Yes, another book on Mod. But King Mod: Peter Meaden, The Who, and the Making of a Subculture has its own niche.
You might recall a Pete Meaden biography some time back that didn’t go down too well. Not that this is another stab at it. But it does operate in similar territory.
This 262-page book is the work of Red Planet Publishing, with the man behind it being Steve Turner. Note also the introduction by Andrew Loog Oldham.
Back in 1975, author Steve Turner interviewed Peter Meaden. A small part of the interview was published in the NME in 1979, a year after Meaden’s death, and featured quotable lines such as ‘Mod living is an aphorism for clean living under difficult circumstances’, which has been carried as a definition of Mod for decades since.
The full interview has never been published before, and according to the publisher, what makes it so captivating is not just what Meaden says, but how he says it.
‘He was like a saxophone player blowing words into the ether. High on medication of some kind he followed word associations to the bitter end – and in doing so unlocked fresh parts of his imagination’.
That interview is the core of King Mod – and has been extensively footnoted to expand on all the key references. It is accompanied by two other sections intended to complete the picture and provide historical context. The first is listed as a ‘history of Mod’ and the background to the interview, and the second is a potted biography, drawn from extensive interviews with family, friends and colleagues (over 40 of them) as well as medical records, school reports, newspaper accounts, letters and other archive material.
The book isn’t published until 23rd November 2023, so I can’t comment on the end product. But you would hope it makes up for past failings.
Pre-orders are now open, with the book retailing for £22.
Also, check out this piece on Meaden by Eddie Piller from some years back.