Too Punk for Mods, Too Mod for Punks?
Loved and collected by discerning late 1970s Mod and Punk fans alike, The Media’s authentic 60s beat meets 70s street songs of south coast suburbia add a unique voice to one of the UK’s defining eras of music (the original vinyl singles are highly collectable and go for a lot of pretty green). In 2019 their late 1970s recordings were collected on the Love Child Records album Bright New Future (GAGLP1).
July 2021 see’s the launch of an album of brand new songs, Blink Of An Eye (Detour Records), written and recorded by the original line-up. Trust us, it sounds like it was recorded at the same time as their 1979s recordings. It has all the energy of that unforgettable time so many of us grew up with, all the poetry of prime era The Jam, Buzzcocks, Rudi, The Adverts, The Kinks, The Small Faces, The Who and includes a touch of premier ‘terrace’ Glam … it makes this new album an extraordinary collection).
Songs like the title track, Blink Of An Eye (check the video out on YouTube) and Charlotte Street encapsulate what this album is about, while the Glam stomp of Judy Punk Rocker helps define some of the core feelings at the album’s heart.
The Media reformed in 2019, and before Lockdown they were playing sold out shows in their own right and picking up prominent support slots (with the likes of Penetration). The magic is still there, they are nailed on for interest to the UK’s major Punk/Mod festivals/gatherings.
As singer Martin Jacks remembers “I don’t know what category we fit but there’s definitely a Glam thing going on as well. Why wouldn’t there be as we were all into Bowie, TRex, Slade, Roxy, Mott and Hawkwind before Punk came along.
The evolution of 70’s music and the diversity of it gave us the sound but as a group of teenagers we didn’t have the ability to play like those guys. We heard The Damned, The Jam and Buzzcocks and the like and thought we could have a go and make up our own songs.
What people forget is what those days were really like. Just two music shows all week on telly Top of the Pops and The Old Grey Whistle Test. High unemployment and giro cheques. Sulphate weekends and dodgy blue pills swallowed down with pints of Double Diamond.”
It’s a story many of us know, but The Media’s charm is in recording south coast life (not that of London or Manchester) so evocatively and with that touch of late 70s realism. Saturday’s kids indeed.
“When we got back together” Martin continues, “it was to learn the old songs from listening to them and copying our younger selves. Then the new ideas came along and I put lyrics together mostly adapted from poetry I had written over the years.
Some ‘story songs’ and some about how I felt looking back at my past. I hadn’t seen the guys in the band for 30 years. I wrote the words to The Hope after the gig with Penetration. It was the first time I’d been in Albert Road, Portsmouth in all that time. Meeting people I hung out with all those years ago. Some things seem so familiar and yet others so different. The Hope is wishing you could go back there as it was but knowing you can’t.
Judy Punk Rocker was a girl we all thought we loved … but she’s gone lost forever. It just went by in the blink of an eye. I didn’t know I loved her till it was to late, but if I had my chance again I wouldn’t hesitate!”
‘I wouldn’t hesitate’ could also be the title of this album. The things you would tell your younger self?
We’ll leave you to listen to the music, to ‘review’ it and have your favourites, but give it a listen … we believe it tells a timeless story. It has that duality of our younger selves standing side by side with our ‘now’ self. It features sharp lyrics, urgent beats, memorable tunes and the singer has a voice that rivals Shelley’s, Devoto’s, TV Smith’s, Bob Manton (The Purple Hearts, and The Chords, are the Mod bands The Media are closest too) and Mott’s Ian Hunter … you are a music fan, already sussed, check the album out and you will get the references!
The Media are (1978-2021):
Martin Jacks – vocals
Brian Lee – drums
Pete Rossie – guitar
Michael Whichello / Chello – bass, backing vocals
with Guy Lawson - sax
The Media: Their back story … in a blink of an eye From Polaroids to Instagram, from vinyl singles to SoundCloud, from printing presses to the internet - a lot has changed with our media in the past 40+ years.
Influenced by the UK punk/new wave explosion The Media were a Portsmouth band formed in 1978 and who by 1979 loved the Two-Tone Ska scene and were playing dates with Mod-revival bands like Secret Affair, The Vapors and The Lambrettas.
In a short space of time (and everything moved very quickly in the late 1970s) The Media played loads of shows, got a bit good, built a large following, released two singles and by 1980 were featured in an early Phil Redmond (the producer of Grange Hill, Brookside, Hollyoaks, etc.) youth TV series Going Out.
Their debut EP No Darling I Love The Media appeared in 1978 on their own Tearaway Records (Cherry Red Records distributed it). It featured live favourites T.V. Kids, Don't Sit Back, Getting High and Rose and Crown. It was a bit good and sold out. A second single, Southcoast City Rockers c/w Back On The Beach came out the following year on the Portsmouth collective Brain Booster Records, again it sold out. A video was shot for South Coast City Rockers, heady stuff at a time when very few bands recorded videos.
On the back of the money they were paid for the Going Out TV series (The Media's scene featured a packed gig, with a young Peter-Hugo Daly careering around causing mayhem) the band went in the studio with the aim of recording songs for an album - 9 songs were completed. But, trouble at one of their support slots (lets be honest, there was loads of bother at shows in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s) led to the cancellation of a series of gigs, including a prominent London show, and the band split.
Fast forward 40 years and those 1979 sessions were released (along with the original singles from the time) by Love Child Records as a 16 track vinyl album, Bright New Future. The label also released a double A-side 7" vinyl single Jump Down/How Could You Lie which quickly sold out.
In 2020 The Media were appearing everywhere! Southcoast City Rockers was included on the seminal Eddie Piller Presents The Mod Revival compilation (Edsel) while Getting High from the first EP featured on It’s A Youth Explosion Vol.2 (Heavy Soul Records). Early rarities/demos have also appeared on Bored Teenagers Vol. 12 (Bin Liner Records, RubbishLP020) and at the end of the year on South Specific 2020 (Brain Boosters, BBM010).
Detour Records have wanted to release material from The Media for many years now and they’ve finally got their band …. Take it as read The Media are certainly Mod enough, certainly Punk enough .… The time, yeah, that might go in a blink of an eye but this collection takes you all the way back and will make you both shimmy and pogo alike and it will defo get you singing along and re-identifying with the young idea!
Detour Records have chosen to release the initial 100 copies in a limited edition purple vinyl, yep, in honour of the second cut here, Purple Sports Car (the rest in black vinyl - CD and digital versions also available). This is the sound of pristine late ‘70s English Punk/Mod, stuffed with the type of lyrics that makes you fall in love (with something you should’ve) with the scene all over again, again.
1 My Life
2 Purple Sports Car
3 Blink Of An Eye
4 Judy Punk Rocker
5 Charlotte Street
6 Pickled Lily’s Circus
7 Mulberry Lane
9 Speak To Me
10 The Hope
12 The Tide
13 Bag Lady