JOHN HELLIER …….life as a Mod in the 1960’s
INTERVIEW BY BRENT YEOMANS (17BLACK VOCALIST/GUITARIST). BRENT: WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC WERE YOU AND MODS GENERALLY LISTENING TO ?
JOHN: Mods in the 60s listened and danced to mainly Black American artistes. At the time that was seen as the real thing, it was fairly snobbish really.. British bands in the main got their material from this source and even the early Beatles and Stones records are peppered with covers of American R&B classics . Very early Motown (pre- Supremes, Four Tops) records were particularly desirable to Mods, things like “Money” by Barrett Strong, “Shop Around” by the Miracles, “Please Mr Postman” by the Marvellettes and the Contours original “Do You Love Me“. James Brown records (pre-funk) were always popular particularly “Night Train” and “Please Please Please“. Also American blues artists like Jimmy Reed and John Lee Hooker would regularly be played in
By 1967 Mod turned into psychedelic Mod. The bands were no longer playing the R&B classics and the style was now very firmly influenced by what as going on in
Marc Bolan, David Essex (yeah, David Essex was the drummer in a very cool mod outfit called Mood Indigo) and even Status Quo were strutting the stages in their peacock suits! Check out pictures of Quo from 1968 with Rossi sporting a Marriott haircut! As for songs about the
BRENT: WHICH BANDS/ARTISTS DID YOU SEE PERFORM LIVE IN THE 60’S ?
JOHN: Recently I was telling somebody that I got to see all the major players from the 60’s and 70’s live but thinking back on it now I overlooked the fact that I never got to see the Kinks play. Of course, I rated them very highly and still do in fact I don’t think I know anybody that doesn’t like them. Ray Davies was a real wordsmith and just about all the self penned singles and most of the albums were real classics. The Kinks were very much part of that whole
BRENT: WHICH WERE YOUR FAVOURITE MOD VENUES
JOHN: Favourite venues eh! I loved the Wardour Street Marquee. Very intimate atmosphere where the only drink on sale was Coca Cola (well it was back in 65/66). I saw many bands there that went on to superstardom including the Who, Small Faces, Cream and Jimi Hendrix Experience. Also saw the first gigs from Humble Pie and The Faces in there. I loved the Scene club just off
BRENT: WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON TODAYS LIVE SCENE ?
JOHN: I’m not really clued up enough on today’s bands to answer this one really. I hear a lot of 60’s influence in some of the new guitar bands i.e. Arctic Monkeys, Kooks etc. etc. but a lot of the mod bands that I’ve been associated with over the past ten years or so including a lot of the bands that play Conventions for me are probably more influenced by the Jam than say the Small Faces or Who but there again the Jam got their influence, well a lot of it anyway, from the 60s. So I suppose it goes around in circles really. Going back to the original question though, in my mind none of the current crop make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as say, the Small Faces and Who did (and still do), they’re now part of my DNA!
NICE, I think so…….Interview by Brent Yeomans, (17 black) who played for the Ronnie Lane Memorial Show, fellow splinter and very well known here. The comments were very good for 17 black "17 Black continue to go from strength to strength".