Mod Memoirs — Part 4 — The Scene

Bill Crandall
4 min readJun 23, 2021

Ok, yeah, that’s Quadrophenia, but it’s pretty much how we saw ourselves. Though there weren’t rockers in DC; mods didn’t brawl with anyone, it was never a fighting thing. There was always something of an unspoken truce with the DC punks. Tim Goldsmith and I went to one of those Woodlawn hardcore shows in our parkas and no one bothered us. While there was occasional tension with the handful of skinheads (Lefty and her crew) that hung out in Georgetown sometimes, the only altercation I can recall was when a few friends and I got into a hilarious skirmish of hurled Little Tavern hamburgers (those little ones you’d buy by the dozen-bag) back and forth across Wisconsin Avenue, by where The Gap is now.

It was just incredibly, breathtakingly fun for several years. What made it a scene, and not just some bands here and there, were the clubs (all now places that are gone, like Back Alley Cafe, Poseurs, The Company, Hung Jury Pub, The Gentry, The Bayou, old 930 Club, DC Space, etc), the endless number of shows, the house parties (where people actually danced and bands played), the zines, and of course the scooters.

The mod scene wasn’t at all purist by more strict UK standards, that’s for sure. Many of us were ‘somewhat mod-ish’ at best, and there was plenty of sloppy overlap with new wave and other styles. I mean I was called ‘Mod Bill’ in high school but often wore corduroys with a thrift store jacket. You worked with what you could find, which was sometimes a vague approximation of actual mod protocol. Nobody really cared about the length of your side vents or the width of your tie (except maybe David Thornell). Eventually The Reply would play in shorts and a Modest Proposal moment of fashion infamy was a Fort Reno show where I think Neal and I wore shirts with cut-off sleeves. Ok, it was the 80s, but still.

The DC punk scene was earlier, bigger, more legendary, and there are plenty of documentaries about it these days. But we had a damn good time.

Gene of The Now and Isabelle Stamper; Spike and the Skanksters
Modest Proposal; The Now
Party at Spike’s apartment; I see Spike, Perry Flint, Mike Tierney, Donna Flint, me, various Skanksters, and some GDS/Motives folks
Ted and Gary of The Reply with John Stafford; some of The Now and Mike Tierney (right) of The Rhomboids
Neal and his Lambretta (in CT); Ray and Perry of Count 4 at a dance party
[Left] Park-and-pose on the side of what later became Dean and Deluca’s covered cafe, there’s Libby, Denise, Eric Hilton (who would go on to create the Eighteenth Street Lounge and Thievery Corporation), Stephanie from GDS, a girl whose name escapes me, Skate being a rude boy, me, and Allen. [Right] Same crew, same day, down under Key Bridge
Denise and Libby park-and-posing; Coming out of what looks like a matinee show at East Side club in SW
Dozens Like Us scooter club, parked in Georgetown (left), and a rare day that Neal’s yellow Lambretta must have actually been operational (right). Not going to try to name everyone, but between these pics you’ve got a mix of people from MP, Count 4, The Generation, and a couple of Skanksters. We once rode over the Bay Bridge on a run to Rehoboth.
Dozens Like Us (a self-deprecating riff on the mod anthem Millions Like Us). Early days, I didn’t have a scooter yet, I rode with David (center).
I got these from various people’s FB photos, I actually don’t know who they are. Pretty sure it’s the VA scooter/ska contingent. I guess you know it’s a real scene when there are also lots of people you don’t know.
SPOW is mods upside-down and backwards, dontcha know
I believe SPOW was produced in the apartment above Poseurs. I like how the contact info is ‘look for Allen and Eric at MP shows’
All hand-drawn, typed, photocopied, about as DIY as you can get



Bill Crandall

Photographer and educator. Exploring how art and stories can take us forward. Carrying the fire.