AFTER The Jam split in the mid-80s, the three members of the band continued to make music in their own bands.
Paul Weller formed The Style Council and with that and other solo work, he had remained active.
Drummer Rick Buckler formed The Gift (named after The Jam’s final album) and bassist Bruce Foxton ended up in a band called The Casbah Club.
Then fate took a hand, as Bruce tells me. “I was performing in The Casbah Club with Pete Townshend’s brother Simon and Mark Brzezicki (who is now in Big Country), and we were playing a gig at Surrey University.
“We were on first, then Rick’s band The Gift — which also had guitarist Russell Hastings in the line-up — took to the stage.
“They were playing some Jam songs and I got asked to get up on stage with them. So I did and played a couple of songs.”
But Bruce wasn’t prepared for the result. “The place was sold out and you could see the emotion, some people were actually crying. After all, it was the first time I’d been on stage for about 28 years.
“So we got talking, and I ended up getting on stage with them quite a bit and doing more songs, and in the end we said ‘why don’t we join forces?’ and we did.
“I’d always been introduced as ‘Bruce Foxton — From The Jam’ and we thought it was a good name.”
After a while, Rick decided to leave. “Yeah, I still don’t really know why. We just got an email from him saying he was leaving. I haven’t spoken to him since — but it’s not because I don’t want to, he seems to have cut himself off.”
Bruce and Russell then brought Mark Brzezicki in as drummer, but later on he left to join a reformed Big Country.
From The Jam now consists of Bruce and Russell, along with drummer Mike Randon and keyboard player Andy Fairclough.
And despite the split of the original band, Bruce and Paul Weller have reconciled.
“That’s right, we're good buddies. He was very supportive when my wife Pat was diagnosed with cancer and it brought us closer together.”
And what are Paul’s thoughts on From The Jam? “I don’t think he has any to be honest. I keep a good watch on the quality control of our recordings and live shows and I think if he was unhappy he would say something to me.”
The band is in celebration mode at the moment. They have now been going for ten years, and are commemorating the 35th anniversary of the release of The Gift.
The fact that Bruce and Co are celebrating this album seems a bit strange as both he and Rick Buckler were not happy with the album when it came out.
“We’ve celebrated all the albums,” states Bruce. “We’ll probably also do it again in five years for the 40th anniversary.”
But the band will not be playing the whole album. “No, we’ll be playing a selection of songs from it, but not all. Some of the tracks are difficult to play as there’s a lot of brass. Plus not everybody who comes to the show will have that album. Most just want to hear the hits.
“Also, the set varies from night to night. We have a wealth of great Jam music.”
And there is a new live album. “We’re quite proud of it. It’s a moment in time you see. It’s not like a studio album where you can take your time.”
Did Bruce think that From The Jam would have lasted ten years? “My outlook on it was the same as for The Jam. Let’s enjoy it and see where it takes us.”
And there’s no sign of slowing down just yet. “No, we enjoy touring as it’s tailored to how we want to do it. We have a nice balance between the band and life outside.
“Next year is pretty full at the moment and our agent is already looking at 2019, so the demand is there.
“Plus, we’re hoping to make a start on a new Foxton/Hastings album.”
From The Jam will be appearing at The Leadmill, Sheffield on Thursday December 7.
Tickets are available from the box office and all the usual agencies.
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