Pete Townshend

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PETE TOWNSHEND:"I was a Mod. No question about it. The other three guys in The Who were not. My best friend at art college Nick Bartlett and his older brother Tim were the sharpest Mods I came across, I hung out with them as much as I could. The thing is that anyone could be a Mod. You didn’t need to be working class."

"I once hung out with a group of Mods in Brighton with a girl, and we slept under the pier and chased rockers."

"When I went out clubbing in Soho, I came across some of the faces of the day – Phil the Greek, Julie Driscoll, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Micky Tenner, Sandie Sargent and, of course, the Small Faces themselves."

PETE TOWNSHEND: "For a few months I went out with the younger sister of Roger Daltrey. We both talked a lot about our desire to be true Mods. Right in the heart of Roger's family his other sister and her boyfriend were already early members of the movement, the man was the first I met to have a Vespa scooter. So the Mods were a part of our families, our neighbourhood and our culture. Where we were rather cynical I think was in the very early days as the High Numbers when we tried to dress like Mods, rather than simply mirror their emotional needs. However, I never felt cynical. I felt I was wearing a uniform, but I knew what it meant. It meant I was a part of a youth movement that dressed well, appeared effeminate but were actually viciously tough, liked to dance, loved great jazz and New Orleans blues, and decried marijuana in favour of amphetamines. In a sense Mods were anti-rock 'n' roll as that form is now defined in the U.S. They - we - were defining new ways of rebelling, putting Elvis and James Dean behind us (pretty as those boys had been - our perception of our own prettiness was not dependent on the approval of fickle girls)."

PETE TOWNSHEND: "One of the things which has pete townshendimpressed me most in life was the Mod movement in England, which was an incredible youthful thing. It was a movement of young people, much bigger than the hippie thing, the underground and all these things. It was an army, a powerful, aggressive army of teenagers with transport. Man, with these scooters and with their own way of dressing. It was acceptable, this was important; their way of dressing was hip, it was fashionable, it was clean and it was groovy. You could be a bank clerk, man, it was acceptable. You got them on your own ground. They thought, "Well, there's a smart young lad." And also you were hip, you didn't get people uptight. That was the good thing about it. To be a mod, you had to have short hair, money enough to buy a real smart suit, good shoes, good shirts; you had to be able to dance like a madman. You had to be in possession of plenty of pills all the time and always be pilled up. You had to have a scooter covered in lamps. You had to have like an army anorak to wear on the scooter. And that was being a mod, and that was the end of the story."

PETE TOWNSHEND: "It was the first move that I have ever seen in the history of youth towards unity, towards unity of thought, unity of drive and unity of motive. Youth has always got some leader or other, some head man. The head man was Mr. Mod. It could be anyone. Any kid, you know, however ugly or however fucked up, if he had the right haircut and the right clothes and the right motorbike, he was a mod. He was mod! There was no big Fred Mod or something. You could get all the equipment at the local store, you get the haircut at the barber's; there was nothing special. You just needed a job in order to get you into the stuff, and that was the only equipment you needed. It was an incredible youthful drive. It really affected me in an incredible way because it teases me all the time because whenever I think "Oh, you know, Youth today is just never gonna make it." I just think of that fucking gesture that happened in England. It was the closest to patriotism that I've ever felt."