published in Sounds, 25/05/85
Fearless footsoldiers of the Mod circuit, The Scene have built up solid support solely from their own spirited efforts – such as extensive live slogging – and without the patronage newer bands like The Gents have so readily received from such influential bodies as The Phoenix List.
Formed out of the remnants of the regularly spied 007, the band blast out a meaty, beaty good-time mix livened up by the ready wit of towering guitar star Gary Wood.
Of their first singer, Mick Winslow, Gal quips, “We told him to shape up or ship out – and he got the ferry.” So Winslow was replaced by Hull soul boy Andy Welsh, described by Gas as ‘the working man’s Nick Heyward.”
Gary, like his bassist brother Russell and drummer Andy Orr (ex Small World) is a lively Londoner. And on the subject of Mod, they pull no punches.
“We’re the only Mod band,” says Gal, sparkling minces hidden by those omnipresent shades. “We don’t do songs about beaches or Pro-plus, but we’re proud to be Mods – we’re a caffeine band.”
The speedy current B-side “Stop Go” might indicate otherwise, but what the heck? What d’you reckon to the state of Mod, ’85?
Gal: “It is a state.”
Andy: “When you’re out and gigging round the country you realise how alive it is. In Ireland, the scene’s fantastic.”
Gal: “Yeah, they really make you feel like the Beatles out there – old.”
So is there anyone else you relate to?
“Me brother,” quips Gal, “and he plays in the band! There’s no-one you could tag us with – we’ve got too much power.”
Andy: “We’re jingle-jangle with bollocks.”
Gal: “Imagine the Smiths without Morrissey but with Lemmy . . . Nah, the only thing we’ve got in common with Motorhead is the drinks account.”
Next month The Scene release their third indie single, a cushty cover of Young Rascals’ ’66 pick to click “Good Lovin”, with a new major UK/Eire tour to coincide. They accept indie label status philosophically.
“The record companies are never in touch with what’s happening at grass roots,” says Gary. “The music business never understood The Jam. And WEA tried to make The Truth sound like the Maisonettes on valium.”
“I think the business needs bands like us, though,” says Andy, “bands who play live and that aren’t studio-orientated or just disco-orientated dross.”
“We’re a band with a message,” says Gary conclusively. “And the message is – buy the records.”