CVIndependent

Sat12052020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

The Mod subculture from the 1960s in the United Kingdom involved fashion—but it was also about great music.

Lee Joseph, the founder of Dionysus Records and the bassist for Jesika Von Rabbit, and Bob Deck, also known as DJ Bobby California, love the Mod culture, and started throwing the monthly Mod-themed Desert Soul Club parties at the Tonga Hut over the summer.

They’ll be throwing the first Desert Soul Club of 2017 at 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14.

“One of the inspirations is we were in Palm Springs and hearing the word ‘Mod’ all the time in reference to mid-century modernism,” Joseph said. “We wanted to do something genuinely Mod in Palm Springs.”

The music in Mod culture was generally soul, ska and British rock from bands like The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Kinks.

“We wanted to do the true British kind of Mod sound,” Deck said, “not just the soul stuff that’s popular, but also some of the Mod-rock stuff too. We mix a lot of that stuff in. It’s easy to describe it as ’60s soul and Motown and stuff like that, but we’re doing a lot more. We do ska music, which is basically soul that was misheard across the airwaves in Jamaica on AM radios. We almost feel like we’re teaching a bit about the history of that music. We both have a kind of passion for that kind of music. We wanted to teach what the true meaning of Mod is, especially around here, where we feel it is kind of misinterpreted.”

Joseph explained the lifestyle aspect.

“All the Mods had jobs and money, and they bought records,” Joseph said. “It was a post-war generation of kids who had money, and it was their own money. They didn’t get it from their parents. They spent their money on clothing, Italian scooters and records. They would go out to clubs and go dancing. They had jobs that started really early in the morning, so they started taking speed and would dance all night to American soul records. The movie Quadrophenia explains the whole thing.”

Deck said Mods were influenced by the goings-on in Italy.

“They had a real affinity for what was coming out of Italy at the time: Italian scooters, Italian fashion and Italian art,” Deck said. “With any subculture, it’s not just about one thing. That’s kind of what this movement was, and it does have a tie-in with what’s going on in Palm Springs with modernism.”

Then along came disco.

“The scene broke up because of the popularity of disco music at the time,” Deck said. “A lot of the DJs would start to mix in Donna Summer records, and people were like, ‘No, we don’t want to hear this stuff! We want to hear the old stuff.’ In the ’70s, the purist Mod fans started forming bands, and there was a second era of Mod music in the ’70s like The Jam and power-pop kind of stuff.”

Joseph and Deck play some of that second-era Mod music at Desert Soul Club.

“We play Motown, Stax and New Orleans funk stuff from the ’70s,” Deck said. “We don’t play a lot of down-tempo stuff. A lot of it is high energy, and it’s party music. People respond to the hits, like the Supremes and Smokey Robinson. We like to have fun, and we both learn from each other what we’re playing. That’s something we love to do in our personal lives: learn about music.”

Joseph said he loves to share music with people.

“I’m from Tucson, Ariz., and I collect records from the late ’50s to the early ’70s,” Joseph said. “If you can imagine, every town in America had independent local records released, so there are a lot of records out there from that era. I really like Dyke and the Blazers; they’re from Phoenix. They had a hit in 1969 called ‘We Got More Soul.’

“Being a record collector, I don’t have a lot of people over to my house. This is the way to share our records with people.”

Deck has a history with the Tonga Hut in Palm Springs, and thought it would be a great place for the Desert Soul Club.

“We wanted to do this there, because we really like the owners,” Deck said. “We wanted to help them out, and I was a resident DJ there for a couple of years. That slowed down, and we wanted to do something together. They wanted to do something with us—and it was an easy match.”

Desert Soul Club will start at 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14, at Tonga Hut Palm Springs, 254 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-322-4449, or visit www.facebook.com/DesertSoulClub.

Published in Previews

On Sunday, Dec. 1, DiGS Bar (36737 Cathedral Canyon Drive, Cathedral City) will launch Super Fuzz, a day of celebration for bears, leather aficionados and everyone in between. From 7 to 11 p.m., Bobby California (real name: Bob Deck) will be spinning a variety of indie music, garage rock and alternative rock. For more info, visit digsbar.com, or find the bar on Facebook. Deck, 41, a Cathedral City resident and Kansas City, Mo., native who has called the Coachella Valley home for five years, recently answered The Lucky 13. Enjoy!

What was the first concert you attended?

Mötley Crüe.

What was the first album you owned?

Paul Stanley’s self-titled solo album.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Tame Impala, King Khan and the Shrines, Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds, MGMT, The Flaming Lips, Dungen, The Amazing, and Black Lips.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Miley Cyrus.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

The Beatles, of course.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

1970s soft rock.

What’s your favorite music venue?

There’s a little pinball bar in Lawrence, Kan., called the Replay Lounge. My old band (The Hefners) used to play there a lot in the ’90s. I just attended its 20th-anniversary party last month.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

I love the way that The Zombies’ “Care of Cell 44” starts: “Good morning to you; I hope you’re feeling better, baby.” It pops into my head almost every morning.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Kiss. I met them at a hotel restaurant when I was in grade school. They were out of makeup, but had their platform boots on. I went to their table and asked for autographs, but Paul Stanley was the only one who signed my paper placemat. That made me want to be in a band—I thought they were so cool! Years later, I taught myself to play drums and played in several garage-rock bands.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

Otis Redding. He was killed in a plane crash three days after recording “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” The whistling was just filler until he came up with the words for that part. I would ask him what lyrics he was planning to replace the whistling with.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Big Star, “The Ballad of El Goodo.”

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

The Millennium, Begin.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Pentecost Hotel” by Nirvana (the British band from the ’60s, not the grunge band from Seattle).

Published in The Lucky 13