’79 The Mod Revival by Garry Bushell | REVIEW
Occasionally something will surprise me – this excellent book was one of them. I must admit I wasn’t expecting to be too excited when it landed with a thump on my doormat (it’s a heavy 332-page paperbacked tome). It’s written by Garry Bushell – the music hack we all grew up with and is all about what for many of us was our coming of age. The late ’70s-early ’80s Mod Revival.
It’s fair to say that a very large percentage of the lifelong rally going Scooterists came out of this post-Quadrophenia fed Mod Revival. Either directly, or indirectly we were caught up in one of the last true youth cults. Will there ever be another?
What surprised me was how the book gripped me. I was expecting to flick through a few pages and get bored (after all, I was 16 years old when I last classed myself as a Mod) but I actually took the time to read it over the course of a week.
The book tracks the rise and fall of all the Mod Revival bands, both before and after the ’79 revival. Garry Bushell was immersed wholeheartedly into this emerging scene before Quadrophenia was even released. Mod was simmering away on the back of Punk and new bands like Secret Affair, The Chords, The Jam and many others were driving this South of England based scene across the country. Up north, scooter clubs and scooter boys kept the flag flying and you’ll recognise a few familiar names of clubs and individuals in the book.
Garry was there, writing for Sounds – following these bands around the pubs and clubs before the main players even adopted their stage names. Intimate gigs quickly gathered more Mods as the Revival captured youngsters hearts and minds.
The mainstream music media had portrayed the Mod revival as a scene manufactured to increase the future box office takings of Quadrophenia when it arrived. In reality, for many Mods, the over-commercialisation of the scene would lead to its demise and many true Mods prefered to be part of a cool, underground scene. Over 40 years later many of us are still a by-product of that era and history is currently repeating itself.
To Be Someone?
Mod film, To Be Someone is currently in production, with an all-star ex-Quad cast riding modded up Royal Alloy scooters it’s hailed (mistakenly) as the sequel to Quadrophenia. The film is due for release in 2020. We’re likely to see a further resurgence of new (mostly middle-aged) ‘Mods’ arriving at rallies and events in a sea of chrome, ex-military clothing and even more retro scooters. Will this drive the scooter scene underground to a certain degree, or will it help to encourage youngsters to get on two wheels and find an identity? We’ll have to wait and see.
Whatever your history, current musical tastes or feelings – ’79 The Mod Revival is well worth a read. It’s full of interesting anecdotes, republished reviews, hand-drawn flyers, photos and nostalgia. Well worth having on your book shelf. Now I’ve finished reading this one I’ll make a start on Garry’s look at the ‘79 Ska Revival.
Choose from five different covers
’79 The Mod Revival comes with a choice of five different covers. Choose your favourite from: Paul Weller, Secret Affair, The Chords, Bridgehouse Mods or The Purple Hearts.
The book costs £12.99 and is published by Red Planet Music Books.
ISBN 978 1 9127 3337 8
SLUK readers can buy it directly from us here.