November 9, 2009

Mod-A-Day: "The Mod Sound -- Modest Proposal"

I first put up the post below about Modest Proposal (almost exactly two years ago to the day) in 2007 to highlight a band that I've always really liked, but didn't seem to get the attention it deserved. Their 1987 album, Single Minded, became one of my favorites as soon as I heard it, and I think it would for anyone who listened to it today for the first time.

The original post surprised me by attracting more comments than any of the posts I've written. In fact, it attracted the attention of Neal Augestein the lead singer of Modest Proposal (you can check out the modcast he hosted here). Neal got in touch with me recently to let me know that he was getting the band back together. And, now here it is a reality. More than that, the band is in the happy spot of already having sold out their return, Saturday, Nov. 28, at Comet Ping Pong in Washington DC.

Of the reunion Neal writes:
"We can't wait to get on stage again, and we're thrilled people still want to see us, 25 years later."

I think we sound now like we wanted to sound then. The music's muscular and taut, even if WE may not be anymore."
And they do sound great. This weekend I led off the modcast with an an exclusive -- a brand new Modest Proposal recording, a song written 25 years ago and yet never recorded. "Already An Angel" has the sound I remember, but also benefits from production that the band's earliest recordings did not (download the modcast to check it out). I'm including here an older track that I think captures their sound perfectly, "The Look In Your Eyes", which was on their 1987 album as well as on one of Unicorn Records 7" releases, Phase III Mod Bands, on which Modest Proposal appeared with The Toasters, The Risk and The Outlets.

I suppose the big question is will MP continue to perform together? "I assume we'll ask ourselves that same question after the reunion show," says Neal.

Here are a few pictures of the boys in action today as they prepare for their upcoming gig.

Modest Proposal -- The Look In Your Eyes

Original Post:
Hailing from Washington, D.C., Modest Proposal was a mid-80s mod band that had a pure power pop sound with slight tinges of punk. I wish I could write up a nice long bio of the band and what their complete discography was like. As far as I can tell, this single might be their complete discography. I've posted the A side here, Seen Your Face Before, though the B side Nobody Says No actually appeared on at least one other compilation from Unicorn Records. This track is really tight and the band is pretty good. It's a great bit of power pop.

In addition to this single, I know the band was featured on a late 80s "Phase II Mod Bands" 7" EP from Unicorn that also included the Risk and The Toasters. I may be delirious from smoking too much crack, but I think Modest Propsal actually did release a full length LP that had a mostly grey/white cover and the photo of which was of a pair of pointed shoes peeking out from beneath some very cool, tightly pegged slacks, that had a simple cut with a button on the hem. Now, this could have been from a different band (maybe Manual Scan?), I really can't recall. (Don't ask where the album is today, it's a sad story. And a long one. I blame Mrs. Suave, that's all I can say for now.)

What I can recall is taking the album to my tailor "Sal" and having him make me a suave pair of slacks just like those on the album cover. (No shit, his name was Sal and he was a tough old bastard, an Italian bloke with a broken nose, from New York and had relocated to east of LA -- no one ever asked why for obvious reasons. But, the best damn tailor I've ever had.) Unfortunately, not long after on a scooter rally to see Quadrophenia in some shoebox theater at Newport Beach I had a few too many and spilled my bike, ruining a very nicely tailored pair of pants. Cost me the girl I was hitting on at the time, as well. Apparently she didn't appreciate being spilled all over the pavement. Needless to say, it turned out to be a crappy scooter rally. Regardless, I always really liked this track from Modest Proposal, and while I may (or may not) have lost their LP, I still have the single, and it's quite good. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Just don't drink and scoot.

Click here to download Modest Proposal -- Seen Your Face Before