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Young Modern

Adelaide band Young Modern was one of Australia’s pioneering power pop/new wave bands of the late 1970s.

Vocalist John Dowler formed the band (taking their name from a 1960s Adelaide teen magazine) when his previous band, Spare Change, broke up.


Combining the musical stylings of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Byrds and The Who, the band decked themselves out in sharp suits, white shirts and black ties, while Dowler sported a superb Brian Jones haircut.

In May 1978 Young Modern recorded an album worth of demo’s before recording a debut single in Melbourne.

She’s Got The Money b/w Automatic was released in October 1978, but sounded lightweight and lacked the punch of the band’s live shows. It nevertheless remains an Aussie cult classic.

The band relocated to Sydney – with Mark Carroll replacing original guitarist Michael Jones – but failed to make an impact on a live music scene still besotted by Radio Birdman, in an environment where Cold Chisel, The Radiators and The Angels reigned supreme.

Young Modern called it a day in July 1979. Dowler moved to Melbourne and formed The Zimmermen in 1983, releasing the killer single Don’t Go To Sydney, no doubt based on first-hand experience.

youngmodern15Vic Yates and Mark Kohler attempted to keep Young Modern together with new player Peter Laverick (vocals), Peter Hilton (guitar) and Mike Donovan (bass), but the line-up was short-lived.

Andrew Richards joined Sydney band The Singles (who released the superb That’s Just Someone That I Knew in February 1981), while Yates, Kohler and Donovan returned to Adelaide.

The 1978 Young Modern demos were combined with both sides of their single in December 1979 and released as an album entitled Play Faster (a nod to the taunts to which the band was subjected when playing Sydney venues: “Play faster ya wimps! Play faster!”).

Young Modern reformed in 2010 to pile through a brace of their own sparkling jangle-pop roof-raisers, plus fiery covers including The Rolling Stones‘ The Singer Not The Song and blues standard Sitting On Top Of The World.

The Brain Jones fringes had vanished but the original spirit rang loud and clear.

John Dowler
Vic Yates
Michael Jones
Andrew Richards
Mark Kohler
Mark Carroll