‘We’ve seen each other at our worst and our best’: From The Jam talk tour rescheduling and happy memories in the Midlands
They ought to be on the road. From The Jam should presently be playing clubs and theatres across the UK, performing iconic songs that made The Jam one of Britain’s most important bands. Instead, bassist Bruce Foxton and frontman Russell Hastings are waiting for Covid-19 to pass. Like other performers, they’re hunkered down at home looking forward to being back on the road, counting down the days.
“The tour is rescheduled into the early part of next year. Me and Bruce can’t wait to get back out there. Our relationship is great. The chemistry is always good. It’s like we know what each other is thinking and we do. We’ve seen each other at our worst and our best. We’ve lost the plot and been there for each other.”
Hastings has been working with Foxton since 2007 when Russell and Rick Buckler were touring with The Gift, which was formed in 2006. Russell has been the only frontman to work with both Rick Buckler and Bruce Foxton since Paul Weller split The Jam in 1982 and has been earning respect from fans across the world as a frontman and with his guitar skills.
As a genuine Jam fan, his passion and understanding of The Jam’s history is second to none and he has toured the world playing to packed houses of Jam fans for years. Russell was also co writer on Bruce Foxton’s last album “Back In The Room” which reached Number 21 in the Independent album charts and was received with great acclaim.
He also worked alongside Paul Weller, Wilko Johnson and Steve Cropper to name just a few.
“I used to go and see The Jam in the late 1970s, I never thought I’d be part of this. It was Rick as well in the early days as well. Rick was great.
“It’s not a tribute band, really. Because it’s been going for so long for us now, it’s become a natural thing. I don’t think about anything on stage other than ‘this is great, what’s coming up next’. I love it. I never think about Paul, why should I? Of course, years ago, I used to do. But that’s a long way in the past. Even the fans that have come along over the years. Paul’s very happy and successful in his own career. There’s no need to think about it, the relationship on stage is just a joy.”
Foxton was recently voted by readers of NME as the 7th Most Influential Bass Player, which shows the high regard he is held in by fans, musicians and the music press alike.
In The Jam, Bruce and drummer Rick Buckler were the driving force, power and rhythm section behind singer, guitarist, and songwriter Paul Weller. Bruce’s versatility is evident, taking lead vocals on “David Watts” (The Kinks) and writing “News Of The World”, which to this day appears as the theme to the BBC’s Mock the Week show and has introduced his work to a new generation of fans. Perhaps Bruce’s most notable work “Smithers-Jones”, the story of the city executive who soon finds he has been chewed up and spat out, is just as pertinent today as it was in 1979 when he wrote it for the Setting Sons LP.
After The Jam split in 1982, Foxton pursued a solo career. He had a hit with the single “Freak” and collaborated with other musicians, until he got the call from Stiff Little Fingers’ Jake Burns, staying with SLF for fifteen years, recording four albums, namely, Flags and Emblems, Get a Life, Tinderbox, and Guitar and Drum.
In May 2007 From The Jam toured the UK to sold out venues. Since then they have toured the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand as well as some dates in Europe.
Hastings can’t wait to get back to it. “We’re missing it a lot now. When you’re in the thick of it you think you need a bit of time off. Now we’ve had a load of time off and we’re itching to get back and do it.” I can’t wait to get to a service station after a show. I identify with the songs as much now as I did 40 years ago, probably more. I watch my children, in their teens and early 20s, I watch them and it means the world to them. My son plays the guitar a lot better than me. I tell my son the story about when I first heard the music and it’s a great thing to share.
“I grew up on a council estate and that music spoke to me. We grew up in those areas and you had to learn how to fend for yourself. It sorted the weak from the strong. For me, that was how it went.”
Hastings has happy memories of the West Midlands and will be returning when allowed. “I have great memories of the Robin 2. But I have a lot of memories around that area, I have family from Wolverhampton and Cannock.” I remember going round Cannock Market and coming home with Eton Rifles and putting it on the turntable. I had a parka at that time, about ‘78/’79 and I picked up a union flag badge from Wolverhampton market and I sewed it on my parka. Great memories.”
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