When We Were Mods – Part III

Part III – Clubs, Bands and Music

Above: The Concert Factory on Mod Night in the Fall of 1982 when The Untouchables played – Photo by David Shelton

Orange County Clubs and Bands

In Orange County we had 3 places that had “Mod Nights” with bands and DJs on a regular basis – The Concert Factory, Circle City and Radio City.

Both The Concert Factory and Circle City had their own mod scenes, while Radio City was just a place to go see shows.

The Concert Factory was in Costa Mesa and was the place where we moved our center of action after the summer at Pizza Pete‘s.

The place used to be called The Cuckoo’s Nest, a legendary Orange County punk rock club. My brother David (the one who took many photos included with this story) got his nose broken there several years before defending the bass player from Jodie Foster’s Army.

One of the earliest mod bands in OC was The Jetz, and they played often at The Concert Factory. Other band that played there were The Modbeats, The Question, Sidewalk Society, The Targets, The Torries, The Shapes, Manual Scan, The Fixation, The Howling Men, I-Spy, The Three O’Clock, and The Underground.

Above: A group of mods from Corona Del Mar at The Concert Factory – Photo by David Shelton

Every month or so, The Untouchables from LA played, who were, hands down, the most popular band. They sold the place out every time they played.

From Orange County To LA

During late 1982 and into 1983 I started spending a lot more of my time up in LA and Hollywood, going to The Club Lhasa every Wednesday night for The Bullet.

Above: Flier for The Bullet at The Club Lhasa

This was THE mod club to go to at the time. Bryan Fox was the DJ and spun tunes you loved and ones you hadn’t heard of yet. There was plenty of dance floor, a big side room to hang out in, and it felt like we had the run of the place.

At the same time as The Bullet was happening, The Untouchables were playing regular gigs at The Roxy and a new mod magazine came out called Twist – it was a great time to be a mod…

Music and dancing were the center around which we orbited…

For me, the music was even more important than the scooters. I was fortunate enough to have had some good friends with great tastes in music who taught me how to find the music I was looking for – the best soul song on a 7″ single that nobody else had heard yet…

Bryan Fox, the DJ from The Bullet had a really good record collection. DJ John “Rudy” Wright not only danced better than anyone and dressed extremely sharp, but also had excellent taste in music.

There was a Northern Soul guy from England named Gabby who would show up sometimes at The Bullet. He always had the most amazing singles with him in his little black bag along with baby powder for the dance floor and dancing shoes. I got a number of nice records from Gabby.

In my opinion, If there hadn’t been The Jam or The Who, if there hadn’t been Two Tone Records or if a lot of old soul singles hadn’t been waiting to be discovered, there wouldn’t have been mods.

We listened to a range of music, from newer (at the time) Power Pop bands like The Jam, The Purple Hearts, Squire, Merton Parkas and Secret Affair to old 60’s bands like The Who, Small Faces, The Animals and The Yardbirds. We also listened and danced to a lot of 60’s soul, from Motown classics to Northern Soul rarities and Ska music from bands like The Specials, Madness, The Selector, Bad Manners and The English Beat.

Mixtape: Scratchin’ Soul Singles

I collected records and sometimes I would DJ at The Concert Factory. Some of my old soul singles are rather worn now, and some are a bit scratched up, but here is a mixtape of some great songs from my collection for your enjoyment. I call this mixtape Scratchin’ Soul Singles

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  1. Agent Double O-Soul by Edwin Starr
  2. Roadrunner by Jr. Walker and the All Stars
  3. The In Crowd by Dobie Gray
  4. Boogaloo Down Broadway by The Fantastic Johnny C
  5. Sock It To Me Baby by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels
  6. C’mon and Swim by Bobby Freeman
  7. Dancing Fast, Dancing Slow by The Intentions
  8. The Dog by Rufus Thomas
  9. Grove and Move by Jr. Walker and the All Stars
  10. Last Night by The Mar-Keys
  11. My Aching Back by Lowell Fulsom
  12. Did You Ever Love A Woman by Rufus Thomas
  13. Gimme, Gimme by ZZ Hill
  14. I’ve Been Takin’ For A Ride by The Saints
  15. But It’s Alright by JJ Jackson
  16. Night Before by The Mar-Keys
  17. Shoot Your Shot by Jr. Walker and the All Stars
  18. I Never Had It Better by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels
  19. We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet by The Blues Magoos


Part IV – The Untouchables and the LA Mods
Part V – Fliers, Buttons and Other Memorabilia


Part I – My Scooter
Part II – Orange County Mods 1982/83

Gallery of Images – Clubs, Bands and Music

7 thoughts on “When We Were Mods – Part III

  1. Wow … what memories I have of the Concert Factory and the Lhasa Club … some of the regular cronies … Mike Redding, Rich Sihilling, Bruce Sittol (spl?), Bryan Fox, Sally MacKay and others. We (Fixations … later Soho) played at both clubs pretty regularly. What the hell happened to youth? All the best … keep the faith!

  2. Hey, that group of Orange County Mods includes Scott Parker (with the Selecter shirt), Wendy Alston, Jim DeLozier, Mark Borg (yours truly) and Tammy Scheone. Jim and I were in the band, All Nite Rave–and used to play there at the concert factory! Scott went on the be some big whig at Capital Records, Jim is still hangin’ in the OC, and I am now a psychoanalyst and community psychologist in New York City (see http://www.ccgny.org).

  3. WOW great stuff here mate.Love the photos! My names Andy and i was an L.A. Mod in 81 to about 84 and then kind of faded away for a time. I Met Bryan Fox in 81 or 82 and used to drive him around on my blue and black Lambretta Jet 200 around Hollywood looking for records and stuff. Hanging out in the Cahuenga Manor with A.J. and some skinheads! Wow those were the days. Lhasa Club Upstairs in the D.J. Booth was fun. O.N. CLub with the Ut’s in 81 i guess it was. I came from the Burbank in the Valley and just cruised over the hill to Hollywood to the clubs.. I also was d.j. at Seven Seas in Hollywood in the mid 80s for a while and that was a lot of fun also. Remember the POW club guys always getting into fights in Hollywood. Also upstairs at Genos with John the Mod at the controls was fun..

    Ayways i am sure that we crossed paths somewhere.. Maybe at Zed records in Long Beach or some other cool record store on Melrose Ave or something.

    Thanks for the Memories and Keep on Keepin On!!

    • Shout to Andy 🙂

      You too Jon, thanks for the kind replies earlier.

      Seeing what Andy wrote, i just had to chime in. He’s right. Those were the days.

      Below are my memories and though, we are going back 35 plus years I think i got everything right.

      1981 – 85 or so was a magical time. I was hooked the very first night i went to the ON Club and once i saw a scooter I knew one day I’d have one.

      Then it happened. At 16 years old, I stole a Vespa 100 from the Rialto Theatre in Pasadena.

      I remember riding to the ON Club and parking it further away from then others. A 100 wasn’t cool. I rode from Temple City to Hollywood via side streets bypassing the freeway because I couldn’t go fast enough for the freeway. My hometown friends soon got PE 200s. Then everyone had them. Soon after I bought a 62 Lambretta L1150.

      At 17, i got arrested at the ON Club for buying beer at the liquor store at Sunset and Silverlake. We paid somewhere to buy it for us and outside, once the beer landed in my hands, i was cuffed.

      Allister, Gail, Cara, Sue Ming, Jackie Rae, Charlotte and Mary raised money bailed us out. I was with 2 other guys from TC and we barely knew anyone. Amazing.

      Around this time JD ( RIP ) got hit by a drunk driver. i remember Ted, Jackie, Charlie etc… Great, great group. Ted was awesome, Jackie, sweet and kind and Charile, intimidating. Tough english guy. Once you know him he was beyond kind. You had to know him though. Actually, he had to know you.

      There was another guy from the deep valley that played drums in a very gifted way. He emulated Kieth Moon and even looked like him. Nice guy, always high. Ha, i loved him.

      Shout to my old friend Ted. Just an amazing guy, words can’t describe. Riding a little slower so that i can keep up. Always cool. Ted’s one of those guys that make you feel like you’re the only person in the room.

      Then a life changing encounter. I met Victor. He lived with Bryan Fox. I needed a place to live, Victor knew it and next thing i know, I’m lIving in Hollywood. Bryan and Victor saved my life. Bryan was so authentic and pure and genuine. He had a huge heart. A standup unique guy with great taste. A guy with soul that loved soul music. Looking back I think it was Jimbo that intro’d me to Victor. More on Jimbo later.

      Victor then moved in with Dina and I took over his old room and I happily paid rent to Bryan.

      A few more people started hanging around. Bryan’s spot became known as the Manor. Around this time I stated getting a lot of tickets, blowing through stops signs, whatever the case. Every time i got a ticket i laughed and tore it up.

      Right below Ginos was an old TV repair shop. It became known as The Howling Manor. Keith ( Crawdaddies ) fixed TVs during the day. Then Audrey moved in and slept on the couch. I remember that couch 🙂

      Audry was extremely radiant. I remember standing in awe, completely memorized watching her dance. Tim and Floyd (RIP ) were in love with Audry. A lot of guys were.

      Around this time I moved to West LA in an apartment with Sue and Tony Rugolo. I lived in the living room and every night blasted Desmond Decker. Tony would say, ” Hey AJ, it’s 4:00am, you should listen to something a little more mellow…” I loved Tony and Sue. I loved everyone. Sue was there for me so many times. Tony – nicest, coolest guy in the world.

      Rudy invited me to join the LA Scooter Boys around this time. Very cool moment! I’m tight with everyone, working during the day, going out all night. Cruising alongside Suzi to Hollywood almost every night from WLA. Magical days.

      Then Sue kicked me out of WLA (lol) and I moved to 1776 Sycamore in Hollywood with Rob – The Mighty Lamp and Wally. Across the street was an old Hollywood Club called the Masquers club. We’d drink there at night. The bartender Nick was on heroin and would come up-stairs and zone out on the couch. Wally then found Jesus and moved with his girl Jewel and that’s when Donnell and Jimbo moved in. Looking back, i could be wrong, Jimbo may have already been living there. This part is cloudy.

      Around this time, Sparky ( with Greg and Mike I believe ) moved to Hollywood on Fountain near Crescent Heights. Bryan’s place became known as Camp Cahuenga. It may have been called that before they got to LA, but let’s just say they made it a little more prominent. The OC guys were great. Sparky and Bruce and Greg were just sincerely nice guys, always happy. i really connected with Greg. Just a good personality, always smiling.

      Jimbo, Donnel and I are super tight around this time. . Donnel was a great dancer. So many Hollywood nights. Gabby spinning at that soul club on Caheunga. Then off to Seven Seas, then who knows…

      At 21 I lost a job, couldn’t pay rent and got kicked out of Sycamore. By then Donnel had bounced. This guy named SJ and Nicky – the Junkie from the Masquers – were always hanging around and things just got a little weird. Part of me was glad to move on.

      It took a while for me to find something and for a month or I stayed with Sue in Burbank then finally found something and moved in with Kieth to the Hollywood Hills and slowly lost touch.

      Some random thoughts –

      When it came to dancing, Donnel was great, Bryan too. Larry ( Ska ) was King, Audry, Queen and Rudy, God.

      Re: scooters, I LOVVVVED the Rally 200’s but IMO the earlier vintage models had more allure. Clyde’s SS 180 was a work of art.

      Riding with Clyde, Ted, Jackie and Rudy from OC one day. A car got a little too close and i went down. Everyone had my back and ran over. Jackie and Ted, crying for me. Even though I was ok.

      We made it to Hollywood and stopped at Hollywood and Cahuenga to get something to eat before going home up the street. i got off my scooter and something happened and down it went.

      Dropping a 63 GL 150 Square light twice in the same day. Damn!

      Billy Zoom ( Scooter God ) walking up to me at one of Chris Cahill’s parties and loving my Lambretta.

      Sneaking inside Perkins Palace ( The Jam ) and wondering how i can go outside to sell my ticket so I can sneak back in.

      Standing outside the Whisky wishing i could be inside watching The Selector.

      Funny story i could never admit back then. One night it was raining very hard and I was in the Valley so we put my GL – in in Tim’s truck and drove to Hollywood. Once we were 2 blocks away from the Lhasa, we pulled over, I got out and rode it in.

      And in the end, life is balanced. My GL was stolen from me while i sat in jail for 11 days paying off all those warrants. My friend Richard offered to bail me out and i couldn’t afford to pay him back so there I sat. I would call Sue collect and have her play songs over the phone for me while i cried.

      So many memories. I’m glad to have lived through it.

      A few people have passed. i found this page when searching for Clyde Grimes ( RIP brother Clyde ). Looking back, we’re all lucky to have made it out alive. Some of us put on tens maybe hundreds of thousands of miles riding around and we all had close calls. Believe me, I stand grateful.

      I’m 52 now, with a 9 month old son and getting married in Rome in 2 months. My son is my best man. We’ll be blasting this song over and over.


      UPDATE: There’s a memorial for Clyde @ Rosedale Cemetary, 1831 W. Washington Blvd. LA 90007
      Aug 6th @ 12:30pm

      And a “Tribute Life Celebration Jam” @ The Roxy Thur Aug 18.

      • Did Any of you Know my Brother Brian Browning aka Brian Forteville , he was a Mod from Irvine , to Newport , to Hollywood in Early 80s , he hanged out a lot at Cuckoo’s Nest , and Newport , and also in Hollywood at The Odyssey Club , he had a Maroon VESPA., And then painted it Purple with Pink Dots for a little bit … Did any of you know my Brother ? He passed away in 2005

      • AJ AJ AJ!!!!!!! Dude we NEED to get in touch, I’ve wondered what happened to you for years, I’ve heard little snippets through the grapevine here and there! Living in the Monterey area since 1990, still have some scooters (and motorcycles, and old cars now too)! Love you brother and miss you, we had some good times all those years ago! I remember sitting in that pad in Hollywood with Jimbo and the Mighty Lamp and you, hahah nights at the 7 Sleaze and just the general craziness of those days. Ted

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