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Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Gary Shail – 40th Anniversary Of Quadrophenia

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Gary Shail – 40th Anniversary Of Quadrophenia MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·WEDNESDAY, 10 APRIL 2019

 It is a massive pleasure & honour to feature an interview with English actor, director, producer and musician Gary Shail on “Mods Of Your generation”. Best known for his role as “Spider” in the iconic cult movie Quadrophenia that many of us still admire and talk about today. This year (2019) marks the 40th anniversary of the film which is a massive milestone for everyone involved. The fact that its still talked about today makes it even all the more great. Gary is a great guy who has attended a lot of events over the years in aid to raise money for charity. We asked Gary about his own event coming up called QUAD 40 and about his career and experiences filming Quadrophenia & Jack the Ripper. We also discussed his book “ I think I’m on the guest list” published in 2015 and his Christmas song “ Modding up my Christmas list ” (2017) and more. Gary has done a variety of interviews throughout the years so it was difficult to ask him questions that he hadn’t been asked before, however I hope you enjoy the interview as much as we enjoyed asking the questions. Make sure not to miss out on the anniversary celebration of the movie on Brighton Pier August 25th 2019 for more information go to www.quad40.co.uk#ModsOfYourGeneration

 (1) I have heard you are a huge fan of the Regents a four-piece band based in Essex heavily influenced by the original mod spirt of 1964. Are there any other new bands influenced by the mod scene who you are also a fan of? Yes I’m a big fan of ‘The Regents.’ I’ve known Sea Jays the lead singer since he was 16yrs old and he definitely has the right attitude. Mind you, he has always had the right attitude! Another young band I am really impressed with are ‘The Lapels’ who I saw play in Derby at a MOTM event the year before last. They completely blew the roof off the place, and nobody wanted to go on after them! The drummer was only 14yrs old at the time I think, and I watched them play with his mum! (2) You were just 18 when you were cast to play spider in Quadrophenia. I am sure you have been asked this many times before but did you think Quadrophenia would become the phenomenon it is today at the time of filming.  Of course I didn’t know that I’d still be being asked questions about a film I was in 40yrs ago, but, I think we all knew at the time that it was definitely something special (3) On Christmas 2017 you released a song called “Modding up your Christmas list” to become number one. Have you any plans to do this again in the future. “Very catchy tune by the way LOVED IT” HAHAHAHA..My Mod Xmas Song? Well, I actually got a hell of a lot of flak for doing that by certain people who shall remain permanently nameless. But it was great fun to do, and a lot of people loved it, especially the kids. I had people sending me videos of their children doing dance routines in their living rooms, which was brilliant! But no, I don’t think I’ll be the next Cliff Richard. 

Modding Up My Christmas List- 2017 (Official Video) (4) You have been involved in many MOD and Quadrophenia events over the years. Is this something you enjoy being part of and do you have any memorable moments from any of the events that stand out. Yes I do enjoy all the events I get asked to. Over the years I must have met thousands of people who love Quadrophenia, and it’s always a great feeling when my presence can actually help to raise money for a worthy cause. Some of the funniest memories I have are probably un-printable, but trying to get a kebab in Stoke at three in the morning with Alan May (The Glory Boy Radio Show) doing Withnail & I impersonations sticks firmly in my memory! (5) Your character in Quadrophenia had many memorable quotes in the film. What is the one that fans mention the most? Always the one about getting a gun!  (6) Your book “I think I’m on the guest list” published by New Haven publishing LTD in 2015 was highly regarded and recommended. I found the book to be a very funny memoir of your life and the extraordinary people you have worked with and met throughout your career. Can your briefly describe the book to someone who has not yet read it. The book was actually written because of Gary Holton (The Rocker who beats Spider up) Gary and I became really good mates after Quadrophenia, and actually formed a band together called ‘The Actors.’ But when Gary sadly died in 1985 I never spoke to the press or anyone else for that matter about it. Then I was contacted 30yrs later by someone who was writing a book about him and wanted a contribution from me. I wanted to put the record straight about a few things, so I agreed. The publishers of the book loved what I’d written, so I was offered a publishing deal for my own story. I thought I’d better do it myself before I was dead and some other twat was ‘putting things straight’ about me! It’s certainly not your average autobiography I think, and later on this year I will be doing an Audio Version with a soundtrack, which will be totally different to anything you’ve ever heard I hope. 

 (7) Many fans of Quadrophenia have expressed an interest in a follow up to the film. Is this something that you would support? or like myself do you feel it is best left alone. There has always been talk of a “follow up” But I can’t see that ever happening. It’s always interesting to hear some of the Ideas of what our characters would have been doing in later life though. I think Spider would’ve become a hit-man for Ferdy’s drugs cartel!  

 (8) You are a huge fan of Trojan records, what is your favourite track, album or artist under the Trojan label. Yes I grew up with the Trojan record label, and one of the first artists I remember driving my parents mad with was Desmond Dekker. But I’ve always loved reggae and had a very respectable collection of Jamaican Pre- Releases by the tender age of 13. Last November, I was proudly invited by Neville and Christine Staple to their 50th Trojan Anniversary weekend at ‘Skamouth’ In Great Yarmouth where I actually met ‘The Pioneers’ who were about 100yrs old. They could still cut it though!  (9) This year (2019) marks the 40th anniversary of Quadrophenia (film). To celebrate this, you have organised, and event called Quad 40 in Brighton on the 25th of August 2019. Tell us a little bit about what to expect from the event and where fans can buy tickets. It’s actually on the 25th August Johnny! Yes I have hired Horatios Bar on Brighton Pier from 12 noon ‘till midnight on Sunday the 25th August. And I can tell you now that I never thought I had this much bottle to actually try and pull something like this off. It’s a logistical fu**ing nightmare, but I’m actually really enjoying it. I’ve spoken to almost all of the other cast members of Quad who have all promised to attend (work permitting) but trying to get us all in the same country together is hard enough, let alone on a bleedin’ pier! On that morning before the actual party, Quadrophenia is being honoured with ‘The Brighton Music Walk Of Fame Plaque’ to be unveiled at the pier entrance, so it would be great if there were a few mods about. Tickets and details available at www.quad40.co.uk

 (10) A question received by Jimmy Hemstead follower of Mods of Your Generation and Blogger at MOD TV UK “HI Gary in your younger days was you ever a mod and did you ever own a scooter, can you tell me when and how you got into acting and why please?” Hi Jimmy, love all your art-work by the way!No, I was far too young to be a mod; I was born in 1959, so I was only 5yrs old in 64 and the only scooter I owned was made by ‘Chad Valley.’I never had any ambitions to become a professional actor at all when I was a youngster, but somehow found my way into drama school at the age of 12, thanks to my parents and a couple of Comprehensive High School Teachers who probably just wanted me just out of the way!Quadrophenia was my first professional job when I left. (11) Do you have any plans to release more music, Books etc or what are you doing now that we can look forward to in the future? Yes, I will definitely be writing another book I think, but not part 2 of my autobiography, that would just be a bloody diary. It will probably be about my time working in the advertising industry in the 1990s. You think actors and musicians are crazy? They’ve got nothing on advertising people! Musically though, I never really stop. I had a solo album out last year called ‘Daze Like This’ (see below) which a lot of people liked, and I guested on ‘The Transmitters’ debut album which was great, although I hear that they have now split up. I’ve also recorded a couple of tracks with Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard which are on his ‘Smiley’s Friends’ albums, and I’m back in the studio in a couple of months with ‘The Regents’ for their new album. I’m always writing though, and will hopefully record some of my own stuff probably next year now.

Title track from the album “Daze Like This” (12) Do you keep in touch with any of the main characters of Quadrophenia 40 years on? Yes, I see quite a lot of Trevor Laird (Ferdy) and I’ve recently been working with Toyah. Hopefully I’ll be seeing the others soon  

 (13) What do you regard as your biggest achievement in your career or what are you most proud of? I actually don’t think like that. Everything that keeps me off of the unemployed statistics is an achievement these days! I am extremely proud of my family though, and very recently became a granddad to a beautiful baby girl called Ellie May. I’m very proud about that! (14) In 1988 you appeared as the tough pimp “Billy White” in the tv series of “Jack the Ripper”. Sir Michael Caine also appeared in the series as Chief Inspector Frederick. Caine was a huge influence on British Culture in the 1960’s and referred to by many as a style icon.What was it like working with such an influential person in British pop culture? Making ‘Jack The Ripper’ in 1988 was like a dream come true, and working on a film with Sir Michael Caine was an experience I shall never forget. He was so interesting to watch, whilst he was working on camera, and I learnt a great deal from him. Everywhere you looked on that set there was something extraordinary going on in the acting stakes. Lewis Collins, Armand Assante, Susan George, Jane Seymour, Lysette Anthony, Ray McAnally, Hugh Fraser, Ken Bones etc etc.They were all giving it their all. I was just glad I gave it mine!  

 (15) Finally, How would you like to be remembered?  Just to be remembered at all would be nice!             Again it was a massive privilege to interview Gary shail and a big thank you to followers of “Mods Of Your Generation”, Please continue to show your support.  Please like & share the “Mods Of Your Generation” Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/modsofyourgeneration/ interview conducted by Johnny Bradley for “Mods Of Your Generation”interview (C) 2019 to Johnny Bradley & “Mods of your Generation”                                         

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Mods Of your Generation Interview – Sam Q’s NightPatrol – ‘Mod Bossa’

MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·WEDNESDAY, 24 JULY 2019· 

 SAM QURESHI is an Alto Saxophonist and Composer of Jazz, Mod Bossa & Latin soul. He was born in Pakistan, grew up in Birmingham and has lived in Manchester since 1997. He is a talented & dedicated Jazz Musician with over 35 years working with some big names in the music industry. He has an interesting and exhilarating story to tell. Mods of your Generation are excited to feature him an interview.

Mods took their name from Modern Jazz in London 1958 becoming the phenomenon we know and love today. The culture spread throughout the united kingdom and worldwide, effecting fashion trends in many countries adopting Italian scooters such as Vespas and Lambrettas and tailored suites. It was an essential part of The Swinging 60’s. The original Mods of this exciting new subculture frequently attended Jazz clubs listening to Charlie Parker, Stan Getz and Miles Davis – New Mods are listening to Sam Q catalogue in the same way however some are sceptical and not aware about its original roots. Whether it’s the chill-out Bossa Nova set in the lounge or the late night hot sambas to dance the night away. It has become the re-Birth of The Cool. Sam Q’s Night patrol are the essential sound to take you on a journey back to the roots of the Modernist culture and how it first began.   

1) can you explain the Concept of Jazz Music /Bossa Nova in terms of Mod Culture? It’s the pure History of the UK and Worldwide birth of the Mods. It began in London in the late 50’s at the Jazz Clubs at the time. I guarantee you the members of The Who, The Kinks, Paul Weller will be big Jazz fans – and the former would have been attending Jazz/ Bossa Gigs in the Swinging 60’s -They will have original Blue Note Records in glorious Vinyl of the Jazz/Bossa Nova Masters such as Miles Davis, Stan Getz and John Coltrane. Jack Kerouc in his book ‘’On The Road’’ documented it as ‘’The Beatnics Generation’’ – you can read this blog on my website also https://spinningwheelrecords.com/modbossa

2) Do you think your music would sit in with Modern Day Mods? Yes! I think they are fed up of the norm bands – There are some really cool Mod bands out there for both old and young Mods these days . I think the ‘’New Mod’’ would really dig the sound of ‘Sam Q’s Nightpatrol’’ with the hybrid Latin sounds that Ive invented coupled with infectious rhythms and catchy melodies, it’s a very cool and stylish vibe and they would recognise and identify with their sub culture no problem. Of course, Ska and Northern Soulies also would latch on the Saxaphone influence straight away. My Vinyl EP ‘’Peles Groove’’ proves this with the demand being so great I had to manufacture another run. 

3) Who are the band members of Sam Q’s Nightpatrol? Your not going to believe this but I must have worked with over 100 Musicians since the birth of my Latino adventure called Nightpatrol some 10 years ago!! Jazz musicians are hard to hold as they are in so much demand and they tend to keep moving on with alternative projects. But this gives me such a emphathy with for example the great Saxaphonist John Coltrane and other greats from the 1960’s – as it was the same problem with the quartets he tried to establish. Eventually finding his classic quartet of Garrison, Tyner and Jones. I have used many vocalists worldwide on my compositions also – the greatest musician I used on my ‘’Birdbrain’ and ‘’Secret Bossa Nova’’ tracks is Gibi Dossantos of the Sergio Mendes Band. On my current EP ‘’Lucky Charm’’ I have introduced a young Swedish Girl on vocals called ‘’Maya’’ – I love to nuture and develop- Also my most regular musician bassist Mike Crumpton. 

4) Do you find this movement of musicians very difficult to cope with? The opposite is true. It keeps everything very fresh and new. I always have a nucleus of great musicians available who know my stuff – Although I do strive for my Spiritual line up. My idea is to introduce a new vocalist every 12 months – To give others a chance of breaking through in the music Industry – I think this is important also destroys that old fashioned image of a regular band line up- It’s great when I’m going to do a gig people wondering ‘’will it be Maya or Vanessa or Taylor on Vocals tonight etc’’ – When I tour different countries I will introduce local singers there for example in Los Angeles Fernanda Franco who sang on ‘’Love Spring Fountains’’ in Spain ‘’Almudena Moldes’’ who is the singer on ‘’Birdbrain’’ 

5) What is a typical Sam Q’s Nightpatrol gig like? We normally do 2 sets – The first is what I call the ‘’cool set’’ a selection of gentle Bossa Novas from the Jobim Songbook – as well as many originals both instrumental and vocal. This really relaxes the audience as they get prepared for the later set. It really puts their mind on the alpha levels, of course the alcohol also helps to! The 2nd set is the ‘’hot set’’ fast Bossas and Sambas and the joint really is jumping believe me!! Dancing on the tables. Now who says they don’t like Jazz. 

A live performance of Sam Q’s Night patrol in Manchester UK at Bar 21 playing ”Peles Groove” 6) How important is it to play the Bossa Nova Standards and can you name some of them? I think its very important to play a few standards at each gig as this educates the audience onto the birth of the genre and how they relate to my compositions. The music biz can also see how equally my originals sit with the ‘Masters’ of the past which of course wins me gigs and Record Deals. Proof of this is how well my music is being accepted by the Brazillians themselves and currently been offered a Tour of Brazil. The classic Jobim Tunes I will play are ‘’Desafinado, Wave,Corcovado’’ to name a few we also do the Classic Sergio Mendes ‘’Mas Qu Nada’’ 

7) Your sound seems to be accepted by a much wider audience than the normal Latin Jazz threatening to break commercially – Proof of this is 2 of your past Managers – Can you tell us a little bit about them both? A tear comes to my eyes as they have both now passed away. The great Joe Moss who managed The Smiths and Johnny Marr saw me playing a gig by pure chance in Manchester some years ago and immediately wanted to work with me. I was actually playing in a ‘’Indie Rock’’ venue and instead of the punters leaving they were phoning their friends to get to the venue and we got 5 encores. He saw a parallel with the Indie Music movement of Manchester in the 80s when all the major labels said it would never sell. Joe proved them wrong.. The Smiths sold millions. Joe loved my style of Bossa Nova and encouraged me to keep pushing on a regular giging circuit, ofcourse he would represent me to the Majors and prove them wrong a second time haha.. Bruce Replogle who worked with manifold commercial bands over the years including US Manager for John Lennon heard a few of my tracks on New York Radio Station and instantly phoned me and sent me a management contract – He called us ‘’The Beatles of Bossa Nova’’ – I miss them both dearly.

8) Tell me more about the Major Interest currently and why you think this is? I think Latin Music has come into the forefront of Commercial Music today – Its influence is very apparent such as massive hit Justin Bieber ‘’Depacito’’ – Every week a major seems to release a Latin inspired track – Of course back in the 60s The Beatles touched on this with the Latin inflected ‘’and I love her’’ – But clearly today and now they are searching for the flagship of Bossa Nova – People from Sony, Universal and Warner are actively making contact with me – Im talking right now with Universal Music LA about a potential US Tour to follow up our Brazilian Tour next year. On my Social Media and websites stats you see them monitoring every move I seem to make!! I recently signed a Publishing deal with the original David Bowie and Black Sabbath Team which is another strong indication. 

9) Tell me about your previous releases including your current release ‘’Lucky Charm’’? I have recorded to a high level 8 albums/EPs and recently formed my own label ‘’Spinning Wheel Records’’ to accommodate the business sides. Albums have completely different musicians and vocalists on them as I touched on in a previous answer. They are digitally distributed via Imusica in Brazil who power all the Latin releases worldwide so Im very proud of this. From ‘’How To Steal The World’’ to ‘’ Magnetic Lunchbox’’ to the current ‘’Lucky Charm’’ they seem to be rocking the Industry and music lovers Worldwide. The Vinyl EP ‘’Peles Groove’’ is doing fantastically well in the marketplace. The current ‘’Lucky Charm’’ features vocalist ‘’Maya’’ and is 2 originals and 2 classic Bossa Nova side by side. It includes ‘’The Girl from Ipanema’’ and my original ‘’Magpie and the Squirrel’’ 

10) You were a professional Busker for years and was spotted by Paramount Pictures. How else did busking Jazz in the streets help with your musical development? My busking years started in Birmingham in the early 1990s – and I continued when I first arrived in Manchester in 1998 – It helped me establish my first gigs in Manchester as many Bar owners saw me playing – Busking is a very special artform there’s nothing like it to master your instrument 30 minutes of Busking is equivalent to 4 hours practice!! When you learn something standing in the streets you will never forget it and Studio Session work becomes a doddle. Any fool can go into a Studio with a recording team and high-quality equipment and made to sound good. But busking is the REAL deal the Public aren’t stupid, and they will know immediately if you don’t have the talent. I busked jazz, no backing tracks, and kept the punters happy. I must have played over 1000 tunes across the board, never planning my sets just blowing my Sax and let the spirit take me where it wanted to go. Paramount Pictures Scouts were walking though Manchester during their filming of the remake of ‘’Alfie’’ and approached me to appear in the production as a New York street busker – which was great but but NOTHING beats the feeling when a small child of 4 years of age comes and dances in front of your playing when you are busking and the parents film and put a few pennies in your box. That’s true musical success!! 

11) Tell me about your School Days and your friends growing up? I was 13 years old and sneaked into a Pub in Birmingham in 1978. On my way out I was set about by National Front members in their early 20’s – To my rescue a group of lads black/white in their late teens who turned out be a starting out UB40. Afterwards they took me to their rehearsal room, a shabby old cellar. 12) How did UB40 Influence your musical career? They had learned their instruments from scratch and influenced me to do the same and join the band, but I was still a school kid. I used to play truant from school and watch them rehearse and go to their gigs. I loved watching them develop their reggae sound and how music could deliver such a powerful political message, they were the forefront of the Rock against Racism movement in the early 80s and played with all the Ska Two Tone bands like The Specials, Madness and The Selector. Also, this was my first flavour with the Mods who had adopted 2 Tone at that particular time. In Birmingham I was regarded as the 8th member of UB40 Sax player Brian Travers bought me my first Saxaphone.

England World Cup Anthem Song 2014 Written by Manchester Jazz Musician Sam Qureshi for the Brazil World Cup 2014. 13) Who was your greatest influence to become and succeed as a musician? In one word my Mum. She was my inspiration and kept me going when I easily could have given up. She was my rock in the Industry and I always got my strength from her. She passed away 4 years ago, but I can feel her by my side every single day.      Check out Mods Of Your Generation via the link below https://www.facebook.com/modsofyourgeneration/ Interview by Johnny Bradley – Mods of Your Generation interview (c) Johnny Bradley & Mods Of Your GenerationPhoto (c) Sam Qureshi

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Punk Rock: A Jewish History

From its emergence in the 1970s, punk rock was a movement which concerned itself with the present. Its hallmarks were rock ‘n’ roll, a do-it-yourself attitude and a good sense of humor. As it spread from the U.S. to the U.K., it would also come to include a distinctive political sensibility. Many of the early punks were young people who actively sought to distance themselves from their upbringings, from any kind of ethnic ties, and to form new identities through their art.

Given the punk attitude of leaving the past behind and forging a new way forward, it seems counterintuitive to connect punk rock with Judaism. Yet punk, like many art forms to come out of New York City, has deep roots in Jewish history. From its origins with Jewish musicians in the 1970s to modern-day Jewish punk bands, the histories of Jewish culture and punk rock are deeply intertwined.

Many of the people involved in the original punk scene in 1970s New York were the children of working- and middle-class Jews. Their backgrounds ranged from overtly religious to secular and culturally Jewish, but all of them were formed by their Jewish backgrounds and would in turn bring those influences to their music and performances. These included not just musicians—such as Joey and Tommy Ramone, Chris Stein of Blondie, Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Group, Richard Hell, and all of The Dictators—but also managers, photographers, club owners and more. Punk might not exist as we know it without the Jewish club manager Hilly Kristal, founder and owner of CBGB, the club where many New York punks performed for the first time. Nor would it have made it to the U.K. without Jewish manager and Sex Pistols founder Malcolm McLaren. Jewish record company executives like Seymour Stein recorded the music, while Jewish photographers like Bob Gruen documented the scene for posterity.

However, despite the large Jewish presence in early punk, many were reluctant to discuss their Jewish heritage. Like many Jewish entertainers, quite a few punks took on less Jewish-sounding stage names (like Thomas Erdelyi and Jeffrey Hyman, who became Tommy and Joey Ramone, respectively), while others had their names changed by their parents in childhood, in order to better fit into the American middle class (as with punk godfather Lou Reed, whose father changed the family name from Rabinowitz). Some even went as far as denying or refusing to discuss their Jewish heritage. While for some this may have reflected their discomfort with their Jewish identities, many more undoubtedly did it as part of embracing punk’s freedom to recreate oneself. “The tabula rasa aspect of punk is one of the most important things about it,” says Vivien Goldman, who was a music journalist covering punk in the U.K. in the 1970s and is now the author of Revenge of the She-Punks, a book on women and punk. Although Goldman’s Jewish background is certainly important to her—her parents were Holocaust survivors, and she is a first generation British citizen—she believes that “to be a punk was to liberate yourself from what had gone before.”

This seemed to be the predominant belief among punks of the 1970s on both sides of the Atlantic. Jewish culture was rarely at the forefront of punk music, even if its creators were quietly Jewish behind the scenes. Some offhand references to Jewish culture crept into the occasional song, but these were “few and far between and largely subterranean,” says Michael Croland, author of the books Oy Oy Oy Gevalt!: Jews and Punk and Punk Rock Hora: Adventures in Jew-Punk Land. These references were largely secular and easy to miss, such as The Ramones’s reference to “kosher salamis” in the song “Commando.”

Quite a few punks took on less Jewish-sounding stage names—like Thomas Erdelyi and Jeffrey Hyman, who became Tommy and Joey Ramone.

Something that did become part of the imagery for many early punks—Jews and non-Jews alike—was, counterintuitively, Nazi imagery. Young punks were known to wear swastikas and, particularly in the New York scene, collect Nazi memorabilia. The reason for this can seem difficult to grasp. “They weren’t serious [about being Nazis],” says Goldman, however she also adds, “I didn’t like it, and a lot of us didn’t like it.” One reason for the use of the swastika by U.K. punks, as Goldman and others have speculated, is that it was a way to rebel against their parents, the generation that had lived through World War II and had yet to stop talking about it. In America, Steven Lee Beeber speculates in his book The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s: A Secret History of Jewish Punk that the use of Nazi imagery was a means for Jews to take back control of the narrative, to control former Nazi property, to play with it and poke fun at it as they pleased.

Starting in the 1980s, punk underwent a series of musical and cultural changes. By this point, many of the best-known original punk bands had either broken up or evolved their sound to fit punk’s new commercial market. However, their early work had permanently changed the music world, especially for young people, with new punk bands arising and the genre spawning new offshoots such as post-punk and new wave. Punk was disseminated beyond its original scenes, leading the musical style to be adopted for new purposes. This included, for the first time, Jewish punk bands who embraced their Jewish identity in their music, rather than relegating it to the background.

According to Croland, the first such band was Jews from the Valley, which arose from the L.A. punk scene in 1981. At the time, they were still somewhat of an outlier. While new punk bands like Bad Religion and NOFX carried the 1970s torch in having Jewish members while not making most of their music about Judaism, Croland says that Jews from the Valley began when “one guy was screaming along to ‘Hava Nagila’ one day and thought, ‘I should distort that and put that into a song.’” That guy was Mark Hecht, and the song and the band both became known as Jews from the Valley, and thus began the short-lived career of the first Jewish punk band. Their music incorporated well-known Jewish songs such as “Hava Nagila,” original songs with Jewish themes, and a good dose of Jewish/punk humor and offensiveness. The band broke up after just a couple years, and at the time, it seems there were no other bands making punk music explicitly Jewish.

The 1990s saw punk undergo yet more major changes. In the early and mid-90s, punk (or pop punk, depending on who you ask) became radio-friendly, with bands like Green Day and The Offspring mainstreaming the genre. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, many pop punk bands rose to fame. The other major punk revolution of the decade was Riot Grrrl, a movement which combined punk rock style and aesthetics with feminist politics. Though women had been present in punk scenes since the beginning, feminism was now being brought to the forefront of punk politics, and all-female punk bands such as Bikini Kill were rising to prominence. On a somewhat smaller scale, Jewish identity also became a more prominent feature of punk, helped by the fact that Jewishness was becoming a more acceptable topic in popular music at large (a trend which Croland partially credits to Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah Song”). Though there was not—and is not—really a Jewish punk “scene,” the 1990s was the first time that multiple Jewish punk bands came into existence simultaneously.

Probably the most prominent example of such a band was the Australian group Yidcore. Formed in 1998, they put their Jewish identity at the forefront of their music and performances, albeit not in a particularly serious way. “They were all about shtick,” says Croland, “whether that was drinking Manischewitz wine out of a shofar, getting into food fights on stage with hummus or bagels or falafel, or using their songs to try to woo Natalie Portman.” They drew on the traditions of the early punk scene, not just in musical style, but also in their love of humor and irony, while adding an in-your-face Jewish twist which early punk bands lacked. The group stayed together for over a decade, becoming perhaps the best-known Jewish punk band.

In the 21st century, punk has splintered into many styles and subgenres, including the further development of “Jewish punk” and “punk-influenced Jewish music” as genres unto themselves. With punk so well integrated into the musical mainstream, it is hard to point to an insular “punk scene” such as that of 1970s New York, but instead, punk and its offshoots have spread out, both stylistically and geographically.

MoshiachOi

Moshiach Oi! performing at the book launch for Michael Croland’s Punk Rock Hora in March 2019 (Credit: Shloyo Witriol)

While Jewish punk continues to be a niche genre, several bands have carved out an unabashedly Jewish space in the modern world of punk. Moshiach Oi! is one such band. Formed in 2008 and still active today, the band performs songs with an overtly religious bent, made to showcase its love of Torah. In the realm of cultural Jewishness, The Shondes has become a successful punk band that is open about its Jewish roots. “I came into playing rock music through Riot Grrrl and queercore—radical punk movements that helped shape my aesthetics and politics at a really formative age,” says Louisa Solomon, the band’s singer. The Shondes’ music combines rock and radical politics with references to Jewish proverbs and melodies, a combination which came naturally. “We write as full people informed by all of our experiences,” says violinist Elijah Oberman. “Jewishness is one part of that, just as our experiences as queer or as women or trans/non-binary people are. Jewish stories and ritual are a part of how we’ve come to be who we are, and so are Jewish melodies.”

The Shondes True North

The Shondes at a seder in their new Passover-themed music video “True North” (Credit: Jeanette Sears)

The Shondes

The Shondes

Similarly, punk—both its aesthetic and its attitude—has permeated more traditional forms of Jewish music, including klezmer and simcha music. Younger musicians like Daniel Kahn grew up with punk as part of their musical taste. Kahn has taken aspects of punk and made them part of his klezmer-based repertoire, creating a self-described “radical Yiddish punkfolk cabaret.” Similarly, bands such as Electric Simcha have adapted aspects of punk to simcha music—traditional Jewish music played at celebrations such as weddings. Just as punk has influenced non-Jewish forms of music, forming such genres as pop punk, so too have there been multiple punk-y variations of Jewish music.

The fact that punk has been and continues to be influenced by Jewishness (and vice versa) speaks to the core concerns at the center of both cultures. In discussing why Jews continue to be drawn to punk, Oberman gets to the heart of one of their most essential similarities: “Jews are taught to wrestle with G-d, and to me that also means wrestling with our texts, our rituals, our traditions. When even the things you hold most sacred are always up for debate, I think that can lead to a level of comfort with deep questioning of how things are or are supposed to be. Pretty punk, yeah?”

Written by: BRIANNA BURDETSKY

List of Punk Rock Jews:

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Chuck D of Public Enemy on The Clash

The Clash and Chuck D
Image captionChuck D on The Clash: “They taught us to fight for what really matters”.

When Public Enemy frontman Chuck D was introduced to the righteous punk of The Clash, he didn’t get it.

“I thought they were a bunch of people with brand new music that were whining about their existence,” he tells the BBC.

“I didn’t think their problems were as severe as black people’s problems, but oppression is oppression and abuse is abuse.

“At that age I didn’t know how much their pain was. I do now.”

What the rapper later discovered was a band who were unafraid to take artistic chances, filing front-line reports on the poverty, boredom and lack of opportunity facing the British working class.

Fiery and idealistic, their music nonetheless seemed alien to a hip-hop fan in Long Island… until Chuck D’s friend Bill Stephney told him Public Enemy should be the rap equivalent of The Clash.

“The idea was that we were going to do something that would have a level of intellectual heft,” Stephney later recalled.

“It would have some substance to it, but it had to rock the party.”

The song that first made Chuck D “pay attention” to The Clash was The Magnificent Seven – unsurprising, given that it was itself inspired by the boombox rap of Grandmaster Flash and the Sugarhill Gang.

Built around a loping bass line (played by Norman Watt-Roy of the Blockheads) it saw Joe Strummer pick apart the human cost of capitalism, as he chronicled a day in the life of a minimum wage supermarket employee.

The Clash
Image captionThe Clash originated from the punk scene but quickly outgrew it

The combination of rap and a social message made a big impression; and Chuck cannily noted that reporters often talked about The Clash’s message as much as their music.

“They talked about important subjects, so therefore journalists printed what they said, which was very pointed,” he told NBC earlier this year.

“We took that from the Clash, because we were very similar in that regard. Public Enemy just did it 10 years later.”

Musically, Public Enemy were just as revolutionary, with cacophonous soundscapes that relied on avant-garde cut and paste techniques, brutal beats and the squeal of police sirens.

But of all the qualities they shared with The Clash – from attitude and lyrical urgency to musical innovation – Chuck says the most important was “fearlessness”.

Both bands fought for social and racial justice, and both faced criticism for their depictions of police brutality: The Clash on Know Your Rights and Public Enemy on Fight The Power.

But they remained staunchly, defiantly independent – even though, in The Clash’s case, they were signed to (and in some cases strait-jacketed by) a major international record label.

Chuck D suggests that most modern acts lack that spirit.

“Bands today want to sell out,” he says. “They’re not pressured to stay broke and unknown and unpopular.

“They want to be popular and known and able to make a living… so it’s hard to tell young people to stand up for something and not worry about being paid.

“And who can blame them? As you grow up, you gotta work. They want to be able to do their music and art and make a living at it and you gotta honour that.”

Public Enemy
Image captionChuck D and Public Enemy – the band he once described as an “information portal”

If you think the firebrand rapper sounds like he’s mellowing out, you’d be right.

Whereas once he declared: “Elvis was a hero to most / But he never meant [expletive] to me,” the 58-year-old no longer agrees with The Clash’s 1977 manifesto, “No Elvis, no Beatles or Rolling Stones”.

“Time has erased the golden idols and the only thing that fights against time is the proper curation of their works,” he says, presumably with one eye on his own legacy.

His own contribution to preserving The Clash’s legacy comes in an eight-part podcast, produced by Spotify and BBC Studios, which follows the punk heroes from their origins at the 1976 Notting Hill riots, to their clashes with the National Front, their struggle for creative control and their later experiments in funk, jazz, reggae and dub.

“It’s the story of a band that changed everything,” he says.

“They taught us to fight for what really matters – and to do it as loud as hell.”

Stay Free: The Story of The Clash is available now on Spotify.

Check out Subcultz event, The Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton

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Interview – The Kite Collectors

Mods Of Your Generation – Interview – The Kite Collectors MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·SATURDAY, 21 DECEMBER 2019 The band is based in Wiltshire UK and formed 2013, taking their main inspiration from the music of new wave and the 1960’s. The result is a mixture of influences and attitudes with a quality blend of infectious energetic melodies that literally fizzles in the ears. The band have attracted a huge fan base and the new album is greatly received by many. The band stopped gigging to concentrate on their studio work and “Never Look Down” is the result of the last 18 months. The album is superb and is instantly one of my favourites of 2019. Every song is relevant to the daily struggles of life and the lyrics bring some understanding, comfort and peace.Robby Allen the lead vocalist and song writer captures the true struggles of daily life in many of the tracks. A great example of this is the song “The Ballad of Mental health Issues” Making the tracks clear and relevant to the listener.Robby Allen has been an advocate of the mod/garage scene for many years. He found success in the late 1980s with garage rock outfit The Mild Mannered Janitors. Support slots include The Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets, The Prisoners, The Prime Movers, Steve Marriot, The Godfathers, Zoot Money, Graham Day and the Forefathers with many more.Buddy Ascott (Chords) and two-time KCs producer Sam Burnett (Back To Zero) referred to drummer Pete Summerfield as one of the best out there. We aren’t going to argue and certainly agree. Everyone who contributed to this from the sound engineer Keith Holmes who worked on some of “The Yardbirds re-masters to Robby Allen and the whole band, I would like to thank you all for providing me with some great music to listen to and cherish. 

The Kite Collectors Promo – Never Look Down 

When was the band formed?

I started work on the first album in 2012. The first version of the band was formed in 2013 in Wiltshire, UK.

Where does the name Kite Collectors come from?

The original idea behind the Kite Collectors was to be like John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in which I would be at the centre of it and bring in people to augment it. They would be the ‘kites’ that I collect. That was what the first album ‘Mildred’s Tree’ was. The main addition to it was my former bandmate from The Mild Mannered Janitors Steve Duffield (he also played in the Beta Band and now with Steve mason). He is a brilliant bassist with a talent for finding bass melody. Towards the end of that first album I also roped in Pete Summerfield to play drums. I had seen him play live a number of times and asked him to be in a band before but he was always busy doing other things – then I got lucky and he said yes. I added Dave Roe on guitar and Bryn Evans on organ; bassist was a young lively lad called Tom Williams. We had one practice and then did our first gig. That was it really – after that we started travelling the country playing – building up a really loyal set of followers. 

The Kite Collectors live
The Kite Collectors live

The new album “Never Look Down” is dedicated to the Glory days Choir. Who are they?

In 2015 I was travelling back from work and was thinking about call and response songs – I wanted one for the people who spent their hard earned cash in coming to see us. Something I could dedicate to them. So, I wrote Glory Days. I sang it into my phone in a traffic jam and then finished it when I got home. There’s so much that we moan about in life but I think it’s important to also remember that we have good days too. We’ve lost a lot of friends recently because we are now at that age where time and illness catches up. It’s just a call to remember that some days are great, especially when we’re together and that one day we will look back on these days with fondness too. These are our glory days. We call those who follow the band the ‘Glory Days Choir’. 

Tell me about some of the bands musical influences?

John Mayall, Small Faces, The Who, The Beatles, Medway sounds like The Prisoners and the New Jersey sound of The Smithereens; mix in a little classical music from Mendelsohn and you have what I write. Steve Marriott was my music hero though – my favourite song of all time is Tin Soldier. I got to support Steve 3 or 4 times in the 1980s. He was playing with the Packet of Three. I remember when he had just sound checked (which consisted of him touching the jack lead and saying ‘yeah, that’s alright,’) he started playing a keyboard. I was sitting on the edge of the stage with my music hero behind me playing blues licks on the organ and I thought that music life couldn’t get much better than that. I was chuffed when he remembered my name next time we played with him – although he did tell me to ‘fuck off’ out of the dressing room later the same night because I kept interrupting him with requests from people to sign stuff. 

kite collectors live at The Fiddlers Elbow
kite collectors live at The Fiddlers Elbow

What inspired you to write & record the new album?

After a gig in London I got quite ill, really bad actually – mental health wise. On the way home in the car, curled up in the footwell; I realised that I needed a break. I was feeling a bit broken. I said to Pete and others that we wouldn’t gig anymore and kept talking about the Sgt Pepper model – where you write and record but don’t gig it.I started building up songs and demos again and I did consider putting them out as a solo thing. But – Pete is such a brilliant drummer I didn’t want to do it without him. He is also like part of my sanity in music. He is a bit crazy but with me he is often the reasonable one – like the adult. He brings so much energy to the songs. The whole feel of the album is one of creating space for all of the elements to stand out. It also meant convincing Pete to be more repetitive in the beats he plays – he found it a challenge but does it brilliantly. It’s basically me and him and a few guest singers. I play everything apart from the drums.We recorded 24 songs – I always have loads more than we need for an album. I have never stopped writing. I’ve had more time to play with these tracks than I did with the previous album (Shockerwick 135). It has been more like it was with Mildred’s tree or Clockface. I enjoyed the process and freedom much more. 

What is the meaning behind the new albums music & lyrics?

Window World starts with a big Hammond Organ sound. It’s like those big classical pieces that are meant to make you think ‘wow – it’s started’. I love the way it stays on the last chord of the intro and the Lesley amp sound pulsates. We wanted to keep it really airy. Not fill the space too much – that’s why it is organ, bass and drums at first. The electric piano comes in later and the guitar not until the solo. Like a lot of the album it talks about a relationship. The contrast between people and that awful cynicism that can set in – that’s in the line: ‘I gaze upon the sun and feel the rain’.This is Me Again was a quick song to write – many are. I sat down with my Rickebacker 330 and just started thrashing at it – simple chords in which I could paint a picture of normal life. It’s a comment on the mundanity of life and how we navigate it. Wayne Lundqvist Ford is singing backing on it and does a great job.Let it Reign had a weird start. I was thinking about the way Steve Duffield does a little shuffle on stage when he plays bass – I’d just seen him with Steve Mason. I then wrote around that movement he does. When I was doing the guide vocals one of my dogs barked and I liked it – so I kept it in and looped it at the beginning. What I like most about the song is the way the bass stays on one note for the first part and the guitar chords change over it. I also messed around with percussion – sometimes it sounds a little out of time but then comes round in time. It’s uncomfortable then comfortable again in a sequence over the chorus. It’s another relationship story – mostly about how little we listen to partners sometimes.Fly Away was an older song that I brought forward and re-recorded. I asked Anne-Marie Crowley from the Speed of Sound to do the backing. I knew she would do a great job so just left her to do what she does best. It really zips along and has a great 1960’s feel.Hallelujah Goodbye is a bit strange. It was another older song that I re-recorded. It’s a bit psychedelic I guess as I’m just playing with words and phrases. Sometimes things don’t make much sense but the words just fit in the melody. I wanted the regular chugging sound like a helicopter in it and that was achieved through a trance keyboard sample and piling on effects to get where it is now. It acts as additional percussion.Soothing is an out and out three minute three-piece band wonder. Bit of feedback and then smack – straight into it. It’s good to crank the amps up and just let Pete go nuts on the drums.In Strawberry Time Again I wanted to tell a fuller story about someone remembering a complete and brilliant weekend at a cottage with their partner who is left full of regret that in the end it didn’t work out because they didn’t say the things they wanted to. Later they go back to the place but end up just getting drunk and falling asleep in a barrel in a garden. The versus are in mono and then switch to stereo for the chorus. The song ends with a mass of swirling backward guitars and Pete thumping his way round the kit.The Ballad Of Mental Health Issues was written on the piano – I don’t do that very often. I was wary of exposing these mental health elements of myself to friends and the Glory Days choir in this way but, I think people are more accepting of anxiety and similar issues now and I wanted to speak about mine. I orchestrated around the song with strings. The vocal is prominent in the mix because although the music sounds great we wanted the words to stand out above all.

The Kite Collectors – The Ballad of Mental Health IssuesYou is a nightmare. That was how I saw it – as a really bad dream. There is so much trivia in life that we just get stuck in a loop about. That’s what the solid guitar and hypnotic drum is about – that brain loop where it just won’t shut up and you’re almost screaming at yourself that none of it actually really matters. But you don’t listen to yourself. John Armstrong from Speed Of Sound did backing on this – He has a great unusual singing voice and I layered it and put it through a bunch of effects to make it sound like an ethereal keys sound.Take Me With You Please has the feel of a Smithereens song I think; that New Jersey sound. I love Pat Dinizio – he was heavily into The Beatles, as am I – and I guess that comes through. It’s driven by an acoustic guitar and jangly Rickebacker. The person it is describing is trying to reassure them self that the person they want will want them – even though friends are talking the possibility of it down.A Form Of Hello was written around a drum loop and a repeated jangly Rickenbacker riff. I added a harsher sounding guitar beneath it to give it an edge and then we took the loop out and Pete replaced the beat with his own. It has some weird stuff going on underneath from sounds and effects I was playing with at the time – including playing a spring on an old desk lamp with violin bow and then a drumstick.I was a little concerned about the song ‘pretending’ because it has a double meaning. It is about someone considering suicide – that’s what it means by ‘don’t be too keen’.; but metaphorically it’s also about being on the edge from a mental health or stress point of view. At the end of the song there is quite a lot going on with guitars and strings and flutes – the idea was that although the e-piano riff at the end continues going, the other instruments would be added as it progressed. It builds up to that last organ chord.Icy You is quite psychedelic. It had a simple premise – one guitar riff throughout that sounds like it is three different guitar riffs by changing the sound of it. The vocal melody for each verse is also completely different. It was like I had to write three songs with one tune – I loved the difficulty of that. Pete plays a very mechanical beat too – a challenge as he is usually a bit of an animal on the kit!Never Look down is very personal. It’s about the advice you get from a loved one that you now miss because geographically or physically they are no longer around you. It’s sort of about their positive impact on you and the lessons you learn and take forward. It’s parents, grandparents, friends that accept your ‘character’ and help you.

Where do you find inspiration for your music and lyrics?

From the things I listen to, things that people say and how I feel. Sometimes I work on a song for weeks on and off and sometimes it just appears out of nowhere. There is a song called Tell Me it’s Real (on Icon Paradox) that I started and I turned a recorder on and sang it. It came out fully formed. I then listened back and wrote down what I had sung. The song wonder (on Clockface) came because of that famous photo of the little boy on the beach who had drowned. I didn’t write about that as such but it set a feeling that inspired the song.

The Kite Collectors – ‘Wonder’ (Clockface Promo) 

The band have had so many great reviews and have worked with various people throughout the years – tell me about some of those people?

Two that had a massive affect were not band members but on the production side of our stuff – that often gets overlooked and so I’d like to mention them. A fantastic talented guy called Keith Holmes mixed and Mastered the new album – he was with me for the Box Dwellers ep too and came in to try and save Shockerwick 135 which was in trouble till he came along. We worked very closely on the sonic feel for the new album. Sam Burnett (Back to Zero) mixed and mastered Clockface – he completely bought into the story and worked so hard on it with us. He also worked on Glory Days single.

The Kite Collectors: Album Shockerwick 135 

Have you any future gigs or charity events coming up?

We’re going to get back out there in 2020 although we don’t intend to play quite as much as we were before. Do some special things that we’re hoping to announce soon. Have fun and meet great people.

The Kite Collectors – Inside Out – Dublin Castle – 19th October 2013 

What has people’s reaction been to the new album?

It’s been great. We’ve tried to push things forward a bit more. So, some elements on it are different – you can’t stand still and just do the same thing. Sam Burnett once talked about ‘progressive mod’ and I completely understand what he means. You can still have that core that sits at the centre of what you are musically and sub-culturally; and then you push at it. It’s not easy selling music these days but the glory days choir is wonderfully loyal and we are continuing to gain new members to it.

What can we look forward to and expect from the Kite Collectors in the future?

We’re going to get out gigging to promote the new album – where and when will be on our facebook page I guess. Hopefully people will come and see us and have a chat – which we love to do. We will have a new bassist and Dave Roe is going to return on lead guitar. I’ve been writing an album for Katie Hallam (Fay Hallam’s niece) with organist/orchestrator Dave Pinching; Pete is going to play drums on it. I’m also working on other new material that I will hopefully have another guest vocalist for in the New Year. The Kite Collectors available catalogue can be ordered through Paisley Records. Support real, original music. http://www.paisleyrecords.com      Copyright © Mods Of Your Generation, Johnny Bradley 2019, All Rights Reserved. Logo & Image Credit The Kite Collectors & Chips 2019. No part of this review may be reproduced without the permission of the authors.

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Author Andy Morling – “Mod Ghosts”

Mods Of Your Generation – Interview – Andy Morling – “Mod Ghosts”

MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·WEDNESDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2019

 Mod Ghosts a first book by new author Andy Morling who grew up in a working class family in the Suffolk market town of Ipswich. This book resonated with me in so many ways, it is a detailed account from many people who grew up in urban Britain featuring first hand accounts from the people who influenced a Mod Revival together with period and present day photographs. The book explains each individuals account on discovering how mod changed there outlook on life, How it shaped their existence and identity. Showing how it lead them from young teenagers into adulthood. Each persons interpretation of mod is different and it means something different to many who attach themselves to the phenomenon. Each persons account is different but it doesn’t mean its not mod. The book also highlights the places these people grew up in and how modern Britian has changed somewhat forty years on. The thing most interesting thing about the book is how the subculture affected people in many different ways and the different experiences each individual had growing up in the respective hometowns across the UK.  

 As mod continues to evolve and many young people discover the scene today each person brings their own adaptation. Despite the book being called “Mod Ghosts” the subculture has stood the test of time were others have faded. I highly recommend this book and its definitely something you need as part of your collection. This book is everything I want to say about mod but don’t have the intelligence, intellect, and vocabulary to explain. I wanted to find out more about the man behind the concept and was excited, honoured and privileged to interview him.INTERVIEW BELOW 

What is the main concept of the book?

 Mod Ghosts is the first product from The Mod Project which I began in 2016. The thinking behind the broader project is to offer a series of slightly different perspectives on the Mod experience. My ambition is to follow up the book with further multimedia sub-projects hopefully including film and the visual arts.To answer your specific question, the idea behind Mod Ghosts was threefold. Firstly my aim was to identify and contrast iconic photos of original and revival Mods with shots taken at precisely the same location in the present day. I’ve always been very attracted to these ‘then and now’ type image comparisons and, as a lifelong Mod, this was a natural choice in terms of subject matter.I’ve been doing this on Twitter for a few years now and, in time honoured fashion, the positive reaction led me to consider publishing a book. As a child of the sixties, my thinking was that books are somehow more permanent than social media. I’m not sure that’s actually true but either way, I really wanted the memory of these places and these people to endure.In addition to the photographic comparisons in the book, I was also lucky enough to secure first hand accounts from revival Mods by way of interview. Each story was unique and fascinating and I hope this adds context and a human dimension to the atmosphere created by the photos. In simple terms, I wanted to illustrate how both the urban settings and the people depicted in the photos have changed over the last four decades.The third and final element of the book is my own commentary on the Mod phenomenon. Quite apart from the external, visible signals of Mod observance, for me, Mod has been a powerful internal driving force. A philosophy. Astute readers of the book will no doubt notice references and quotes from the great Stoic philosophers from ancient history. I’ve long believed that Stoicism captures the very essence of Mod. I would hazard a guess that this is the first time this school of thought has featured in a book about Mod! As a friend of mine said in jest recently, the Romans were the first Mods.I also wanted the book to capture some of the lasting emotional impact of the subculture on me as a person. Sounds a bit introspective and indulgent, I know, but I hope at least some of that resonates with many others. I’m also an opinionated old sod so I had one or two controversial views that I simply had to surface! 

This book highlights how mod changed the life of those who followed it. Why was it important to tell their story?

I’m under no illusion that Mod Ghosts isn’t the first book to tell the story of those who were there during the Mod revival. In fact, its not even the first this year. With the very greatest respect to those featured in the book, what I wanted to do with Mod Ghosts was to focus on the lives of the subculture’s more ordinary participants from across the country.By the start of the 80s, every village, every town and every city supported a population of Mods. These folk made the movement the culture tour de force it was to become. These were the last generation truly to have experienced youth subculture in its purest sense so their experiences need to be recorded. They are also good people whose lives have been shaped to some extent by their experiences forty summers ago.Forging an identity from the assimilation of musical, stylistic and other cultural cues in early adolescence was standard fare for those of us born in the sixties. I think sometimes we fail to appreciate what an unusual trajectory this is for our 21st century counterparts. For that reason alone, I think these are stories worth telling.

The book covers accounts from various people throughout the UK. I imagine this meant a lot of travelling. What was that like and did this become challenging?

Fortunately I was able to carry out interviews by correspondence so travel wasn’t an issue in that regard. Where I racked up the miles was in identifying the locations for the period photos and then taking the present day shot. There were one or two Homer Simpson moments when I arrived home after a day on the road only to find that i hadn’t quite captured the correct angle or, in one notable case, I’d taken a fantastic photo of the wrong house. I’m indebted to John Gale for saving me from having to make a third long trip to Hastings in as many months for a few shots I’d totally messed up twice previously. 

Why was it important for you to tell the story of the people but also the places in which they grew up, discovered the subculture and attached themselves to it?

I think we are all the product of the place of our birth and upbringing. The history and culture of these places imprints itself on our personality, attitudes and beliefs more than we recognise. Location leaves a trace on our DNA. I like to think of it as the human equivalent of terroir in wine production.So in the book I wanted to contextualise the lives of these young Mods by telling a small part of the history of the geographical backdrop of their young lives. I’m particularly fascinated by the spiritual artefacts that attach themselves to certain places. Tens of thousands of special moments lived by tens of thousands of ordinary people leave a palpable feeling in a single place over the course of history. Hard to explain satisfactorily but I find it mind boggling. I particularly enjoyed researching the historical origins of the legendary Phoenix in London’s West End. I don’t think I’ll ever walk past the pub again without thinking of its near and very distant past. 

A lot of books highlight how the mod scene grew in London. Did you purposely choose how the mod scene affected many of those beyond a particular place?

As our political and cultural capital it was impossible to ignore London when writing about Mod. I take my hat off to the influential London based figures that gave the rest of us this wonderful thing and those that have written so eloquently about them.But yes, it was a conscious decision also to focus on the small town Mod experience. I lived my Mod life in nondescript town in Suffolk with fewer than 100 others of a similar persuasion for company. The passion and commitment we provincial peacocks had to Mod’s core principles was in no way diminished as a consequence. I was never a face by any measure, not even in my home territory of central east Ipswich, but I certainly gave it all I had. I think the same can be said for those whose story I had he privilege to tell.

The book demonstrates how the urban landscape has changed over many years. Why was this an important factor to depict through photography showing the places then & now?

As I said earlier, I’ve always enjoyed comparing ‘then and now’ images. The urban environment has changed dramatically in the last forty years, particularly with the slow collapse of high street retail, the decline in the pub trade and the cultural vandalism of the working class home. I wanted to say something about this pictorially. Few of the present day photographs illustrate an improved landscape so I also wanted to stimulate conversations between the generations about why this might be. I don’t have the answers but I hope my book will at least pose the questions. 

Why do you think mod means so much to many different people and why it has stood the test of time from a small group of young teenagers in the 60’s to become a worldwide phenomenon?

That’s a tough question. In the blurb to the book I say that it is the capacity of Mod to change with people that ensures its continuing relevance today. What I mean by that is that Mod remains accessible, even in middle-age, in a way that no other subculture can manage. I enjoy the knowing glance of recognition when my eyes meet those of a fellow Mod on a crowded underground train in London, for example. The signals are generally subtle but we both know instantly. I love that about Mod. It’s not about parkas or patches but about heavily nuanced influences and vanishingly small stylistic cues.I talk at length in the book about the way in which Mod provided a robust platform from which to launch into adult life. From my own perspective, I believe my life would have been very, very different had I not discovered Mod. I think this is the same for many of my peers. The continuing value of a comparatively sophisticated appreciation of music and clothing and a broader sense of style should not be underestimated. 

The book has already had many great reviews in a few short weeks of being published. What has people response to the book been like?

Truly humbling. I’ve been genuinely staggered by the enthusiasm with which the book has been received and the kindness of the comments made about it. As a first time author rather than an established name in Mod literature, an investment in my book was always going to be a leap into the dark financially. I’m extremely grateful to those who are open-minded enough to make that leap and I hope the content of the book repays their faith. My aim all along was to offer something a bit different and something that is beautiful to look at and own. I’ll be more than happy if I’ve managed to achieve those things alone. 

Can we expect any further books, projects or anything else in the future?

Oh yes. I’m already planning Mod Ghosts 2 and as I mentioned at the start of the interview, I hope to take the concept into other areas such as film, television, photography and maybe even poetry and fine art. Watch this space.Despite a healthy catalogue of Mod related books in recent years, I still believe there is more to be said about this thing of ours. I’m less interested in showcasing the razzmatazz of Mod culture and the bigger ticket aspects of the scene. For me it’s all about the ephemera and those beautifully elusive, almost indefinable subtleties that give Mod it’s unique meaning. 

Is there anything else you feel you’d like to highlight about the book?

It would unforgivable if I didn’t thank the wonderful people that allowed me to tell their stories in words and pictures. To John and Ed Silvester, John Gale, Dave Ratcliffe, Billy Drinkwater, John Nicholson and Del Shepherd, I thank you all. True gentlemen each one. Many more contributed original photographs for which I’m eternally grateful.I also really appreciate the opportunity to have this interview and I wish you continuing success with Mods Of Your Generation.

To get your copy of the book use the link belowhttps://modghosts.co.uk/product/mod-ghosts/Like & share there Facebook page belowhttps://www.facebook.com/Mod-Ghosts-202944413598062/  Copyright © Mods Of Your Generation, Johnny Bradley & Andy JM 2019, All Rights Reserved. No part of this review may be reproduced without the permission of the authors.

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The Grenadiers- New Album ‘Salute’ Review & Interview

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – The Grenadiers- New Album ‘Salute’ Review & Interview

MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·TUESDAY, 18 JUNE 2019

Band Line upLead Vocals/Songwriter – Kevin SaneElectric Guitar – Gary CochraneBass Guitar – Matt HillRhythm Guitar – David Nevard

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘SALUTE’

lead vocals and songwriter Kevin Sane from ‘The Grenadiers’ approached Mods Of Your Generation and wanted us to review their new album and feature in an interview. He kindly sent me a copy before its release. The band are in the progress of setting up social media platforms to promote the album and are seeking out a drummer to add to the line up. The band are also looking for a manger so that they can focus on their songwriting. Their previous album ‘Mr. Cribbins released by Detour Records received a lot of great reviews from fans and magazines appearing in The cult shindig and Heavy soul Fanzine magazine. The new album is just as great as the last with soulful 60’s melodies and a Rock n Roll riff. There is definitely a punk element in there too. While first listening to the album it is straight away apparent that the band are heavily influenced by The Kinks & The Small Faces. The lyrics are superb with a very British sound and feel like many people could relate. Tracks such as Ruby, Scooter Boys, No More Bets are ones that stand out. I highly recommend this album and wish the band ongoing success as they plan to promote the album and start building up a fan base. The album will be available on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play & Deezer from 19th July 2019.

INTERVIEW – THE GRENADIERS

(1) What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?

 usually I sit down with a cup of tea and answer questions but on this occasion I am out of tea bags. have to settle for fellow birds coffee. the last gig I went to which I absolutely loved was watching The Stranglers play at the Cambridge Corn Exchange in 2017 . brilliant band . 

(2) Which subcultures have influenced you?

which subcultures have influenced me. A lot of the time its from the 60’s and late 70’s early 80’s. very into Elvis Costello. I am a Big David Bowie fan but I love the music from the band The Cars. 

(3) A song and band that has inspired you?

The song” Drive” by The Cars inspired me to write Crying out, its one of those universal songs that touch the soul.

(4) Where do you find inspiration for your song lyrics & music?

a lot of time my own experiences and watching or watching TV. 

(5) How and when was the band formed?

The Grenadiers actually was a band I formed in Aberdeen. The Name came from my home town of Colchester being it has always been an Army barrack town

(6) Why the name ‘The Grenadiers’ and who come up with it.

The Name came from my home town of Colchester being it has always been an Army barrack town . it has its own military tattoo each year where all the different regiments parade down the high Street. 

(7) Your first first EP which featured songs such as Mr cribbins/ Kosha / Mrs Raven/ Pillars Of The Lambeth Row/ Toy Grenadier. All are a great sound, how would you describe the bands style.

Its different and diverse . there are songs that are clearly heavily inspired by post new wave and then on the other spectrum we do quite a lot of 60’s inspired music.

(8) your first EP was released by the label Paisley archive records. Are you still signed to them?

know we are not currently signed to paisley archive records at the moment. 

(9) The Band were invited to open up for The BlockHeads at Colchester Arts Centre. Which I briefed for the band was a huge honour. Can you tell me a bit about that?

The blockheads gig was amazing an absolute buzz. The Arts Centre was completely packed to the medieval rafters and the noise from the place. The atmosphere was electric. The Blockheads still cut the mustard and we played a blinding gig. I think Big Boys Don’t cry had its first performance that night and we nailed it. We couldn’t unfortunately stick around to enjoy the blockheads as we had to 2 gigs booked in one night so we played that gig in Colchester high street after our set list finished. An absolute great night, You just cant beat playing live really. 

(10) The first EP had a lot of great reviews and was well received and featured in the music magazine Shindig. How did that feel?

The review in shindig magazine was weird . having your music reviewed then next to it you see Ziggy Stardust @ The spiders from mars on the same page. we are very proud of the Mr Cribbings EP. I wish now looking back it should have been called “Pillars of The Lambeth Row” but never mind.

(11) Your new album will be released soon. Where can fans buy or download it.

The release date for the album will be Friday 19th July on all online stores. I tunes / Spotify/ Instagram /apple music. Its our first album and all the songs have something appealing in themselves.

(12) Have you got any future gigs coming up and what’s next for the band?

Playing live is the next stage. Already have a true professional bass player by the name of Matt Hill and Gary Cochrane who are former members of the mod influenced group ‘Pure Mania’. Along with Dave Nevard, when we find a suitable drummer I think it wont be too long before our next gig will be announced. 

(13) Who produced the new album Salute?

Two tracks ‘Ruby’and ‘Big Boys don’t cry’ were produced by Greg Haver at Modern world Studios near Wales. He has produced man of the Manic street Preachers material and they have recorded many of their material there. The rest of the tracks were produced by myself and David Nevard (Rhythm Guitar – The Grenadiers)  I wish The Grenadiers & Kevin Sane all the best for the future   check out our other interviews and please like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram @mods_of_you_generationInterview conducted by Johnny BradleyMods Of Your GenerationInterview (c) Mods Of Your Generation 2019  

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Punk Is Coming Back To Save The Planet

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