Steve Ruane's bio
Guitars or footwear? Guitars or footwear? The band's very own Imelda Marcos, Steve Ruane, recalls shoes he has loved, his tips for smuggling gin into forests and meeting 'Gentleman' Ian McLagan.
Find out how the mod from number 6 rides a restored Series 2 but drives an Audi with a million speakers. Plus how mod is an intercontinental phenomenon for this incurable romantic - but tell him to stop playing his favourite 5:15's track and he'll send the tin soldiers round.
What made you a mod?
I remember the birth of 2 Tone and I spotted that was different, for very obvious reasons - but that wasn’t the thing that put me onto mod.
Two specific memories stand out, both from being at Canon Lee School. I remember a friend from Clifton playing You Really Got Me by The Kinks on a tape player. He told me The Kinks were a mod band and I thought that was worth knowing because they sounded so cool.
I remember also a group of older girls crowded round a tiny radio at the school gates on Rawcliffe Drive. It was the chart countdown and when the DJ announced, “The Jam, straight in at number one with Beat Surrender” all the girls screamed. So I thought "Hmmm, this band The Jam make girls scream? I need to know more about them!".
I probably got my first real haircut around then too.
Around that time I started going to New Earswick folk hall and saw people dancing to Tamla and northern, and more danceable chart music.
I noticed that people dressed more smartly there. A girl from my street could stomp really well and people used to watch her. The good thing was, she was my mate.
I remember I wanted some really smart shoes so I felt the part. My mum took me shopping and we picked out a great pair - blue and white - I remember them vividly to this day.
I’m like Imelda Marcos when it comes to shoes.
What do you love about mod?
This is a good question! It’s definitely cultural, it’s definitely stylish and timeless and it’s definitely about recognition and self-respect.
You can’t just do it by having that suit or that jacket or those shoes. You have to believe in it.
It's music that originated in Africa, found its way to America and got picked up and respected in the cafes of London and the port towns up and down the UK. I absolutely love that the music crossed continents and cultures.
The tailoring started in Italy and the south of France and got taken up in the same cafes and then spread across the capital and the country. Add some stylish modes of transport and a splash of swagger and that’s what makes up mod for me.
I’ve had complete strangers nod in appreciation or complement me on something I am wearing but that’s not about being showy - it’s about having an element of style.
A neighbour once invited me to a little party they threw. She told me when she invited others, somebody said “Are you inviting the mod from number 6?”.
So I guess people recognise something. And when you meet like-minded people there is always a mutual respect or a tip off about a label or a shop.
What do you love about The 5:15's?
Gigging. Post-gig drinking and winding down in the wee small hours.
One of the biggest thrills for me is after a gig when someone comes along to say, “Wow, you played such and such a song, I haven’t heard a band do that before. It takes me back to when I was 20! It reminds me of where I lived, my mates, my old girlfriend.”
So in that moment the band had transported at least one person to a field of happy memories.
What's your fave 5:15s cover?
Tin Soldier, definitely Tin Soldier. If anyone suggests that being dropped I’m sending the head of security round. Remember, we know where you live!
What track would you like The 5:15's to cover?
Sweet Jesus ,the list of what we could tackle is immense. Right now, just one pick, it would be the one below. Click on it to have a listen.
What is your fave fashion outfit?
Brown and white correspondent shoes, grey dog tooth trousers and a crew neck (classic Stevie Marriott).
What are your three fave tunes of all time?
This is impossible and will always evolve depending on mood and circumstances, so I will pick ones that mean something for family reasons so aren’t exclusively mod.
Click on the tunes below to have a listen.
What do you drive, either two or four wheels?
I've got a 1961 Series 2 Lambretta LI, which was restored to look as it did the day the lucky punter who first bought it picked it up.
The four wheel thing is an Audi – less sexy than the Lammy but it’s got about a million speakers so its perfect for driving home after a gig with the tour bus selection playing.
Who are your three major musical influences?
The Small Faces, The Smiths and Van Morrison.
Who is your favourite artist of all time?
What's the best gig you have ever been too?
Paul Weller at Dalby Forest the first time he played there – around 2003? To hear Wildwood in that setting and then Long Hot Summer when it was raining. Magical stuff and I got drunk on a two-litre bottle of mineral water filled with gin and tonic.
Who would you love to (or have loved to) work with musically?
Lots of musos have a reputation for being difficult. I would have to pick a gentleman so there is only one choice really: Mr Ian McLagan.
We met him after a gig - what a genuinely beautiful soul he was. Our house was a sad place when we heard of his passing a few months after meeting him.
What do you see as the future of The 5:15's?
Bigger gigs in more locations for people who keep the faith!