Fresh off our trip to AmeriVespa 2010, Rocks Off has come to this conclusion: we are neither a Mod nor a Rocker. We're a Mocker. When you drive around a town as large and car-centric as Houston on a small scooter you get a lot of comments from people, mostly in allusion to Quadrophenia, which seems to be the only insight into scooter culture most people know. (Note to readers: here's a four-minute scooter scene from a the 1960s Bollywood musical An Evening in Paris that you can use as your new reference.) But the movie Quadrophenia, which culminates in a massive altercation between Elvis- and motorcycle-loving Rockers and Ben Sherman-wearing, soul-listening Mods, inspired us to pit some of our favorite bands together in an imaginary Rumble in Brighton to see who comes out on top. Incidentally, we also just got word that the next Rockers vs. Mods vintage rally in Houston will take place in September.
The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones Both bands started out as Mods, but the Stones quickly evolved into Americana-influenced bluesmen. The Beatles became hippies but then broke up, while the Stones are still touring, which might earn them extra points if it weren't for the fact that they are so damn old. The very fact that Keith Richards is still alive seems in itself to be a miracle, and Mick Jagger pleaded for "Everybody to be cool" while the Hell's Angels were busy stabbing people at Altamont. Normally, Rocks Off would side with the Stones on this one, because, well, duh, but seeing as how the Beatles are probably the most influential band in the history of rock and roll, we gotta give this one to the Mods. Score: Mods 1, Rockers 0
The Who vs. Lynyrd Skynyrd If it weren't for Quadrophenia, thousands of drunken concert-goers would never have shouted out "Freebird," since Skynyrd's opening slot on The Who's U.S. tour helped introduce the band to a wider base of fans than just those in its hometown of Jacksonville, Fla.. Nothing is as rock and roll as dying in a plane crash - it's a way more respectable way to die than overdosing (just ask Buddy Holly and Otis Redding) - but too many of Skynyrd's fans are Rebel flag-toting, tallboy-swilling rednecks. Sorry, the Who wins this one. Score: Mods 2, Rockers 0
Brigitte Bardot vs. Lotti Golden Both women were the queens of the cat-eye make-up. Just look at Golden's twig-like mascara on the cover of her LP Motor-Cycle. Bardot was more famous for being naked (and beautiful) all the time than her vocal stylings, while Golden recorded two psychedelic revivalistic soul-rock albums and then promptly disappeared. What happened to Bardot? She got old, lost her looks and turned into a hardcore xenophobe. Score: Mods 2, Rockers 1
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The Jam vs. The Clash The Modfather is a music and style icon, but Joe Strummer has the cooler name. Strummer loses punk authenticity points since his dad was a diplomat, but nobody's sampling songs from The Jam like M.I.A. did on "Paper Planes" with "Straight to Hell." And who's gonna argue the Jam are better than the Clash? Not us. Clash win. Score: Mods - 2, Rockers - 2
Sting vs. Sting In Quadrophenia, Sting plays Ace Face, the coolest Mod in London, who loses street cred when his friends find out he's a bellhop at a hotel. In Dune, Sting plays a diaper-clad Harkonnen hell-bent on ruling Arrakis with an iron fist of spice. Score: Mods 2, Rockers 3, meaning the Rockers win this round.