7/19/2012 – Tales from the Clubhouse – vol XII

Tales from the Clubhouse – vol XII

Gotta love the music business. Our first gig has been canceled. Seems the club has padlocked the doors and the owner has done a runner. These are some of the reasons why it’s so interesting to live around here. We’re still working up a full night’s worth anyway, so things will work out. We’ve got a good friend in Vinnie Archer from the V-Spot, who just so happens to run the best live music bar around. So we’ll be making a racket there lots in 2013. Might even be able to slip in there this winter. He’s all booked up months in advance but there may be a hole to plug soon. We shall see. Me, Wiggy, and Lenny jumped onstage with Ron Pascoe of the Wannabees last Saturday night to bash through “Can’t Explain” and “Gloria”, so we’ve a jump start on becoming infamous.

Next week there’s a one night only Who documentary on the making of Quadrophenia at the Cinemark. Of course I’ll be there. Wiggy’s coming too I think. I’m digging through old totes in the basement looking for my bullseye t-shirt. I’m also listening to the early Jam records to get into a Mod frame of mind. Paul Weller could be Townshend and Ray Davies in the same song….and the Jam might have become as revered as the Kinks if not for Weller turning himself into a robotic lounge singer during the 80s. He’s back to doing what he does best now….but the 80s leaves a bad taste. It ain’t Weller’s fault. Ever hear any Kinks from the 80s? Could be quite ghastly.

But the Jam’s first record “In the City” is a marvel. Three minute songs spat out with swagger. Great hooks. Snotty lyrics. Simple production. They were just a 3 piece but could make quite a racket. The whole thing is over in a half hour. If you listen I promise when it ends you’ll hit the repeat button.

I’ve always been fascinated by the British mod movement. It was all attitude and appearance. Having the right clothes. The right scooter. The right drugs. Listening to the right music. Doing the right dances. Stepping out of line could leave you shunned, or the originator of a new fashion that everybody had to copy. The leaders were called “Faces”. The followers were the “tickets”. Lovely names. Very British. The entire culture was simmering with angst…which is something I obviously love to write about. But because of the smart clothes, it had a veneer of respectability. Adults didn’t turn their noses up at a mod. It was a clever cover. Later, when you went out with the wife, your 15 year old would have a party at the house and these nicely dressed kids would turn up stoned to the gills on uppers and go through the booze like whales before dancing the night away to Motown and trashing the place. Then back to the tube station for the last train home. All had jobs. You had to work in order to afford the clothes.

The Jam’s music was so powerful it inspired a Mod revival in England in the late 1970s. The Who’s “Substitute” was back on the charts. It was exciting. I wish things were that exciting now. Now I gotta rely on Tuesday night documentaries about records made almost 40 years ago.

Maybe I wouldn’t be so cranky if that guy hadn’t done a runner.

Oh well, ’tis rock and roll.

In a bit..

–tf

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