Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mods: time goes by, and the kids are still alright

After taking a look on our T-shirt collection, you may have realised that we feel close to the Mod movement.Is it possible to be a mod in the 21st Century? We consider “Modism” not only a trend or a music style, but an attitude. And that’s how we approach to it.

Of course we know the origins and the ritual. It all began in England in the early 60s (although you could argue there were previous urban tribes that would later evolve into Mods). Young white English guys who started listening to black American music (blues, soul, jazz, gospel) and would soon create a new rock sound that expressed the anger and the ambition of a new era.

The Who, The Small Faces, The Creation and many other bands would become the avant garde of the mods, their megaphone. The great Pete Townshend was seen as the leader by these young numbers that felt so identified with his fierce guitar-playing and his songwriting, so personal. “I Can’t Explain”, “My Generation”, “The Kids Are Alright” and many other Who songs became hymns for the mods. Clearly, this was something different from beat bands (like The Beatles) or white rhythm and blues groups (like The Stones).
"Modism, Mod living, is an aphorism for clean living under difficult circumstances," said Who publicist Peter Meaden. And that’s why the music of these groups was so important. It expressed the feeling and the way of life of a new generation that invaded every street of English cities and would remain as one of the symbols of the swingin’ London.

Mods felt identified with them, and also with a number of things that became a ritual (as you can see on the classic movie Quadrophenia):

  • a red, white and blue logo (taken from the Royal Army Force airplanes)
  • an argot (“number”, “face”, etc)
  • clothes (clean and new suits, parkas, three-button Fred Perry polo T-shirts, Levi’s trousers)
  • neat haircuts
  • scooters with dozens of rear mirrors (Lambrettas or any other Italian brand)
  • Rickenbacker guitars
  • Pills
  • Weekends at Brighton (including violent fights against the Police and the Rockers, the other big urban tribe that rivalised with Mods)

Besides this stuff (and we believe some if it is really forgettable, specially the riots in Brighton beaches), in I love Waterloo we prefer to think of “Modism” as an attitude, as we previously stated. In fact, if it is still alive, it is because many others felt the same, like Paul Weller, The Jam and all the Mod-rock revival movement during the Punk Rock years. Or like Damon Albarn in the 90s Britpop era (Does anyone can deny that a masterpiece like Parklife is a Mod record?).

We love Mod-rock (as we are also musicians and it is a big influence for us), but we also feel identified with this urgency, this desire, this need of satisfaction. It is like a “forever young” soul that pushes us forward in our work and our daily life.