The Jam’s former drummer still wants to see the band get back together
The former drummer of The Jam has said he would still like to see the band get back together – even to play one final gig for the fans. Rick Buckler said he had never understood why the mod three-piece broke up at the height of their success in 1982 and that lead singer Paul Weller, who instigated the split, had never offered a proper explanation.
Buckler, who kept in touch with bassist Bruce Foxton over the years and went on to form another band with him, From The Jam, said he had barely had contact with Weller since 1982 but that he would be still be up for a reunion.
And he said that previous approaches to Weller, now a successful solo artist, had fallen on deaf ears.
I don’t know if a reunion will ever be on the cards and because so much time has gone by, I’m not even sure if it would be a good idea. Expectations would be so high.
“But if Paul was up for a reunion, then I think it would be silly to say no. I know Bruce would be up for it too. When we were doing From The Jam, we made overtures to Paul. We told him we weren’t talking about a full-scale reunion but asked him if he wanted to get up on the stage and do a few numbers. The answer was a resounding no. I don’t know his reasons.
“Myself and Bruce kept in contact over the years and made lots of effort to get in touch with Paul, but it all fell on stony ground. He did get back in touch with Bruce but not me. I don’t know what his beef was. To be honest I don’t think about him that much these days. If someone doesn’t want to get in touch, you can’t make them.
The Jam at London Recording Studio 1980
“But was I unhappy when the Paul broke up the band? Yes, of course, absolutely. It seemed like the most ridiculous thing to do, after all the hard work we’d put in and the years we’d spent trying to get to where we were.”
The Jam were one of the most influential bands around in the late 1970s and early 1980s at a time when punk rock, new wave and mod groups were domineering the British charts. Synonymous with the mod revival scene, the band wear sharply dressed and were inspired by 1960s band such as Small Faces and The Who. In total, they had 18 consecutive top 40 singles in the UK, including Eton Rifles, Going Underground and Town Called Malice. They released one live album and six studio albums and following the shock announcement of the split, their first 15 singles were re-released and all placed within the top 100. Weller went on to form the Style Council with Mick Talbot before embarking on a solo career. He is considered one of the UK’s most gifted song-writers.
Rick said: “I look back on all those Jam songs with a great sense of pride. Paul found his feet in what he could write about. In the early days of The Jam, it was pretty much love songs, but once he realised what was going on around him, in the world, in our own little circle, his songs became much more observational. Those tracks are still relevant. This was really a golden era for Paul’s song-writing.”
Rick published his autobiography last year. The title was borrowed from one of The Jam’s best-loved songs, That’s Entertainment and documents his life both inside and outside the band.
“It was a great time to be in a band at that time,” he said. “There were so many phenomenal bands around like The Police, The Stranglers, Sex Pistols, The Clash. And there were so many highlights for us, the first time we signed to a label, our first single, first album, first number one, the first appearance on Top of the Pops. But for me, the most enduring memory is playing live. Predominantly we were a live band and those are the memories that stand out for me.”