Mods are the main theme in Quadrophenia. In the mid-60's the mods were a movement of the youth in England. Mod derives from the word 'modern'. To be a Mod means primarly, always to be up to date, to be orientated at the newest trends and therefore to make an incredible cool impact. If you were a Mod you were obgliged to wear the best and newest clothes, Italian shoes, hip shirts and a "Zoot Suit Jacket". Above all these clothes almost any Mod wore a parker which protects all those expensive clothes against wind and weather and which keeps warm outside. If you were a Mod you normally drove a scooter, preferably a GS Scooter or suchlike. Those scooters were extensively pimped, twinkling chrome and a dozen of rear mirrors were a must have, the more the better. In the evenings and on weekends the Mods got together predominantly in clubs and discotheques to addict to the newest dancing trends. Naturally amphetamines were a usual companion. Of course this whole life style costed a large sum of money and only the one who had a job could afford with that. Having no job means having no money means not wearing the hippest clothes and finally means not to be a Mod and be part of it all.

The counterpart of the Mods were the Rockers, longhaired, unwashed and with greasy and often torn leather clothes in which they drove around on their motorbikes which were anything except chrome twinkling. So each group has had their antagonistic counterpart and wherever they crossed their way it results in a more or less heavy hassle and confrontation. In 1964 dozens of mass fights took place at the seasides of Brighton, Margate and Hastings.

The main character in Quadrophenia is Jimmy, a convinced Mod and a member of a typical mod clique. One day he meets his old school mate Kevin in the public baths. They compare notes about their past and Jimmy tells him about his living style and how it is being a Mod. But Kevin can't do anything with that. He does not belong to any youth group. Indeed he owns a motorbike but he uses it purely as a driving thing. Living after any rules of a trendy movement makes no sense at all to Kevin. Though Jimmy enjoys the meeting with Kevin he does not tell anyone about their encounter firstly.

Jimmy still lives at home. His parents are not appreciative of him being a Mod, his sister of same age isn't either. They reckon him to be a no-good who loafs around in discotheques all night long and who drives around on his motorcycle all the time instead of taking life seriously and showing up at job on time. But Jimmy does not really care with all that because he gains all the needed recognition from the mod clique. Furthermore he takes glances at Steph but currently she seems not be very interested in an affair with him.

And there is also Ace, the coolest Mod of all and Jimmys big archetype.

One day one of his friends is smashed up by the rockers. The mod clique seeks revenge. Jimmy and the others are driving through the city and they catch the first supposed to be rocker they can find. They beat him furiously and when the alleged rocker looses his motorcycle helmet Jimmy discovers that the victim is his mate Kevin. Freaking out that Kevin could notice him, Jimmy vaults on his scooter and rushes away without helping his friend.

After this event Jimmy feels completely spacy and helplessly. He bothers with self-doubt, sadness, anger and helplessness. On the one hand the mod clique represents an emotinal home for him, on the other hand he begins to recognise a kind of senselessness about being a Mod. Anyhow Jimmy still admits being a Mod and he can't even imagine being anyone else. But somehow he feels more often empty and he gets into a mood which he can't explain exactly. Eventually the amphetamine pills bring him moments of bliss. And he is expedited by the hope to succeed in the liaison thing with Steph some day. Not to forget Ace, to whom he can look up and who gives him bravery and energy.

Then everyone's preparing for the great event on the following weekend in Brighton. Nobody knows why of all things Brighton and what would expect them there but everyone talks about Brighton. And the following weekend caravans of scooters on the one hand and motorbikes on the other hand are driving towards the english seaside.

It seems that all Mods of England are in Brighton at this date. All are there, Jimmy, his friends, Steph and of course Ace too.
Though also many rockers have arrived in Brighton they seem to be in an inferior quantity.

And suddenly the whole thing starts, something gets the ball of battles rolling. Mods and rockers are forcing themselves one another through the streets and along the pier.

Shop windows break, noninvolved passers-by are molested and escape away. Down at the beach mods and rockers are fighting violently.
Finally driven and ridden police arrives who hardly try to get the situation under control. Now it's no more a matter of mods against rockers but moreover mods, rockers and police against each other. Again the mod troops are running through the streets and trying to escape the police and gathering together again.

After the group of mods were dispersed again suddenly Jimmy and Steph meet in this obscure chaos. They both defy access control of the police narrowly and escape into a cramped backyard. Here they can hear the distant noise of the melee and are now surrounded by a relaxing quietness which seems to have been created just for them. The couple savour this sentimental moment and Steph lets it happen that they make love.

Afterwards they step back into the turmoil and just a moment later Jimmy is accessed by a policeman and arrested in a police car where he needs to take place face to face with a few rockers. But Jimmy's face enlightens when he realises that Ace sits besides him who was arrested by the police too. However, Jimmy has lost Steph out of sight yet.

Totally a dozen of mods are detained and cited to justice on Monday after that weekend, among them Ace and Jimmy. In an endless debate the judge blames them for being the scum of mankind and and and ... Finally he imposes a fine on them whereon Ace immediately pulls out his checkbook and asking if he can pay right away accompanied by broad laughter of the attendant mods. For Jimmy Ace remains the coolest Mod of all.

Of course the daily newspapers report of the battles in Brighton and after returning home Jimmy takes stick over it by his parents. How annoying! And when he appears at the job on Tuesday his boss gives him a severe lecture too and why Jimmy was absent on Monday without excuse and Jimmy shall be grateful to have such a job and and and ...

Recently these adventures in Brighton, together with the mods, with Steph and Ace, and now the daily grind. At first the thing with Kevin which still depresses Jimmy, then the judge in Brighton, his parents and finally his boss. That's too much! Jimmy interrupts the directors flood of words and quits his job. He just wants to be as cool as Ace. Jimmy isn't willing to show his face at home again and he drives to the local pub of the mod clique and tells them that he has quit his job. Again he earns a rather lack of understanding, this time from his mod mates. Having no job means being no mod. Furthermore, Jimmy hasn't seen Steph since Brighton but right now she comes in, walking arm in arm with one of his friends. And as they begin making a few innuendoes about a definite event in Brighton Jimmy freaks out completely. He rips into his friend and the clique tries hard to separate the both rivals. With this action Jimmy looses his remaining credits completely and finally.

The next day Jimmy catches Steph in the streets to talk things out. But Steph is not very appreciative of his behaviour. Disappointed and frustrated Jimmy vaults on his scooter and rushes away. Right at the next crossroads he crashes into a van and his beloved scooter remains as scrap.

Despairingly and even more frustrated Jimmy takes the 5:15 train to Brighton to the location of afterglow.

He visits the pier, the beach and the backyard where he and Steph made love. It all appears to him like a psychic trauma.

While Jimmy strolls along the seafront he suddenly spots Ace's scooter parking outside a hotel. Just a moment later he sees Ace leaving the hotel doorway. He wears a hotel uniform and welcomes an arriving guest. Ace grabs the guests baggage and packed with all those cases and bags he tries to keep steps. Jimmy can't believe his eyes, Ace is a bellboy! Ace, who he believed was great and cool, was nothing but a mediocre bellboy. Jimmys last illusion bursts like a soap-bubble.

Totally disenchanted Jimmy takes Ace's scooter and drives away. Aimlessly he drives through Brighton, along the seafront and finally out of Brighton. He drives the way along the cliffs of the South English seaside. Jimmy drives faster and faster until he looses control over the scooter. At full throttle the scooter flies over the cliff's sheer and breaks into smithereens on the rocks.

This is the end of Quadrophenia. The title Quadrophenia is derived from different meanings. At first it shall distinguish Jimmys mood. Quadrophrenic is an enhancement degree of schizophrenic which characterizes not only a two-split but rather a four-split personality. Secondly the music of Quadrophenia includes four themes which represent the four members of the Who. And last but not least it was planned to record the album with quadrophonic sound technique. When Quadrophenia was originally released in 1973 the technology was more or less mature to reproduce a quadrophonic sound where the music comes out of 4 speakers instead of 2 speakers (stereo). Quadrophenia would have been one of the first records which were released with the newly invented sound technique. Nonetheless quadrophonic sound did not gain pre-commercial development at that time.