More Meaden stuff (and why not?) this time from issue 4 of modzine Circles. Issued, according to the cover in February 85, I almost certainly picked it up from the Cavern shop/stall in the labyrinth-like Oasis in Birmingham. Thinking about it now Oasis was something of a subcultural haven with clothing and record shops sellling pretty much everything you needed for whichever ‘tribe’ you belonged to.
Either way in Feb 85 Circles zine had this to say about arch mod Pete Meaden…
If you frequented the Scene Club in London in 1964 you may well have come across one hip-cat. he spoke slick and fast, wore emaculate clothes, was always pilled-up and 100% hip, his name was Pete Meaden.
Pete was a freelance publicist, he knew Andrew Oldham well and did some work with the Rolling Stones in the early days. Meaden was a freelance, that is picking up work wherever he could. One day though, all that changed. Pete Meaden used to get his haircut up in Marble Arch, by Jack the Barber, Jack also used to cut Helmet Gordens hair, who, at the time used to manage a group of ‘erberts called The Who. Jack the Barber told Gordon and Meaden about each others existance, and pretty soon Meaden had got in touch with Gorden and was invited to a group rehearsal in Shepeherds Bush. After seeing them Meaden realised that The Who could be really big with the Mods. The Who were just the band he was looking for, he would make them a monstergroup. Gorden knew nothing of style, image, music but Pete did.
The Who were overwhelmed by Meaden. He would ytalk all the time, calling everyone “Baby!”, it was hard to believe he was real. He knew what was “in” and where to get it. Pete introduced the band to the remarkable world of Mods, it was his religion and he was very devout.
Meaden the publicist did his job well, he spoke about the group in all the right places. When he got £50 from Helut Gorden he spent all of it on clothes for The Who. Roger was decked out in the ‘in’ clothes as he was the ‘face’, and Monn, Townshend and Entwhistle were decked out as ‘tickets’. ONly Entwhistle protested at being an itsey, bitsey ticket.
Having made the group MOds, Meaden now proposed a new name for the group, a typical mod name for the time (1964) The HIgh Numbers. The group agreed on the name change, now Meaden proposed to make the first mod single. He took two records, Slim Harpo’s “Got Love If You Want It” and the B-side of the Showmen hit “It Will Stand” ( a song called “Country Fool”) and re-wrote the lyrics around the tune of these two songs.
“I’m The face/Zoot Suit” was released on 3rd July 1964, but despite Meadens endless enthusiasm for the record and plugging it in all the right places ut never took off. Soon, after the record was released Kit lambert and Chris Stamp arrived on the scene and took a real interest in the band. The High Numbers were just the band Lambert and Stamp had been looking for, as they had been looking for a group to appear in a film they were intending to make. They weren’t looking for a blatantly commercial band and The High Numbers fitted the bill perfectly and were an immediate attraction both visually and soundwise.
The group were bought from Meaden by Lambert and Stamp for £150. They carried on with the direction begun by Meaden, but with the capital to finance their plans. lambert and Stamp then changed the name back to The Who.
By 1966 Petet Meaden was still 100% hip and 100% mod, and travelling around the country with his new band Jimmy James and The Vagabonds.