The prime of British mod rock was very short-almost all of the key records were made in 1965 and 1966. Only two pure “mod” groups, the Who and Small Faces, could be said to have had substantial commercial and artistic impact. And even then, this impact was largely limited to Britain at the time; not only that, by the time they’d been recording for a couple of years, each of those groups had largely moved beyond mod music entirely. Yet mod remains a durable part of rock’s fabric, providing the key link between the British Beat Boom and British psychedelia, and fusing melodic harmonies, power guitar chords, soul/R&B, and distinctly British breeziness into a genuinely new and exciting style that typified British pop it most energetic and effervescent.
There were a few other fine mod bands in the mid-‘60s that had same degree of success in the U.K.; in the U.S., they are known only to collectors. Prominent among these were in the Creation, who emulated the Who’s feedback screeches and drones, though their material actualy quite poppy. Creation guitarist Eddie Phillips pioneered the use of violin bow on electric guitar before Jimmy Page adapted the device for the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin.
It was, perhaps, in the cards that mod wouldn’t last long. The whole mod ethic, after all, was built upon flash, sensation, and living for the moment. It was the type of adrenaline, rush that was difficult, to sustain, particularly as the movement’s leaders, The Who and the Small Faces, quickly evolved into psychedelic-influenced hard rock bands in 1967. The evolution from mod to psychedelia, actually, was fairly natural, as many of the bands were already pioneering the guitar distortion the would be one of psychedelia’s hallmarks, and moving towards more ambitious and personal lyrical statements. Even same of the lesser known mod groups, such as the Creation, the Smoke, John’s Children, and even Wimple Winch (from Liverpool) were moving in a decisively psychedelic direction by 1967, and each case produced work in the idiom that was just the impressive as their mod outings.
- Richie Unterberger
1. "All Music Guide to Rock. The Definitive guide to Rock, Pop, and soul". Edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas. 3rd Edition. Publisher: Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-653-X. p. 1321-1322Mod Rock bands: 50 bands in database
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