THE MODDS

REEL TO REEL TAPE DISCOVERED

A newly discovered reel to reel tape will be of interest to fans of rare garage rock 45s from the 1960s. The Modds, a Poplar Bluff, Missouri based band, cut a record in 1966 that has become a thing of legend, the ultra raw garage punk track, LEAVE MY HOUSE. The original 45 on ANR (American National Records) is a sought after rarity with some copies fetching as much as $1500. One peculiar thing about this record is how up-front the guitar and vocals are in the mix. The tape reveals a layer hidden in the 45 version, where a second fuzz guitar, bass, and drums are now a part of the maelstrom!

 

The Modds - Leave My House (reel to reel) clip

Lost Souls Vol 2 features Leave My House and All the Time in the World both sourced from THIS TAPE!!!

HERE is an interview with Harold Ott for the Oxford American magazine online, including how he discovered the tape!

Steve Simone

The Modds - Poplar Bluff, Missouri 1965-1966

Steve Simone - lead guitar, lead vocals on Leave My House

Eddie Simone - Bass

Steve Ellis - Drums

John George - Guitar and Lead Vocals on All the Time in the World

Rick Steele - Keyboards (later member not on the 45)

The Modds came about when Eddie and Steve Simone's mother married a man in Torrance, California who was originally from SE Missouri. The family moved to his farm in Piedmont, Missouri near Poplar Bluff, leaving the culture of So. California in the mid 60s behind. Steve wasted no time in forming a band with his younger brother Eddie and two local guys, Steve Ellis, and John George. Steve Simone was an introvert until he got on stage. He would do James Brown style dance moves and transform. Steve had a knack for music and he got the whole band started. Eddie remembers the The Modds as "stupid little white boys who wanted to act like James Brown."

The Modds took the entire area by storm, including NE Arkansas, and soon had a fan club with its own newsletter. Eddie remembers two large shows that they played at an auditorium, but they also played private clubs, parties, and (regardless of their age) they played in bars all around the area too. The band had a large following of female fans in the area. They even had a bodyguard named Shadrack, a big African-American guy who kept the band safe from guys who wanted to kick their ass over their girlfriend's admiration of the Modds.

Jerry McDaniel and Bill Harper, DJs on Poplar Bluff radio station KLID, took an interest in the band and soon had them playing on the air. They did a lot of original material penned mostly by Steve Simone. He was always off with his girlfriend, so Johnny and Eddie would hang out a lot. They would ride in the back of the car and come up with parts of songs while on trips around the area to play shows. Using borrowed equipment from the radio station, DJs Harper and McDaniel recorded the Modds at Hays Music, a local guitar shop, and used their connections in Memphis with American National Records and Earl Barton Publishing in SW Missouri to release the record. It sold well in the area and charted in the local top 5 on KLID.

After further interest from Earl Barton, the band recorded and album's worth of material which has been lost to time. These recordings were made in a studio on Vine Street in downtown Poplar Bluff. A short time later the same studio location was converted into a hip club named "The Psychedelic Comic Book." Eddie remembers that Steve wrote one song on the fly in the studio. Around this time the group added a keyboardist, Rick Steele.

Rick Steele

The Simone brothers were living on their new step-father’s farm and times were rough. The Modds were basically supporting the family at the time with the money they made through shows. By late 1966, the band parted ways when Eddie moved back to California to live with his father, Silvan Simone, who owned an art gallery in Torrance, near Los Angeles. Steve stayed in Poplar Bluff and started the new school year of 66-67, but soon moved back to California to join his father and brother. Steve went on to work with Jimmy Webb, playing on his hit "MacArthur Park." Steve would later play bass in the Spencer Davis Group for a number of years. Eddie (Edgardo these days) Simone turned to classical music in his late teens and is currently an orchestrator for major Hollywood movies.

Edgardo Simone on imdb!

This was a wild year for discoveries! Many of the treasures unearthed landed on Lost Souls Vol. 2, including the mind-blowing find of the Modds original reel to reel tape of "Leave My House" featuring a different mix than heard on the 45! Now you can hear the bass, rhythm guitar, and drums that were buried before.

I also was able to track down Eddie Simone, the bass player for the Modds. The huge development came when John George, the Modds' guitarist, came forward on the Poplar Bluff Topix forum, then later was interviewed for garagehangover.com where he gave the most detailed history of the group yet!

It was coincidental that I had just discovered the reel to reel tape a few months in Jonesboro, Arkansas in a cache of tapes related to Variety Recording Studio, home of Alley Records in the 60s.

I contacted George and told him about my find. He was amazed that the tape had survived all these years. He told me that my best bet in tracking Steve Simone down was through Simone's father and his art gallery in Torrance. With some intense google searches I was able to find his brother, Eddie Simone, the bass player of the Modds to get his perspective.

-----------Harold Ott

MORE ON THE MODDS:

Garage Hangover post on the Modds

Poplar Bluff Topix post on the Modds

Oxford American interviews Harold Ott - Modds info!