The beginning there were only a few of us, we would dress up in our vintage mohair suits, sit around in local cafes and talk about how great it would be if the entire city were full of mods and modettes, rude boys and rude girls. The clubs would be filled with sweaty dancers and their parking lots with shiny scooters.
This year was the summer of 1980. We didn’t realize that by 1981 wed be in the middle of our dream come true. All of a sudden there were hundreds of us everywhere. MODS ARE GO.
The Untouchables first record that was Twist-n-Shake b/w Dance Beat, released on their own Dancebeat label in 1982. Then came 1983’s Tropical Bird b/w The General. Tropical Bird was a pretty traditional ska number with jungle overtones.The General was a classic two-tone sounding dance tune.
Their first 12″ was a six song EP(’84) — Live & Let Dance, that included originals like Free Yourself, Lebanon, Whiplash and What’s Gone Wrong — all of which got some local play on KROQ during the mid-80s — mostly Rodney on the Roq, but occasionally during regular rotation as well. Also included a great cover of Stepping Stone. Their early singles and records were eagerly bought up by mods and have become rarities. It was in ’84 that the Untouchables started to get recognition, becoming the poster boys for the Los Angeles mod scene appearing in movies like Repo Man and Surf II.
Their first full-length LP came in 1985 — Wild Child. Interestingly enough, Wild Child — the song — was written by Tony Rugolo lead singer of The Question and was intended for The Question’s own LP which — for various reasons — never saw the light of day. So, UTs stole, borrowed, grabbed, bought (depending on who you talk to) the song from Tony and it became the title track as well as one of their best live numbers. The entire album was musically tight and very consistent.
The compilation album The Untouchable’s Live: A Decade of Dance was recorded at The Roxy in Hollywood on December 22nd 1989 — The Untouchables: Cool Beginnings Rare and Unreleased 1981 – 1983. Cool Beginnings reaches back into Los Angeles mod antiquity to dredge up some really rough live, and bedroom studio, recordings. Rough like uncut diamonds, rough gems: Ska Mods, Mod Knights, Another Late Night, Motion Like Hers, and The General, to name a few. The Untouchables early shows were great for their intensity, incredibly energy, and like the LA scene at that time, immaturity. Early on, they did a stint as the house band at the Roxy, and were the mod/ska band to see every weekend at places like The Timbers, Oscar’s Cornhusker, Mama Brown’s Backdoor, Fenders and even the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach. The liner notes for Cool Beginnings says of their years at the Roxy, “Color barriers were smashed as black and white youths came from neighboring cities and counties to join the mod revival in unity, harmony and ska. 1983 was a very good year for ska mods in Hollywood.
“The Untouchables were the impetus for bands such as Fishbone, and later for numerous California ska acts like (early, early, early) No Doubt, Donkey Show, Skeletones and Let’s Go Bowling.