Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Voxed In

Some of us remember a time when learning about anything Mod wasn't as easy as reading a Wikipedia entry. And if you didn't have a group of friends already into it to teach you, it was even more difficult. If you were lucky enough, you could find addresses of fanzines modzines and hope they were still available.

I was lucky enough. One of the first modzines I remember getting in the mail was Voxed In from San Diego. I can't really remember the feeling I had opening up the large-sized manila envelope, nor can I remember what I first felt going through its pages.

No, my most vivid memory of this experience is running to class with the manila envelope wrapped between my schoolbooks. I remember it being a cool morning and I can still picture myself rushing across the lawn to get to the classroom, even though class didn't start for another 10 minutes or so. There was an excitement I was feeling that morning because I had in my hands something purely dedicated to Mod life! And not just Mod life... but proof of Mod life happening in California!

Even though I had spent the evening reading the articles, I wanted to spend those first 10 minutes before class going over them again. Plus, I wanted to show my latest purchase, another piece in my Mod puzzle, to my friends! In this 'zine, was information on current Mod bands, many based in my own state. There were pictures with guys in Mod clothing. There was information on Mods from outside the U.S. All in all, it opened up more windows into the Mod culture I was hunting down.

I met the editor of Voxed In, Scott Harper, once, at a San Diego all-dayer called New Sounds of the Sixties. I was about 17-years-old and still very much a newbie into this whole thing. When I saw him at the show, I actually got nervous. See, back then, I saw anyone who may have been in a band or put out something Mod-related as a sort of local celebrity. Y'know, as in "Wow, you put out the Voxed In modzine?" or "Wow, you're the lead singer of The Idea?" It may sound silly now, but not to a 17-year-old who was meeting other Mods for the first time. And at that New Sounds show, I had a chance to talk to the guy who put out this modzine.

I approached him and said something lame like, "Hey, you know Dez from the Contact modzine in Chicago, huh? Yeah, we're pen-pals friends!" He responded with something like, "Oh, yeah, I know Dez." And that was that. He was busy helping with the show and, really, what else was there to say? But for me, well, I walked back to my friends and announced, "I just met the guy who does Voxed In!"

Yesterday, I heard that Scott Harper passed away at a far too young age. It's really not my place to write about or announce his passing. We were never friends and I didn't know him. But when I heard the news, the memory of rushing to class that morning to re-read and share Voxed In with my friends hit me immediately. The memory of that excitement I felt now that I had new information on current Mod happenings close to my part of the state. And the memory of wanting to share that with anyone else who may have been interested that morning.

Although Scott Harper and I didn't know each other, I have to thank him for giving me those memories and opening those windows.


  1. i knew scott harper quite well, as we were only two of about 4 mods in our high school in the early 1980's. long after i dropped out of the scene, he kept on with it, and it is only in recent years, after meeting new friends in the scene both here in san diego, as well as from my brief stay in san francisco, that i find how much of an impact he had. trust me, i'm sure he was just as jazzed that you recognized/knew him as you were to meet him.

    i wish i were more involved then and able to see him in his heyday. still incredibly honored to be counted among his friends. he will be truly missed.

  2. P.S. just because you didn't know him personally, i can't think of a better tribute to scott than to write about him as someone who only knew him from doing what he absolutely loved, and knowing the impact he had on your life. i really think he would be honored and humbled to read this post, and would jump at the chance to continue that conversation you started all those years ago.

  3. Nice post, Carlos! I remember folks running 'lonely mod' personals in 'zines. Unless you were in a hotspot, getting connected was tough. In 1982 I made contact with some Sunny Hills High School mods this way, broke my isolation, and there they were, only a couple of miles away. The big mod boom in O.C. was still months off. Life before the Internet... Been seeing this news today about Scott Harper. I met him in '85 when my Lambretta busted a seal while I was on a ride in San Diego. Some apparent nincompoop who claimed to know about servicing them took it apart, until it started to drizzle, and this guy just up and left! Scott Harper, who I did not even know, came along and said "I'll be right back" and in less than an hour arrived with a truck, hauled us over to a little shop where Vince (?) fixed it right up. I hung out with Scott a few times as there were occasions but then lost touch around 1989. My condolences to all who were close to him. -Michael R.-

  4. Michael, that was an really cool story! Despite not knowing him, it’s great to hear things like this and to know that there were some good people like him hanging around back then.

    And Army, I never knew you guys were that close. I hope you and the rest of his friends and his family are all pulling through this okay. And remember, the Bay Area misses you!

  5. i hadn't seen scott in years, and got back in touch with him via facebook within the past year or so. we actually exchanged a few notes regarding various things about a week ago.

    thinking about him brings me back to when it was us small group of modernists against the world. we would scream "i hope i die before i get old" at the top of our lungs, knowing full well we would NEVER die.

    i guess we were mortal, after all.