With eighteen consecutive Top 40 singles including four number one hits, The Jam were one of the most successful acts to emerge from the U.K. in the late 1970s. Disbanding in 1982, the story very nearly ended there. However realising that there was a very real demand for the band's Mod classics, bassist Bruce Foxton set about curating their legacy in From The Jam, with the help of singer / guitarist Russell Hastings. "I love playing those songs", confesses Foxton as we sit down with him and Russell for a chat at Rewind Festival. In the city; Eamon O'Neill.
How did you enjoy your opening set at Rewind South today?
Bruce Foxton: We loved it, yeah, loved it.
Russell Hastings: Yeah, it was really good. Great fun.
It is it unusual to be a guitar band at this type of 80s festival?
RH: Yeah, I think that they broke the mould when they had us on the bill. We never thought that we’d ever get on the bill a few years ago, and then it was like; “Well, why not?”. We’re very different to anybody else that gets on the bill at these festivals, and that’s okay; we like that. We like the whole experience, it’s great fun, the crowds are really good and happy, so, why not?
And you’re happy enough to come on early?
RH: Yeah, we come on there early today, and we think, well; “Follow that!”, you know?
You’re armed with a catalogue of hits; that must be a real win at a festival like Rewind?
BF: Yeah, thankfully. It is, I mean, it’s a bit big headed maybe, but there’s not a lot of acts that can say; “Well, we’ve only got twenty-five minutes - we can’t fill all the hits in”. So, you have to juggle the hits around, for what might work best. We’re pretty privileged.
Was that one of the reasons you wanted to do it all again, I mean, From The Jam must be on the road over a decade now?
RH: More than that; twelve years.
BF: I just love playing, and I love playing those songs, and there’s a demand there, so you think; “Why not?”
RH: And also, you know, I think, yeah there’s a big demand for it, and people didn’t know the demand was there, and also, Bruce needed a machine to be able to do it, to be able to play those songs again. And I think the stars aligned when we met and when we came across each other, because it just suddenly organically grew; it was never a forced thing, and so it worked, like; “Wow. Okay, let’s tour this”, so that’s what we did, and we played a big U.K. tour back in early 2007, which sold out within hours actually, and then we did another tour, and then we went to America, Australia, and then we came back and yeah, it’s been a big journey all the way along.
Was it important to you to lay claim to those songs again, Bruce?
BF: They deserve to be aired again. It kind of came together sort of by chance. I was with a band called Casbah Club with Mark Brzezicki and Simon Townshend, and we were doing a Guilford University gig, with Rick [Buckler, The Jam drummer] with a band called The Gift and he joined us and we just did a couple of tunes there, but didn’t really give it a lot of thought up until that point.
RH: Yeah, I think having witnessed what happened in the room when Bruce and Rick got up and I was singing and playing guitar, but something very special happened, and I think everybody saw that there was three members in the band, in The Jam, and as Gary Crowley [TV presenter and DJ] once said; two of them weren’t Paul Weller.
That’s quite a hard-hitting statement, really.
RH: I think that that said it really. And I remember going to see The Jam many years ago, and I remember going to see the band as a collective, so I would look and I would see Bruce and I would see Rick and I would see Paul; there were three members up there.
Rick Buckler was with From The Jam at the start, but is no longer with the band.
RH: Rick went off and left and did his own thing in 2009, and then me and Bruce just continued it on, and it just grew, really.
Are you on friendly terms with Paul Weller these days, Bruce?
BF: Yes, absolutely.
Has Paul seen the band or given his approval?
BF: No, as far as I’m aware he hasn’t seen the band and he probably doesn’t give a monkeys what I’m doing. He knows what we’re doing, we do it very well and respectfully. He hasn’t got a problem with it.
The band’s story was told on the 2015 documentary ‘The Jam: About The Young Idea’; was it nice to be involved with that?
BF: Yeah, it was, and I’d have punched Chris Parry on the nose for knocking my song writing, but apart from that, it was good.
RH: I thought that and all!
BF: It was totally unnecessary.
Finally, what’s next for From The Jam?
RH: ‘All Mod Cons’ tour. We start the fortieth anniversary ‘All Mod Cons’ tour, and we start that all around the U.K., everywhere. That starts on 20th September, officially in Cardiff, but really around early October.
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From The Jam’s ‘All Mod Cons’ tour takes in dates all over the U.K. from September. For a full list of shows visit the band’s official site.