Jack Scoots On

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 11 11:59:38 UTC 2009

>From The Evening Herald (Dublin):

If Quadrophenia excelled in evoking the detail of the 60s, it's thanks to this man.

The who were one of the most important bands of the 1960s. Their explosive pop-art anthems have since provided a soundtrack for the lives of consecutive generations of Mods. Today, just two of the original quartet are still alive. While Keith Moon and John Entwistle are no longer around, fans of the band are happy to hear stories of the Swinging 60s from a friend of the band whose personality and lifestyle later inspired Pete Townshend to create the concept album Quadrophenia.

Jack Lyons is from Cork. In Mod circles he's famous as 'Irish Jack'. He's been a close friend of Townshend since he met the band in Shepherd's Bush in 1962 when they were known as The Detours. To many Jack is the fifth member of The Who. He's been invited to speak and read his memoirs in Oxford, Cambridge and Trinity College. He regularly appears at music conventions. To musicologists everywhere 'Irish Jack' is a legend.

His enthusiasm for Mod culture remains as passionate now as it was back in the London of the 1960s. A confidant of the band, Jack was with them when they made their first ever visit to the famous Marquee Club in Soho.

"Our opening night at the Marquee was on Tuesday, November 24th, in 1964," recalls Jack. "The band had just become The Who. It was lashing out of the heavens that night. Myself and my friends asked ourselves was it worth it to go to Piccadilly and walk to Wardour Street in the rain, but we'd promised we'd be there. It was just about numbers that night. There were about 28 people because it was a jazz club at that time."

The Who's manager Kit Lambert asked Jack to hand out some flyers for the gig in Oxford Street. "I walked in the driving rain with those cards and I thought, "Aren't I lucky to be doing this for the only band I can believe in," recalls Jack.

"The band got a pound each for playing that night," he adds.

Jack came back to Cork in 1967 but kept in touch with Townshend. When Jack sent Pete his original membership card from the Goldhawk Club, the Who's guitarist responded by saying he was going to write an opera about the band's Mod beginnings. The album became the basis for the movie and Jack was the source of the Mod detail. "You won't find my name on the film credits," says Jack. "Even though I was ensconced in a tiny office at Essex Music [Townshend's then song publishers] and commissioned to write pages and pages of skeleton scripts for one of the 'official' screenwriters."

"Some years later my name was eventually added to the Quadrophenia CD," he adds happily. -- EC

'Irish Jack' guests with The Wholigans and the Modfathers at the Academy tomorrow.

 -Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!


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