Dennis Munday
Billy Hassett
Sounds 1979
Martin Mason
This interview was taken from a Sounds interview by Garry Bushell. It it believed to be their first interview in a weekly music magazine. My copy of this interview is from a reprint in a fanzine and so I don't know the date of release, but I think that it is june / july 79. There is a picture as well but the photocopy is appalling and no amount of fixing in photoshop will get it looking good.

If you have any scrap books or magazine interviews, promptional material I would really like to include them in the site, and of course anybody who supplies material will get a mention.

Four Chord wonders.
I suppose it' s cause of the way punk went that Ive been holding back on MOD, but it's difficult not to get excited at gigs like this. Things havn't moved so fast since the early punk dyas and it's exactly the atmosphere again now, that buzz of excitment at gigs , discovering good new group all the time , watching the whole thing grow. It's impossible not to get caught up in the sense of urgencey.

And while mods should be aware of the big punk mistakes and the inevitable bad influences that'll be brought to bare on their movement, they shouldn't be ropped of their optimism, no matter how naive it might seem to the ' hardened veteran's'. Something good will come of the MOD renewal; just how much good no one can tell yet, but it is largely up to what the particapants do.

'Will come' ? what i am wafflinge about , something good has come already and right up there in the vanguard are The Chords, a young , powerful South East London four piece who Paul Weller saw and snapped up as support for The Jam's Rainbow gig on May 10, who are supporting the Undertones on the tail-end of thier current tour, who look set to sign with Jimmy Pursey's label and get a single out in the summer time when the weather is fine and you can shoot right up and touch the sky. And, and, and, this is their eleventh gig ever.
Thats right. Eleven gigs in six weeks and fame already "It's all happening to soon, " drummer Brett Scott confides "Much to fast, but it's all down to wether you can cope with it. I think we can."

It's the old dilemna - you need time to develop but you want attention. I think the Chords have got thier heads screwed on. I think they'll survive the hype.

Tonight's gig has been fixed by The Maxium Speed Modzine at the Cambridge hotel pub in Edmonton, and three hundred odd mods have packed in , most of them familiar, mobile faces (already five times as many as five weeks ago).

Back to Zero are supporting The purple Hearts and The Chords who toss up to see who'll top the bill - it's that free and easy - and The Chords provide the double - headed coin.

Missing Back to Zero in the tireless pursuit of getting together interview man (incorporating an ongoing drinker as much lager as possible situation) we stumble back into the hall for the eminently ernjoyable Purple Hearts set - They get better all the time - and listen to Mods making cruel jokes about Billy Idols coiffure, the man having materialised at the back of the hall to check out the scene (baby) .

Hoisting up a huge union jack (with absolutely no facist connotations whatsoever) The Chords hit the stage and power drive into a goliath - like rendition of the Small faces Hey Girl the crowd readily punching the air in time to the chorus chant and getting into their odd mutant - pogo twisting. Then crash come the powerchords as the band launch into 'Don't go Back' the first of their own numbers when disaster strike and lead guitarist Chris Pope ( No relation) cuts his finger painfully.

Gritting his teeth - what a trooper , huh kids ? - he soldiers on for a shortened 10 song set, which is more than enough to give an adequate account of their scope and ability. Two guitars, bass, and drums are attached together making for tight muscular music, paced fast and furious but retaining a strong sense of melody - like Chris says its a meeting ground for punk attack and pop sensibility.

Similarities with the early Jam have already been bandied about and the Woking Wonders are the obvious frame of reference for newcomers but The Chords numbers aren't one dimensional and already you can see their music developing: contrast and early number like 'Dream Dolls' with a more recent one like 'Maybe Tomorrow' for example and you can hear the way their grasp of pop structures is growing they're writing better songs all the time.
Their own numbers mingle with a strong set of cover songs at a normal gig 'Knock On Wood', 'She Said', 'Circles' and 'Hold On I'm Coming', put over confidently and impressively, anything they lack in skill made up for by their energy and enthusiasm. Dimutive vocalist Billy H (Hassett) really looks good - like he me means it - and none of the band are weak. Tonight they hammer through a snappy nine numbers and an encore. Of course.

I could hardly believe that it was their third gig ever when I saw them at the Kings Head in Deptford last month, but they assure me it was. So I'm eager for history. The Chords' story begins at St Thomas The Apostle, a Catholic school in Peckham where fourth form schoolfriends Billy (from Deptford) and bassist Martin Mason (from Bermondsey) get a guitar and bass respectively and start jamming together. They formed a three piece in December 77 and would practice on Stones and Who numbers. Chris Pope (from Catford) joined the month after bringing a host of Tamla covers into their rehearsal repertoire. This their first gigging band 'cept for Brett (from Orpington) who'd banged out the old jungle riddums with punky no-hopers meat.

Brett joined on january 15 this year and, after a month of rehearsing, The Chords materialised and as the time honoured clichee has it, ain't looked back 'ave they, know what I mean John? Like the Purple Hearts they're both wary and glad of the mod renewal.

Billy "It is a good thing and all the bands are different which is great. At the moment I think there is room for us all."

Martin "See the new mod movement is coincidental to us but it has provided us with an audience."

Chris "Though at the same time we know there is a danger of being pigeon-holed as 'just a mod band' except we think we're capable of playing well enough and producing singles good enough to last when mod dies down. Otherwise we won't deserve to survive. . . ."

Lotsa people agree, which is why the agencies are fighting over the band at the moment. As yet though they remain unaffected by all the attention in a viable nice blokes, lighthearted badinage permutating conversation type of scenario (eh? - Ongoing ed).

And they're still firmly esconced in pre-pop star glamour occupations, Chris (18) is doing A-levels, old man Brett (20) is at Roedean, sorry is a storeman in Bromley, Billy (19) was a draughtsman 'till last week, amd Martin (19) is on year one of a law degree.

Chris "We're obviously influenced by punk, we all still like The Clash for example, but we're playing what we want to play."

Billy "Most of the mod bands are punky."

More and more mods drift round the table adding their twopennyworth till acting manager Tony Newman wanders up with a casual "We've been offered another gig-tomorrow night at the Rock Garden. Whatdya reckon?".

"Yeh, I don't mind" Chris smiles. 'Whats he gonna do with his first million I wonder? "Buy a parka". What else can a poor boy do?

By Garry Bushell.