Interview: From The Jam's Russell Hastings talks Paul Weller and Bruce Foxton ahead of Birmingham gig
It was years before they buried the hatchet – when The Jam split it was one of rock's great endings.
Like John Lennon and Paul McCartney or Liam and Noel Gallagher, there seemed no chance of Paul Weller getting back together with Jam-mates Rick Buckler and Bruce Foxton. There seemed no chance, either, of the three men talking. Their split amounted to one of music's great feuds.
That time, however, has passed.
And songs recorded by the duo are alive and well in the curative hands of From The Jam, formed by Foxton and Buckler. It now features Foxton and Russell Hastings, a one-man Paul Weller tribute. And it even has the blessing of Weller himself.
Hastings says: "Paul is very friendly and very amiable.
"I think everyone has grown up in a lot of ways. Life is short. Paul is a really nice guy. He is cool. But you have got to keep cool yourself.
"When you are with him, you have got to make sure it is like a daily occurrence, nothing really special. But the fact is when Paul walks into a room, the room knows Paul has walked into it. It is not just Paul that walks in. There is a whole presence. He really has got charisma."
Hastings and Foxton have worked together for a decade – longer than Weller and Foxton. And fans can look forward to them running through The Jam's enviable back catalogue when they headline Birmingham's Institute 2 tonight as part of a UK tour. The spirit of 76 will be alive and well.
Hastings says: "We are the best of friends, which is an odd thing to say. But it is true. He is my best mate, and we spend such a lot of time together, travelling, on the road, in planes, and we have a great time everywhere.
"It's difficult to believe. Life has stood on its head for me. It has become the norm, but I still appreciate I am so lucky to be doing what I am doing and making a good living from the music." Times were hard for Foxton when The Jam first split. These days, he's just glad he can make a living by playing music and he can call Weller a friend.
"Over the years I hadn't picked up a lot of contact numbers in the industry, perhaps because I never thought I'd need them, so I had very few people to call on. Fortunately my girlfriend Pat – later my wife – who was wonderfully supportive throughout that time, worked for CBS Records.
"Her publisher managed to put out the word, and eventually assembled a band for me to go solo with. I enjoyed it, but it was hard work.
"In the Jam we were expertly managed by John Weller, Paul's dad, but suddenly I was out there alone. I never felt jealous of Paul's solo success. We didn't speak or see each other for years after the break up, but I am good buddies with him again now."
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