The Action Had The Mod Look
Like many mod groups, the origins of The Action can actually be found in another band. In Kentish town, in the North of London, there was a group called The Boys. This band consisted of Alan king who was the lead guitarist, Mike Evans who was the bassist, Roger Powell played drums, and the vocalist was Reg King. The Boys formed in 1963, playing a number of popular mod clubs in the capital and in 1964, they found themselves as the support act to The High Numbers.
Much in the way that The High Numbers would quickly change their name to The Who, The Boys would soon realise that a name change was in order, christening themselves as The Action. The name change came after the line-up was expanded by the arrival of Pete Weston, who played the rhythm guitar.
Over the next couple of years, the group developed a reputation for being a blistering live act. Some of the shows the band performed at the Marquee Club were raved about, but the material consisted of mainly American soul tracks. This was something that would potentially come to hold the group back as their original material was not deemed as strong against the material they would play in their live show.
In 1967, the band attempted to update their sound from the pop art mod style to the increasingly psychedelic mod sound. This didn’t go down too well with the bands existing fan base, and it failed to win over any new followers. The group split up in mid 1967.
However, thanks to the various mod revivals that took place in the intervening years, the high points of The Action were held in high regard and the band were cited for their fashion influence. The group reformed in 1998, playing a few times between then and 2004. Sadly, in 2010 Mike Evans and Reg King passed away.
The fashion brought acclaim to The Action
One of the things that The Action had in their favour was their fashion. This is not to say that the band didn’t have talent, they clearly had enough about them to be noticed and to make some inroads into the musical business. However, it was the overall package that seemed to bring many people to The Action. There was a sense that these bunch of lads were genuine mods and into the scene whereas some bands would give the impression that they were happy to mime mod culture until the next big musical genre or happening came along.
It was said that The Action was the perfect embodiment of what London mod life was like in the mid to late 1960s. They had a classic style that was as subtle as it was elegant. Whether the act was wearing tailored suits, fitted shirts or patterned sweaters, they had a style that seemed effortless, and this was a factor why so many people loved them at the time. They had the same Pop Art style as The Who but even then, The Action seemed more at ease and less showy than what The Who offered. The Who were genuine at the time, but there was still an element of showmanship about their look and image, the band knew that they were a band with an image. With The Action, it was if the lads in the group would have dressed the same even if they never played a note of music in their life.
While the group were well loved within the mod community, their inability to break through to mainstream and commercial success surprised many and even angered a few. It seemed as though everything was in place for the group to make it to the big time. They had the backing of a leading record label who worked hard to push them to a wider audience. The group also had the luxury of being produced by George Martin. In the mid to late 1960s, producer George Martin was a more famous name than many acts due to his work with The Beatles and EMI at Abbey Road Studios but not even he could push The Action to a higher level of success or popularity.