted my books realized, much different from traditional publishers. Of course, it works if you are a graphic designer, otherwise, it can be difficult to deal with.
What exhibitions have you had? I had quite a few exhibitions during the years: 1990 Rome, 1991 Rome again, then London in 1999, Bromley (Kent) in 2002, London again in 2003, inside the crypt of St-Martin-In-The-Fields, and London once more at “Le Beat Bespoké 2”, in 2006. There was also Lavarone, the “All Saints Mod Holiday”, 2010, where I had my “20 years of Mod-60s illustration”. The last one was at last summer Euro YéYé, for a full month.
Plans for the 2013? Well, I used to do a lot of planning, years ago, but who knows what’s gonna happen these days? If I’ll find something interesting in the air, maybe I could smell it a bit. Any plans to exhibit internationally? I’d do London again, and maybe other places in Europe where there are interesting with local Mod-60s scenes. And here are a few links for you:
My website: www.maxgalli.net My features on “EyePlug” http://eyeplug.net/magazine/?author=7 My features and comics on “NewUntouchables” http://www.newuntouchables.com/nutsmag/?author=5 Where to buy my books: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/maxgalli69 Review on “UbuPopLand”: http://ubupopland.com/popnews/p/galli_midnight_to_six.htm Review on “New Untouchables”: http://www.newuntouchables.com/nutsmag/?p=1899
Where did your interest in Art come from? I’ve always been interested into art and illustration, as far as I can remember. When I was 5 or 6 I used to watch all those sciencefiction TV shows like UFO and Space: 1999, trying to draw sketches of starshisps and creatures. So, I ended up covering tons of paper with anything from – say – helicopters, to bizarre spaceships and even more bizarre monsters. In my teens I began to be interested into proper Art and comics, finding myself totally immersed in artnouveau illustrations (Mucha, basically) and comic artists like Guido Crepax, Hugo Pratt, Juan Gimenez, Esteban Maroto, Jean Claude Forest, Moebius and the whole lot of Italian, Franco-Belgian and South American comics.
Who are your inspirations in the artistic field? Well, I’ve got to blame my father for that. He used to be a professional photographer from the mid 50s to the late 70s, portraying thousands of models, landscapes and – sometimes – famous and less famous actresses. I think women have always been my main source of inspiration, as I had a huge quantity of pics at hand. Women and the whole 60s-Mod culture are still my most important influences.
You have a couple of books out at the moment. How did they come about? Actually, they’re more than two, four written and two illustrated, but only the latter two are in English: “Midnight To Six” and “The Adventures Of Molly Jones”. “Midnight To Six” became in few months a real bestseller, with reviews in Germany and UK, and a one month exhibition at Euro YéYé 2012, Thanks to Félix Dominguez and Rob Bailey. Are they self-published?
O I D A R R M usic - Its an integral part of the scene and in reality it could very well be the engine that drives the whole thing forward. Sure, the fashion and style makes up a sizeable percentage of your average mods day however without a smart and cool soundtrack to accompany that perfect outfit what good the threads, eh? And its not as if there is a dearth of choice - Jazz, soul, revival, latin, RnB, guitar bands of then and now and pretty much any other obscure take on the major genres - Mod is well served with sounds.
In this day and age of immediacy getting your hands on music has never been easier, click click click and almost everything can he downloaded and saved digitally. Which is great but sometimes listening to someone else mixing up tunes and delivering a mix - hoping that the sum of its parts add up to more than the whole - can be as exciting as the music itself. I guess it’s why we go to clubs and get excited when we learn our favourite deejay is playing.
I remember some years ago that the i-net radio stations out there were all American and slanted towards that nations taste and it all seemed to be well known and not as palatable as one would have liked. Whilst I am at it those stations never seemed to have presenters just endless music played one after the other. Over the last few years however as the technology has become more available there’s been a perceptible shift in i-net radio that sticks to the traditional radio format with presenters who talk between records and impart little nuggets of information not in a Smashie and Nicey way but in a fan boy/girl enthusiastic side order to the main dish of sounds. When I had my show on Jazzfm i always aspired to deliver an interesting fact about the music i played whether it was as anal as a matrix number or linking it to some other aspect of the artists life.
There are thousands of Radio shows on the inet and i'm sure there’s some nerd or other who is cataloguing, detailing and collating the details into some huge tome. This on the other hand is a brief exposé of the shows that I listen to consistently that make me smile, tap the toe or go scrambling to the net to find a SUSSED 10
new sound that I absolutely, positively need to have.
SUBCULTURED https://soundcloud.com/subcultured The show that spawned a hundred copyists. This is not really a traditional Radio show but then again on the internet what can be termed traditional? However its format is more akin to radio than I have heard from a lot of other imitators. Hosted on Soundcloud this eclectic soundscape is lovingly curated and presented by the silky voiced Je Suis Natalie currently domiciled in Manchester. Every Sunday there’s a new show brimming with music: 60s Garage, Northern, Motown, Psychedelia, 60s Indie, Britpop, Shoegaze, 70s Alternative, Ska.. whatever you associate with subculture, it's on the show. There’s also space for unsigned bands such as Manchester's The Watchmakers, and a teenage girl from Scotland called Luna Webster. As Natalie says "Listening to music and learning to music has always been my number one past time......I've spent years dancing to other people's playlists and it was time people listened to me". Natalie has moved beyond the confines of the studio and has been playing the subcultured set at various venues such as the Pretty Green store and Sheffield's Rock and Roll Lounge for an all-dayer once a month. Subcultured has its own twitter stream ( @subcultured_ ) and has garnered a large devoted following. Natalie is set for some bigger things in radio/presenting, with her unpretentious and fresh enthusiastic style, and impeccable music taste she’s a radio natural and will go far. READY STEADY GO RTE XFM - Online UPC channel 944 Our very own City Flower Child Jacqui Carroll brings the beats each Friday at 8pm (repeated on Sunday at noon). Always a treat listening to Jacqui as she moves through Mod sounds from the decades with a special emphasis on new bands in her "Nod to the Mod-ern". Big feature of the shows are the interviews with movers and shakers and also the acoustic sessions she hosts - memorable moments have been Terry Shaughnessy, ReSoul but theres always something notable and this is fixed firmly in the calendar as an essential listen. The girl has great taste and it shows in her setlists. Although it’s an irish radio station this one has a listenership that transcends
borders and a devoted following across the globe.
WE ARE THE MODS - with Warren Peace Wake the Nation Radio (www.tinyurl.com/wtnradio) also available on iTunes or PodOmatic!" Tuesdays - 9pm GMT. Not for the faint hearted its a double barrelled salvo of opinion from presenter Peace who opines and declares on the current state of the Mod scene and its adherents. Mixed in with the forthright delivery are some great sounds from all eras and he is currently championing the likes of Sussed faves French Boutik, The Riots and a slew of other young and up and coming bands. (Check the piece on Warren that exns a bit more on the guy and the show.)
THE NORTHERN SOUL SHOW - with Stuart Blackburn Broadcast every Sunday evening at 6pm GMT Live at http://www.affinityradio.net/ or catch up at http://northernsoulshow.co.uk/ Slickly produced radio show helmed by the professional Blackburn. Does exactly what it says on the tin - straight up Northern sounds. To be honest there are hundreds of these type of shows some playing rarer sounds, some coming over as Fanboy exclusivity and some are downright unlistenable due to presenting styles (there’s only so much Northern 'humour' that this lad can handle), but this one just seems to tick the right boxes for me and generally provides the soundtrack for me when writing or just schlepping about having a beer of a lazy afternoon. Blackburn knows his stuff and with his easy patter and the cracking playlist the hours fly by. THE MODCAST http://www.themodcast.co.uk Well what can I say about this show that has not already been said before. You know the format by now - a round table discussion interspersed with some music. With guests drawn from the sport, tv, film and media worlds theres always someone interesting available to spend some time talking with Piller and Rudland. It’s like being invited around to a friends house and hanging out. All the shows are archived at the website and are perfect for the dreary morning commute when you need a chuckle
O DIO A R SKA PATROL MONDAY NIGHT 8pm TO 10pm (GMT) RADIO DIAL AT 90.3 FM / inet www.near.ie /http://www.mixcloud.com/SkaBop/ Now Ska and Reggae would not be top of my list but i still appreciate a well crafted set of JA that takes you on a journey. This show does exactly that and is a melange of all aspects of Jamaican music from reggae, rocksteady right up to the 2Tone era. As it’s a live show the lads are always happy for folk to text them on 00353851624482 From Anywhere In The World! There’s a Webcam in the studio too which adds another dimension.
WWW.JAZZRADIO.COM For anyone who likes jazz of whatever hue then this non stop stream will certainly see you right. Covering all aspects of Jazz from early hot dixie-land jazz up to current performers there’s something here for everyone. No commentary from presenters and the music just does not stop. I do prefer to get some detail about the tunes but as the web player contains details of title and artist theres always a chance that if you hear some new track you can look up the release. personal fave is the latinjazz stream but there’s so much here you will be spoilt for choice
COMETH THE HOUR... “It's a perfect storm, you had Wiggo winning the Tour De France, The Who are touring Quadrophenia, New York times running an article on Mod, a parade of Scooters closing off the Olympics.....it’s got to happen but unlike previous revivals it won’t happen in the UK”. Thus says Warren Peace – Radio broadcaster on the We are the Mods program on Wake the Nation radio - when I recently asked him, ‘Is there a revival in the offing?’
Peace should know – his WATM show has quickly garnered a loyal (and young) dedicated following with consistent figures of over 5000 per week. “We have listeners who tune in from as far afield as Argentina, Spain, Honduras, Colombia, Japan and even Guam these kids are not looking to London for inspiration. To them it’s old hat. Their scenes are all about their own location and they are doing it for themselves”. And Peace certainly sides with that outlook.
Although he started his Mod journey back in the eighties going through the then orthodox route of 2tone/Jam/Quadrophenia he sees that style of Mod – ‘Quad Mod’ as he terms it – as having had its day. He regularly hears of kids picking up the gauntlet and living the typical “clean living under difficult circumstances”, appropriating influences from all eras, cutting it up and putting it back together to produce a new version of Mod for the 21st century. To him the eighties Mods are middle aged both in age and aspect; “wheeling out their 5 grand lammies for a run on Sunday”. The unspoken words hanging in the air that really Mod is a youth cult.
The radio show goes out over the internet each Tuesday and is repeated regularly through the week. Backed up by some canny marketing (the show is available on an app for smart phones) via Facebook, musical policy is an open and non biased trip through all eras of Mod music whether it be original sixties or contemporary bands. “To be honest when I put it out there for bands to send me stuff so I could promote them, I had expected drivel but I consistently receive excellent music from current bands – the quality is breathtaking”. Thus some of the bands that he has been plugging of late have been French Boutik, The Move and The Town. And interspersed between the sounds is the man himself giving
his forthright views on whatever aspect of Mod has gotten his attention. Chief targets (excuse the allusion to Mod iconography there) are the aforementioned Quad Mods and in particular American middle aged Mods. I put it to him that he is like Howard Stern with the anger dripping from the radio speakers at times; “it's not for shock value....it’s stuff I passionately believe in. I took the US Mods to task in one of the early shows and I had some feedback from a few of them and I engaged with them with a result that they understood my position and I theirs. But Most US Mods are happy enough to go the pub, have a beer and then back to the house, park the bike up and that’s it for the week....I mean come on for Gods’ sake”. In one memorable interlude he went to town on one particular guy who sneeringly left a post on a pic on the FB page denying an Argentinean Mod the right to call themselves a Mod. Peace took the poster to task and after doing some research on the guy via his online profile commenced to demolish him and threw out the opportunity for a live on air debate....at time of writing there has been no pickup on the offer. Back to the subject of this revival; “there’s got to be a Face that will lead this but who is waiting in the wings? Weller is an old man with a tan, Miles Kane? I don’t think so....maybe it will be the lead singer of The Town ...who knows, but someone will become the face of Mod in the 21st century”. Is his show a rallying point – a nexus for this Gen 4 Mod Movement? “First and foremost my show is about getting a reaction, a call to awaken and recognise all that is happening in the world of Mod. I couldn’t give a toss about what’s happening in the traditional centres I’m more interested in hearing what’s going on across the world with the kids....you know Mod is first and foremost a youth cult and not some fraternity of Big Bellies and Big Wallets. My show is about giving the kids what they want to hear and it seems to be working, almost a pointing out the way”.
He rails against the older Mods protection of the movement and again the term Middle aged is bandied about, he adds; “Mod should be forward, backward, thinkingO making the best of what you can be not what you were” And I suppose that’s exactly where the show is going....its own way
Heritage brands are generally considered luxury brands possessing a high level of quality and workmanship coupled with style. This is the simplistic definition. The brand should cross generations endowed with a sense of inheritance and could be worn with equal comfort and style by Son, Father and Grandfather. SUSSED profiles a few of these famous heritage brands and examines their importance and influence on the generationsH.
A London based
label founded by Jack Sofier and Alex Pyser. Research shows its founders were inspired by the Italian fashions they took in during a trip to the Adriatic resort of Gabicce Mare in the early ‘70s. Upon their return the Gabicci label was launched in 1973. The designs were quintessentially Italian boasting long collars with full button or ring pull zip closing, wool knit and manmade fibres, bold colours, faux velvet trim, and the instantly recognizable ‘G’ logo. Cotton shirts, knit cardigans, sweaters and jackets were also manufactured but it’s these long collared, velvet trim leisure tops that the label has become most famous for. Predominantly associated with Soulboys and terrace casuals, I’d always associate the label with the sound system boys of the ‘70s and ‘80s. You could nearly be forgiven for thinking the brand sponsored the Lover’s Rock movement of the period such was the popularity of Gabicci among the movements devotees. A 25th anniversary range was launched and saw the label regain huge interest and a new lease of life. Most of these 1998 designs are now obsolete with some deadstock still available but, like it’s ‘70s and ‘80s predecessor, this range has become a collectors item and the Ted Baker/Gabicci collaborations remain some of the label’s most coveted pieces. Although some of the flashy ‘80s designs are bordering on the gaudy (think Alan Partridge or Delboy) and the later incarnations’ quality being questionable (shrinkage can be an issue), there’s no denying this is a true heritage brand which crosses all the generations.
Began life in the 1920s in El Paso, Texas. Established by Mansour Farah as a workwear brand, paying special attention to durability in its pants, the Farah line of hopsack sta-prest slacks was born in the late ‘60s. This would be the style of trousers associated with the brand even up to the present day. The label’s survival is nothing short of a miracle. Nearly going under due to trade disputes in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Trade union boycotts of the brands product and board in-fighting brought Farah to its knees having previously enjoyed status as the the world’s most profitable manufacturer of high quality, affordable mens trousers. The 1990s saw a change in production techniques. Wool/polyster/lycra blends were being used but by this time it seemed too little too late for Farah Inc. Farah became a mere bargain bin label with larger companies like Levi’s reinventing it’s staprest and catering to a more discerning style conscious shopper and smaller independent companies offering high quality sta-prest suits that ticked all of the boxes for those whose budget didn’t quite stretch to the tailored option. Undoubtedly the label’s purple patch as regards popularity was in the 80s with Farah strides being popular among Casuals and Mods alike but today’s new Farah Vintage range boasts an impressive catalogue. It’s fair isle range of sweaters, polos, tees, and pursuit jackets being particularly standout. This is a brand that appears to be here to stay and has rightly earned its place as a heritage classic. This is an old brand. Very old in fact! It’s woolen mill was established over 230 years ago in Derbyshire. The emphasis here has
always been on the highest quality natural wools. None of your cheaper acrylic blends with this baby! The prices of your typical Merino long sleeved polo-shirt reflect the quality and workmanship within. Extremely light wools, plain but elegant designs and subtle shades have made Smedley a staple with Mods since the 60s right up to today. These are a luxury item make no mistake but every Mod should have at least one of these classy garments in their wardrobes. The ‘Dorset’ and ‘Finchley’ polos and ‘Belvoir’ roll-necks are particularly tasty. Don’t let the price tags put you off though. There are regular mill outlet sales and with sites like Modculture you’ll always be kept abreast of these. With John Smedley’s proud history and endorsed by royalty and trendsetters alike, they really don’t come more heritage than this old boy. One of the lesser known brands in this list is FRED PERRY. Of course I’m fucking kidding! The most popular and famous of them all, the Fred has become, not only part of our Mod heritage but also part of our day to day lives. The history of the brand is relatively recent and there’s not much of note to be said on it short of what you’ll already knowT. England’s most successful tennis player lands one of the 1st sponsorship deals in sport, the laurel wreath is apapted as its logo, goes onto become the primary tennis kit, gets hijacked by early Mods, and the rest as they sayT. What is most notable and intriguing about the brand is its long time association with music and British youth culture. As well as the mods, because of its lightness it was a favourite (and still is) at the Northern Soul allnighters. It became beloved of the 2Tone movement, and still retains its sensibilities today. There’s no escaping this brand. It could
also be argued it’s the most progressive. Marrying classic designs with contemporary looks and constantly updating its catalogue from season to season. Granted some of its designs aren’t for everyone and some of the collaborations in recent years divide opinions, but there’s enough in its armoury to satisfy everyone from your most conservative Mod type to your boy about town trendy. In recent years it has grown dramatically through its excellent online shop and impressive chain of high street outlets. This truly is a pangenerational brand. A firm favourite among Mods, Soulies, Skinheads, Scooterists, terrace Casuals, Indie Fanboys, plus the world and his wife! It bore its own mob of Manchester based football fans who shared a love of the twin-tipped polo, Soul music and David Bowie. While their Scouse and Cockney Counterparts were forraging for the latest Italian sports brands, the ‘Perry Boys’ adopted this wholly British brand as part of their uniform with the laurel wreath as their coat or arms. BARACUTA is one of the earliest British fashion exports. You could be forgiven for thinking this was an American heritage label based on its popularity in the US. Americans certainly served in launching Baracuta’s popularity but in actual fact its first factory was established in Manchester by two brothers from Chorlton in the 1930s. It travelled to the US over the next ten years and the famous G9 ‘blouson’ became extremely popular with returning soldiers and soon too became an Ivy League institution. Its popularity hit a real springboard when it was seen worn by Elvis in his early movies and championed by Hollywood’s elite, including Frank Sinatra and Steve McQueen. The origin of the the term ‘Harrington’ which has abided, is quite well known. A mid 1960s daytime soap called Peyton Place, feaured a young Ryan O’Neal sporting the G9. O’Neal’s character in the show was Rodney Harrington and the nickname ‘Harrington’ just stuck. It is the original and best. Its quality and practicality are second to none. This is no snide knock-off that lets in. 100% cotton with a teflon showerproof coating and unmistakable by its famous tartan lining and elasticated lined 2 button collar. This one really does cross the generations and no discerning stylist would be without one. Baracuta is one of the rare brands that Mods, Skinheads and Rockabillies can pull of with equal cool. There have been many
pretenders to the throne but there is only one ‘Harrington’ jacket.
Another old English classic. The first workshop was set up in 1880 by the Loake brothers, John, Thomas and William in Kettering, Northamptonshire and still remains home to the famous ‘Goodyear’ welted sole. This is an impressive nine part sole and heel construction that ensures Loake’s famous durability. You can be assured a pair of Loake’s is a pair of shoes for life. There are varying ranges and designs but it’s their famous ‘Royal’ Brogue and ‘Oxford’ Loafer that single it out as one of the most enduring brands of heritage footwear out there. The ‘Royal’ is the classic full or ‘wing-tip’ style brogue. This shoe is sturdy. I’ve owned a pair for years and they’ve become an old family member. If I had one criticism then that would be that they wouldn’t be the most comfortable shoes I’ve owned, although I’m not sure comfort should be the determining factor in your decision to invest in a pair. Popular among Suedeheads, Skins and Soulboys, and to a lesser extent Mods, these are great for the dancefloor. Their durability means they’ll stand up to the rigours of weekly Soul allnighters, equally at home at a Ska and Reggae night. Paired with sta-prest or tailor mades with a Suedehead parallel line, or with high cut Levi’s with half inch turn ups these work equally well. Please ensure the socks are black, red or Pringle. All of the above applies to the ‘Oxford’ Loafer. Kiltie and tassel and without the typical ‘beefroll’ design, like the ‘Royal’ these come in both Ox-Blood and Black and are the essential Skinhead loafer. Many crummy imitations of both the Royal and the Oxford exist but none even come close to the look and workmanship of these heritage beauts.
Bass Weejuns are an American heritage classic! ‘Weejuns’ were the brainchild of George Henry Bass. They came into being in the 1930s and rapidly became the most popular piece of footwear on the collegiate or ‘Ivy League’ scene. Soon paths were being trodden by Weejuns across campuses the length and breadth of America. The name, interestingly, is Norweigan in origin. It was noticed by either Mr Bass or one of his colleagues that Norweigan fisherman were wearing a comfortable mocassin style work shoe with a leather strip across the front. Similar in design to Bass’s loafer, the name ‘Weejun’ a shortened play on ‘Norweigan’ stuck. Pretty soon the term ‘Penny Loafer came about. Not sure of
the reason for this? I’d like to think it was, as is widely held, that a penny was placed in the gap in the leather band on the tongue as phone call money for a prospective date. Whether it was to tell her mother she wouldn’t be home, or to come collect her immediately is anyone’s guess. A firm staple of the Ivy League look, you couldn’t turn for Bass Weejuns in 1950s America. From college boys nipping from class to class to hollywoods elite, the States fell for them big time. Their popularity among the younger Stateside generation waned slightly in the early 60s and beyond for a time. This was when the Weejun found a whole new hopelessly devoted on the other side of the Atlantic. This was the perfect shoe for the European Mod. Adaptable and smart, they could be worn with either a suit, staprest and Ben Sherman, or Levis and striped t-shirt. They completely fit the early British Mod wardrobe, which was beginning to mix Ivy League and Continental stylings to create it’s own. Black or burgundy, the best loved styles are the ‘Larson’ Penny Loafer, the ‘Logan’ without the band across the tongue with tassles, and the ‘Layton’ lower cut kiltie and tassel versions. Every Mod, Soulie, 50s Smoothie, and the man in the street has their faves. Although there are many high class expensive loafers out there, the Bass Weejun can rightfully take it’s place in the heritage hall of fame as a true original. A strange one indeed this. I remember being dragged as a primary school kid to a Clarks fitter for a good pair of school shoes that fit properly. This practicality was the enemy of the pre-teen for generations. I vividly remember associating the Clarks ‘Polyveldt’ with my teacher and objecting strongly to being made wear them as an eight year old. Little was I to know that this style was to become a Casual favouriteT The story goes that James Clark a tanner from Somerset basically had some leather scraps lying about the workshop and rather than waste them soon found himself in the shoe business. I wonder would Clarks original worshop’s proximity to Glastonbury explain the shoes popularity among the gig going crowds? Beloved by everyone from Mods to Hippies to Indie kids, and even schoolteachers! The ‘Desert boot’ was hijacked by the early 60s mods as their own. Might have something to do with their durability and reasonable priceT this was footwear you could wear ‘til they fall off you then just replace them with another pair. That and the fact that they looked so damn good and their plain, sand coloured elegance meant they could
be worn with jeans or suits. The market is flooded with cheaper, and some pretty decent, imitations but even if Clarks isn’t your preferred choice brand, they’ll always be given the nod as the innovator of the style. Dessies wouldn’t exist without the Clarks Desert boot. Now I don’t know what’s going on with the good people over at Clarks these days but recently some outlandish colourways of the Desert boot have emerged. These are probably best ignored, instead check out the thinner soled version of the Desert boot and shoe. If you’re not a fan of the thick crepe sole then these are for you. Another fascinating chapter in Clarks history lies in Jamaica as the original Rudeboys’ favourite. So much so that there was even a book on the subject called ‘Clarks in Jamaica’ published in 2012! I’ve yet to acquire a copy but it looks great fun, charting the rise in popularity of Clarks shoes, particularly the Desert boot, on the streets of Kingston. Most collaborations can be dodgy, but I’m particularly enamoured with the Trojan records Desert Trek released recently. Whether it’s the Polyveldt, Desert Boot, Desert Trek, Wallabee or Natalie style, Clarks are a brand with something for everyone making it one of the most beloved of the heritage brands. As a heritage brand it’s trainers, track tops and rain jackets that Adidas is best known for. So what’s the big deal and what place does Adidas have in this magazine let alone this list? The answer is simple. Because they’re a class act. A Bavarian sports fanatic by the name of Adolf Dassler dreamed of one day introducing a shoe into the world specifically for sports use. In the 1920s he got his brother Rudolf on board for his sales prowess and the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory was born. The brothers made the Gallaghers seem like the Waltons, the Davies’ like the Brady bunch. They fought and argued over just about everything and went their separate ways in the 1940s. Adolf (Adi) started up his own shoe brand and named it ‘Adidas’ and Rudolf (Ruda) did the same calling it ‘Puma’. An Olympic games and a World Cup later Adidas was world renowned and the principle sports brand. Outsourcing production due to impossible demand, Dassler commissioned the Schwahn company to come up with a range of sportswear and incorporate the now famous ‘3-Stripes’ down the leg and arms. Schwan did, Dassler was made up, andT you know the rest. The ‘Trefoil’
logo was applied as the corporate logo in the early 70s and remains an icon of style and simple marketing. Everyone has their fave trainer (or ‘runner’ as they’re known here in Ireland). Rom, Dublin, Tobacco, Athens, Trimm Trabb, Forest Hills, Stan Smith, Gazelle, Campus, Samba, London, Bern, Kopenhagen, Tokio, Saigon, Japan, Rekord, Holiday, SL’s, Hurricanes, Malmo, Munchen, Stockholm, AmsterdamT. Just a few to take your pick from. The three stripes and ‘Trefoil’ logo make this probably the most famous and recognizable brand of them all. Everyone has owned something Adidas at some stage. Some are a little more fanatical, going to great lengths and expense to acquire that elusive runner or garment. The exclusivity and seasonality of Adidas makes nearly every item collectable. The 60s, 70s and 80s were the glory years for the trefoil brand producing some of the most sought after items of clothing and footwear in history! My biggest outlay (and cheap at the price) was a pair of tan suede 80s deadstock tobaccos that I still cherish. Bought from a bloke in France for a couple of hundred quid, I’d heard of pairs change hands around the time for a grand! Adidas have quite rightly reissued a lot of the classics and even these reissues retain their collectability. The ‘City’ range fly out the door and are issued in limited numbers of 300 and 500. Both the track top and trainer are like gold dust a mere week after their release! The vintage ‘Europa’ and ‘Firebird’ track tops are top notch and if you’re jammy enough to happen across any items from the 70s ‘Schwahn’ range you’ll be the envy of the satorially sound. The brand, when done correctly, oozes cool and knocks stripes off its competitors. Beloved of the Casuals, terraces the world over are a blur of 3 stripes. Soulies love knocking about in them too and the Acid Jazz crowd adopted them as their own. Levi Strauss is undeniably the most versatile and iconic of all the heritage brands. From Mods to Rockers, Rockabillies to Skins, Casuals to nightclub posers the 501 XX is the daddy of them all. Every pair tells a story and as they age with the owner they even seem to take on the owners characteristics. Some prefer them crisp and shrunk to fit, others more lived in, and others just downright ragged. The cut of the 501 XX has changed drastically down the years. The slimline ‘shrink-tofit’ 60s cut preferred by the clued-in Mod are also recognizable by the large ‘E’ on the back pocket tab. The ‘Big E’ are still
vastly sought after and if you’re lucky enough to acquire a pair of pre-1970 jobs, their hardwearing durability guarantees you a right few more years out of them. No one should be without at least some Levi product in their wardrobe. Jeans, Cords, Sta-Prest, Jacket... there really is no excuse. More recent cuts to the 501 are, for want of a better expression, a bit all over the gaff. Since the 1980s’ colossal marketing drive, changes to the cut have been erratic; looser fitting, wider bottoms, and have somehow lost alot of their old appeal. To be honest todays versions wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice of denim strides, I’d be inclined to go for a slightly slimmer line with a slight kick to them. The 1990s regular straight cut Levis were probably the most spot on since the 60s, although offering slightly more room, they really were a lovely cut. Now obsolete, the cords were magic and the sta-prest pretty tidy too. A brief history lesson: Levi Strauss set up shop in San Francisco in the 1850s supplying apparel to wranglers and workmen. Strauss was approached 20 years later by tailor Jacob Davis with the idea of rivets on the pockets to strengthen the ‘overalls’. Then like that, Levi Strauss & Company was born and mass production using heavy ‘XX’ blue denim began... Undergoing countless refinements the 501 XX we’re most familiar with came into being post war. Every Rock’n’Roll star and movie star alike started wearing them and when the red tag was added around 1960 the rest of the world pounced! Of course there’s countless more heritage brands but these are just a few, we believe, deserve special mention. We could mention Fila and Tachinni going head to head on centre court like Borg and McEnroe. What about Ben Sherman? Surely that’s a whole chapter of its own. More contemporary brands with a heritage feel like early Duffer of St. George whose golden period of ‘88 to ‘93 was all too brief. Newer brands like DNA Groove that you just know will line up against the best of them when they attain heritage status. Due to space constraints Munsingwear’s ‘Penguin just missed out on inclusion but its heritage is no less valid than any of the others mentioned. We know you won’t all agree with the selections but we hope this helps to unravel the mystery behind our affection for and constant interest in these cherished brands. OK, I’m off! I’ve got a date with Ebay....
Our Man in Naples P
This piece kindly donated to SUSSED by ‘College No. 9 Blog’ features a profile of World reknowned Neapolitan master tailer Pasquale Sabino. It also follows the global trek of devotee Dean Swift to pick himself up one of the man’s suits and shows the lengths Mods go to in search of that ultimate piece of tailoring...
asquale Sabino carries much respect in the world of high class tailoring, the son of a tailor Mr. Sabino began his career in the workshop of Angelo Blasi in his pre-teen years. At the age of just 17 Mr. Sabino opened his own atelier Sartoria Sabino. 50 years later and Mr. Sabino still over sees the making of each garment in his workshop, dealing with the customers needs during the fittings and drawing on his experience and skills to ensure that through his work Sartoria Sabino’s reputation is reknowned thoughout the world. Dean Swift travels to Napoli with ideas above his station and enters a world of luxury and ellegance.
It’s hot and I’m a little early for my appointment at Sartoria Sabino. I’d arrived at Naples central train station with pently of time to find the atelier of a master tailor with the intention of using the tube system, that changed when I walked onto the street and saw the sprawling metropolis that stood before me. A mass of imtimadating sights and sounds; traffic blaring horns, street sellers come hustling as soon as you’re on the pavement, beggars begging and old dirty buildings as far as the eye chould see. My minds romantic image of Naples as a beautiful city was shattered in the first seconds and I decided a taxi was in order. Upon arriving I ring the bell and am greeted at the large oak doors by Mina Spardo, Mr. Sabino’s assistant with whom I’d arranged my appointment via email. I’m led to the second floor and upon entering Mr. Sabino’s atelier one becomes aware that one has entered a world of luxury. The wooden panelled room is beautiful and its sideboards and tables display the best fabrics money can buy. I’m invited to sit on one of the leather chesterfield sofas, coffee is offered and Mr. Sabino will be with us shortly. This is the room where leading politicians, industrialists and bankers are measured and fitted for their suits, behind the ateleir is the workshop where the garments are made, this is the workshop where skilled hands made a suit for the
King of Qatar, from Vicuna, a fabric even finer and softer than cashmere that sells for around £2 500 per meter. I brought my own; an S160 at €22 per meter. A lovely fabric that I got for a fantastic price. I’m feeling a little out of my league, what will one of the great tailors of the world think of my fabric? How will he view me? A plumber from Norway travelling to Naples with his own fabric, trying to save a few bob?
Mina enters the room with coffee and Mr. Sabino. I rise and we shake hands, Mr. Sabino gestures for me to sit again. Mr. Sabino sits and we take coffee. He speaks no English and Mina acts as our interpretor. He asks how I know about his work, do I have a friend whos a client? He seems flattered when I tell him that I don’t but that I know of his work through my interest in clothing. I’ve come to him looking for the true Napoli style, the little boat and the shirt shoulder with the full front dart. He shows me a number of fabulous garments he has made and we talk about the little deviations I would like. I ask him about his time at Blasi and how often he takes fittings in New York and London. It is clear that since he opened his own workshop in 1958 he still very much loves his craft. Mr. Sabino takes the measurements and inspects my fabric, which gets the Sabino seal of approval. The master tailor has put me at ease and a warmer welcome wasn’t possible. He arranges for one of his tailors, Rafael, to drive us to the station. I leave my number with Mina who’ll call when the suit is basted. The phone rings two working days later and I’m invited back for my fitting. Mr. Sabino does the cutting and oversees the work force of 24 that work on the garments. No more than 3 suits a day are produced, such is the time needed for this traditonal hand work. Its clear that Mr. Sabino is doing his best to accomodate me for my fittings while I’m in the area. I arrive and again Mina shows us to the atelier. Mr. Sabino is there and we take coffee, for all the splender of the atelier the atmosphere is relaxed and cosy. It is impossible not to enjoy the company and experience. After coffee I change into the suit. Mr. sabino asks if I like
the rise, the waistband isn’t on the trousers but there is a fabric basted to show how how they’ll sit. I elect to have them lowered by 1”. He marks the fabric with chalk, then smooths out the front with his hands and futher again chalk marks the fabric. The seat of the trousers need no adjustment. The hem is marked-a single break in the front, slightly longer in the back. I put on the jacket, it feels incredibly light. Again, he asks how the length is, he suggests a little off and marks the jacket around 1” above the hem. Futher marks are made on the back of the jacket and right shoulder. All the time I can’t get over not just the lightness of the jacket and the comfort that comes with it but how soft the roll is on the 2.5 lapel. I change out of the suit, Rafeal drives me to the station and I wait for Mina to call when my next fitting is ready.
A week later and I’m back in the atelier, as is the tradition there’s coffee and time to chat before my fitting. When I try the suit on Mr.Sabino studies the fit, the trousers are perfect, and I do mean perfect with the jacket merely needing a small alteration in the back. It is unstuctored save for some light padding in the front and feels incredably comfortable and light. The pattern of the jacket makes the full dart hard to see but its there, this is a credit to the craftmanship of the tailors in the workshop. I have to look twice to see it. The hand stitching is clear to see on the seams, as is the Napoli tradition. It has a very relaxed feel to it. The shoulders are soft and natural, with the collar in place the jacket is complete minus buttons. Alas there is no time for my final fitting while I’m still in Italy but Mr. Sabino is confident that when I next try the jacket on it will be as perfect as the trousers, I’m happy to go with his judgement. The buttons and holes will be completed and the suit shipped when ready. Two weeks later I receive my hand made suit, as predicted the jacket was indeed perfect. Of course it’s no less than you would expect of high class sartoria in Napoli
Vintage Styling for the Modern Girl
CARNABY STREAK W1
Joe chats to Angela Williams about her fashion emporium and designs
I am largely self-taught, however, I have apprenticed at a local bespoke tailors as well as having attended a course in pattern cutting, I feel that I have learnt more from the tailoring side as the focus is placed on the individual garment. Mass production has never appealed to me, which is what fashion courses are geared towards. What’s the response been like?
It’s been really great right from the start. So many ladies say they are so happy to find clothes in a style that they love, that are made to measure, as they find it so hard to find clothes that fit! I also offer a custom dressmaking service so many customers are able to realise their dream dress, safe in the knowledge that no-one will be wearing the same outfit on a night out.
Your designs straddle the boyish and the op-art. Whats your favourite style?
So Angela whats the ethos behind Carnaby streak?
When I started the Carnaby Streak I wanted to make a range of clothing that looked vintage rather than retro, that is wearable enough to take you from the office to the dance floor, and most importantly of all, that fits - this is why I offer custom sizing. Most women don't fit into a standard size chart, including myself, and are often put off from clothing ranges simply because they know that they won't fit. Individuality is also important to me - this is why most designs are offered in a wide choice or colours and fabrics which you can mixed and matched. How long have you been making dresses?
I've been making dresses for the Carnaby Streak since 2002, but have made clothing for myself since the age of 13. I have always had an idea of how i like to dress, and the clothing I look for is seldom available on the high street, and can be of poor quality, so it has always seemed the obvious option to make my own!
What’s your history in dressmaking? Are you self taught or have you apprenticed in tailoring? SUSSED 16
Modernism is a very androgynous style. I've always been very tomboyish in my dress style, so my designs tend to reflect this. I try to keep designs simple, with a single feature, as I feel this makes more impact. A lot of my inspiration comes from vintage menswear too. Especially in detailing. Where do you get inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from many places. Obviously films and photographs from the 60's, clothing my mom wore in the early 60's, the 1920's, the Victorian era, and I do take a lot of inspiration from the menswear of the 1960's too particularly knitwear. Some of my ideas come from colour combinations from paintings to furniture. There is a tendency for retro to be gimmicky and stray into the swinging sixties set yet yours is firmly
Mod in the true sense of the word - is authenticity important to you?
I do try and stay firmly in the early to mid 60's era, which is where my main interest lies. A few of my past designs have brushed with the late 60's psychedelic period in the fabric and sleeve design, but I would say that 1966 is generally my cut off point. I do incorporate op-art and pop-art in a few of my dresses as these designs can be really eyecatching, especially in a dimly lit room. You provide a bespoke for clients to realise their own designs. Has there ever been anything that you have turned down?
I always enjoy making custom one-off designs for clients, as it both keeps my work varied, and encourages new skills and ideas. As with any creative industry, there are obviously things that I would not like to place my label on, especially when they lie more in the realms of fancy dress than 1960's modernism, but I do prefer to steer the idea in the right direction rather than point blank refuse to realise a design. Fortunately clients’ ideas are nearly always fabulous and i am always excited when when the dress is finished and ready to send out! The only thing that I flatly refuse to do is to copy designs from other contemporary designers and websites. Who would you love to see wearing one of your dresses?
There are so many stylish women out there in both in magazines and in the media that I would love to see wearing one of my designs, but if i had to choose one person, if I opened a magazine and spotted Kate Moss wearing one of my dresses I would be thrilled to say the least! for more information or to view Angela’s full range of dresses and tunics: http://thecarnabystreak.co.uk
Riddled with contradictions, Mod would appear to be the quintessential postmodern Pop culture movement yet its progression and paths taken in various upwardly directions seem, for some, to serve as valedictions to a glorious past. It’s a huge bone of contention for Mods within and out of their respective circles and something we always come back to. A subject investigated in this issue in greater depth by guest contributor, philosophy lecturer in Carlow IT, Noel Kavanagh...
s Mods, how modernist actually are we? If you are the sort of person, like me, that is apt to philosophise over these questions you have no doubt been troubled by the deep suspicion that we may not be fulfilling the best ambitions of the modernist call to arms, ‘Move forward, Never back!’ We all seem to be in our range of consumptions from music to clothes to design furniture a little too, how will we say? Retro? Is there anything in the lexicon of mod that is currently looking forward? Could it very well be the case that, in fact, Mods were always more postmodernist than modernist?
obsessed with sourcing and listening to material that was created in a specific time period or only accepting music that sounds like it was made during that period. A recent Sussed article on ‘new’ soul music extols the virtues of the Timmion label because the music it produces sounds like it was created in the fifties and sixties. There seems to be an outright rejection by us of those truly modernist forms of music that try and take the elements of the classic and develop it into something new. When was the last time that you heard Amy Winehouse, Mayer Hawthorne, or Plan B in his ‘Strickland Banks’ guise at a Mod/Scooter gathering? Fashion is perhaps no different where we are consumed with
the commodity in question, then to redefine its use and value and then to finally completely relocate its usage within an entirely different context.
The scooter, Vespa or Lambretta, from an initially respectable means of transportation was now appropriated and turned against its original usage into a weapon and a unique symbol of freedom with which to facilitate the amphetamine rush-need to go places. The pills themselves, medically diagnosed for the treatment of neuroses, were taken out of their original context and used as an end in themselves. The Fred Perry tennis shirt was appropriated as a casual summer wear in which to wear while one was scootering down to the beachfront. They created a style and a system of commodity appropriation that was essentially subversion and parodying of the attention to detail and the obsession with minutia which was a staple of modernity. The mod then distorted and subverted by appropriating a system of symbols of co-modification that were held as cherished by their parents and employers, by authority in general, in order to create another system of symbols which while on the face of it seemed to conform to the principles of authority, gently subverted them. More subtly the conventional insignia of the business world were stripped of their conventional connotations of efficiency, compliance with authority and ambition and transformed into empty fetishes, objects to be desired, objects that were valued in their own right. There was an ambiguity that is evident of a postmodernism in the fact that, to the figures of authority, the mod seemed respectable and conformist but there was also something in the way they chose the commodities that was greatly unsettling. The problem is that it is all too easy as we try to be Mods today, to fall into simple pastiche, slavishly echoing a series of bygone revivals. Am I simply a product of revivals? Am I copying the guys that copied the guys who saw the first Mods, that mythical beast whose origin we are never certain of?
POST M O D ERNIST MODS
If we look to the ideas and inspirations that gave us the name we can perhaps see that all modernists, in their desire to cut ties with the past, to not refer to anything that went before, were always doomed in that venture. It is nigh on impossible to get out clearly from under the weight of an entire tradition. Those jazz innovators in the thirties, forties and fifties that attempted a new way of playing that didn’t reference the old, established way of playing epitomised by Armstrong and Ellington were still adapting and subverting the recognised forms of the genre and it is only when we come to Coleman, Coltrane and Davis’ forward looking experiments that the question begins to arise whether it still deserves the name ‘jazz’. We could argue that we can only truly call ourselves modernists when we are in crisis to answer the continuous question ‘What is Mod?’
If that is the case then the current environment is perhaps not at all modernist. If we cast an accusing eye at ourselves we may be falling short. We are, perhaps, in a retro comfort zone where any innovation, whether that is in terms of music, fashion or scooters, is to be rejected as it is not, to use a terrible phrase, purist? A recent enough article on the ‘modculture’ website about the new Vespa 46 starts out by saying, ‘I know the purists will hate it, but this Vespa 46, which will be available from next year from Piaggio, is certainly a talking point’. If we were being true to our modernist thinking there would be no ‘purists’ to hate it. The talking point should only be about whether it fulfils the central demands of the modernist: in its lookingforward design does it uphold the values that modernism holds to in broad strokes? The clean lines, simplicity of design, functionality and form etc. The intimation here is that the ‘purist’ will not like it because it does not look like ‘a classic’. In fact what they are really saying is that it does not look like a scooter that was made according to the design framework of 40-50 years ago. It is perhaps the same with music; it does seem that we are
championing a sixties inspired style of dress quite often to the exclusion of anything in terms of newness. In fact ‘new’ becomes a somewhat derogatory term to us.
Nevertheless, it could very well be the case that we have little in the way of choice here. We can perhaps comfort ourselves with the knowledge that we were never actually Mods in the first place: we were always postmodernists. The time frame certainly matches. The theory is that modernity reached its end point in the fifties when all that could be done was seen to be done in terms of moving forward. It is that niggling feeling that we have all had that perhaps we have reached the end of the road in all forms of art; music, fashion, design, have all reached the point where nothing new can possibly be said. Everything outcome that could have been explored, has been. The only thing left for us to do is to reinterpret, subvert, adapt and modify the pre-existing forms. Surely that is what the Mods or Post-Mods have always done. They have taken pre-existing things and reinterpreted them, subverted them into something else for their own consumption. This post-modernism was never more evident than with the Mods appropriation of a range of commodities. In order to project style it was incumbent upon the mod to firstly appropriate
Truth is, as modern day Mods we have little to subvert. All we really have now is that subtle subversion that is exclusion. In our attention to detail we separate ourselves from the average clothes wearer or music listener, or commuter. All we can do, ironically, as modernists, is hold onto the best traditions of our culture and be vigilant that we don’t simply end up as pastiche, that we try our best to push things forward by adapting and modifying, do as we have always done; look backward to look forward
Le Beau Visage E By Fiona Dennison
very decade has had it's signature look none so striking as the Sixties. During the 1950's makeup was curvaceous and womanly. Red lips, structured brows and cat flick liner matched the corseted sweater girl look. Teenagers in the 1960's saw this and thought of their Mums. As much as we love them no self respecting teenager wants to look like their Mum.
MAKEUP IN THE 1960s STARTED WITH THE LIPS...
The 1960's was a youth orientated decade. Make up went from both ends of the spectrum, from innocent almost bare faced to strong and structured with a brave use of colour. Bold geometric patterns with bright blocks of colour transcended both fashion and make up with black and white being the starting point for Modernist Makeup. Pale lips, were now De Riguer but when a pale lip is used along with the best selling foundation of the day, MAX FACTOR, Pan Cake, combined with translucent powder to set, it leaves the wearer with a slightly washed out look. So this was just the starting point, like an artist priming his canvas with a colour wash. Now to add pizazz! The blusher look of the decade, was kept to a minimum. Matte formulas in tones of pink, peach and coral were used more to add contour, rather than colour. It was kept under the cheekbone and swept upwards to add just a flush of colour and structure. Too much blush and it takes over and no aspiring beauty wants that.
Cosmetic Companies, such as MAX FACTOR, realised that young girls didn't want to wear the same Scarlet, Brick, or Fushcia tones as their Mothers. Paler softer, either Matte or Creme shades, were developed with names such as Strawberry Meringue or Peach Melba. These were sweet sugary shades reminiscent of Italian ice cream. This was a simple and youthful look with just a little Kohl pencil smudged along the lash line and a sweep of mascara. Younger teens had a parent acceptable look.
THE EYES HAVE IT! Eyes, started off simple, leading on from the liner look of the fifties, brows were still groomed but softer and often plucked quite thin, though there wasn't a definitive brow shape. Eye shadows were matte and chalky in creme, powder or crayon form colours ranging from bold and bright, to soft and pastel with, of course, black and white.
Early sixties eyes were more blended with just one or two shades of the same colour used. The first on the lower lid with the darker shade used in the socket crease to add depth. This was a suits
everyone look, though the picture shows it done to a level for evening rather than just popping out for a pint of milk.
CLEOPATRA EYES With the release of the now Legendary film "Cleopatra", the onset make up artist, couldn't have foreseen the impact his work would have on the decade. His name was Alberto De Rossi, and he stretched the boundaries of makeup. With his extreme liner and his emphasised socket, it was a look that would go on to be adopted by Models and Mods alike.
to the sharp and hip, with bright and funky colours packaged beautifully with her signature Silver Daisy on each piece. Users had testers to try. A first for the cosmetic industry. They were encouraged to play, mix and create their own colours, with every box containing it's own "how to" leaflet. Beauty had become Fun. Make up in swinging sixties didn't stop at the Mod Look. Flower Power and Hippies brought body art and face painting into forefront, but that's for another article.
MY FAVOURITE LOOK OF THE ERA Julie Driscoll made a statement with everything she did. Her voice, her clothes and her make up. A steady hand is needed for this one
STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO GETTING THE TWIGGY LOOK Buff foundation on, blending into jaw line, make sure it matches your skin tone. No tide marks please!
MODS AND MODELS
Blend blush into cheek contour. If you're not sure where, suck your cheeks in and follow the hollow.
Brush the same blush under the jaw line, to add shade. Using a clean brush, comb through the brows to tidy and shape and to remove any foundation.
Some of the most striking images from the sixties, were of the first "Super Models". Twiggy, Peggie Moffitt and Jean Shrimpton. As like today, girls looked to them for inspiration. Twiggy especially, as she was a Mod and looked like the girl next door. Her hair and makeup were copied by teenagers everywhere and everyone wished they had her heart shaped face and huge eyes, that were perfect for the Mod look. LASH LOVELY
Lashes became part of everyone's routine in the sixties and perfect if your hand was less than steady. You could treat yourself to bottom lashes to make your life easier.
Just remember to remove them before bed. Waking up with your eyes stuck together with lashes that look like dead spiders is not a good look!
MARY QUANT In 1966 the Queen of Mod herself was launched onto the world with a fabulous new cosmetic collection. It was a range designed to appeal
Use a brow powder or pencil to fill in any gaps in the brows. With a large brush, buff translucent powder over the complexion to set.
Apply a thin layer of eyelid primer from the lash line to the brow to mattify the eyelid.
Brush matte white eye shadow again from the lash line but stop short of the brow line. Using a fine liner brush draw a line as close as you can along the lashes. Liquid or cake liner can be used.
Draw a line using a matte black or dark navy shadow just above your natural socket line. If you struggle with this, cheat and use a Kohl pencil instead and set with your chosen eye shadow. Looking down into a hand mirror, comb mascara through your lashes from root to tip. Don't do the bottom lashes. Trim your fake lashes to the length of your eye. If they are too long they will be uncomfortable.
Start at the inner corner and press the lashes as close to your own lashes as you can. Follow the shape of your eye. Last but not least, with the fine brush and a steady hand, draw fine lines to resemble lashes under the eye, fanning them out slightly rather than pointing straight down. Finish with your favourite lipstick, Mine is Obey by Illamasqua.
M ds, Gender and the Politics f Style
By 1964 the Mod movement was presenting a fundamental challenge to mainstream society and it had absolutely nothing to do with anything as yawninspiring as fighting on beaches with rockers. By creating an alternative lifestyle, Mods were blurring the gender lines which strictly separated how men and women were supposed to behave, which either by accident or design acted as a direct subversion of normal gender roles.
This new, modern way of living had no intention of conforming to the mainstream instructions around how men and women should dress, act or present themselves; the repercussions of which are still with us today. Without getting too deep, what do we mean by gender? Well, obviously
By Niall Gilmartin
there are physical and biological differences between men and women; that being male and female. But those differences are also reflected in the way men and women are supposed to behave and act in society, that being masculine and feminine. It is the social roles of masculinity and femininity that we call gender. In a nutshell; mainstream society tells us that a ‘real’ man is supposed to tough, unemotional, physically strong while a women’s role is dominated by the aesthetics of being pretty, beautiful, caring about her appearance. The burgeoning Mod movement of the early 1960’s turned all of that on its head. While the post-war Britain of the 1950’s represented a decade of austerity and ration books, the 1960’s contrasted sharply particularly with young people who appeared to have an abundance of disposable income. Traditionally, working class men had little interest in fashion, with a staple of clothing to do “the dirt jobs” during the week plus the all important ‘Sunday best’ suit for the weekend. Notwithstanding the existence of Teddy Boys and others, clothes, fashion and aesthetics were of no real concern to most British working class families in post-war Britain. Emerging from these working class communities in the early 1960’s were sharp suited Modernists who embraced a continental style, meticulous about image and obsessed with details. These kids were very much putting themselves out of step not only with their parents’ generation but were also reacting against the ‘rough, masculine’ look of their Rocker contemporaries and their Teddy Boy predecessors.
DRESSING UP IS FOR SISSIES Male Mods were a new generation where the hard masculine image of leather, grease and dirt, as well as their parents drab and dreary Sunday suit look were discarded; Mods took suits, trousers, shoes and hair styles and approached them with the zeal and passion normally associated with women. Never before has there been such a high abundance of men, working class men who were both fashion obsessed and constantly conscious of their appearance and image.
It was fast paced with every penny going towards the weekly payment of a suit, the hire purchase instalment for the scooter or the few quid on that perfect shirt, all in the pursuit of maintaining the right look that was ‘in’ at that particular time. Some even wore eyeline. Men behaving in such a manner was new and peculiar precisely because men were not supposed to act in such a manner. Every single aspect of the male Mod look however, is an adoption of stereotypical feminine traits.
In the early 1960’s, fashion and clothes consciousness were located firmly in the female domain; ‘real men’ were not supposed to concern themselves with fashion or looking stylish. While the Teddy Boys were into their clobber to a certain extent, they had a single look, the Edwardian suit while Rockers were not interested in fashion at all; their clothing represented their outwardly and overtly masculine, tough look. As far as they were concerned, dressing up and looking nice and clean was for ‘sissies’. Mods became masters in the art of looking sharp and clean; bespoke mohair suits, chelsea boots, desert boots, hipster trousers, button-down collared shirts, Fred Perry knitted polo tops, Harrington jackets illustrated the fast paced, diverse fashion world of Mods.
In the context of the early 1960’s, here were mainly working class men fussing over the latest ‘in’ item of clothing, worried about details, obsessed with style and how they presented themselves to the world. By 1964, being a ‘man’ was not about your physical strength, your rough, greasy exterior. Mods, created a new ‘modern man’, where style and taste signified your status among peers. Clothes and fashion which previously were strictly the domain of females, the new male Mod kicked open the door to that room, resulting in a burgeoning clothing industry which attempted to satisfy the insatiable appetite of Mods. While pioneers like John Stephens initially led the way, by 1965 the male rag trade saw an abundance of shops along Carnaby St/Soho as well as the Kings Road, Chelsea among many others. Mainstream society was quickly taking note; there was a new type of man in town.
Notwithstanding Mods effeminate embrace of fashion, every single aspect of Mod appeared to go against the grain of mainstream masculinity. The Mod haircut absolutely forbade grease or oil products and while initially encompassed a short, clean look, by 1964 Mods were going for the back-combed look; once again a very effeminate appearance. By the time we get to 1965/1966, Mods’ hair is getting that bit longer, which might appear quite harmless now but in the context of the mid-1960’s, was quite a rebellious and subversive act. ‘Long hair’ according to mainstream was for girls.
GET YOUR KICKS OUT ON THE FLOOR While the main stimulant for their parents’ generation and their contemporaries in the Rocker and biker gangs involved downing copious pints of ale and beer, Mods eschewed that very ‘backwardly, masculine look’ and instead popped hundreds of amphetamine pills, ‘purple hearts’ or ‘french blues’, among others, accompanied by the all-important coffee, both working wonders in supporting the all-night dancing of the Mod lifestyle. Dancing of course in mainstream society is the realm of the female; the dance floor is the place where females bopped away in groups together, surrounded by the voyeuristic gaze of the men who encircled the floor, perusing the ladies and watching out for their preferred quarry. The Mod clubs were nothing like mainstream dances; accounts from Terry Rawlings, Angela McRobbie and Richard Barnes have attested to the fact that Mod scene was completely asexual. Male Mods danced to impress other male Mods, not females. Male Mods dressed to impress other male Mods, not females. The abundance of the amphetamine pills also ensured that sexual appetites and libidos were well dampened. Research conducted by myself in Belfast and Dublin two years ago confirms that the trend of men dressing solely to impress other men is still alive and well today.
YOU NEED WHEELS Mods also quickly put themselves out of step with the masculine culture of motorcycles by their choice of transport. Films such as The Wild Ones epitomised the very rough, tough masculine look prevalent among the biker gangs and rockers; two-wheeled transport for ‘real’ men in the 1950’s and early 1960’s were encompassed by the Triumph, Norton and BSA which were greasy, dirty, achieved incredible high speeds and most importantly, they represented a tough appearance. Mods need for mobility meant a choice of transport that could not have contrasted more sharply with the ‘ton-up boys bikes’; the scooter, a twostroke engine, vastly under-powered motorcycle was essentially an Italian motorbike designed as a woman’s
shopping bike. It did however, offer a viable alternative to the greasy bikes. Smart, stylish, cheap to run, complimented the continental look and of course with all moving parts enclosed, they kept the all important threads clean.
THERE SHE WAS JUST-A WALKING DOWN THE STREET... While the world of Mod was/is maledominated, female Mods also found space within the Mod movement to express individuality and also to put themselves at odds with their peers in how they dressed and looked. Although female Mods were not as prolific as their male counterparts, it is interesting to note that as male Mods embraced the effeminate traits of fashion, hair and shoes, female Mods moved away from the traditional feminine look. Clothes worn by female Mods were intended to look smart as opposed to ‘sexy’. Female Mods adopted an almost asexual look. Rejecting the ‘pretty, pretty’ look of the 1950’s waist skirt and went for a shapeless, short shift dress look, ski pants, hush puppy shoes, jumper and cardigan twin sets and of course an eclectic mix of trousers. While many went for the Liz Taylor/Cleopatra-style bob or the ‘Dusty’ Beehive as a way of contrasting with the mainstream feminine look, some embraced the androgynous look even more by going for the short ‘boyish’ haircut, both epitomised and immortalised by Twiggy.
Again, while such looks may appear innocuous today, in the context of the early 1960’s both male and female Mods, unbeknownst to themselves, were firmly engaged in blurring the lines between what is was to be and act like a man or a woman. It is important to remember how subversive these new, modern ways were, for instance women wearing trousers. At the time there were strict, traditional dress codes; the old adage of the boss being the “person who wears the trousers in the relationship” is firmly rooted in the rigid dress codes acceptable for men and women at that period. Simply, trousers were for men; long dresses were for women. The sight of girls and young women parading the streets of Britain in checked trousers was as shocking and startling as the mini-skirt was to the mainstream. Within the Mod movement males were edging closer towards a more effeminate behaviour while female were shedding traditional notions of what it was to be ‘pretty’ or ‘sexy’ and were adopting a more androgynous, asexual look. Mods were dapper, and earned their title because indeed they were truly modern; a new, fast-paced, alternative way of living and being; they personified and pioneered the sweeping changes throughout Britain in the early 1960’s and pointed the way towards the future.
INTO TOMORROW Today we live in a world that has bizarrely changed utterly since the 1960’s and in other ways has barely changed at all. Television adverts, high street shops and magazines all point to David Beckham, rugby stars or other burly, ‘masculine’ men who tell us the importance of a well-cut suit or how to achieve that soft skin feeling after your shave, yet we still live in a world dominated by the idea that fashion, shoes and looking good is for ‘girls’. Mods blurred the line between masculine and feminine; they disrupted the rules of gender, changed the way society thinks men and women should act in areas of appearance and changed the clothing/fashion industry forever. It was a covert and subtle rebellion by a new generation of kids determined to create a modern world that gave two fingers to the dreary lives of their parents’ generation while also putting themselves at clear odds with their contemporary world of the early 1960’s. The Mod Movement of the early 1960’s created an alternative space and subculture to the mainstream where the ‘normal rules’ around being a man or a woman were suspended or disregarded. Mods set themselves apart by their attention to detail and the obsessiveness with their clobber, as well as maintaining their cool through haircuts, shoes and stunning scooters. When we look around our own world today, a world that for the most part is dominated by jeans and trainers, tracksuits and the ubiquitous ‘high street look’, the Mod scene is as important today as it was fifty years ago. There is no escaping the fact that looking good is still the answer
keys, Jonathan Ydov – Bass, Sefi Zisling – Trumpet, Ongy Zisling – Saxophone, Ido Kretchmer – Trombone
en Of North Country signed to Acid Jazz have released two 45’s and an LP (reviewed this issue) and these releases have met with critical acclaim across Europe on the Mod and Soul scenes. With their distinctive sound – some are terming it Indie-Soul.
2013 will be the year that they start to reap the more widespread recognition that they patently deserve. With their own brass section they deliver some expansive and at times dark musical landscapes underpinned with a North of England grittiness. For my money they are THE Modern Soul outfit currently on the circuit. Of course for anyone who digs a little deeper and peels a couple of layers off the onion the pedigree to this sound soon becomes apparent.
Yashiv is a deejay in the Tel Aviv soul club which has regular deejays Johnnie Faithful (creator of Soul of the Net website, one of the first Soul sites back in the early days) and the inimitable Johnnie Walker an absolute legend on the northern scene. So it’s not as if these guys are jumping on a bandwagon, dues have been paid and coupled with accomplished musicians the finished product was never in doubt. Word is that the live shows are as good as the recorded output and with a ramping up of their tour schedule it should only be a matter of time until you can check them out live.
I recently caught up with singer Yashiv and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for Sussed. So how did MONC come about?
Back in 2008 Yashiv gave Doron some lyrics and asked him to make it “kinda Northern”. Doron and Boaz recorded “Man of North Country” in Boaz's 1 bedroom flat, using just one microphone, aiming for that 60s feelT We got a lot of compliments for it, and thus decided we should form a band.
You guys have an authentic northern soul sound - obviously showing the influences of all those years deejaying. Are you all Northern soul/sixties soul fans?
Yes, of course, but we carry with us lots of different influences as well. Doron is an 80s boy, as you can easily hear in his tunes. Yashiv and Sefi are both soul music aficionados, collecting 45s etc. Yashiv also runs the "Tel Aviv Soul Club" night here, which is a monthly soul gathering. How did the partnership with Acid Jazz come about?
“Man of North Country” got to Andy Lewis (Paul Weller's bass player and an Acid Jazz artist himself) through a mutual friend (thank you May!). He brought it to Rich from Acid Jazz. He contacted us and the rest is history! The first single seemed to sneak out and a lot of people (including me) missed that one. And the second 45 - Mirror Man. What's the idea behind doing that one? How was that received? As mentioned, we love the 80s (well, some of us doT). Yashiv had this idea to do a cover of this Human League song, as it basically sounds like a Motown tune. To be honest, we left it for a while, but then, out of the blue, Cpt. Stax (the Italian DJ) contacted us saying we should do a cover of it! So we felt fate closing in and decided not to fight it.
I love the Mirror man track but for me it’s the flip - The North - that really excites me. Would the term dripping with atmosphere be a bit too effusive?
Cheers for thatT Atmosphere is probably a main ingredient, that’s true, and probably a must for music trying to conjure up a feeling that’s pretty much lost, be it childhood or the sounds of old. And effusiveness is in the eye of the beholder
So what’s in store for MONC in 2013 and is there any chance you lads could make it over to Ireland to treat the locals?
Men of North Country The North (Acid Jazz) The first LP from the Israeli soul band has the guys on top form and fairly kicking some preconceived ideas about soul music about the place. Coming at you steeped in the rhythmic language of Sixties soul but with a modern accent there’s something here for all lovers of modern soul music (and note I didnt write Modern Soul music).
Kicking off the LP is the fantastic, almost navel gazing, Man of North Country - a ponderous Northern Soul mid-tempo stomper with traditional inflections that Northern boys will pick up on immediately. This was the first 7" in 2010 backed with the uproarious Debut another slice of north England pop (also on the LP). For me this whole LP puts me in a bit of a quandry and let me tell you why. There’s not a duff track on it, and I bloody love all of them. So heres the rub - how can I cogently, with my limited skills, convey the beauty and sheer genius of the whole? And yet I need to express it somehow to let you the reader know that it’s well worth hunting down and parting with your cash? Maybe some pen pictures? Ringtone is like something Dexys should have written in their Soul boy period - a gloved fist firmly clenched pumping the air. The North like a gritty kitchen sink drama with a hook that coshes you about the head and leaves you sobbing in the gutter. Teenage Frost a tender first love paean - a fragile moment of sheer beauty (co-written by Johnny Faithful creator of the Soul of the Net website). Mirror Man a cover of the human league hit turned into a Motown stompfest.....and those are only the half of it. Musically these guys are tight with Cohens vocals strong and distinctive insinuating the words deep into your consciousness. One of my top three Long players of 2012. JM Rave on!
At the moment we’re touring Israel. We will be heading to Germany in April, and hopefully record an EP there as well. Since we’ve just signed a management and promotion deal for the UK and Ireland with Royale Records, we very much hope to be seeing you lads pretty soon! That’s one more reason for us to keep the faithT
Who are the current members?
Yashiv Cohen – Lead Vocals, Doron Farhi – Guitars and B vocals, Boaz Wolf – Drums & SUSSED 31
Men of North Country Mirror Man/The North (Acid Jazz)
Once again Joe has unearthed some crackers for review scouring the globe for current releases for your consideration...
the likes of the Kinks. The lads wig out for the last 30 seconds in a race to get to the end amidst a huge swirling psyched out noise fest. Flip side instrumental reminds me of Booker T with some lovely organ work. A right club sound if ever I heard one.
The Riots Dance On Your Problems EP (Time for Action) Hailing from Tel Aviv this Israeli bunch really nail this release. They've only gone and taken the Human League classic, drenched it in a bucket of northern soul, thrown in some Keith Mansfield type orchestrations and then cranked up the tempo a bit and delivered a certifiable dance floor classic. Some Lovely Handclapping moments for that all important crowd participation. Lovely Backing vocals are firmly underpinning this trip down memory lane. Flip it over for the original composition and again another slice of Nu-Northern. Big hook on this one and the production is just soaring. Essential purchase.
The Above My Love/Chucks Blues (Killer Diller)
Stumbled across these lads recently and was more than pleased to hear this 45. Based in Brooklyn and steeped in sixties rock history this is one fine track for those that like guitars. But it’s not some heavy Rock’n’Roll outing, it’s got some subtle sixties nuances. Guitars are this side of screechy and the vocal and lyric are reminiscent of SUSSED 32
Like some ‘79 band hidden in a basement for the past thirty years these Russian Mods are at the top of their brief. Using ‘79 influences mixed in with The Clash and the more melodic Punk/New Wave bands Dance on your problems could very well be the rallying cry that this generation of Mods need. Think Secret Affair but with more an attitude and musical ability and you come close to what these guys are about. Flip side has two tracks Sell Out is a like something you would hear tucked away on All Mod Cons or similar and forgive me if I can hear shades of The Blades creeping in at the corners. But THE track for me on this EP (And believe me all three are fucking excellent) is the demo version of One Step. From the first drum roll to the fade out this is just so good. A 100 mph hard driving 3 minute’s master class in Power Pop. Dips in the middle for some introspection and then comes back hard as ever. This is how the 79 revival bands SHOULD have sounded.
The Riots Out of Control EP (Time for Action) The Russian lads continue their assault on our preconceived
notions of what Mod music should sound like. With a huge dose of Joe Strummer mixed with a smidgen of Power Pop this one hits you hard in the stomach and then starts stomping on your face. It’s like a kick in the bollocks in its immediacy. These guys are going their own way, swaggering and backing it up with HUGE musical chops. And then it just stops, leaving you breathless. Flip side has two more (these lads believe in value for money). The wonderful Tomorrow kicks off with guitar, bass and drum for a bit then changes direction and goes off in some early nineties Scottish vibe with a guitar that would lead you to believe that Johnny Marr just jumped in for a jam. Gorgeous.
The Moving Sounds Playing Their ‘08 Hits (Copasedisques)
You know me I hear a track on a CD then need to have it on 45....it’s a sickness I grant you but a damn sight better than golf i'm sure you'll agree. Alex over at CopaseDisques sent me over some of their stuff and I was playing them in the car for quite some time till I hit upon this one and the whole thing gelled for me. It’s got, how can I say it, an
early Doors feel to it with Manzarekian licks on the organ. Coupled with the lead singer’s vocals and not knowing the band one would think it’s an unknown out take from a Doors session. Listening to it whilst doing this review on MySpace and the next track that popped up was Looking for a Kiss by New York Dolls....couldn’t be more appropriate. Hard Mod! Also on the EP is Out Of This Mess a Psych offering with a melange of guitars and stabbing organ again another American tinged dark soundscape. Go out and buy this 45.
Jacco Gardner Clear The Air/A House On The Moon (Sunny Day)
24 yr old Dutch multiinstrumentalist delivers some sweet wispy Psychedelia. This couldn’t be further removed from the stuff I usually listen to but when I got the 45 home and onto the decks I just fell in love with its airy graces and its head tripping rhythms. Harpsichord, mellotron (strings), glockenspiel, bass, drums, acoustic guitar and fuzz guitar all are in the mix here and Jacco's vocal is just floaty enough to complement the whole setup. Flip side starts out like some late sixties British spy soundtrack and then dips down into some spacey vocals and a driving beat. Neopsychedelia/baroque? Sign me up please...
Les Bof Boule De Cristal (CopaseDisques)
It’s at times like this that I wished I had paid more attention to my Les Langues Des Francais in Secondary school. The title track from this EP is musically the backing track for Fortune Teller however the small bit of Francais I can pick up tends me to believe the lyric is anything but the traditional lyric. Anyhow you'll know the song immediately but for me it’s little more than a novelty. For the essence of this band you need to move onto the original J'ai Perdu Mon Mojo which is a lovely slice of Garage Pop. Lots of things happening in this one....bass going up and down, choppy guitar and then they absolutely nail it with Chante. Really top track it has to be said. These guys have been around some time now and I’ve no doubt they'll be around for much longer.
Len Price 3 Mr. Grey (Wicked Cool) A bright breezy little 45 this one.
Top side Mr Grey sounds like it was recorded in ‘68 by some one hit wonder from Wandsworth. Big Brass parping
at the end of the chorus give it an authentic sixties feel but it sounds modern and of today. Really is a breathtaking track and will find favour with those who are fans of the more poppy end of the sixties spectrum and with those who just like well crafted pop songs. The flip side mixes that jangly sound with a slightly heavier sound counterpointing the breezy feel of the topside. For my money this is the side that really resonates with me and my ear. If anyone has a copy they can sell me I’d be appreciative it as my copy of Time Has Gone has a poxy scratch in it rendering it useless.
and finally get it just right everything just blends, each item counterpointing the other, the whole being greater that the sum of its parts? Well that’s exactly what this EP is. With another 3 tracks - La Vedette, Le Clope and New Bossa this is one of the releases of 2012. Why are you still sitting there? Go get one!
Button Up Covered EP (Heavy Soul/Button Up Records)
areas. I Got A Line On You (original by Spirit 1968) shouldn’t suffer as much from comparison and on this one they really deliver. Uptempo, down home and Southern Soul accents make this one the stand out on the EP for me.
The Electric Mess You've Become A Witch (Rowed Out Records)
French Boutik La Nouvelle Pop Moderniste (Copasedisques)
Another French language release and again it’s from those masters of taste over at CopaseDisques. French Boutik are a Parisian based combo latterly making waves in all the right places and really garnering a name for themselves with those in the know. 5 sharp cats melding into a classic French outfit they deliver exactly what the doctor ordered - sensible pop for this day and age. Les Chats de Goutierre is steeped in that femme vocal with attitude that Francophiles will immediately recognise. Interestingly the lead singer, the gorgeous Gabriela is American and to my ears she sings with a very French accent (I temper that with my previous comment about lack of study in an earlier review), think France Gall with couilles. You know when you’ve spent ages in getting ready for a night out and chopped and changed elements of your outfit
From one of my favourite boutique labels comes this wonderful EP of covers. Now covers are a hard bastard at any time to get right with an audience. Do them in the same fashion as the original take and you get told it’s not as good as the original, add or remove from the original and folk will complain that it’s not the same. So to present to an audience your take on loved classics takes a cast iron set of balls. Out of the gate first on this release is Bert’s Apple Crumble that club classic that we all know and love. Well I can assure you that Button Up have stayed as close to the original as possible but their version is reeking of some jacked up funk. True the initial presentation is bang on the money but the more you listen the more you start picking out little inflections that throw into this delicious concoction a bit of spice. And it’s set at the same frenetic pace as The Quiks version. If I Could Only Be Sure is a hard one to call - when I heard Weller’s version I thought he made a decent fist of it but nothing special. Sara on vocals here gets closer with some impassioned delivery and the band are tight in all
I've been sitting here struggling to start this review. Usually I would listen to the track over a period of days, try and analyze what’s going on and transfer that to the page to give you an indication of my view simple one would think. This one is different. On first listen it seems one dimensional, classic garage with some angular vibes thrown in, but then after a few plays the layers start to peep out and grab your attention, the incessant Farfisa organ sliding effortlessly into a Wade In The Water style riff, the jet engine like guitars, the backing vocals echoing Stepping Stone by the Monkees and the lick of fuzzy guitar on the fade out. But this is no pastiche, it’s a full on, cranked up wig out. And as I think of it now, it’s an easy review, one word will suffice: Absofuckinglutelysuperb!
Al And The Teenagers Keep On Walking/Lean On Me (Unique) I Featured another 45 from these guys back in issue 2 (Paint Yourself In A Corner) that had just been released and then managed to secure a copy of this and the Roy Ellis release (see below) and just couldn’t
complete issue 3 reviews without them 2009 releases so might be hard enough to find). So this one is the first release for the lads on the German Unique label and it’s just one savage piece of plastic. Top side Keep On Walking reminds me of Willie Tee’s Walking Up A One Way Street but this one is heavily tinged with a Reggae vibe, with choppy guitars and lavishly backed up with some tight brass work. Al's vocals are just so spot on and his phrasing is dead on the mark. With a lovely swaying beat this wouldn’t be out of place for an early doors Northern set. Just right to get you ready for the dance floor. Flip it over for my fave off this 45....that lovely brass sets out the stall over some Stax-like plinking guitar and then one minute in the groove settles down into some shuffling Northern. It’s the type of track that when it finishes I ask myself "what the Jesus was that" and I find myself putting the needle back to the run in to hear it again and again...
Anyone who's being a fan of Jamaican music in any of its forms will need no introduction to Roy Ellis. He fronted Skinhead favourites Symarip for many years and he has a long pedigree on the Island being close to Marley, Aiken and Jimmy Cliff. So this match up with The Teenagers just makes so much sense and in all honesty it delivers admirably on all fronts. A powerful Northernesque track that will drag the athletic to the dancefloor to leap about like spring bucks. Brass is front and centre with a delicious sub text of psycho bass muddling away in the background. It’s a chugger and Elli's vocal soars with a controlled delivery that showcases his many years in the business. A phlegmatic Sax in the last third gives a brief respite before the last run into the finish. Whew!. Flip side is the instrumental and stands quite well without the vocal with the addition of what sounds like a glockenspiel and with the absence of vocal the Motown-esque Bass line (think Jamerson/Watkins/Babbit in ‘68) stomps all over the shop. Essential 45 for everyone!
The Travellers Summer With No Sun (Lemoncake) How do I describe this wonderful
Roy Ellis And The Teenagers Let Me Take You Higher (Liquidator)
release from this talented duo? From the opening Fuzzy organ drifting into the pitch perfect clear vocals and then into some fuzzy Rickenbacker guitar chopping, this is going to be a summer hit. Gemma and Robert have crafted a very sensible pop song for those who wish to listen to well crafted garage pop. Taking
elements of past sounds and updating them to present a whole new sound is what they do and do it so well too. With its whirling rhythms this takes you off on a little jaunt thowing care to the wind as the hypnotic tones caress your cheeks like a soft chill late summer breeze. There’s a lovely middle piece where the whole vibe shifts into Psychedelic-lite but it’s the overall feeling of forward looking nostalgia that really keeps me coming back to this one. Get a listen to their previous releases whilst you are at it. You won’t be dissapointed.
The Ballantynes Misery/Stay (La-ti-da) Pushing it a bit on this review as
this one is pretty hard to find a copy of as it was a fairly short run and all copies were quickly snapped up. So what is this all about? Most Bands in thrall to Northern Soul usually manage to get hints of true Northern to their homage well I can safely say that this Vancouver 7 piece don’t just invoke the spirit of Northern in this their first outing but actually deliver a 45 that could well sit alongside a stomping Northern set. No shrinking violets these boyo's, from the morse code opening and insistent percussion over raspy vocals this just screams Authen-ticity, throw in some spot on backing femme vocals and the hundred mile an hour break for all those that love to throw themsleves around (I'm looking at you Darren McDonnell) and in your minds eye I bet you can see yourself busting some moves to this one at your local soul night. Flip it over for the less frantic but no less soulful
Stay. Girls take the fore with some sassy vocals over a rumbling organ and it’s like a slowed down version of the top side....might be userful for some of the less energetic on the scene. I'm sure that there are some copies tucked away on sites waiting to be picked up so there’s always a chance you will get to own one. have a listen to it at:
and then stick it on your wants list. Monster!
The Mentalettes Fine Fine Fine (Copasediaques)
The first time I heard this track I had to catch my breath and try remember who originally sang this and then in a matter of seconds it mattered not a whit to me as this version is just so freaking good. This isn’t going to be played at Northern Soul clubs - the brass on the intro has been replaced by dirty organ and the vocals from Teresia, Elsa and Silvia hark back to that innocent yet knowing female delivery and they strut the lyric all over the stage with a controlled abandon. Solid backing from The Obsidians give us an authentic Garage overlay which complements the Ladies’ vocalising. So what a fitting way to finish off the Vinyl reviews than with this speedy, freaky, fuzzy reworking of a classic powerful female sound by some powerful, freaky ladies.
Ray gives the epic Acid Jazz 25th anniversary box set the Sussed treatement...
The end of 2012 celebrated Acid Jazz records 25th anniversary. A quarter of a century, really! Maintaining its independence and retaining its ethos for 25 years is an incredible feat in itself. Eddie Piller and Gilles Peterson set up the label in 1987 to record the music they wanted to hear played in clubs. Gilles left shortly in and set up his own parallel label ‘Talkin’ Loud’ and Dean Rudland took over as first mate with Eddie as skipper. To mark its jubilee Acid Jazz has remastered and reissued its back catalogue along with a lavish box set. Not so much a ‘best of’ more ‘the story of’, this doesn’t disappoint. This is high quality value for money and a purchase I’d happily recommend to anyone. So what do you get for your money? 4-CDs charting the history of the label comprising original and licensed material, an essential accompanying booklet, a DVD featuring a 50 minute interview with Piller and Rudland and 12 video promos bringing the label up to date, a 7” of the Brand New Heavies ‘Never Stop’ c/w ‘Rocksteady’, a hardback pictorial of Acid Jazz cover art, all housed in, what’s got to be said, a cracking little box with silver embossed logo. All this for a paltry £42! Compared to most box sets (and a couple of recent ones I can think of but won’t mention) this is a steal.
What’s on it then? Disk one entitled ‘Put it all together and what do you get’ is Acid Jazz, probably the most influential independent label since Stiff, showing us what it drew influence from. We kick off with Jose Feliciano’s wicked cover of the Stevie Wonder classic ‘Golden Lady’. More dance floor friendly than the original but lacking none of the drama, with Bossa rhythms and busy Fender Rhodes this is the perfect opener. Followed by the Isleys brilliant take on ‘Love the one you’re with’, with Ernie Isley’s unmistakable 12-string percussive style adding a ridiculous groove to Stephen Stills’ original. You’ve barely taken a breath when hit with Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘Lady Day and John Coltrane’ proving, as well as
social prophecy, Gil could also be a master of the dance floor. Brilliant Raregroove in the form of Tyrone Davis, Alice Clark and Spanky Wilson. With Erma Franklin’s infectious cover of ‘Light my fire’ (potentially the best of all versions of the Doors debut?), we find Acid Jazz dipping into the 60s and proving to me what I already knew, that more than just a label this was a Mod revival in everything but name. But never seemed to be recognized for it? This is all superfluous... The Quik’s ‘Bert’s Apple Crumble’ Jimmy Smiths frenetic ‘Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolf pt. 2’, Googie Rene’s ‘Smokey Joe’s La-La’ and Ivan ‘Boogaloo Joe’ Jones’ Mod/Jazz classic ‘Black Whip’ are all tracks you’ll hear at any top Mod night worth its salt. Even the Small Faces’ b-side ‘I can’t dance with you’ gets an airing and reminds you just how good a band they actually were. All this underpinned by the track that could arguably be said had the biggest influence on the label and its artists, Lonnie Liston Smith’s Jazz Funk smash ‘Expansions’. Can’t dwell on disk one too long other than to say it’s a cracking mix and is the perfect reflection of where Acid Jazz was coming from and going to...
Disk two, ‘Something happening at the dance’ kicks off with a track that wowed me at the time the Ballistic Brothers ‘Blacker’. An extremely clever sample of Gil Scott-Heron’s intro to his early spoken word opus ‘Brother’. Diana Brown & Barrie K. Sharpe’s ‘The Masterplan’ is a track completely indicative of where a record label is at a given time. It was the sound of 1992 and sounds just as fresh today. Acid Jazz has always been proud of its hip-hop roots. And why shouldn’t it be? Acid Jazz didn’t do hip-hop like some crummy top of the pops American knock-off. It kept it underground and added a very English feel to it giving it a new dimension that the Yanks, in time, would reciprocate utmost respect for. ‘Don’t Scandalize Mine’ by Sugar Bear and Young MC’s ‘Know How’ lay testament to this. Instrumentals were big in the clubs at the time. Very big. Nu Yorican Soul’s ‘The Nervous Track’ was a biggie in the clubs in the early 90s but it was merely treading the coat tails of A Man Called Adam’s ‘Earthly Powers’. AMCA became the spearhead of Acid Jazz and really were a big deal at the time. The Apostles ‘Super Strut’ is another fave of mine from the time. A great Saturday night record. Anyone who knows me knows I’m no fan of House but it’s got to be said I could feel myself drawn to the darkside listening to Arthur Miles ‘Helping
Hand’. To say Acid Jazz was just a Jazz/Funk label would be wrong. It effortlessly fused elements drawn from all its influences including Dub, Funk, House and Hip Hop. No more evident than on ‘From the Ghetto’. Disk two winds up with tracks from The Brand New Heavies and Galliano. ‘BNH’ was a very early Brand New Heavies instrumental and paved the way for them becoming international stars The very first Acid Jazz release is featured too; Hugely collectable Galliano’s ‘Frederick Lies Still’ really tore the rule book up. Now reissued in all its glory this would be an essential purchase.
It would be fair to say Disk three ‘How’d We Get Us Here’ is a compilation of tracks most representative of the glory period of Acid Jazz. The late, great Guru makes an appearance with his sublime theme track to Spike Lee’s (also brilliant) ‘Mo’ Better Blues’. ‘Jazz Thing’ covers all the bases and serves as a chronicle of the history of Jazz succinctly laid down in less than five minutes. What’s great about this box set is the amount of 12” versions. Single edits were great but for the most part the 12” was required to appreciate the tracks at their best. ‘Get yourself Together’, the opener to the Young Disciples Talkin’ Loud debut gets the full 12” outing here as does The Brand New Heavies ‘Dream Come True’. This would be the sound the label would be synonymous with. Although the aforementioned was a signee to Peterson’s Talkin’ Loud, this was Acid Jazz and make no mistake. ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’ was, for sure, the sound of Acid Jazz but not necessarily the sound we’d associate with the James Taylor Quartet. Great nonetheless and enforced JT as Acid Jazz’s own ‘Chairman of the Board’. Snowboy was around since the start and his offerings were always something to look forward to. His take on on Laurie Johnson’s ‘New Avengers’ theme is precisely what was required for such an undertaking. A Forest Mighty Black mix House beats and Latin Rhythms seamlessly. Chapter & The Verse aren’t fucking about on their early 90s political proclamation ‘It’s All About Swing’. JTQ’s ‘Theme From Starsky & Hutch’ went onto become an Acid Jazz classic. Although having left for major label pastures greener by this stage, so too did Jamiroquai’s groundbreaking ‘Too Young To Die’. ‘Apple Green’ showcases the talents of Mother Earth’s Matt Deighton and paved the way for a shift in direction for Acid Jazz that maybe wasn’t to manifest itself ‘til some years later. The Humble Souls’ ‘Beads Things &
Flowers’ is one I hadn’t heard before and it’s great fun! Using samples and brass stabs from all over the gaff this is a little frugworthy doozey. Primal Scream end disk three and it’s easy to see how, had things been different, they could have easily found themselves part of the Acid Jazz stable.
Disk four ‘Smokers Delight’ is aptly titled. Paul Weller invites you on a trip into the ‘Kosmos’. It was pretty obvious from Weller’s 1992 solo debut that he was coming from a different direction and of the effect Acid Jazz was having on his output. I’ve got to admit, saying my knowledge of Dub is limited would be an understatement. In short, I know fuck all about it. But I know what I like. ‘Movements in Dub’ by The Roots Radics Meet The Scientist’ is great stuff! Mother Earth’s ‘Non Corporealness’ shouldn’t work but it does, and bloody well too! (think, the Specials and Isaac Hayes). ‘Render Your Heart’ brings back memories, although I’m not sure from where? Max Romeo’s ‘Chase The Devil’ is a personal fave and I for one am made up to see it make the final cut on the box set. Delroy Wilson is another I’ll be checking out (cheers for the heads up Acid Jazz). Snowboy’s ‘Astralisation’ would be another with that quintessential Acid Jazz sound. Loved this tune when it was out and it’s lost none of its appeal. Now maybe it’s just me but Will Smith and Cypress Hill would never be two I’d have thought would end up on a box set of my buying. Well there you go they are, and again, like everything else on this compilation they work! Disk four concludes with the Sandals eight minute long chill-out fest ‘Nothing’ and it’s the perfect way to end the disk. (NB: at time of writing I hadn’t had a smoke...)
As regards the DVD, it was the first thing I put on when the box set arrived. I was eager to hear the full story from the source. I’ve always admired Eddie Piller’s candor and he’s a wealth of knowledge about all things Mod. You’d have to get up early and have a square meal to catch Dean Rudland out on most things music related. Piller and Rudland give the whole breakdown and this is all the Acid Jazz knowledge you’ll ever need. It certainly isn’t all the Acid Jazz music you’ll ever need though. Only by checking out the studio albums, 12”s, singles, and compilations can the whole picture be got. The Acid Jazz 25th Anniversary Box Set has been a right trip down memory lane for me and for the uninformed I’d urge you to investigate further...
The Moving Sounds Ground Shaker
Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden this Hammond fuelled 5 piece deliver ‘Ground Shaker’ recorded at London’s infamous Toe-Rag studios. Very well produced with Toe Rag’s distinct analogue sound, from the get go the swirling sound from the band is driven by the heavy Hammond which carries you through the whole album, backed by the tight groove of the bass and drums. With chainsaw fuzz guitar overtones and soulful brass section you get what these Swedes are about. The blueeyed Soul of ‘Igor The Dog’ with its funk-tinges and fuzz freakbeat or ‘Do The Wolf’ with its raunchy garage and R’n’B they move effortlessly from song to song with a melting pot of Mod, Psych and Soul influences such as Spencer Davis Group (check: ‘You Have Me’) Booker T & The MG’s, Les Fleur De Lys, Small Faces to name a few. If Hammond driven Rock ’n’ Soul is your bag... get on this! Stand out tracks (Ground Shaker, You Have Me, Do The Wolf) KM
Sussed Towers has been inundated with new releases over the past few m releases though some are available on vinyl. This issues guest reviewers Geraldine Fahey (our favourite photographer), Dave Meehan (boy about
A punchy & vigorous 2009 debut outing from this New York based quintet Electric Mess. Straight from the off, your attention is gained. Track 1 'You've become a Witch' sets the tone. Lyrics laden with attitude, telling it like it is. 'Trash talkin'woman' informs the protagonist she's "a twofaced vixen". While more home truths are spelt out in 'Cause you think you're a star'. The message is clear; there'll be no saccharine sentiments today! With a healthy mixture of 60's garage, psychedelia, & R&B, the lazy assertion is to compare them to the likes of The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, The Remains & so on. This gang are more than a mere throw-back or another run of the mill tribute act. These guys have mastered their craft, honed in on their talents & procured a bona-fide authentic record worthy of standing alone. Pumping new blood into the genre to become a front runner on the scene, chomping at the bit. I say "guys" but with Chip Fontaine (aka Esther Crow) at the helm, Electric Mess have an added quirk. Regardless, the confident strut & swagger are evident in her vocals. Surrounded by fuzzy guitars, plenty of reverb, whirling electric organ & frenzied drumming as a debut album or statment of intent, it’s a veritable triumph! Electric Mess by name, tidy outifit by nature. DM
The Frinchers Table You Forever
Electric Mess The Electric Mess
Coming at this LP having done a bit of research on the band my expectations are high. As detailed above there’s a fine pedigree inherent in this group stretching back to the eighties so
the expectation is that the goods will be firmly delivered. I had heard the first Frinchers LP and whilst I enjoyed it I felt there was something missing, almost as if the guys were somewhat hesitant or not 100% sure of where they were heading. I'm happy to say that with this release they have hit the ground running and cleared up any perceived hesitancy. For anyone who is looking for Modern guitar music that does not reference 9t's brit pop, neither its bombastic reverb drenched delusions nor clever intellectual wordiness, then this is a breath of fresh air. With a collection of Power-Pop nuggets this one trips along on a jangly wave of bright breezy perfect sub 3 minute anthems. For those of a certain age this LP will take you back to those post revival mod/pop groups when the anger of youth had given way to musical talent and craftmanship and we danced along to little slices of late 20th century life. But there’s nothing bloated or worthy here - it’s a set of clap happy melodies and driving rhythms played at just the right tempo. From the exuberant "If you know my phone number" to the almost reckless "When will you realize", via the deceivingly simple (and luxuriant sounding) "You are" to the new wave "Thursday Classes", there’s a cohesive quality to this LP that demands a listen from start to finish in one tight session whilst dancing in your bedroom in front of the mirror. Sure there are moments that jar but they are few and far between and overall detract not a whit from the experience. This LP is out two years now....can’t believe that it’s taken so long for me to hear this set. Consider yourself informed....go find one. JM
The Past Tense Take Three Was given an album by an English three piece band called The Past Tense to review. The album title is Take Three and possibly due to the fact that all of the songs are three minutes or so long. They describe
themselves as Mod Powerpop Garage Rock. Which is exactly what you get. They have managed to capture the sound and spirit of nearly all of the 1979 Mod Revival bands. Although a three piece they have used Hammond on tracks like "No No Blues", a nod to original Mod band Small Faces so their influences are far broader than I first thought which was a plesant suprise and the use of brass on a few tracks particulrly "The Optimist" very Secret Affair. They also cleverly use some movie soundtrack intros on two tracks "Jimmy's Love Song" and "Wolfman", so they are thinking outside the box. The musicianship is good and the tracks are recorded well enough but I feel the vocals are poor in many songs and the songwriting a bit simplistic. Nothing that can't be fixed with some attention to detail. Overall a decent effort, twelve tracks maybe is more quantity than quality but no doubt The Past Tense have potential and would be worth checking out live....the band The Past Tense...the album Take Three...the verdict only alright. WM
The Loop Lost Weekend
You know when you hear an album and it all sounds so
months and we felt it remiss not to give some of them a review. All are CD s are Ken Mooney (The Urges) , Wayne Massey (The Modfathers), town) and Rob Gilligan (Shotgun resident
familiar yet you never heard it before, well that is exactly what The Loop deliver with their album Lost Weekend. With a nod to the past you can hear influences from the likes of Weller, Morrissey and even the Gallagher brothers yet they have a sound that is completly their own comprising of powerful drums, a great bass line and a guitar that certainly packs a punch coupled with great lyrics. Among my favourite tracks (and there are quite a few to choose from) are ‘Immortal’, ‘It's Real’ and ‘Photograph’ (acoustic), but by far my favourite is ‘Just Us’ with its change in tempo left me wanting more of The Loop. GF
Life in the backseat Monkeeman
Right from the get go we are introduced to the rough and ready chainsaw guitar of ‘In It For The Money’ and Monkeeman’s intention of a raw, stripped down, smack in the face recording is already evident. The rusty guitar sound follows you into ‘I’m a lonely Guy’. A melodic anthem which smacks of an Ian Curtis-esque vibe inbetween a catchy chorus which remains ringing in your ears long after the fact. ‘Socialism’ is Monkeemans call out song for the working classes to get up and push the weight back onto the establishment. The lyrical aspect of Socialism can easily be compared to a young Weller but the lack of the anger and punch means this is the only comparison that can be made of the two. This, of course, taking nothing from the record as it easily stands on its own as it effortlessly puts a sound to the political outcries of
a new generation. ‘Backstreet’ and ‘Staring At The TV Screen’ are two tracks that epitomise the theme of this record, which is quite simply... Having fuck all in life! ‘TV Screen’ has a nicely polished feel to it, which can be heard all through the record mainly due to the low tempo, melodic melodies and Lubke’s smooth vocals which are the building blocks for most tracks on the album. However, this pattern is temporarily put in the back pocket for ‘Under the Moon’. One of the dirtiest songs on the record. ‘I Know a Girl’, ‘Things Wont Get Any Better’, ‘Town of the Lost’ and ‘Holes in the Snow’ add to story of how shit a shit life is with more tales of wanting but left wanting. The record leaves us with ‘City Lights’. The rough guitar riffs and drawn out vocal screams ‘Oasis stadium anthem’. Life in the Backseat, coming in under 30 minutes long, is a testament to stripped down, raw Rock n Roll and Lubke’s influences (The Jam, The Clash, Britpop, The Beatles) are abundantly clear throughout the record. However, the raw edge sound offered by the chainsaw guitars and stinging lyrics is somewhat dampened by Lubke’s smooth, American punk pop sounding vocals. So much so, that you sometimes think you’ve just stuck on Green Days new album. The album definitely deserves a spin but it’s clearly aimed at and more suited to the younger up and comers looking to find their own generation’s voice and sound. But sure isnt that what albums like this are meant to do! The older folk cant hold the sound of Mod hostage forever and albums like this will be the proof in the pud! RG
MAGAZINES Steppin Out Modzine
Magazine scene and one we are anticipating growing very quickly. Details on the mag can be had from firstname.lastname@example.org
All In Good Time
Not much information on this one other than it’s from Mexico and put together by "music appreciation club focused on black rhythms modernist interest" The Smart Set. Contents include: Alex Díez, artist Enrique Carbajal, the space age Mexican Bikini SOS Conspiracy, Choral Music, Limelight Blues and the cornerstone of Jazz in Mexico that is Tino Contreras. Centerfold, color cover and a CD with pictures of the current modernist scene by J-dogg Jamie McGrane. Look them up on Facebook to get more details.
Start by name and smart by nature. this perfectly formed and well laid out A5 magazine has some neat wirting in its articles. The Questions, John Hellier and the London Ska Festival are given space as well as a pictorial review of the NUTS Brighton weekender and a small colour piece on The Moons. All in all a nice addition to the Mod
Okay so this is not a fanzine but with the strapline of Style/Music/culture I picked it up to see if it delivered on all the aforementioned. Published by the nice folk over at Delicious Junction (www.deliciousjunction.co.uk) the articles are all tied in with that company's products and I may as well say it now but they do some really tasty footwear (I have my eye on the burgundy brogue). Featuring pieces on Paolo Hewitt, Gary Crowley (both designing shoes for DJ) and modelled by some musical shakers (Del Rogers, Darron Connett, Billy Sullivan) it’s a pleasant advertorial. Being honest, we get hammered over the head by the mainstream media every day of the week peddling us crap so its only right I give some time to an advert for something that i might actually buy. Cynicism aside its well put together and its free. Available from DJ at their website.
mooth travel arrangements make the journey quick and easy. The 7am Belfast to Gatwick flight was there in under an hour, the train station located inside the terminal was almost to good to be true, one swipe of the self service ticket and i was on platform 5 waiting on the 8.25 to Brighton. Sitting on the train you cant help getting nostalgic about Quadrophenia, as corny as it is now, when you were 15 years old it was everything. It’s how we got were we are, and it’s how we live the lifestyle that we do, but more on that later. 25 minutes later i was in a taxi to my hotel to hook up with the guys, John D, Jake, Big John and his Missus Bernie, they arrived over the day before me on Friday.
I didn’t really know what to expect of this famous old English seaside town, the first thing that got my attention as the taxi drove along the seafront was the hulking ghost wreck of the old west pier jutting up from the sea reminding us of its former glory before it was fire damaged many years ago. After checking in and unpacking (far too many clothes for two days, as usual) we walked into town, the weather was a bit overcast but the mood was good. The sound of scooter engines filled the air with people arriving in their droves. We found our way quite easily to Gardiner Street and the famous "Jump the Gun" store. We were greeted by the owner and one of two brothers. The place was buzzing and this is 11am on Saturday morning! After browsing the rails we explored the surrounding streets, record shops, vintage stores, coffee shops. A real haven for any discerning Mod or vintage lover. After a coffee break we headde down to Madiera Drive to the Volks Bar, the venue for the daytime event. It was around 1pm and the place was packed! Scooters everywhere lined up along the front, the thing that got my attention was the amout of vintage Lambretta TVs and Vespa GSs, real quality Scooters. I spotted a few VS5s as well, my dream bike (some day...). Live music was blasting from the Bar, Elgazelle from Manchester and the brilliant Shake 101 from Essex providing the sounds, and the atmosphere was brilliant. The afternoon was spent meeting and chatting to people, it was like a "who's who" of the Mod scene, everyone was there, Paul Boddy, Nick
Marty McAllister reviews 2012’s Brighton Mod Weekender and cops a Q&A with New Untouchables gaffer, Rob
and Karine, and for too many to mention. We hooked up with Gilly and Baz Molloy and settled down for a few beers. The craic was good, and we were joined by Glasgow's favourite son Paul Molloy for a bit of banter. What impressed me most was the amount of Sussed Mods and the attention to detail was spot on. There was also a few not so sussed, but you get that anyway at a big event. New Untouchables head honcho, Rob Bailey looked busy but he stopped by for a chat. He seemed happy with the way the weekend was progressing. Numbers were up by 200 on the previous year coming from Oz, USA, Spain and Italy and the tickets had sold out. Result!
The day was moving on and we went for a bit of food, a fish supper on Brighton seafront (what else) That evening , after a bit of preening, we headed for the town. A few bars located near Komedia, the venue for the evening Do, were packed. Crowds spilled out onto the pavement, sharp suits, haircuts and posing for photos, it was a brilliant buzz just as I expected. 11pm and time to head to the club. Once inside the venue looked brilliant with 2 rooms, Lee Miller was on the decks playing 60s R’n’B and the crowd were loving it. I went for a dander round the venue, meeting people and chatting, had a look in the other room and Glasgow's Holly Calder was Dj’n. The place was rammed with more of a Psych crowd but great atmosphere. I stayed for most of Hollys set, "Holding a Dream" by Gene Latter and "Reviewing the Situation" by Sandy Shaw were just a few tracks that kept the crowd dancing. A few of the guys faded, Gilly was worse for wear (Ii warned him about afternoon drinking!!!). It was 4am and myself and John D were still dancing, troopers for the cause, what a fantastic night!! Time for bed. Sunday morning and the sun was shining, after breakfast we went for a walk to clear the heads along the seafront. Quadrophenia was mentioned and we decided to do the film locations for the craic, the old lock up were Dave and Chalky kipped with the Rockers, the Beachfront Cafe, the Grand Hotel where Jimmy nicks the GS, we saw them all, and the most famous one of all "The Alley". Every line from the movie was quoted a hundred times, but it’s Brighton my Son, it’s gotta be done...
The Scooter rideout was planned for 3pm and the sunshine added to the atmosphere. I’ve honestly never seen so many Scooters in one place, it was a fantastic sight there must have been 800 on the rideout. That evening was a bit of a low key affair. We went to the pub around 9pm, I myself was starting to feel the effects of the night before, the boys went to Komedia and I had an early night.
Brighton 2012 was an experience. It was a big event and very well organised, no trouble and people enjoying the buzz and the company I was in made it all worthwhile. Well done to Rob Bailey and The New Untouchables on a cracking Event! One line I didnt get to say was..."Dave, what are you doing?”
Marty caught up with organizer Rob Bailey....
Well done on the success of Brighton 2012, how was the numbers this year , compared to previous years?
Was up by 200 on last year and has been building year on year since we started seven years ago. The event has sold out the last four years this was the first time we ran two venues on Saturday and Sunday.
There seemed to be a real International flavour this year, how far have People came for this Year’s Event?
New Untouchables Brighton Weekender is a truly international event now with fun seekers from around the globe including Australia, USA and all over Europe.
There seemed to be a real good turnout of proper sussed Mods in Brighton, it seems to be the place to be seen now. Has this always been the case in previous years? It’s been the case from the very first year in 2005 and has grown steadily to 800 in 2012.
Were you happy with this years Event? I thought it was fantastic.....Can you improve on it and how?
I thought 2011 was slightly better but was very happy with this year. We have been promised new air conditioning at the Komedia for 2013 and got a couple of surprises in store.
Music wise, on the Saturday and Sunday Nights there seemed to be something for everyone, although Saturday night downstairs RnB, And Latin Soul favoured heavily. Is this policy, or just let the DJs play what they feel is right?
My team of Chris Dale, Speed, Lee Miller and Pid have been together since NUT’s started and are well respected DJ’s the World over and helped me shape the New Untouchables sound. All of them have been DJ’s on the scene for over two decades and have phenomenal records and most importantly know how to play them. I always pick the guests who always bring something unique and add quality to the event. I trust the DJ’s to play to the audience and very rarely do they fail.
6.Just on an end note , give your Top 5 Spins from the Brighton Weekend.
Never learned to dance - Harvey Averne Dozen. The Hawg - Eddie Kirkland. Sunshine with my girl - Prince Buster One, Two, Boogaloo - The Lite Nites Hold back the sunrise - Ron Gray
Sussed reader Tom Stafford gives us a personal account of the recent ‘Time For Action’ revival weekender held in Madrid...
TOUCHDOWN & TIME FOR ACTION Madrid 23rd November 8pm, we’d arrived, only an hour in Madrid and strolling the streets in search of our first local tavern - Why? Personally I’ve always had a great admiration for how the revival explosion hit mainland Europe, granted that at home we were lucky enough to get the latest vinyl release’s from the top acts quite easilyTbut Europe and beyond things must have been a lot harder I’d imagine. Indeed as the revival swept onwards, each country had their own scene boasting bands, scooter clubs, societies, fanzines and popular named clubs. Spain was no different, I once picked up a second hand vinyl album with an animated covered by a Spanish group called ‘Brighton 64’, in the early eighties. I was hooked, not on this particular album, but the fact European acts were brandishing their own unique style in their own dialect as well as the English language all under the revival bannerT.. Spain has always produced some bands over the years (Brighton 64 as mentioned and Loz Flechazos are two bands that were well established on the scene as well as a number of fanzines ‘In The City’). The fact that this was a charity based event that would see ‘The Purple Hearts’ and ‘The Rage’ play in Madrid along with support from local acts ‘The Frinchers’ and ‘Stanley Road’ plus two all-nighters for the weekend. All the boxes were ticked and now we were there (Myself and comrade Senor Joe Murphy) OPEN ALL HOURS The Frinchers were already on the stage when we arrived at the venue, brandishing a raw powerful sound, and it was quite obvious they had already got the atmosphere at a high tempo for the night ahead. The venue itself was ideal, it seemed to be a local social (residential community) centre which was well known for performing music acts. The Frinchers have had a number of releases to their credit (‘Ice’ being their latest release upon investigation) and a loyal following of fans that knew the tracks which was something to admire for the outsider. The band were created from the ashes of two other acts ‘Los Potros’ and ‘Sunbeat’ both bands releasing material in their careersthere’s something special with The FrinchersTexperienced performers and a tight power pop sound, it was quite easy to admire them and I hope to pick up their release’s in the future. A short break and then on stage, The Rage, creating a buzz directly with the crowd. Derwent Jaconelli started on a high and continued throughout the night embracing the audience with his soulful voice and stage antics.. to hear their only single ‘Looking for You’ was definetly the highlight of the night for me, but backed with cover versions of ‘Louie Louie’ ‘Shout’ and ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’, got the crowd in the party mood. Brett ‘Buddy’ Ascott sporting a fake moustache
and sombrero hat added to the party atmosphere. The night just seemed to pass as quickly as it started with the live acts, and then started the DJ’s, all spinning some classic revival sounds along with Northern Soul Gems, and each DJ receiving applause on completing their time slot. It was easily noticed that they were well known on the Madrid scene. It wasn’t long before the early hours appeared on the watch. Throughout the night alot of the local Mods introduced themselves, delighted that we had made the adventurous journey, some of whom had been at Dublin Modfest some years back, all speaking of their fantastic time in our fair city and country. 4am and stumbling towards the hotel door. One night down, and leaving the party going on behind. What an introductory night to the Madrid scene and an inspiration for the weekend ahead. Madrid is an extensive city easily accessible via their metro system, right from arrival at the airport.. yep all the tourist things are there to do if you’re into tha, but with limited time we knew we had to choose quickly and on Saturday, ‘Plaza de Sol’ area (Sol Metro Station) is the centre point of Madrid offering shops and the cosmopolitan buzz which Madrid is famous for, Sunday, it’s the market locally known as ‘El Rastro’ situated at Plaza da Cascorro (La Latina Metro Station) and this is one market that won’t disappoint, it seems to go on for ever. Offering the usual market items it also boasts lots of vinyl stalls, vintage clothes, and other curiosity stalls, and you’ll need a lot of time to get through it all. This is the place for a real insight into the vibrant people of Madrid and the buzz the city has to offer. But the sheer scale of the market and the amount of people it attracts you have to be quick on the feet and sharp on the eye front.
We return back to the venue for the second time, this time however, there was something special in the night air, a few scooters had already passed us by, and also small groups of parka and suited Mods all making their way in the direction of the venue. ‘Stanley Road’ were on stage as we entered. As the name suggests, a Jam/Weller inspired outfit I’d labelled them from the start, but I was wrong.. a three piece outfit made up of ‘Sabino Lopez’: Guitar/Vocals, Chuce Foxton: Bass and Pablo Alvarez: Drums, held the crowd with their passionate performance to which the local audience knew the songs so well, songs full of energy with a raw edgeT a version of ‘Butterly Collector’, capped the night of a powerful performance. I managed to pick the two singles they’d released on the night ‘Clash
SUSSED REVIEWS City Cooters Ep’ and ‘Mieres-Bridge’, both ear catching pieces for the power pop – punkgarage collector.
The Spanish Mods that introduced themselves the night before re-introduced themselves and gathered us into their company and spoke again of the memorable time they had in Dublin, and although the language barrier was there, it was clear to see they wanted to break the bread and share a drink - we are connected, a sense of belonging, and common bond via the music we are passionate about. ‘I hear Madrid’s the Rocl’n’Roll Capital of the World’, Bob Manton announces, and the Purple Hearts are live in Madrid, ‘I’ve Been Away’. Tonight the venue is crowded .. not only with the Mod following, but with a larger crowd of people who just know the name of The Purple Hearts. For me the Hearts are special, they captured some area of the Mod revival that a lot of the other bands of the day never did. That special sound that is inspired by Small Faces/Creation/Seeds etcTand with Bob Manton’s vocals and the bands persona, the Madrid audience know they’re in the presence of that something special and direct from the start they’re connected and adore every moment of that presence. Anthems ‘Beat That’ ‘Extraordinary Sensations’, ‘Millions Like Us’ ‘My Life’s A Jigsaw’, ‘Can’t Help Thinking Bout Me’, ‘Concrete Mixer’, ‘Jimmy’ and ‘Frustration’ has the atmosphere electric, and even the over powering stage effect of dry ice smoke in which the band disappeared for a moment or two doesn’t deter the audience from singing every word of every songT and then it was over.. or so we thought. Joined on stage with Buddy Ascott still wearing the sombrero hat, and Derwent Jaconelli as well as numerous others involved in the weekend events, more numbers followed, ‘Shout’ and ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’ brought the finale to the live acts of the weekend in a carnival style atmosphere. The sound of ‘Bluebeat’ and ‘Ska’ echoed over the dance floor and the dance floor filled very quickly, moving on to other DJ’s playing Northern Soul with the old gems that I’ve have’nt heard in a long time, again applauded as each finished their set, again each DJ well knownTthen it was over for us, leaving behind a partly filled room of dedicated peopleT.well after 4am I add!!!!!
ABOVE THE CLOUDS Heading home.. our Spanish adventure over.. to write a final note on the weekend that was, a common ground shared through the years in a lifestyle we chose, gracias amigos!!!! The Madrid scene is quite healthy and the one thing that was obvious from the start, it crossed over the generations. People that were involved in the scene from 1979 to the younger crowd only involved in the last few years, all united under the one passion. That was something to be admired and respectedT.well respected. Viva Modrid!!!!
3rd issue of Irish Modernist magazine. Mods, Sussed