ModdsGroovie45LeaveThisHouse

The Modds

The Modds, l-r: John George (with sunglasses), Steve Simone, Steve Ellis and Eddie Simone

The Modds 45 is notorious for the unbelievably crude sound of “Leave My House”.

The Modds were also one of the big mysteries of the sixties, as no one had been able to find anyone who was involved with making this record until I spoke to rhythm guitarist John George.On “Leave My House”, most of the band has been buried by the mix of the lead guitar and vocals. One can hear some tambourine, a little bass, rhythm and drums back in the distance. The lead guitar tone is as dirty as can be, breaking up when the picking gets fast. Two minutes into the song he’s nearly fried the amp! The singer doesn’t hold back, either.

The ostensible A-Side is the much more sedate “All the Time In the World”, kind of a Rubber Soul style of ballad with a clean and well-rehearsed guitar solo. Both songs were written by Steve Simone and published by Earl Barton Music. Interestingly, each side has a different producer listed, Bill Harper credited with “Leave My House”, and Jerry McDaniel on “All the Time in the World”. These Modds are not the group from Miami who cut Don’t Be Late.

Mop Top Mike sent in the songs and label scans, and provided more detail about publishing and label info:

The pub company is Earl Barton Music, most famous for having writer Wayne Carson Thompson (or whatever his name is!) on the staff – he wrote “The Letter” for the Boxtops, and sides for the Skeptics (“East Side Tenement House”, etc.) When the outfit was contacted back in the 80s, there was no paper file on either song by the Modds, despite showing the pub credit for both songs. E Barton music was based in Springfield, Missouri.

The record label looks like a short-lived offshoot of the Nashville label, based in Madison, Tennesse (had the Kenetics 45 “Put Your Loving On Me”). There is no release time frame established as well, the numbering of the label doesn’t follow the Nashville label master number series.

Leave My House of course is famous because the band track is obliterated by the vocal and lead guitar overmodulating, causing high frequency distortion. Note that two different producers are credited for each song. Bill Harper must’ve been aghast at the result when the record was pressed!

I interviewed John George, rhythm guitarist and vocalist for the Modds. John sent in these great photos of the band, as well as the scan of the Modd Mag fan club newsletter.

I was one of the Modds, my name is John George.

John George of the Modds
John George of the Modds

Poplar Bluff, MO, 1962, I got a guitar for Christmas when I was 12 years old. I wanted bongo drums, but my parents thought that wasn’t enough, so I also got a $12 guitar (Silvertone from Sears). We became inseparable, wherever I went the guitar went. By my 13th birthday, I got my first electric guitar (again from Sears the Silvertone 1448 with amp in case). I think it sold then for around $52.00.

I met Steve Simone through school, and went to his house to hear him play. He had a white Fender Stratocaster, and Gibson amp. Played “House of the Rising Sun.” I was flabergasted, we became instant friends.

Eddie Simone

I played rhythm guitar, and vocals, Steve Simone played lead guitar, his younger brother Eddie Simone played bass guitar, Steve Ellis played drums. We were all students at Poplar Bluff High School. The Simone brothers were from southern California, and wound up in Missouri when their mother married a fellow from Poplar Bluff. Steve Simone was a senior, both Steve Ellis and I were sophmores, and Eddie was a freshman. Because or our youth, my father used to drive us to our gigs and look out for us at some of the rougher establishments.

As I recall the name came from one of the people groups in Great Britain. There were the modds and the rockers. We liked the modds, so it stuck. We were the first in the region (because of the Simone’s influence) to start playing the English sounds…..became an instant local success.

John George

We played all over southeast Missouri, did a TV appearance in Harrisburg IL. Lots of high school dances and shows. Another band in our area were the Hatchers from Doniphan MO.

Steve played a White Fender Strat through a Gibson amp. I used the Silvertone 1448 (amp in case from Sears) with a Gibson Explorerer amp, till I was able to save enought to get a Gibson Firebird. I bought it brand new in 1966 at Hays Music in Poplar Bluff, $169.95. Eddie used a Gibson ebo Bass, and Steve E. had a set of black pearl Ludwig drums. Our P.A. was the biggest Silvertone amp we could get.

Radio station KLID in Poplar Bluff was the local teen station, and they began to get alot of calls requesting our music, seems we had a fan club. Bill Harper and Jerry McDaniel were both DJs at the station, and asked to manage us. They would regularly record us on station equipment (covers), and play our recordings, keeping us in the top ten.

We played everything we knew, from Eric Burdon to Gary and the Pacemakers every show. The recording sessions would go into the wee hours of the morning. My tenth grade English teacher (Mrs. Virginia Young) would come to every session, and bring food and refreshments (her daughter was president of the fan club). Of course the next day in English class she would often say “you look tired Johnny, why don’t you lay your head on your desk and rest.” There are no tapes in existance that I know of.

The managers had connections with American National Records out of Memphis, TN. Steve wrote “Leave My House”, and “All the Time in the World” for our first single. The recordings were made in a studio in Poplar Bluff on a reel to reel, then sent to Earl Barton at ANR in Memphis. TM. The studio later became a dance club called the Psychedelic Comic Book.

The “Leave My House’ recording was really good, and before it was made into the record everything sounded great. Full sound, lead, rhythm, bass, and drums. What you hear is what we got from the producer. It was a dissapointment that it didn’t all come through. I sang lead vocal on “All the Time in the World”, Steve did the harmony.

There were a total of 500 records pressed, distribution was in local shops, I never did know how many sold, but I think on a local level they went pretty well. I’m very surprised to hear that the 45 has that kind of value [Modds 45s sell for as much as $1,500 – ed.]

Earl Barton called after the release of our record, and asked us to write eight more songs for an album, which we did. The only other original song of the eight for the album I remember is called “Make Loose Ends Meet”. I remember it because its the only one I wrote, a nice little ballad.

We had no idea who Earl Barton was, so we were somewhat skeptical. Steve’s father Silvan Simone had an art gallery in Torrance, California, and was good friends with the manager of Crown Cadet Records in LA. We sent Eddie Simone to L.A. with the tape. Crown Cadet offered a contract, but that was our downfall, we were young from 14 to 16 years old. Several parents just said no. Steve eventually went back to L.A. where I’m told he became a studio musician, and played rhythm guitar on MacArthur Park.

ModdsGroovie45LeaveThisHouse
Vinyl reissue of the Modds from the original master tapes, available from Groovie Records

After the Modds, I played on with another local group, but didn’t do anything that really sticks out in my mind. I moved to St. Louis in mid 1967, graduated from Central High School in 1968, enlisted in the Marine Corps, (Viet Nam Vet). Came home and settled in Jefferson County, just minutes south of St. Louis. I played with several different groups in St. Louis, but again no major milestones. Have been involved in music all my life, from rock to country to blues. I have a band of old guys today, The Flamm City Band, check us out at luky7music.com.

Special thanks to John George for sharing his history and photos of the band. This is an update of the original article, posted November 2007.

Harold Ott discovered the original master tape for the Modds 45, and has reissued it on CD, available on his site, which also has more information on the band.

Also, Groovie Records of Portugal has reissued the master-tape version of the 45 on vinyl. I can recommend both of these releases highly.


11 thoughts on “The Modds”

  1. Just now I was killing some time going through my “garage unknowns” file trying to nail down some release info/band locations… Googled “The Modds” “Steve Simone” for the umpteenth time expecting no hits, again, for the upteenth time. To my surprise, this link came up.

    It’s a post from about two weeks ago (4/14/08) on a discussion forum about musicians in Poplar Bluff, MO, and while it doesn’t specifically say where The Modds hailed from, it does say they played in Poplar Bluff (at a place called The What Club), and that Steve Simone and his brother Eddie were in the group. This jives with MTM’s research (publishing co. in Springfield, MO, a few hours’ drive west of Poplar Bluff). Probably safe to say they were from Southern Missouri, but I’ll withhold judgment ’til a real garage sleuth picks up the trail and gets the full story!

  2. Hi,
    Earl Barton Music was indded based in Springfield, Missouri. As you know they published Wayne Carson’s songs, he lived in the Springfield area until moving to Memphis or Nashville(not sure which). He wrote songs for the Merging Traffic and Blue Things. I’m trying to track down other songs he wrote and other songs published by Earl Barton. Think I may be biting off more than I can chew!
    Bernard Watts
    Springfield, Missouri

  3. I just got off the phone with Eddie Simone, I was close friends with his brother Steve and sister Freddie when we were both in Poplar Bluff. We had both arrived from Southern Ca. about the same time and that was our initial connection. I sat in the radio station while the demo record was being recorded(taped).I last talked to Steve in 1978 while traveling to Cali, and he comes into my mind every so often, that’s why I made the call earlier.In all honesty, I knew the other band members, but couldn’t recall their names so it was nice to see one of the members post.It’s kind of interesting that they have gained a “cult” kind of status, Steve was unique. I left Poplar Bluff earlier than him, because I was a Marine brat and my dad finished up his recruiting duties and went to ‘nam. I hope to hear from Steve, it was great talking with Eddie after all these years, but Steve was the one I was friends with. I think that Eddie was younger than I was , I was a Freshman and he was still in 8th grade, Steve was older maybe a Junior at the time and his sister Freddie was my age.It was Steve that probably had the most influence in my life as to my perceptions and course of life. In the rural town of Poplar Bluff he stood out because he had Bob Dylan type hair at the time. He was kind of a contradictory individual, because he was into body building at the time as well. In the mid sixties that seemed like two polar opposites. I had piano and other instrumental experience, but Steve’s Strat was the first guitar( electric) I ever played…he taught me Gloria.One of the other band members had a Gibson SG1( I think that was the model) that was a beautiful cherry red. I do recall one event that, I didn’t go to, that was maybe in Cape Girardo, Steve said that it was all C&W(except them) and he said they were booed off the stage. I always thought that they were the ones that did “Phsycotic Reaction” because it reminded me of Steve’s style. He told me in the late seventies when I got a hold of him, that it wasn’t but did inform me about the Richard Harris album and “Mcarthur’s Park”. I believe he said that he had scored it, although that was many years ago and it was in the midst of catching up after about 15 years.

  4. I became good friends with eddie simone in the eighth grade at Poplar Bluff.His family had just moved there from California and he was very different from anybody i’d ever been around.With both of us being music nuts we became fast friends and went everywhere together.I remember going over to their house and listening to steve his brother play music.He was constantly playing music . When they formed The Modds I would go to their gigs with eddie and remember thinking it don’t get any better than this.It was eddie who got me started on bass guitar and helped fuel a love of music that continues to this day.I don’t have any pictures of eddie or steve from that time so I was glad to see some posted on this site .I do still have an album he gave me from that time it’s “THEM” with Van Morrison .What a hoot to find this site by accident dedicated to the garage bands from that time . I went on to play in a few band around P.B.in high school but nothing ever as popular as The Modds.If eddie ever reads this post I hope he remembers me.

  5. I was rythm guitar for The Hatchers, we were from Doniphan and played one gig along with The Modds in the summer of 66, KLID had a battle of the bands and I think we were the only two bands in the area at the time. (I have one photograph of them on stage at that event) See “Hatchers Doniphan”, or “Dennis Hodo” on facebook.

    It would be great to hear from any of the former Modds.

  6. Through the years I have heard so many stories of and about the Mods John George is my father.
    It goes without saying what a treat it is to see and read the info here , from a sons prospective it’s simply awesome. Dad still plays live in fact we do an acoustic duo together and I have to say I get more satisfaction and enjoyment playing music with my father than another person or group of people I can remember.

    Thanks so much for the info and to all those involved in this info

    1. Hello!

      I used to date Steve in High School. Went to a lot of gigs and have so many wonderful nostalgic photos of the band and other pictures of us together.

      Over the years I’ve tried to contact him, but to no avail.

      Can you help?

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