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The Timeless Tapestry of Mod Culture: Defying Musical Boundaries

In a world where music has the power to bring people together, mod culture stands out as a shining example of this phenomenon. With its diverse range of musical influences, mod culture has defied categorization and created a vibrant and ever-evolving subculture. In this blog post, we will explore how mod culture’s diverse musical influences have shaped its identity and made it a timeless and enduring movement.

At the core of mod culture is a deep appreciation for a wide range of musical styles. Mods draw inspiration from soulful rhythm and blues, infectious ska rhythms, and energetic rock beats. What sets mods apart is their openness to explore different genres, creating a musical tapestry that knows no bounds.

Unlike other subcultures, mods refuse to confine themselves to a specific music genre. They embrace an open-mindedness that contributes to the subculture’s richness. Mods immerse themselves in the boundless world of music, refusing to limit themselves by genre. This refusal to adhere to a singular genre has allowed mod culture to remain dynamic and relevant, attracting new enthusiasts while retaining its core values.

One of the remarkable aspects of mod culture is its ability to transcend generations. The diverse musical tastes embraced by mods have created a universal appeal that resonates with people of all ages. Whether it’s the soul-stirring tunes of Motown or the infectious energy of mod revival bands, the music speaks to individuals across different age groups. This enduring appeal ensures that mod culture continues to thrive, passing down its legacy from one generation to the next.

Mod culture’s refusal to be confined within the limits of a singular genre has allowed it to continually evolve. Mods readily incorporate new musical styles into their repertoire, keeping the subculture fresh and relevant. This adaptability and willingness to embrace change have been key factors in mod culture’s longevity, ensuring that it remains a dynamic and evolving movement.

In conclusion, mod culture is a testament to the power of diversity and open-mindedness in music. By embracing a wide range of musical influences, mods have created a vibrant and ever-evolving subculture that transcends the boundaries of time and genre. The rich tapestry of music woven into the fabric of mod culture speaks to its universal appeal, captivating the hearts of enthusiasts across generations. Let us celebrate the diversity of mod culture and appreciate it for what it truly is—a melting pot of musical creativity that knows no limits. And for those who insist on saying, “That’s Not Mod,” perhaps it’s time to embrace and accept that other people’s perceptions may be different from yours.

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Small Faces: The Mod Icons of the 1960s and Beyond

In the vibrant landscape of 1960s London, where the air was thick with cultural revolution and artistic experimentation, emerged a band that would redefine the mod movement: the Small Faces. Formed in 1965 by Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenny Jones, and Jimmy Winston (later replaced by Ian McLagan), the Small Faces quickly became synonymous with the mod ethos. Their name, a reflection of their physical stature and unique status within the mod subculture, proved to be a fitting moniker for a band that would leave an indelible mark on the music industry.

Their journey began with the release of their debut single, “Whatcha Gonna Do About It,” in 1965, a powerful mod-soul anthem that catapulted them into the limelight. With Marriott’s distinctive vocals and the band’s electrifying stage presence, they became a force to be reckoned with, enchanting audiences across the UK. The band’s ability to infuse R&B/soul classics with their own creative flair set them apart, earning them a devoted fan base and critical acclaim.

As they signed with Decca Records and continued to release hits like “Sha-La-La-La-Lee” and “All or Nothing,” the Small Faces’ popularity soared. Their music not only resonated with the mod subculture but also transcended boundaries, captivating listeners far beyond the streets of London. In 1967, they ventured into psychedelic territory with “Itchycoo Park,” a groundbreaking single that showcased their willingness to experiment with innovative sound techniques.

The pinnacle of their creative exploration came in the form of the iconic album Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake in 1968. This psychedelic masterpiece, with its whimsical narration and innovative cover design, solidified their reputation as trailblazers in the music industry. However, despite their artistic achievements, internal conflicts and lineup changes plagued the band.

The Small Faces’ legacy endures, not only in their groundbreaking music but also in their influence on subsequent generations of musicians. Their fusion of soulful melodies and experimental soundscapes laid the foundation for the Britpop movement, and their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 affirmed their lasting impact.

As we celebrate the Small Faces, we honor not just a band but a cultural phenomenon that encapsulated the spirit of an era. Their music continues to echo through time, reminding us of the boundless creativity and innovation that emerged from the heart of the mod movement.

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The Chords: A Mod Revival Band’s Rise to Cult Status

The Chords, a South East London group, formed in 1978 when singer/guitarist Billy Hassett and his bassist cousin, Martin Mason, advertised for musicians in the NME and found guitarist and songwriter, Chris Pope. Original drummer Paul Halpin did not stay long, at least behind his drum kit, and eventually became the group’s tour manager. In his place came Brett “Buddy” Ascott, and by March 1979 The Chords were taking the stage. They gigged continuously over the spring and summer, headlining two mod festivals at London’s Marquee Club and recording their first BBC Radio 1 session for DJ John Peel in early July. They also featured, along with some of their fans, on the cover of Time Out magazine. Amongst their early supporters were Paul Weller, who saw one of their first concerts, and Sham 69’s Jimmy Pursey, who signed the group to his JP Productions company.

The quartet recorded a handful of demos for Pursey, before the relationship soured after he instigated a stage invasion during The Undertones set at a concert where the Chords were the opening act. Polydor then signed the band to a recording contract. For their debut single, the Chords chose one of the songs recorded for Pursey, “Now It’s Gone”, re-recorded it and had it released in September 1979. It rose to No. 63 in the UK Singles Chart.

They followed it up in January 1980 with “Maybe Tomorrow”, which, bolstered by rave reviews in the press, shot in to the UK Top 40. A second Peel session was recorded in March, and the next month their third single, “Something’s Missing”, arrived. This taster for their debut album, So Far Away, reached No. 55. The album made No. 30 in the UK Albums Chart in May, bolstered by a UK tour. The album included two cover versions; Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin'” and The Beatles’ “She Said She Said”. AllMusic gave So Far Away 4.5 stars, the second highest rating possible.

“The British Way of Life” single arrived in July and reached No. 54, and “In My Street”, released in October, topped out at No. 50. The group continued touring, until a show at London’s Music Machine in November 1980. The Chords sacked Hassett, and the former Vibrators’ singer Kip Herring stepped in. The new line-up was featured on the cover of their next single, “One More Minute”, which arrived in May 1981. It was a flop, as was August’s “Turn Away Again”, and the Chords called it a day the following month.

In 1986, a live album entitled No One’s Listening Anymore was issued, which was recorded in 1980. A decade later, the double album compilation CD, This Is What They Want was released.

In August 2010, The Chords went back on the road with their original line-up, promoting the single, “Another Thing Coming”, and playing gigs across the UK. They also toured Australia and Japan in 2012. A DVD, What Became of the People We Used To Be – The History of The Chords was available from May 2012, charting the band’s rise to cult status.

In 2019 Universal/Caroline released a 5 CD box set entitled ReChordings, with a 36 page booklet notated by Brett “Buddy” Ascott. The collection comprised So Far Away, a singles compilation, Live At The Rainbow, and 2 CDs of previously unreleased material.

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