United Dictators of Mars: The Music of Tom Mody & Jeffrey Harris

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mody Harris Band history

 

Mody Harris Band History

 

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The bands of Tom Mody and Jeffrey Harris  

The band Torrod - 1986 Tom Mody

Torrod (version 1)
Band History Page

Band Members

John Spychalski - vocals Tom Mody - guitar
Andy James - drums Bryan Guter - guitar
Carl Moscardini - bass  

She's On Fire

 

 

 

 

 

Torrod 1

Torrod was a band name used for 2 separate projects in the mid 1980's This page covers Torrod 1 (1985-1986)

Tom Mody & Colonel Sanders
Guter Mody Logo
By the fall of 1985, Bryan Guter and myself had been through a number of singerless bands, never getting to that complete band level. For lack of a better word, Bryan was my guitar mentor. He had shown me most of what I knew about guitar playing and I was rapidly becoming his equal. We considered ourselves a guitar team in the style of Tipton/Downing or Murray/Smith. We had two very contrasting lead styles and I went so far as to make us or own Mody/Guter logo. We knew that the young and ambitious Andy James was the right drummer for us and we kept in contact with him. Eventually we met with him seriously again and jammed in his parents garage. At some point we went rummaging through the dictionary for a name. Bryan liked the word Torrid and one of us came up with the alternate spelling. I whipped up the logo and that was the name. Carl Moscardini was a familiar young bassist to everyone in our area. A nice enough guy but at the time he was definitely into more "dark" interests than I was comfortable with.
Tom Mody & Colonel Sanders
Tom Mody & Col. Sanders
At some point we put this group of four musicians together and moved our rehearsal space into an abandon Kentucky Fried Chicken building which my father had purchased to sell at some point. We held auditions for singers. Area guitarist Chad Darrah tried his hand at singing but didn't cut it. A kid I knew from highschool, one Jeffrey Harris had called me a few times to audition but I had only heard his first few rough outings and kind of blew him off the first time. I think he may have followed up with me a few weeks later and by then we had likely found our man so I again said thanks- but no thanks to Jeff.

We had gone to a club in Sidney New York and there was an outstanding metal band playing Priest and Maiden among others. I remember thinking, "where did these guys come from", and shortly after that show we got word that they were on the outs. We immediately went for their singer John Spychalski who had this solid Halford look but not quite his range.

By this time my father had agreed to front us some money and Bryan also took out loan and we went to the House of Guitars in Rochester and spent about $15,000 on new gear. This probably happened before John had joined so he must have been pretty impressed with what we had. John himself had nothing except one expensive vocal rack processor. He quit his job as a cook and lived in the KFC building often sneaking into the YMCA to shower. The managers from Pizza Hut across the street used to come over after closing with Pizzas for us so he was able to survive for a few months.

It was definitely party time over there but we also worked incredibly hard. Andy was always building something or wheelin' and dealin' gear with an area music shop for which he had a credit account by age 16. One day he left the chicken building with some gear hoping to pick up a few 4x12 cabinets and he comes back with Carl's station wagon full of 8 cabinets. Only 2 were real and the others were just mocks but this type of deal was the norm for him. He would leave with a little and come back with everything including the kitchen sink. We accumulated alot of stuff, it was quite impressive.

One of the most memorable times of my life was being given the key to my old highschool over Christmas break to set up our show on the high school auditorium stage. For a week we had the entire school to ourselves to just run wild and jam and do all sorts of crazy things.

Torrod Stage, Sherburne New York
Sherburne School Stage Set

Torrod at that time was a cover band playing everything hard rock that was in during the mid 80's. WASP, Loudness, Twisted Sister, Ratt, and of course, Priest and Maiden. It was during the first Torrod that I came up with the plan to play auditorium High School shows instead of doing a bar circuit and I sent hand made and photo copied fliers to every school in New York State. Unfortunately we got little response. This plan however would prove more successful years later.

A big show was scheduled for the Howard Johnson' ball room in January of 1986. A show I prefer to forget. It took us forever to get the show set up. Andy incorrectly tapped into the 220 circuit and blew the panel right off the wall. The kitchen was without power, the reservation system was lost. It did seemingly get rigged to work but as soon as we hit our first note the board spiked and blew the PA low end. Lights barely worked, backing mics weren't even plugged in.

Torrod Concert - Norwich New York
Howard Johnson's Ballroom, Norwich, NY

Tom Mody with Torrod 1986
Tom, Carl & John at HoJo's- Jan. 1986
It was a mess. I assume we played alright, it just sounded like crap through the PA. I don't think John had a banner night singing. A very satisfied Jeffrey Harris was in the crowd that night and I've been hearing about it for over 20 years. My family was also there and it was bit raunchy and my dad had to be wondering what the hell was going on. But again, it's not like we got booed off the stage. It just wasn't the spectacular show we had been dreaming of and cracks were beginning to show in the band.

After that fiasco we decided that we needed some demo's and in February we recorded She's On Fire. A song that Brian whipped up in a matter of minutes and though I didn't care for it, I created the final arrangement and assisted with the final lyrics. This was the beginning of the end though. John actual wrote lyrics for the song called "By The Way Side" and we recorded them. It wasn't well prepared, maybe John's heart wasn't into it and one day when he wasn't there we recorded the new lyrics with Bryan doing an admirable job singing. John soon decided to quit the band and he packed his suitcase with his rack processor duct taped to the outside and flew to San Diego. The processor didn't survive the trip.

I also was disenchanted at the time. My dad had blown through wads of money and there was nothing to show for it. Bryan still was gung-ho on keeping it together but Andy and I felt we needed to go our separate ways and that's eventually what happened for the next few years. Torrod 1 represents my first experience as an integral co-leader of a band and also my first band recording project. It also was a mile a minute thrill ride of life and laughs. More crazy shit went down and every day was an adventure unto itself. Though in all honesty as I listen back to rehearsal tapes it was garage band at best. I won't speak to anyone else's talent but I was a long ways away from being a competent lead guitarist live. The solo's I did for She's On Fire did show I could structure a solo and get my own feel to it but every time I did a cover song solo it was really stiff and quite frankly I was technically behind where a guitar player of 6 years should be. Fortunately this was the last band that did covers I would be in until 1994 and I would rapidly improve upon what I did best- my own thing!

Tom Mody - February 2007.

 

 

 
Band Histories
Tom Mody | Jeffrey Harris | Torrod | Lynx | Harbinger | Archivon | End on reality | I Storm | UDM
 

 

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