Sunday evening my sister Barbara stopped by and dropped off our family photos- our souvenirs of family memories stretching back from around 1919.
My two oldest sisters, Barbara and Judy, had organized them according to the various family members, with a plastic box for each of us, and also some big envelopes of larger photos. Now I planned on scanning a bunch of them into the computer so our whole family (and it’s a big family) can enjoy them.
Tania and I spent the night looking through my box (and a large envelope of all my school pictures) and then through my dad’s boxes (he has three) until our eyeballs were about ready to fall out from seeing too much.
I think I got a bigger view of how my family fits together from this photographic journey, including various aunts, uncles and cousins whom I have never met – branches of my family who now have, at least, a picture-like existence in my mind.
On Monday I posted a few of the family photos on my Facebook page, which I’m re-posting here to save for my own future reference, for my families benefit (not everyone is on Facebook), and for you to enjoy.
Above: The first issue of Twist with The Untouchables on the cover.
Dig The New Breed
The cover story* of first issue of Twist magazine was about The Untouchables and began:
“The show didn’t so much begin as explode. Seven men run onto the stage, grab instruments and microphones and begin an energy assault…”
The Untouchables (or The UTs as they were also called for short) usually played for a couple hours at a time and when I first saw them at the ON Klub I think I must of danced for 3 to 4 hours, or at least that how I remember it…
Above: VIDEO – News report about the LA Mods and The Untouchables. It’s about as accurate as most news stories…
The Untouchables at The Roxy
By late 1982 they had become so popular that they started having regular shows at The Roxy, where I must have seen them play a dozen times.
Above: The Untouchables at The Roxy – November 1982 – (from left to right) Clyde Grimes, Herman Askerneese, Kevin Long, Chuck Askerneese, Rob Lampron, Terry Ellsworth and Jerry Miller – Photo by David Shelton
At The Roxy the shows were filled to capacity. The Untouchables hadn’t been signed yet and every time they played I felt the anticipation of something big about to happen.
I’m glad I was able to get my older brother David to come to a show and bring his camera. David was a roadie for various punk bands and wasn’t into our mod scene, but he liked The Untouchables and their ska tunes. Thanks to David I still have these photos of The UTs.
The first UT I got to know was Terry Ellsworth, the rhythm guitarist.
Above: The Untouchables at The Concert Factory – Fall 1982 – Rhythm Guitarist, Terry Ellsworth – Photo by David Shelton
Chuck Askerneese, the lead singer, Herman his brother who played bass and Jerry Miller, the percussionist, would often show up at The Bullet to hang out and dance. I got to know them a little, mostly I was on the “head-nod and smile” level of acquaintance.
Their lead guitarist and main songwriter, Clyde Grimes, was a genuinely cool guy with a clean style – very mod. I got to know Clyde better than any of the other UTs, and I often find myself missing him.
Above: The Untouchables at The Concert Factory – Fall 1982 – Lead Guitarist, Cylde Grimes – Photo by David Shelton
The more time I spent in LA in early 1983, the better I got to know some of The Untouchables as well as some of the mods that wrote for Twist magazine, the ones who happened to be the Face (the people to watch) of the scene.
The Scene During 1983
I remember the summer of 1983 as “The Style Council Summer” – The Jam had broken up and Paul Weller, the lead singer had started a new band with the keyboardist from The Merton Parkas, Mick Talbot.
Our movement had grown very large and was beginning to fragment. We had groups of ska kids, scooter boys, soul boys, power pop mods, skinheads and psychedelic mods – and every group had it’s purists that didn’t like the other groups.
I was one of the soul boys and we headed off in the Northern Soul direction.
Above: Flyer – Out On The Floor – 60t and Northern Soul Music at The Concert Factory with DJ Jon Shelton (that was me)…
We removed all the patches off of our parkas and started adopting the more casual style Paul Weller was now wearing. We listened to his new songs Money Go Round and Long Hot Summer and smiled and danced.
There were weeks when I rarely made it back home to my parents house in Irvine. Instead I was often crashing, along with my friends, at different mod’s houses, always on the go…
Above: The Untouchables second single with several backstage passes still attached…
I think one of the last UTs shows that I went to was when they played at UCI in Irvine on August 7th. I still have my backstage pass from the show, and I remember them dedicating the song “Free Yourself” to my girlfriend Angela and me… The next month we did, and broke-up.
Above: VIDEO – The Untouchables Free Yourself Video
This is the 1977 Vespa Rally 200 that I bought in April of 1982 for $300 when I was a senior in high school.
Before I bought this scooter I had never heard of mods, but by the time I graduated two months later I was already changing from a punk/rockabilly kid to a clean dressing, soul music loving mod.
Two mods at my high school – Mark Hackworth and Rodney Sheppard (Rodney later went on to be the guitarist for Sugar Ray) – took it upon themselves to instruct me in the proper way to be a mod – dress sharp, stay out all night, listen to the right music, and always go, go, go…
Above: (from left to right) Mark Hackworth with one of my friends at the time, Jeff.
Photo by David Shelton.
I turned 18 the same week I graduated from high school, and the next week I rode my scooter 35 miles (by freeway) from Irvine to Hollywood with a friend of mine named Jeff to go to the On Klub and see The Untouchables.
After The Untouchables played that night I joined a group of scooters headed to a party “just around the corner” and ended up getting a grand scooter tour of Hollywood and LA all they way down to the party in Santa Monica.
The party was still going at close to dawn when I got back on my scooter and rode 30 miles down the 405 freeway to my job in Irvine, just in time for work at 7:00 am.
And so it began, over 30,000 miles (before my speedometer died and I lost track) of scooter riding around Orange County and Los Angeles from the summer of 1982 through the spring of 1984.
Lots of crazy adventures, broken brake cables, blown-out tires, paint jobs, accessories, lights, mirrors, stickers – when my scooter finally died in 1984 I knew everything about that machine – inside and out.
It was because of my scooter I entered a whole sub-culture of sharp dressing, great dancing, scooter riding people that would be my life for the next two very important years of my life….