Mod Rock

Posted by Stephen on December 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Mod Rock

by Stephen Gillikin


I often hate myself, and I've been in several bands. Yet, despite these two coinciding facts, I've never been a modern rocker. And this is a shame.

I realize now that I never squandered my twenties by looking like and playing for those in their thirties. And why not? Regardless of whether I feel I have talent or not, that's a non-factor when it comes to modern rock.

Now, mod rock is a bit of a vague term, as is "rock," for that matter, so let me break down for you while I fantasize about my life that wasn't.


I'm in a band along with my brother. Of the other three members, one is a bassist we met via a previous band. The other two guys we're hired by the label.

We're best friends.

I wear not so much flannel, but a lot of western style wear. Occasionally though, you'll find photos of me performing in a Chicago Cubs t-shirt. Never minding the fact that I've never lived there.

One day though if they become good enough again to become nationally popular, I might start wearing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey. Because this of course, is where I'm from.

Tampa Fucking Bay.

My brother and I grew up there. We like to tell people that we grew up slightly poor, listening to James Brown records, and that music saved us. Truthfully though, we were upper-middle class, my favorite music in high school was Sixpence None the Richer, and I didn't learn to play guitar until college.

I told a publication once that the moment I knew I needed to bring music to the world was at a frat party my freshman year. Def Leppard came on, and the way I saw a bunch of drunk 20 years-olds sing a long to being sticky sweet from their heads down to their feet, I knew. I knew I wanted to be mildly enjoyed by inebriated co-eds and by bored Americans pushing middle-age.

I have a well-kept beard. Brianna, my stylist, tells me it's very Eric Clapton. After the third time she made such a comment, I finally youtubed him to see who the hell she was talking about. I remember the movie "Phenomenon."

I love John Travolta.


I love Coors. I pretend it's different than any of the other cheap lagers out there. Jack Daniels is one of our tour sponsors. I should clarify, however, that it is specifically Jack Daniels' pre mixed cocktail malt beverages that sponsors our tours. An aluminum bottled "jack and coke" is only $12 at our show. You can also buy vinyls of ours at the merch table; our publicity people told us vinyls were cool again.


I tell myself I'm single, and it's awesome. I get to have sex with so many super-white people all over the continent. My dick is statistically average, five and a half inches or something, and I use it to fuck lots of people. Presenting my unsatisfying, average penis to the masses. This of course is the main staple of mod rock: spreading mediocrity all over.


Our last album ($12 digital download or $30 for vinyl) was a real growth for us. We finally got to be political. Cause, ya know, I'm just so tired of all the injustices in the world.

Did you know there's AIDS in Africa? And other places too?! Every time I see a homeless person, it really affects me and makes me want to do something. So I did.

I wrote a song about it.

We also have a song called "Too Big to Fail." It has a straight beat, driving guitars, and lyrics created by a modern economics words generator.

Its my soul on record.

So too is our other new song which actually is literally titled "My Soul on Record." Some magazines and certainly many blogs wrote that it was terrible. Self-congratulatory. Unironically not meta. And Wait, is this real?

Entertainment Weekly though called it a "break through," a "must have," and music that "makes you feel good about being bad."


I've learned now to cover all my demographics when referring to my influences.

I tell people we're inspired by The Beatles, Run DMC, Nirvana, Ozzy Osbourne, The Beatles Bon Jovi, TLC, Staind, the Beatles, and various other unrelated bands that don't sound alike but might have fans potentially willing to check us out.

Also the more times you can say "Beatles," the more people will assume you know what you're doing.

In actuality though, one morning the garbage truck broke down on the street while moving a dumpster of trash and Kings of Leon was playing at the apartment next door. This all sounded amazing to me, and it's pretty much exactly what my modern rock band is.


Maybe later today or just in the near future I could be pool side with Creed, married to Avril Lavigne, and making thousands of dollars writing forgettable songs for super hero soundtracks.


But this is fantasy for me and unfortunately not my living reality. Despite my age, I've still yet to find a way to turn my self-loathing into profit.

Perhaps music isn't the right angle.

I think it's time for me to try Reality TV.

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 Actual performance from a real band I was once in.

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