There are plenty of artists that have shaped Mod culture and kept it going. The term “mod” itself comes from the word “Modernist,” a term to used to described modern jazz. As the mod culture thrived in London, many of the British Invasion bands found a welcome home with the same crowd. The trend continues today, with jazz and brit-pop through ska, punk, and even rock have roots in Mod culture.
The Mod movement started through young people rebelling against the mainstream, so it was natural that music would be part of the package. Young people are always the trendsetters, listening to music that is not yet on the radio through bands at bars, nightclubs, and discotheques. They are the ones influencing the A & R people and determining who gets the record deals.
Mod music goes back a long time. Modern Jazz started the movement, as I mentioned above. Smooth artists like Miles Davis and Charlie Parker lead the way. Early mod music had a real Motown sound mixed with British pop – a cool combination that brought us artists like The Who, the Kinks, and Small Faces. As the culture grew, factions were created. Harder music fans started listening to Freakbeat (artists like Pete Best, The Creation, The Pretty Things). Others decided to move toward punk – Sex Pistols, the Clash, Minor Threat. Some even adapted toward Jamaican ska bands like Desmond Dekker, The Melodians, The Specials, and The Untouchables. There was a vicious rivalry with Rockers and what eventually became skinheads but that was in the past and mods don’t acknowledge skinheads as being born from the same place, and most modern day skinheads don’t even know where they came from – which is fine by us.
I do like the old stuff but there are some good things that have come out recently. I like Jack Perrett. He’s got some great guitar work on songs like ”In the Morning” and “Nothing For Anyone.” Artic Monkeys, formed in 2002, have continued to put out good stuff. Alex Turner is especially talented. Check out “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” as an idea for how they sound. They took a break but came back recently to release Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino which is a good evolution to their music.
If you are looking for a great place to hear new music and enjoy mod culture, get yourself a ticket to the Stone Valley Festival in Stanhope. It is hosted in late June and they run two different campsites and several stages so you can catch as many bands as possible. They have great bands with all different styles: 2Tone ska like the Skapones, traditional rock like Stiff Little Fingers and The Lambrettas, and a Stone Roses tribute band The Clone Roses.
What type of mod music do you like best, and who have you been listening to lately? Let me know in the comments. I am always looking for some new music.