Adelaide Music Wiki

Young Modern was a power pop group active in Adelaide between 1977-1980.


Australian music writer Andy Bradley once called Young Modern "the first power pop band from Down Under," and the band's bright, energetic sound and ear-catching melodies were a clear precursor to the skinny-tie pop sounds that would begin having a major impact on the charts at the end of the 1970s. Unfortunately, Young Modern was just a bit early to reap the benefits of power pop's brief moment of commercial success, though their historical importance and influence on the likes of the Hoodoo Gurus and the Sunnyboys is widely acknowledged. 


Young Modern was formed in 1977 by John Dowler, an Irish expatriate who had spent time in Europe, the Netherlands, and England before settling in Adelaide. Dowler began looking for like-minded musicians to form a new group, and in 1977, he met up with Andy Richards, whose older brother had gone to school with Dowler. Richards was playing bass in a band called Suggestion, who were going nowhere fast, and Dowler recruited Richards and Suggestion guitarist Vic Yates to join his new group. After schooling his new bandmates on his musical philosophy and his enthusiasm for the Flamin' Groovies, Big Star, and the Byrds, Dowler, Richards, and Yates teamed with guitarist Michael Jones and drummer Mark Kohler, and the first edition of Young Modern (named after a pop fanzine of the '60s) was complete. 

Young Modern played their first gig opening for Radio Birdman in November 1977, and they quickly gained a sizeable following in Adelaide for their hooky, straightforward brand of rock & roll. Young Modern were a hard-working band who were eager to play, and they hit the road, playing club dates around South-East Australia and learning to handle all kinds of crowds.

Early Success[]

Dowler was friends with Steve Cummings of the pub rock band the Sports, and Cummings was impressed enough with Young Modern to help them make their first record. Cummings produced the single "She's Got the Money" b/w "Automatic," which the band released in 1978 on their own Top Gear label; it scored significant airplay on Double J Radio in Sydney and Triple R in Melbourne and spread word about Young Modern nationwide. The success of "She's Got the Money" led to an offer from Dirty Pool, a successful music management firm who handled two of Australia's biggest hard rock outfits, Cold Chisel and the Angels. Young Modern signed up with Dirty Pool and relocated to Sydney, though Mike Jones opted to stay in Adelaide and Mark Carroll took his place in the line-up. They failed to gain further success and later disbanded in 1979.


In 2006, Dowler reunited Young Modern to cut a new album, How Insensitive, which was released the following year; the band went on tour after the album's release, and another reunion jaunt in 2010 resulted in a live album, Live at the Grace Emily 22.12.2010.


Current Members

  • Mark Carroll - guitar
  • Michael Jones - guitar
  • John Dowler - vocals
  • Andrew Richards - bass
  • Mark Kohler - drums

Previous Members

  • Vic Yates



  • She's Got the Money - (1978)


  • Play Faster - (2005)
  • How Insensitive - (2007)
  • Live at the Grace Emily22.12.2010 - (2011)