The following is an extract from an interview in Arts Monthly with Rob la Frenais July/Aug 2016:
Would you say that the Moodies, which you started in the early 1970s and which was featured in the Sunday Times magazine in 1974, was the first genuine artists’ band?
I don’t believe in ‘firsts’ – I think there is a shared zeitgeist that we give and take from. We certainly received a huge amount of attention at the time and I was delighted that we could work in many contexts, from art galleries, Dingwalls and other clubs and theatres to doing a Spare Rib benefit, while being called ‘an insolent spangled harem’ by the Financial Times. The name of the group was actually Moody and the Menstruators, starting in 1971 at an art department party. I had aimed at, under the stage name Anne Archy, for a harsher, more raw feel – white blood-stained pants.
Are people aware of the Moodies now?
Strangely, at the very moment I am answering this, a film is being shown in New York of the Moodies with this quote about us on the invite by Michael Bracewell: ‘like performance art test pilots – the principal strands of British art rock, “avant-cocktail” pose groups, punk and post-punk. Referencing the artistic/musical cabarets of the Dadaists and Futurists, the group take their place on a musical timeline somewhere between the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and The Sex Pistols.’ Appositely, both Barry Flanagan and Malcolm McLaren wanted to manage us.
An article on Moodies appeared in WIRE March 2010 by Adrian Whittaker:
In a June 1974 edition of The Sunday Times magazine, a double-page colour photograph depicts an unsmiling group of five young women and one young man, wildly dressed and intensely made up. Their style resembles that of the New York Dolls combined with kabuki theatre, early Roxy Music and an amateur pantomime. They glower into the camera: hostile, haughty, inscrutable and absurd. These were the Moodies, a group of students from the Fine Art department of Reading University and they were concerned with the slippery but rewarding dialogues between high and low cultural forms, gender, androgyny and sexuality, performance art and pop. Their project was a musical and performance art group which linked the worlds of fine art, pop and rock music, subcultural fashion and avant gardist tactics.
Moodies were myself, Suzy Adderley, Becky Bailey, Polly Eltes, Rod Melvin, Mary Anne Holliday Annie Sloane plus at times (Hermine Demoriane and Martin Kaufman)
Moodies on Vimeo