Take a moment and try to guess what's wrong in the following photo:
Yup, you guessed it! The Smiths poster in the background.* Not that there's anything wrong with liking The Smiths. In fact, I was a HUGE Smiths fan back in the day. They were the very first band that I felt understood my 13-year-old adolescent angst.
And yes, that's me in the photo above, acne and all. When this photo was taken (about a month after I moved to the Bay Area to start school), I was proud to display my 'counter-cultural' roots (The Smiths) to all who walked past our dorm room. But see, little did I realize, I was probably contributing to one of my pet peeves and the reason for this post: people's confusion of 'Mod' with 'New Wave'.
I'm guessing that this started in the '80s when people who were into punk, new wave, new romantic, post-punk, or (fill in the blank) started moving on to a Mod look or just started banding together with what few Mod types were around at school or in social circles. It's easy to see why people from differing subcultures, back then, would have come together in the face of overwhelming OP shirts and upturned polo collars. We experienced the same thing in my time, only we were trying to get away from all the spiked-hair mullets and NKOTB groupies.
|Yeah, I can see why people would get confused. And yes, Blondie are lookin' pretty rockin' right here!|
Today, the general public is a bit more savvy, but I still get a sense that people think dressing like The Libertines or The Horrors somehow makes one Mod(!).
|Wait, did Poison and Love & Rockets form a super group?|
Granted, if it wasn't for this confusion in the first place, I wouldn't be Mod-bloggin' today. Heck, I'd probably be writing about which Morrissey solo album is best (I wouldn't know since I stopped at the first one) or who would win in a lightsaber fight, Han Solo or Boba Fett. Instead, it's the Mod thing that became the #1 target of my obsession, all thanks to my cousin calling me a 'Mod' because I liked The Smiths. So for that, let me stand up and thank New Wave music!
Of course, these days my Smiths records get played maybe about once every 3 years... if I'm feeling nostalgic and Morrissey bugs the living daylights out of me. But there was a time when they were on my turntable, on average, 4-5 hours a day. Whenever I felt the world was against me (which was daily for me as an average 13/14-year-old), I could get lost in pretty much any of their songs. If I didn't feel like eating my mom's corned beef, I could just say my political position that evening was "Meat is Murder." And if I couldn't find a date to the school dance, I could just say I was celibate like Morrissey. These reasons are why that band will always hold some significance for me.
And if I want to get defensive about my past tastes, I'll have you know that not only did The Smiths grace their record covers with awesome '60s imagery, they also covered a Twinkle song. Oh yeah, and did you know that Johnny Marr was a huge Small Faces, Who, and Motown fan (according to one of my Smiths quote books that, yes, I still have)? Plus, he rocked a huge back-comb at various points in his Smiths career.
|Johnny Marr with back-comb and desert boots.|
*BONUS POINTS if you said 'Sunglasses being worn indoors' or 'Posing in a dirty dorm room.'