Masters – Kenney Jones (Small Faces)

This entry is part 20 of 20 in the series Masters

I managed to catch up with Kenney ahead of his performance at Modstock to talk about his life behind the drumkit with some of the biggest bands in the history of British rock and find out more about the new Small Faces boxset and greatest hits releases.

01. What got you interested in music and who were your early influences?

I was blown away after seeing Lonnie Donegan on TV playing ‘Rock on the line’. He was playing banjo. I just fell in love with the banjo! I remembered seeing a banjo in a pawn shop next to Bethnal Green Station. The next day I went to buy it but unfortunately the guy had sold it. A friend had half a drum kit with one and half drum sticks and that got my buds going. I was hooked. I bought my very first drum kit in a shop in East Ham on Green Lane call the J 60’s. It was a white Olympic old Jazz kit. My early influences were The Shadows; Jimmy McGriff and Booker T and the MG’s.

02. When and how did you first meet Steve and Ronnie?

I met Ronnie Lane in my local pub called The British Prince where Ronnie’s brother worked as a barman. Ronnie and I first met Steve Marriott in the same shop that I bought my drum kit where he worked on Saturday mornings.

03 What were the early shows like at Leicester square and the Marquee, and did you have a particular favourite venue?

The shows at Leicester Square and the Cavern were amazing. My favourite clubs at the time were ‘The Marquee’ and ‘The Flamingo’.

04. What was the original mod scene like and did you frequent any of the famous clubs like the Scene or Flamingo for example and do you have any fond memories you can share with us?

Well apart from my comments above it was a great place to meet up in a time when music and fashion were as one.

05. What other bands did you rate back in the sixties and are there any current bands you enjoy?

I liked ‘The Action’ in the 60’s and of course ‘The Shadows’ in the 60’s. I quite enjoy The Strypes and recently my 16 year old daughter Erin has got me into Plain White T’s.  She is great at playing me the most recent stuff and tries to keep me up to date! Some I like and other stuff makes me cringe! And of course I love the Red Hot Chilli Peppers – great drummer!

06. I have seen the Belgium TV footage from the early days at the marquee and also beat, beat, beat or maybe it was beat club in Germany which are both incredible, and did you prefer playing live or working in the studio?

I must say I like both. Live shows give you that buzz but studio work lets you be more creative and try new things.

07. Many fans claim the immediate era was the best small faces period would you agree with that?

It was probably the most creative and Andrew Oldham gave us more freedom to experiment. But I still think the Decca stuff is also great.

08. The manifesto of Immediate Records was a great idea trying to immolate the Stax and Motown hit factory in the UK, the Small Faces were and an integral part of that. What persuaded you to join Andrew Loog Oldham in the new venture and what was the atmosphere like at Immediate?

Immediate was like a family. We all looked out for each other and Andrew was boundless back then; his enthusiasm infectious. Most of us were. It was also the first independent label.

09. The infamous tour of Australia with the Who is stuff of legend, what were your memories on the crazy antics and any other humorous tales you can share with us on life with the Small Faces?

When the captain of the plane diverted the flight to Melbourne and had us arrested when we walked off the plane with our hands up. That was us, The Who and Paul Jones. My fondest memory of touring with the Small Faces and the Who was when Keith offered me a lift to the next gig in his white Rolls Royce and we ended up going down Edinburgh High Street.  Keith had a PA system fitted behind the front grille with a mike connected to this. As we drove down the high street he shouted “Rape, rape and dangled a set of blow up legs out the back window. A bus driver stopped his bus to come to the rescue. When we got to the other side of town a policeman arrested us. He was a mad man!

10. I have heard Macs account about Steve wanting Peter Frampton to join the band to create a heavier sound and eventually leaving as a result to form Humble Pie, however it seems to me The Small Faces were already heading in that direction?

That is a difficult question to answer. Our music was already taking a different turn from our earlier stuff but Steve was pushing for change too quickly. When he left and Rod and Woody joined our music took a different direction anyway.

11. The three Small Faces went on to form The Faces together with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, did you know them both from the mid sixties London scene and did you ever perform with the Birds, Steam Packet or Shotgun Express?

Our paths had crossed from time to time Well Rod was on the Immediate label so we crossed paths then. We never got a chance to play on same bill as the Birds. There were times when the Small Faces were rehearsing when Rod used to sit on the amps watching us. When Steve left I asked him to join the band.

12. You also played alongside Pete, Roger and John in The Who after Keith died, how did the Who job come about?

I had just started a new band and was just about to sign a record deal when I got a call from Bill Curbishley the Who’s manager. He told me that they had had a meeting and they wanted me to join the band as the new drummer and they wouldn’t consider anyone else. I initially said no I can’t as I had just signed a new band and we are about to sign a record deal, but I would think about it. Later that day I went to get a haircut and when I left the salon I was stopped by a gypsy lady selling heather. I tried to avoid her but she was persistent. When I looked into her eyes I saw Moony’s eyes staring back at me. She was saying take it, I threw her a pile of change and ran away. It was so freaky. I called Bill up and said I would join.

13. The Small Faces catalogue has finally been done justice by Rob Caiger with the simply stunning boxset, when did the project start and how long has it taken to produce?

We have been gathering all the lost tapes for over 3 years and Rob has been working tirelessly to produce.

14. There are some fascinating moments of you working in the studio on the boxset how did it feel to listen to those moments again?

I got very emotional and lots of memories came flooding back. I could also smell the studio and feel every moment we spent in there. To hear Steve and Ronnie at their best was quite poignant.

15. As a big fan having collected all the original albums and singles listening to this boxset you really get to appreciate just how prolific the Small Faces were in such a short period of time, was that down to living together at Westmorland Terrace, the live shows or the recording sessions?

Most of the above but we had a magical telepathy between us. You can hear some of that on the studio outtakes on the box set.

16. How do you feel about the bands incredible popularity still almost fifty years after you first began?

I am completely blown away. The older, original fans seem to have passed down their passion and legacy on to their children. Lots of the Brit pop in the 90’s was influenced by the Small Faces and it has just been a slow steady growth of followers.

17. Considering you have played with three of the biggest British rock groups which band is your favourite and why?

Obviously the Small Faces as it was the most creative and the most fun. It was all new and we were breaking new ground. I loved my time with the Who as it was the most exciting by the sheer nature of their songs. The Faces were just one big riotous party!

18. What is your favourite Small Faces song and album and why?

My favourite song is Afterglow. My favourite album is Ogdens as it is so diverse and we were doing something that had never been done before.

19. We are honoured to have you perform at Modstock for our British legends show. What surprises have you got up your sleeve for the fans and who will be joining you on stage?

You will have to wait and see. My friend Jim Stapley is joining me on vocals along with Mollie Marriott who has an amazing set of pipes.

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I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: for rare vintage vinyl.

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March 27, 2014 By : Category : Bands Events Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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Masters – The Velvelettes

This entry is part 18 of 20 in the series Masters

This latest Masters
piece concerns

who were co-founded in 1963 by Bertha Barbee-McNeal and Mildred Gill Arbor, at Western Michigan University, where they were both students. Norma Barbee-Fairhurst (Bertha’s cousin), Caldin Gill Street (aka Carol), Mildred’s younger sister, and Betty Kelley (Cal’s best friend), were asked to join the group. The Velvelettes formed at WMU and performed regularly around WMU’s campus at various dances. After much preparation and rehearsing at Maybee Hall, they entered the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity talent show on campus, and they went on to win first prize!

Berry Gordy’s nephew, Robert Bullock, was also a student at WMU at the time of their performance and first place win in the talent show. Upon seeing the show, he immediately saw merit and he encouraged them to audition for his Uncle’s company, Motown Records, in Detroit. Shortly thereafter, and after some serious persuasion, Millie’s and Cal’s parents, Rev. and Mrs. Gill, agreed the group should go to Detroit to audition for Motown Records. Rev. Gill, along with Cal and Millie’s brother, Charles, drove the group to Detroit in a snow storm. They successfully auditioned at Motown Records, and were eventually signed to the infamous record label, thus beginning their professional singing career.

The Velvelettes recorded numerous hits at Motown’s Hitsville USA, Studio A, located at 2648 W. Grand Boulevard in Detroit, MI. That’s “where it all began!” Their recording career with Motown Records spanned almost a decade (1963-1971). The group’s most notable hits of the early 60s, ‘Needle In A Haystack’, and ‘He Was Really Sayin’ Something’, went to the Top 40 in Cash Box and Billboard international record magazines. These two songs also went on to be Number 1 in several cities and towns across America. The Velvelettes were featured on Motown tours, they worked the “chitlin circuit” (theaters mainly on the east coast) they were also featured on two Dick Clark Caravan of Stars tours in the mid 60s.

How does it feel to be coming back to London again?

It feels especially good to the Velvelettes to be returning to the U.K. We’re looking forward to the engagement in London, as it will actually be our first time performing in London.  We  have been to England several times over the past two decades and often times London based, however, our engagements have taken place in other cities (i.e., Manchester, Lancaster, Nottingham, Clethorpes) to name a few. We have also performed in Wales at the Pontin’s resort.

You are sharing the bill with Brenda Holloway. When was the last time you worked with her?

I vaguely recall working with Brenda back in the mid 60s at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. I have always admired her voice from the very first time I heard her recording, “Every Little Bit Hurts.”

Tamla Motown has always had a reputation of being like a ‘family’. Would you say that family spirit still exists today and if so, why?

Yes. Berry Gordy treated all Motown artists like family. He felt responsible for our success. Motown was a family owned/run business. We were always treated warmly. In April 2013 Mr. Gordy invited several Motown artists, the Velvelettes included, to New York City to see Motown The Musical, that he wrote. It was a wonderful experience and the musical was outstanding! We were made to feel very important, like Motown Royalty, like part of the Motown family.  Mr. Gordy was pleased to see us and we were proud to be there among all the other proud Motown alums. I think the longevity of Motown and the family spirit has lasted up to this day and beyond because over time we all realized that we are a part of music history and something very special. Over the years, the story of Motown has been told and incorporated into music education curriculums for elementary, high school, and college, throughout the U.S.  Motown is part of the fabric that makes America a great!

So many great Afro American singers have come through gospel and the church. Was that the case for you and how important do you think it has been in influencing popular music?

Yes, indeed. I came straight from the church. My father was a Baptist preacher. After he heard me singing along to music on the radio, he started me singing as a very young girl in church, leading the choir and congregation on Sunday morning. He once told me my voice was a gift and that I should use it to sing for the Lord.  Singing in church choirs first was the norm and training ground for most R&B, blues and jazz artists of the late 50s and throughout the 60s. We eventually transitioned to secular music, and mostly with our family’s blessings.

What kinds of songs were in your repertoire when you first got together at WMU and who were your biggest influences?

We sang a lot of 60s girl groups and single female vocalists songs, by the Chantels, Shirelles, Marvelettes, Tina Turner, Baby Washington, Aretha Franklin, to name a few. These artists were some of the biggest influences of that time.

The Motown family would often sit in on each others recording sessions. Are there any un-credited Velvelette contributions that we may not know about?

Yes. We sang on Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips” because the producer wanted to add voice enhancements to give it a fuller sound. It was a great experience, and we’re proud to say we participated in background vocals and with hand claps and foot stomping. There were a few other recordings we participated on, but I can’t remember the titles.

Due to family commitments, you disbanded for a while. How easy was it to transform from World-wide pop stars to wives and mothers?

It was not very difficult because it was considered the normal thing to do for our generation. Young women were expected to sacrifice whatever careers they had to become housewives and mothers.

What inspired you to reform the Velvelettes?

The motivation to reform/continue the Velvelettes was based on the fact that contracts had been signed, sealed and delivered to Motown for engagements six to eight months out. We had to honour the contracts or be sued. Plus, I was a young lady (ages 19-21) and was still filled with desire and excitement to perform! I loved performing!

You first came to the UK in 1987 I believe. Many R&B stars from the USA have been pleasantly surprised by the devoted and knowledgeable fan base here. What is your impression of your UK fans?

I believe it was 1986. We absolutely love and adore our fans in the U.K. We often say it feels like a part of Heaven when we come to England because the fans are so appreciative, enthusiastic and knowledgeable of our music! They revere the Motown sound, and that makes all Motown artists feel very special, indeed.

What was it like being inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2000?

In 2000, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, along with Ruthie Brown of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland, Ohio, coordinated a weekend celebration of 13 girl groups of the 60s. Representatives from the Chantels, Shirelles, Supremes, Marvelettes, Crystals, Martha & The Vandellas, Ronettes, Dixie Cups, Angels, Chiffons, Cookies, Velvelettes, and Patti LaBelle & the Blue Bells were all there! This was a wonderful weekend event that was chronicled into Rock Hall’s history. The opportunity to reconnect and bond with seasoned women/sisters of music in singing, dining and sharing stories, was very fulfilling. We all felt blessed and it is a source of great pride for all of us.

What would you say was the Velvelettes proudest achievement?

• Being one of four Motown girl groups, and being the only “original” of those groups to be blessed with longevity and still able to perform today, is paramount to our proudest achievements.
• The success of our single releases, Needle In A Haystack, He Was Really Sayin’ Something, These Things Will Keep Me Loving You, Bird In The Hand, and Lonely Lonely Girl Am I, which gave us recognition for
being  professional entertainers
• being recipients of several lifetime achievement awards
• being recognized by Dick Clark on his the Caravan of Stars tours
• being on Motown Revues
• being recognized at Rock Hall, are indeed, some of our greatest and proudest accomplishments
• being featured in numerous newspapers and magazines
• being invited to perform at several renowned venues throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K, are indeed among some of our proudest achievements in our music careers

(A light-hearted, fun question)
If you could go ‘Back to The Future’ and meet The Velvelettes of 1964, what advice would you give them?

I would advise the young ladies to not give up their music careers, and to devote much time and attention to becoming the absolute best they can be, as I believe that if we had not given up our careers for marriage and starting families, we would have had greater achievements and success in the music industry.

There are a lot of very excited fans who are looking forward to seeing you on Good Friday. What can we expect to see from The Velvelettes?

Our fans can expect an exciting and fun show filled with the music we all love by the Velvelettes. It will be a high energy performance and they will love it as much as we will enjoy singing and performing for our devoted fans. We look forward to seeing and interacting with everyone in the U.K. The love of our English fans and friends will certainly warm our hearts and feed our souls, and we are very grateful and thankful.  It will be a “good Friday,” indeed! God bless.

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Graham Lentz

Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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April 4, 2014 By : Category : Events Front Page Interviews Music News RnB Scene USA Tags:
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The History of Northern Soul by Ady Croasdell

The Crossfire oldies allnighter in London on Easter bank holiday Sunday (20th of April 2014) promises to be something else with a stellar DJ line-up taking you on a musical journey through iconic Northern Soul venues like the Twisted Wheel, The Torch, Wigan Casino, Stafford and The 100 Club.

On our recent DJ adventure to the Mojo Workin’ weekend in Spain I managed to grab a chat with Kent Records and 6TS promoter and DJ Ady Croasdell for his personal account on ‘The History of Northern Soul’.

I first went to a rare soul all nighter in early 1969. It was in a solitary disused railway station about half a mile from the hamlet of Kelmarsh in north Northamptonshire, 5 miles from my home town of Market Harborough. I knew the big soul acts of the day whose records had made it to the UK – Otis, Wilson Picket, Carla Thomas, Temps, 4 Tops, Supremes, Fontella Bass, Brenton Wood Etta James – but the records I was hearing at the nighter were by the Esquires, Tony Clarke, Homer Banks and the American Poets who I had never heard of. The small function room soon filled up with 100 skinheads most of whom were dancing in groups or solo, so being on my own I felt comfortable to get up and move to the music. The crowd seemed intense but friendly despite my hair being longer than all the other blokes combined.

I told my mod/skin mates in Harboro about it and soon there was a crew of us going over, getting the pills down our necks while dancing to this alternate type of soul which we referred to as Old Soul. Who knew Tamla singer Kim Weston had recorded an uptempo soul mastepiece in ‘Helpless’ or the Velvelettes had cut one called ‘These Things Will Keep Me Loving You’? We made friends and recognised some of the other attendees as characters from Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough whom we’d normally avoid but here in this secret meeting place it was all cool and we had a shared love of the music and the speed.

It turned out there were outcrops of similarly minded youths around the country in Leeds, Wakefield, Manchester and Derby. Even handier for an impoverished student like me a bloke called Dave Godin wrote about it in the Blues & Soul magazine; complete with playlists and tips and recommendations of places to go to hear these secretive sounds. Eventually Dave would dub the scene Northern Soul in his Blues & Soul column and the name would stick.

The clubs were keenly watched by the dedicated drugs squads of the local police. Northants was supposedly one of the most serious in the country and they were getting pissed off at the number of chemists that were getting broken into around the county.

The raids they conducted eventually closed Kelmarsh and I mentioned it to Harboro’s local dance promoters who ran the Frollickin´ Kneecap nightclub. They started to then run all nighters at our town centre venue, renaming it the Lantern for those dances and making it a dedicated members club to get around the restrictive licensing laws. The scene was so small yet dedicated that there would usually be only one or two nighters on in the country at any time and when the Twisted Wheel in Manchester was finally raided early one Saturday night, the blocked up youths made the 100 mile drive down to Harboro to dance their blues away; in all senses of the word. The Wheel had been the total brand leader and the epitome of cool, style and sounds and its demise was a major blow to young go-getters across the country. Like the Lantern, a handful of other nighters would then spring up and be closed down as the drug taking soared and the squads simply clamped down.

The next venue to become the undisputed Mecca for the nighter goers was the Torch in Tunstall, Stoke On Trent. It was bigger than the traditional 100-300 clubs that had previously been host to the scene but the 6-800 capacity old music-hall, complete with balconies and theatre boxes, was ideal for the rapidly expanding clientele. Also it was dark as hell, dripping with atmosphere and sweat and the DJs were moving away from the classic mid to up tempo Chicago and Tamla beat to seriously stomping sounds that could keep pace with the drinamyl-induced pumping hearts of the mainly teenage audience. DJs, collectors and record sellers were finding more and more ways of getting their hands on the vast number of mid 60s soul releases that had not reached our shores before. Johnny Sayles, The Younghearts, Mamie Galore, The Fuller Brothers and the Cooperettes seemed to be even more glamorous soul names, none of which had ever got close to an English release.

The Torch lasted for little over a year but had accelerated the scene’s growth and demand so that when the next big all nighter started in 1973 it was more than big, it was massive.

Wigan Casino was a similar ancient music hall / dance emporium but about four times the size and more of a complex than a venue; you could house a small town in its many rooms. Early attendances were adequate but the place was far from full and in fact seemed a bit too big for purpose when I went to one of the early nighters. A few months later on my next visit it was rammed to the rafters, using the Torch´s blueprint of non-stop stompers its reputation had spread across the country and youths across the whole breadth of Britain, disaffected with both the teeny bopper and pompous undergound of the UK’s pop scene had become die-hard soul fans overnight. It was admittedly a certain style of soul starting at 85 mph and going up to 140 in extreme cases, sometimes the soul quotient was forgotten about. What the hell, there were thousands of stunning sounds out there in good ole black America just waiting for jaw-grinding scruffy UK youths to hop on an aeroplane and rescue them for their own personal kudos and wealth and for the edification of 2,000 kids moving as one, hand-clapping in just the right places. The scene was so big it could accommodate other big all nighters at places like Cleethorpes and Yate near Bristol as well as the big and influential evening events at the Blackpool Mecca and elsewhere. The Northern Soul weekend experience was so intense it would incorporate big Sunday all dayers so that reprobates need never see their parents between Friday morning and Monday tea.

It continued as a big noise throughout most of the 70s but the alternate punk, jazz funk and disco scenes creamed off many attendees and offered alternatives for potential new recruits: the scene was becoming jaded. In London in 1979 the mod revival was underway and a small club called the 6TS Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Society was showing those style converts what the original mod soul music was about.

After 18 months of moving around the capital, the 6TS ended up at the 100 Club slap bang in the middle of Oxford Street where it still runs in that distinguished basement club today. In a way it was back to the roots as a venue as well as musically and the classic dingy, smoke-filled, basement club was ideal for the nutters and fanatics who have slunk down those famous stairs over the last four decades. Musically though it started out as classic club soul with a dash of R&B, it reverted to the more standard Northern Soul formula once the all nighters were established around 1981. There was even a period when the rare 70s soul scene made an equal contribution to the musical playlist but that was reduced drastically when the club took up the gauntlet handed down by the 60s Mafia DJs of Stafford’s Top Of The World All nighters around the mid 1980s.

DJs Keb Darge and Guy Hennigan in particular were fed up with the staleness of constantly played oldies and reckoned there were still a lot of records, hardly known by the public let alone collectors, that could turn the scene on its head. Keb had a devoted band of followers who he would give cassettes of his new finds to so they would know his playlist when it was debuted at Stafford. They would rush to the floor to dance to records that otherwise would only have had interested looks. Guy was similar and mixed up the tempos a bit more than stompy Keb. He was the prime mover in big beat ballad scheduling and records like Tommy Navarro’s ‘I Cried My Life Away’ and Romance Watson ‘Where Does That Leave Me’ became massive. Keb also DJed at the 100 Club and Leicester nighters and soon the word was spreading. I was converted by the Latin sound of Bobby Valentine and spun a few down the 100 Club as well as big beat ballads like Johnny Maestro, Kurt Harris and the Trends ‘Not Too Old To Cry’. However what really put the 100 Club on the map, and helped the newies revolution, was finding some magnificent previously unreleased 60s soul tracks from the record company vaults. Melba Moore ‘Magic Touch’, Maxine Brown ‘Torture’, Chuck Jackson ‘What’s With This Loneliness’ started it and the Pied Piper RCA finds of Kenny Carter ‘What’s That On Your finger’, Willie Kendrick ‘She’ll Be Leaving You’, Lorraine Chandler ‘You Only Live Twice’ and Sharon Scott ‘(Putting My Heart Under) Lock & Key’ took it to a new level.

With the newies scene now established the super-rare scene started driven by one of Keb and Guy’s gurus the Stoke DJ Butch who had the best rare soul collection in the world and possessed records and later acetates so rare nobody could come close to him for 20 years (ongoing). It’s the territory of “how many of these are known in the world?”; the answer is usually less than five.

Stafford closed but the 100 Club kept on and new venues like Lifeline, Rugby, Burnley, Prestwich, The Dome, and others had their deserved moments in the spotlight. The 90s saw many returnees to the scene but a lot of those were happy to dance to the tunes of their youth and the rare scene has struggled in recent years. However the 2010s has seen an influx of new young faces and they are as keen on the new as the old, so there are signs of a revival in all areas and attendances are on the up again. A great new film on Northern Soul has been made by a Bury lass who has been a 100 Club regular for twenty years and the impact of that is eagerly anticipated.

Get down early and grab a space on the huge wooden dancefloor in the main ballroom and dance all night to 8 hours of the finest Northern Soul CROSSFIRE style. Tickets here:

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I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: for rare vintage vinyl.

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April 4, 2014 By : Category : Clubs DJs Events Front Page Music News Tags:, , , , , , , , ,
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Masters – Secret Affair

This entry is part 19 of 20 in the series Masters

When you talk to mods from the 1979 period, (the Mod revival as some like to call it), there are a number of bands whose names have become synonymous with that time. Chief among those bands is Secret Affair. Rising from the ashes of the New Hearts, lead singer Ian Page and guitarist Dave Cairns fused their musical influences into a power pop/R&B style that led to chart success, appearances on Top Of The Pops and a devoted following which began in London’s East End where, at the famed Bridgehouse in Canning Town, a glimpse of Secret Affair’s musicianship and performance could be found on the ‘Mods Mayday’ LP. Their debut album, ‘Glory Boys’ was massive and with Top 20 singles including ‘Time For Action’, ‘Let Your Heart Dance’ and ‘My World’ the band cemented their legendary status. By the mid 80’s the band split up, but happily Ian and Dave got back together again in 2009 and recently completed their first studio album for 35 years. ‘Soho Dreams’ has been critically acclaimed and rightly so. It is a fine LP. Secret Affair are headlining the opening night of Modstock, our 50 year celebration of all things mod, so who better than Mr Page and Mr Cairns to represent the ’79 period?

01. How does it feel to be a part of mod history?

Dave Cairns (DC): I’m proud of what we achieved and what we continue to contribute to the Mod scene with our new album and our live shows which was never just about music but a lifestyle choice for so many people but it is also about reaching others with our music who have never been into Mod culture.

Ian Page (IP):  Well, I don’t really dwell on the past very much. I don’t keep souvenirs, keepsakes or newspaper cuttings. I don’t think I even own a complete set of our albums. I do think we made a valuable and sometimes under-rated contribution to the on-going continuation of mod-influenced culture.

02. How do you rate your most recent LP ‘Soho Dreams’ against your other work?

DC: Secret Affair has always been a song writing collaboration between Ian and I so we have basically picked up from where we left off and I’m delighted with the results. Five of the tracks were recorded with different players some years ago and the rest were recorded in one go with our current band so Ian has done a amazing job as producer in putting it all together seamlessly and with a atmosphere and depth to the sound that surrounds the whole album. I think it compares very well to any of the previous albums but I’ll leave it to our dedicated fans to rate it!

IP: Well, all artists are always most proud of their most recent work. I was though, particularly pleased that we came up with an album that referred to our previous albums and also managed to modernise the Secret Affair sound. All the original ideas are there, but improved and better realised.

03. What are your fondest memories of the Revival period?

DC: Being part of the Mod Revival at its peak was a very exciting time but selling out the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park with Secret Affair, where only seven years earlier I saw David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust as a school kid in 1972 was amazing to me.

IP: Many many great live shows.

04. Were Secret Affair Mods in a band or a band loved by Mods?

DC: In our previous new wave band, ‘New Hearts’, we wore second hand mohair original Mod jackets and button down Brutus shirts with drainpipe jeans and converse baseball boots (the uniform of almost every teenager right now I notice) and with my guitar leanings towards Pete Townshend and Steve Marriott and Ian with Motown and soul, where Secret Affair ended up was just a natural progression.

IP: Well, I think you may have left out a third option there…we were a Band whose musical and fashion tastes were very influenced by mod culture. It was evident that people with the same tastes would like the band, though it wasn’t a pre-requisite for liking the band or coming to our shows.

05. When did you first notice the ‘Glory Boys’ as your hardcore fan base?

DC: Ian wrote the lyric to Glory Boys about a year before we started performing the song as Secret Affair and it was then adopted by a great bunch of East End lads who started coming to all our gigs.

IP: It was impossible not to notice the early east-end following who adopted our song as their anthem.

06. Why do you think the fabled ‘animosity’ between The Jam and Secret Affair occurred? Especially since Paul and John Weller had been very supportive in the early days.

DC: I’m rather puzzled about this because on the odd occasion I’ve bumped into Paul Weller over the years we have only ever had a pleasant chat so if there was any problem between us I’m sure he would have said something. Our involvement with Paul and his father really goes back to New Hearts when we supported them in 1978 on one of their UK tours and we were treated very well by them and they were very supportive. When we formed Secret Affair we were invited to support them at Reading University in ’79 as one of many gigs we had planned and then we basically went our own way and lost touch.

IP: Early on John Weller offered to help us and we were grateful that someone with a bit of sway, who we trusted would be able to help us extricate ourselves from a record contract that was preventing us signing Secret Affair to a new record company and to progress. After a few months John had been unable (probably because managing a hugely successful Jam was taking up all his time) to get round to taking the meetings that were needed and time was short for us, so we moved on. Paul seemed to misunderstand what had and hadn’t happened at that time, and I assume has laboured under that misapprehension ever since. Personally, I had never said more than ‘Hello’ and ‘how are you’ to John, who I thought was a great guy with a very talented son.
How anyone can nurse a grudge (incorrectly) for more than 35 years is quite beyond me.

07.  Ian said on the Modcast with Eddie Piller, that his brother’s Motown records were a big influence on him. What were your musical influences?

DC: My older brother Ian back in the 70s had an a huge record collection so I listened to anything from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with guitarists Eric Clapton and Peter Green (who inspired  me to play guitar) to Jim Hendrix and Dr John and the Night Trippers to Pink Floyd and The Who. I bought all the Bowie and Lou Reed albums at the time, a bit of prog rock and lots of blues records and anything with country rock guitarist, Albert Lee, the list is endless really! Thinking about it though, one of the singles I played over and over again at the time was ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye, and whenever I hear that  great record it sends me right back to my adolescence in an instant and maybe just maybe Ian was listening to it at the same time and perhaps there was a shared influence there that would bring us together in time. My brother also took me to a lot of gigs including ELP when I was 12 years old and Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones at Knebworth Park so I got a taste for live shows. However, it was seeing Pete Townshend with The Who at Charlton Football Ground and Steve Marriott with Humble Pie in 1974 on the same bill that gave me the courage to play in a band as a stand alone rhythm and lead guitarist, as at the time you either stood at the back strumming chords or you were down the front as the lead guitarist noodling away which I always hated as a band format.

08. Secret Affair were managed by the Brian Morrison Agency. There is some suggestion that they were trying to set Secret Affair apart from the other revival bands. What was your perspective?

DC: Correction, we were published by Bryn Morrison Music who also handled our business affairs but all creative decisions were taken by Ian and I so any direction we took was our own decision. There was no svengali manager pulling the strings.

IP: I’ve never heard that one before. As I said earlier we were a Band with mod influenced music and style, not mods who happened to be in a band. I personally thought that the re-emergence of interest in those styles and sounds, and to some extent beliefs was significant in terms of pop and youth culture and it was important to me.

09. The music press branded you a ‘mod’ band and appointed Ian the ‘spokesman for a generation’. How difficult was it to deal with those issues?

DC: My personal take on this is that with Secret Affair front covers with Sounds, Record Mirror and NME for instance, the music press were very happy to get behind us and the Mod Revival to begin with but with the emerging success of Two Tone and Ska music they effectively did a u turn and turned against us and anything marked Mod so Ian ended up in a very unenviable position where whatever he said made no difference, it had become something to sneer at.

IP: Apart from the NME, which is now a very different publication from the music newspaper of that time – all those publications are dead, gone, failed. I’m currently preparing for our 3rd successive yearly tour, and writing our 5th album. So what they branded me or called me or said about me really isn’t relevant anymore. They are ghosts and I’m still here.

10. How surprised are you that mod is still quite a vibrant scene all these years later?

DC: No surprise at all. Mod culture has always been with us since the sixties and as I said earlier it’s more about a lifestyle, where fashion and music come together and is a continuing influence with new acts I’ve seen and of course Brit pop, just look back at any of the Oasis stage shows for instance. And take a walk round Tate Modern and you’ll see its influence in modern art too. It’s a unique part of our heritage which I hope will always flourish.

IP: Not at all – mod culture, style and music permeates contemporary fashion and culture everywhere and all the time, to the extent that there are many young people out there wearing clothes and listening to music that draws heavily from a mod culture they may not have even heard of.

11. You were both reluctant to talk about the band and the revival period for a long time after the initial split. Since reconvening Secret Affair and playing to packed houses, are you more comfortable with your place in mod and music history?

DC: We didn’t need to talk about it, we just moved on with our lives. Back in 2009 we accepted an invitation to play the ice rink at the Isle of Wight Scooter Rally and we packed in 2500 and haven’t stopped taking bookings since. Secret Affair has always been about presenting a great band and entertaining people to the best of our ability and the fact that we have managed to write, record and release a new album over thirty years later should tell you what we have always been about.

IP: I was never uncomfortable with it. A few others were but I have no wish to give the oxygen of publicity to their names or their ideas, by discussing them.

12. You have a talented bunch of musicians with you now. Would you say the Secret Affair of 2014 is close to your original concept?

DC: The current line-up are terrific players especially when we have the full eight piece band on stage. Ian and I are obviously a good deal older and I think there is a maturity to what we do that colours our sound and presentation but is still very much Secret Affair whether we play tracks from our first three albums or from the new album, ‘Soho Dreams’.

IP: Heh! Well to be honest there would be twice as many of us, and more, to get near to my original concept. If we ever find a way to finance 3 backing vocalists, a percussionist, a 5 piece horn section, in addition to our current line-up we might get close to my original concept. I’ve always wanted to front what would be the equivalent of a Motown Revue band, energised by power guitar – but that’s a lot of wages to pay! Maybe one day! Thankfully, the musicians we currently have are some of the best I’ve ever worked with. Everyone plays with real passion and soul.

13. As you know, Eddie Piller is the host DJ for the opening night of Modstock 2014 where you are headlining. What expectations do you have and what can we expect to see from Secret Affair?

DC: We are good friends with Eddie and we have worked together before so I’m really looking forward to appearing at Modstock and we really like the 299 venue too. We’ll be playing our new set featuring material from all four albums and a few surprises too.

IP: Eddie has DJ’d for us many times, and is a good friend of the band. I fully expect him to shed a nostalgic tear when we start up Glory Boys. Our Modstock show will be just that… a Show; not a bunch of guys standing stock still on a stage playing for an audience they do not care about. Expect our own blend of soul, dance, a little dash of Hammond groove and hard r n’ b. We come to entertain.

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Graham Lentz

Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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March 13, 2014 By : Category : Bands Events Front Page Interviews Music RnB Tags:
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Modstock Fashion: A Dandy in Aspic

I am Caspar de la Mare great grandson of Walter de la Mare English poet/writer and owner of A Dandy in Aspic vintage clothing we sell true vintage from ’39-’79 with a heavy bias towards menswear we have a very large collection of 1960′s men’s and women’s clothes and accessories as well as many classic earlier pieces find us online HERE!

01. How did you get into the whole Mod thing and 60′s style vintage clothing?

I have had a liking for all things (especially music) from the 60′s, for many years (I lived through the tail end of it, albeit as a toddler) it probably really started In the 80s when I was totally into soul (and funk) music and getting big into Northern Soul and I love anything with a Hammond groove. I would search out any clubs that were playing this kind of thing and becoming a regular patron, soon you start to get to meet people there and you start to find out more about the different scenes. As the years have gone by my musical tastes have broadened somewhat and I have grown to like a lot of different styles genres, Garage, psych, rock etc. The clothes came with the music I always wanted to look like the music I listened to. I have never pigeon holed myself style wise although I always try and  go for a 60s flavour nowadays it is more dandy .taking inspiration from the peacocks of the day and also from other eras (as did the 60s dandies)

02. When did you start up A Dandy in Aspic?

I began selling clothes on Portobello market in the mid 90′s, and continued there until  around 2006 before moving to Camden Market.

03. What sort of people come to your boutique/shop? Aspiring or existing Mod and Dandies? Describe what you think your typical customer is like?

I have many types of customers, mods ,dandies, actors and musicians and stylists to fashion designers, but one thing they all have in common is style over fashion. I have a growing number of younger dandies who are heavily influenced by the late 60′s peacock period and are very knowledgeable about the music and style of the time, many of them are in bands or aspiring musicians.

04. You are a respected Stylist, what type of advice do you offer to aspiring Dandies?

As the late Hardy Amies wrote in his book “the A to Z of Men’s Fashion” a gentleman should take time over his appearance to make it look as though he has taken no time at all “Choose your clothes carefully, put them on and then forget all about them”. Find your own style don’t just follow the herd, dare to be bold in your style choice, (but sometimes less is more). And with regards to personal style/ taste, it suits the wearer not the starer.

05. Is your stock formed by your personal taste? Do you go for specific styles  and designs, or do you like to experiment?

Yes my stock is very personal. I tend to go for things that appeal to my personal taste as well as some  classic styles that have a broader appeal . my stock is not  influenced by current trends.( Although I do keep an eye on what’s happening fashion wise.) “Fashion is for the masses. Style is for the individual” and my customers seem to like my taste/style. I like to experiment by mixing different eras, which is what the dandies of the 60′s were doing, even they were inspired by the past.

06. Which designers have you been most influenced by?

I am not really influenced by designers. For me its all about the look. I think people can be too brand obsessed.

07. Where else do you get your inspiration?

I take my inspiration from many sources. Usually from other stylish people, take some of their look and make it my own.

08. How would you describe your own style?


09. Favourite item of clothing?

My wedding suit, a 3 piece made by the legendary tailor Tommy Nutter.

10. How can people that want to hire your services as a Stylist best approach you?

They can come and see me personally for a consultation in my shop  A Dandy In Aspic  in Camden or they can email me HERE! and arrange a consultation.

11. What do you think of the way young people generally dress today?

There is not much individuality, there are more followers than leaders, and I am not a big fan of Hipsters and all that facial hair.

12. Who are your hero’s from the wider world of culture and who are your zero’s?

There are too many to name them all but my biggest hero is Brian Jones he was a real 20th century dandy.

13. What do you do to relax? What makes you laugh?

I love the theatre and movies and I like to watch live stand up.

14. Tell us a bit about what you’ll be showing at the Modstock fashion show?

I will be showcasing some of my collection of men’s and women’s original 1960′s clothing. Many items are new old stock and have never been worn. I will be showing a variety of styles from the very early 60′s  ivy/mod look through to the beginning of the swinging London period.

15. You are also the floor manager for the Modstock fashion show, are you looking forward to the day itself?

I am very nervous as I have never done anything like this before, but yes I am looking forward to it.

16. What plans do you have for the future?

Watch this space!

17. We hear that you are a sometime Thespian, tell us more?

I am a fully trained actor, 3 years classical training at drama school and 2 years private tuition in Method acting. I still act when the work is there, these days I spend more time with my business which I love as much.

18. You were heavily involved with the READY, STEADY, SEW! Documentary from Modstock 2004, what are you memories of this?

I had a lot of fun working on the narration and going with Sean Michael Wilson and Angie Smith to interview  John Pearse from Granny takes a trip.

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Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

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April 4, 2014 By : Category : Events Fashion Front Page Interviews Style Tags:, , ,
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Rob Bailey Modstock Interview

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Movers and Shakers

01. Can you tell us about Modstock which first happened in 1994?

1994 was held in Saarbrucken in South West Germany, home to the Apemen and featured six of the best scene bands from that period. Three days of fun with friends from all across Europe. Also a live album featuring all the bands that performed at Modstock 94, was brought out on Detour Records and captures the great atmosphere of the event.

02. How did the Event in 2004 differ from 1994?

2004 was held in London an International event with people from all over the World who made the pilgrimage to the birthplace of Mod. We added new elements including a film commissioned especially for the event entitled Ready, Steady Sew featuring some of the original innovators like Lloyd Johnson. The most satisfying part for me was a fashion show which had never been done before and was a triumph. It featured models and props from the bespoke photo shoot by Pip! Pip! and included well known scenesters Mark Raison. Patrick and the twins Paula and Karen Baker.

03. Can you tell us about some of the bands that appeared in 2004?

The whole weekend sold out, so all ten bands played to a full house which was great. Friday night featured my teenage heroes the Prisoners and the Pretty Things, it was loud. Saturday afternoon saw the Aardvarks and the Solarflares and on Saturday night we had  The Gene Drayton Unit who also supplied the soundtrack to ‘Ready, Steady, Sew’ plus headliners the Creation. Sunday afternoon hosted the Apemen and Fur Delux and rounding it all off on Sunday night were Les Cappuccinos from Japan, who wowed everyone before the final ever gig from my all time favourites The Action.

04. What are you criteria for booking the DJs for an event such as Modstock?

A very good question, obviously this is a special event featuring talent from the last fifty years from artists and DJ’s who have made a big impact on the Mod scene past and present. Nobody has done more than NUT’s to give opportunities to new bands and DJ’s over the years as the Strypes for one, will testify. I am looking for talented young bands and DJ’s that have energy, enthusiasm, style, competence and originality.

05. What will Modstock3 in 2014 attempt to achieve?

Modstock will showcase all aspects of Modernist Culture and I hope, leave a lasting memory that will be talked about for years to come.

06. Can you explain the 50 Years date aspect?

We hold this event once every decade and who knows if we will all be around in another ten years. The ‘golden jubilee’ is obviously a huge milestone. The Mod phenomenon has touched the hearts and souls of so many people and is still influencing fashion, music, art and culture in the 21st century. This event is a celebration of 50 years of Mod, not from its mysterious birth but when it swept across the whole of Britain. Since then it has reinvented itself time and time again, to each new generation in keeping with the spirit of its pioneers and originators.

07. What special ideas have the New Untouchables in store for the 2014 Modstock event that you can tell us about now?

We have plenty of special ideas including a Riverboat Cruise down ‘old father’ Thames on Sunday afternoon giving folks a chance to see the sights, sounds and sensations of the capitol from the best vantage point. A Scooter and Classic Car Show, Art Expos, a huge Market and specialist Record Fair on the Saturday afternoon. And we will also attempt another Fashion Show and Bespoke film for the event, featuring archive footage from the 60’s onwards and including footage from Modstock 2004 that has never been seen before.

08. What sort of sounds, scenes and sensations can we expect from the dancefloor perspective?

We have booked the cream of DJ talent, past and present from around the World. We have 3 rooms with specialist music like the authentic R&B/Mod Club sounds, the Beat Basement with maximum R&B, Garage and Psych. The main room will be themed each night with a Motown Revue on Friday and a best of British Legends Revue Saturday. The finale on Sunday will feature the Fashion Show followed by the London scene favourite club night Crossfire.

09. Do you think Modstock will generate a re-birth of interest and energy in the wider Mod Scene?

I really hope so, the signs are good right now with young faces joining the Scene stalwarts and plenty of smart youngsters forming bands and buying 45’s.

10. Any special memories from 1994 and 2004 that you hold dear?

1994 were unique as for many of us it was our first experience visiting another country for a Mod Event. The 2004 event, for the sheer size and ambition and managing to pull it off. The most satisfying moment for me was the Fashion Show which was a first at a Mod Event of this type, We also had a stand-up Cinema as a pre-lude. I was relieved it went so well.

11. What would be your message to Band, DJs, Artists, and potential Sponsors eager to become involved?

The program is almost complete but if you have something unique you really feel should be part of Modstock 2014, then please get in touch. For potential sponsors this is going to be the event of the year attended by a global audience marking a seminal moment in the history of Mod that will have a lasting legacy.

12. Is there anywhere that folks wishing to get a ticket can go to on-line in anticipation of the potential big demand for this Event?

You can keep up to speed with all things Modstock on our website here Early bird tickets will go on sale to members of our network first here

13. What would you say to folks from other Countries and Cities that have never visited London and an Event like this?

Book your accommodation, buy your ticket and make your travel plans now! Get aboard the MODSTOCK train to London, the birthplace of Mod for the Party of the twenty first century.

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Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

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November 20, 2013 By : Category : Events Front Page Interviews Tags:, , ,

Brighton Mod/60’s Weekender 2013 Review

The August bank holiday saw the New Untouchables team heading for Brighton to set up for a hotly anticipated weekend of fun in Britain’s best seaside resort. In this video are some of the highlights from 2013. Join us same time, same place next year for more action.

A Massive thanks to the team: Pip! Pip!, Ellie, Kolorz, Carlo Sesto, Graham Lentz, Lord Savage, Doug Sturrock and Nicky Bubbles (Bar Italia). The soundtrack was superb all weekend big shout for the live bands Faith Keepers & the 45’s, plus the NUTS DJs: Chris Dale, Lee Miller, Pid: special guests Pete & Kris Tebbutt, Holly Calder, Mik Parry, Ginger Taylor, Yann Vatiste, Andy Roseman, Jamie Parr, Simon Bridger, Craig Simpson, Dean Chalkley and Graeme Very and all those who spun at the open decks session at the Volks Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Credits: Video by Doug Sturrock @ Stable Studios & Photos by Carlo Sesto

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I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: for rare vintage vinyl.

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September 20, 2013 By : Category : Bands Cars and Scooters Clubs DJs Events Fashion Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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Euroyeyé 2013 Review by Felix

Euroyeyé is an underground event, organized by mod and 60′s culture lovers for people like you every year since 1995 in the beautiful city of Gijon, on the Asturias coastline of Spain.

For this year’s event there were eleven live bands including legendary Detroit soulman, Derek Martin (see NUTSmag June 2013); Lewis Floyd Henry for the first and only time in Spain; The Aardvarks after almost twenty years since their last visit; the sensational See See also from UK and home grown talent Sex Museum, The Allnight Workers, The Wallas, The Black Beltones, Fogbound, The Rosquettes and King Jartur & His Lords. I could talk about all the concerts but like almost everything in life, you probably had to be there to appreciate them.

We also had 22 DJs spread over four lively alldayers and four amazing allnighters; the best of the most experienced mixed up with the most promising from our scene. More than 40 hours of dancing with the best 60s and mod music could be enjoyed in two packed dance floors and an outdoor terrace to chill, smoke, have a drink, chat or buzz around record and clothing stands.

If that was not enough you could see three exhibitions including Pedro Poyatos and Geometric and his original Holism in the CCAI, Javier Cámara watercolors with his “Monde Smart” in Café El Guetu and Mardi’s evocative, monotone collages titled “Jazz Problem” in Cleo, Modern & Vintage Clothing.

A film exhibition worthy of the best festivals, programmed by Merli Marlowe film, delving into incunabula 60′s French, Italian, American and Japanese film-making and three delicious short films to begin each session.

There was time to introduce the new collection of books “Mis Documentos” (Ed Chelsea). Alex Cooper, the author, spoke about them.

And finally our Scootercruzada with English visitors (I could not even say hello to them by the way, what a shame); two ride outs, over 200 scooters buzzing in the streets of Gijon and surroundings. I must mention the very sad and tragic death of one of the scooter riders on route to this year’s festival. We wish to send our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Iman’s family and friends. 

It was a weekend full of emotions.

Next year is the 20th anniversary and we are already working very hard on making the anniversary something even more special than usual, so come and join in the fun and experience this unique atmosphere with us on the 1st weekend of August in 2014.

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Felix EuroYeYe

Organizador de weekends mods y 60's como el Euroyeyé y el Beat Goes On. In Gijon, Spain.

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September 20, 2013 By : Category : Articles Europe Events Front Page Music Reviews Scene Tags:
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NUTs @ Glastonbury June 2013

Back in February I received an email asking if I would like to DJ after the headline band on Saturday night at Glastonbury. I replied. “Hell yeah, count me in!”
A couple of months past and the headline band on Saturday was announced: The Rolling Stones! The day soon arrived with an early start from South London navigating our way through the Morden mayhem arriving early afternoon to take in the sights and sounds of the most famous festival. We headed for the Williams Green Stage where I would be playing later that night, we said our hellos and dumped off the records in the locker, grabbed a beer and headed out to sample the Festival delights.

As a ‘Glastonbury virgin’ the first thing that hits you is the sheer scale of it all.
I wanted to catch the Strypes (who I have championed from the get go) and whose meteoric rise has ruffled a few feathers and delighted in equal measures.
A half hour walk through the massed revellers at the Pyramid Stage following seasoned professional and camera man Doug , we arrived five minutes before the lads hit the stage. A massive crowd had gathered to see just what all the fuss is about. The band were introduced with the comment ‘remember you have seen the Strypes on the John Peel Stage today but they will headline the Pyramid Stage in less than fifty years’, no pressure then. After some early sound issues the engineer got a grip and they ripped through new songs and live set fave raves with no fear and incredible energy and musicianship gaining many more new fans.

We made our way back  slowly taking a different route and caught a new band (to me anyhow) the fabulous ‘Dirty Funk Syndicate’, on a small bandstand grinding out Grant Greens ‘Ain’t it funky now’, We hung around a while to hear some more grooves joined by a rather stoned ‘hippy’ who tried to emmulate a the guy next to us who had all the James Brown moves. By now the groover had not only caught the gathered crowd’s attention but also the band’s.

We met NUTs stalwat Gary Milan and the lovely Laura for dinner and then headed off to watch Primal Scream at the Pyramid StageBobby G in his pink suit looked very smart and was accompanied by Little Barrie on demon guitar. They romped through the back catalogue with aplomb and it was a perfect warm up for the main act.

Back at the Williams Green Stage we caught up with the lovely Jo Wallace for cake and more refreshments, the final pit stop before the Rolling Stones. The buzz of anticipation filled the air. After a small delay the greatest rock and roll band of all time hit the stage with ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ which set the tone for an epic performance. Mick Jagger’s energy and charisma commanded the stage and like a Messiah he led the one hundred thousand strong congregation through the ultimate party. Too many highlights to mention during the two hour set which only scraped the surface of the Stones back catalogue. Having never seen them  before I had no preconception and no idea what songs they would perform so I was stunned at the their execution of  personal favourite ‘Paint it Black’, ‘Sympathy of the Devil’, ‘2000 Light Years’. Wow!

DJ duties meant I missed the grand finale to prepare my tunes for the aftershow party. Once the Stones were finished the venue filled up and I was surprised to see many familiar faces as well as some new ‘Moddie folk’. After warming the crowd up with some classics I was able to slip some Le Beat Bespoké favourites in. Personal highlights included the crowd singing along to ‘Sunshine with my Girl’ and ‘All my Loving’ by Prince Buster and dancing to obscure gems like the Barons and Tito Puente. What a great audience, the two hours flew by as I finished with ‘Dirty Filthy Mud’ before handing over to Motown Jo.

A three hour drive back to the capitol courtesy of Uncle Jonno arriving home at 6am and I was still buzzin’ I went with an open mind and was charmed by the laid back friendly atmosphere, see you next year! Special thanks to Carolina for photos and Doug for the film and Pip! Pip! for visuals.

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I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: for rare vintage vinyl.

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July 2, 2013 By : Category : DJs Events Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, ,
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Euro Ye Ye – (Wild Weekends)

01. Please tell us how and when one of the most famous weekenders on the scene was born and who are Trouble & Tea?

Euroyeye was first thought of while hanging out in a club in late 1994 or early 1995. Three friends (one of them JC lives in Thailand now and eventually got married there, Juan is still with me) complaining about not having time to enjoy the allnighter or watch the interesting concerts. Nobody was doing it at that time, so we decided we must do it then. Trouble & Tea is thanks to Manfred Mann, it was also good for a cool teapot logo (very British). We were always into ‘trouble’ a bit less than ‘tea’, unless you understand ‘tea’ as the Rutles did. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

02. Who attended the event in the early years and what are your most treasured memories from this period?

First year we had an attendance of over 200 people, 20 of them were djing in the all-nighters, hahahaha we had four bands and everything happened in the top terrace club of the Parque del Piles, over two nights. In 1996 we moved into the discotheque for the concerts and organized four nights – the rest is history. I specially remember bringing the ‘Knave’ to Spain and listening & dancing to their full set like crazy. They HAD something.

03. When did Euro Yeye become the International event attended by fun seekers from all over the World?

I think Rob and I first spoke in 1996 in La Rochelle (France). After that, I asked Rob to DJ and also to book the ‘Adventures of Parsley and Dutronc’ in 1997. Rob loved the feel of that 1997 Yeyé Weekender and after the event offered to join in the organization. I said “sí, ho, claro, joder (hell yeah)”.

04. Who has performed over the last nineteen years and does any particular live show stand out for you?

I have special faves, say JTQ and Les Hommes in 1998, The masters of groove including Reuben Wilson, Pretty Purdie, Grant Green Jr, Dr Lonnie Smith, Brian Auger, the Action, Arthur Brown, the Pretty Things, Jaybirds, Little Barrie, the Knave, Sugarman 3 + Lee Fields, the Strypes last year, Wau y Los Arrrghs, Maxine Brown, Tommy Hunt, the Teenagers, Martha Reeves, Flirtations, Dean Parrish, Nick Rossi Set (I won’t forget this one)… there are soooo many. If I just had the posters with me I’d remember many more for sure.

05. Apart from the all-nighters and live music what else is going on at the event?

Since 1996 we’ve done art exhibitions to the point that we have three artists in 2013 showing their stuff for one month July-august Since 1997 we’re doing a small but selected 60’s cult film festival in where all films are screened in OV (with Spanish subtitles when needed) Since 2012 Merli Marlowe programmes it which has given it the strength of an absolute 60’s film fanatic and connoisseur. This year we have Alex Cooper introducing us his new series of books about ‘rock stars’. Of course we also have the Scooter Rally within the weekender, which is one of the biggest in Spain. Moreover, the 60’s market and record fair is always very interesting every night at the disco and since 2009 we’re giving much more importance to the all-dayers with great DJs playing music by the beach during the afternoon. And since 2012, the Battle of The Bands has gained its own room at Yeye. Last year nine bands applied for great prizes, this year we have over 12 bands participating. Summarising, underground sixties culture is not just about the music IMO, it’s a way of life and this includes all aspects of art.

06. Please tell us about the amazing Oasis venue where the all-nighters and live music takes place?

Well, the Oasis disco is perfect for summer events. It’s located at one and of Gijón’s main beach, within walking distance from the centre (and what a nice walk over the beach in the wee wee hours!). It has a big parking and taxis are there upon a call in five mins. There’s also a bus stop in front of the main door that drops you in the centre in less than 10mins. It’s big enough to hold over 1000 people comfortably. Half is an outdoor terrace – half covered – with a nice stage and dance floor and room enough for 2 long bars and a bunch of stalls, space and plenty of seats to chill out, relax or smoke and have a drink. It has two separate dance floors.

We usually use the big one with two bars and a small stage (usually packed with dancers) for beat, garage, psyche, 60s rock and the really cool one in the end with room for 200 people (it’s always packed) for the black sounds, R&B, 60s soul, Jamaican, jazz dance, boogaloo and so on… also with a bar. Both of them are decorated like an Arabic palace with the Oasis with water in the middle. It’s beauuuuutiful, we add some 60s visuals.

07. Euro Yeye always has many funny moments during the weekend is there one in particular that stands out for you?

Well, it’s all about fun, but I specially think of every year’s Miss and Mister Yeye contest. It begun as a joke, and indeed it is, but people takes it very seriously and there’s much talk about it. Winners get a banner and a bottle of Champagne. We usually choose one Spanish guy and a chick from abroad or vice versa. They must have stayed for the whole weekend partying not missing anything and dressing cool. Style will always be important for us, how could it not be?

08. Who are the people who bring Euro Yeye to life every summer for our enjoyment?

Well, the team’s quite small, me & Rob, Arantxa doing marketing and communication, Juan takes care of hotels and accounts and plays the films, Vic does the stage managing. We also have a runner (we had Lara last couple of years) an official photographer and video crew, a small team for the sound and lights, backline crew, stage hands when needed and the disco crew. Before the weekend it’s really four people working, programming, producing & promoting. It still retains the fun and the DIY attitude inherent to any underground weekender IMO. If it’s not us (people from the scene) doing it, then it’s  just Disneyland and I’m not interested in that at all.

09. Where is Gijon and how do you arrive in the Asturian City?

Gijón is right about the middle of the northwest coast of Spain. The main town of Asturias is perfect for a holiday. The nearest airport is Asturias Airport (OVD) but Santander is also close (two hours’ drive), then Bilbao and then probably Galicia or Madrid.

10. Where are the best places to eat in Gijon?

Gijón and Asturias are very well known for its gastronomy, rich, special and varied, including fish, seafood, different meats, veg and desserts. The typical places are the Sidrerias, where you can also drink our very own sidra (alcoholic apple juice).

11. Where are the best places to stay in Gijon?

There’s a wide selection of hotels, hostels, camping. Everything can be checked in our website by the way

12. Where to shop in Gijon?

If you’re a 60’s lover you definitely must visit Cleo, Modern & Vintage Clothing There’s a wide selection of vintage clothing (lots of 60’s stuff inc footwear) and the brands that we all like from Fred Perry and Ben Sherman to Merc, Lyle & Scott, DNA Groove, Delicious Junction, Art Gallery and a few more that you’ll love.

There’s another vintage furniture and stuff in general very close to Cleo called ‘La Merced 3’. There are also a couple of small record shops, Paradiso & La Bomba.

13. Please give us an overview of Euro Yeye 2013 and what to watch out for?

I always say best thing to do is to check the website or facebook, if I was to focus on anything it would be unfair to the whole event. I love the exhibits, the scooter run, the films, the ‘battle of the bands’, the all-nighters with some of the best international DJs in our scene that make our long nights something unforgettable.


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Felix EuroYeYe

Organizador de weekends mods y 60's como el Euroyeyé y el Beat Goes On. In Gijon, Spain.

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June 3, 2013 By : Category : Articles Europe Events Front Page Music Picks Scene Tags:, , ,
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