The Mod Father

The Mod Father

You can’t think of vintage scooters without thinking about mods. And you can’t think about mods without a nod to the Mod Father himself, Paul Weller. Born in 1958, Paul Weller is a British singer/songwriter who became a legend for his part in the mod revival band The Jam.

He is very much a national, rather than international star and his lyrics and style are rooted in British culture. He is one of our nations iconic cultural artists, with a career spanning more than 30 years. After The Jam, he performed in The Style Council before branching into a solo career in 1991. He has won 4 Brit Awards, including the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 2006.

The Jam were thrust into the limelight around the same time as other world-renowned bands like The Clash and the Sex Pistols. Although a part of the new wave/punk rock scene, being from just outside the capital, they never really fit into the punk clique that grew in London during the late 1970s. Although, The Jam were asked to support The Clash for their 1977 White Riot tour.

Despite several UK Top 40 places for songs such as ‘In the City’, they didn’t break into the Top 10 until ‘Eton Rifles’ was released, reaching number 3 in late 1979. A few months later, the band celebrated their first number one single with ‘Going Underground’ in early 1980. The band still hold the record for the best-selling singles that were import-only in the UK charts.

So, what was the mod revival all about?

During the late seventies, several different cultural elements combined to create a new sound. It drew on elements of punk rock, new wave, 1960s mod and beat music, like that performed by The Who and The Kinks. The Jam were instrumental in leading this revival, mixing the mod sounds of the sixties with an edgier punk feel. Their 1978 album, ‘All Mod Cons’ was heavily influenced by British culture, as The Kinks had been too. The mod revival was also spurred on by the 1979 release of the film ‘Quadrophenia’, which focused on the mod subculture of the 1960s and of course, scooters. To look after your classic scooter, be sure to use a professional motorbike repair centre.

Another key element of this mod culture was for youths to visit seaside resorts and fight with members of alternate subcultures. This famously began in the 1960s with the mods and rockers on Brighton seafront. Later in the decade, skinheads, teddy boys and bikers would also get into fights. In the 1970s, groups of punks fought teddy boys at Margate and Southend. The latter part of the decade saw Brighton, Hastings, Clacton, Scarborough, Southend and Margate becoming battle grounds for mods, rockers, skinheads and teddy boys.  

Sadly, for their legion of fans, The Jam disbanded in 1982 with their last concert taking place at the Brighton Centre on 11 December 1982. Paul Weller wanted to take a different direction and produce more soulful music with a wider variety of instrumental choice. Their last single ‘Beat Surrender’ went straight in at the number one spot.