19 August 2014 (released)
19 August 2014
Bruce Foxton and band From the Jam proved to be a classic crowd sensation when they kicked off this year’s Rewind Festival – their first ever 80s concert.
Bruce and his band had festival-goers on their feet and dancing in the sunshine on Saturday at the retro music festival staged at Henley-on-Thames at the weekend.
A surrey man born and bred, Bruce who lives in Hascombe, near Godalming, performed a selection of 80s Jam hits including Going Underground, Start! and That’s Entertainment, to an appreciative crowd.
Speaking afterwards about the group’s increasing popularity, he said: “It’s been growing and growing since the 2007 tour when we started From the Jam. It’s got bigger and better.
“As you could see today, there is still a big demand for people who want to hear those songs. We look at it like a celebration of them.”
The band’s appeal is in no small part due to lead singer and guitarist Russell Hastings and his incredibly Weller-like tones, not to mention a passion and a style closely matching the Modfather himself, former lead singer of The Jam, Paul Weller.
Speaking about the challenging task of stepping into Weller’s Jam shoes, Russell said: “I’ve had nothing but a pleasurable experience from it. For all those years I’ve been singing those songs, it’s been an honour and a pleasure for me.”
Indeed, Weller has proved to be a great supporter of the band, welcoming them into his Surrey studio to record their debut album, Back in the Room, Bruce’s first album in 30 years.
Bruce said: “The album just fell into place because we were all playing on the album together and recording at Paul’s studio.
“Paul stuck his head in and said hello and we had a cup of tea and showed him some stuff and he liked it and said, “let’s have a go.”
“It was very spontaneous. He likes to work that way a lot. We were really happy with the tracks as they were but he had a go on it and lifted it to another level again. It was great just to hang out with him. It was like the old vibe was there again, like the old days.”
The 2012 album was co-written with Russell Hastings and featured From the Jam’s drummer Mark Brzezicki, who is no stranger to the 80s himself. He drummed for the likes of Go West, Rick Astley, Howard Jones, Nick Kershaw and Big Country.
Praising Mark’s 80s credentials, Bruce said: “Mark played with most of them I think! Some great pop songs came out from various bands throughout the whole decade.
“For me the 80s had their highs and lows really. It was obviously exciting but then The Jam split up in 1982, so that was a low point.”
After pursuing a brief solo career, Bruce joined Stiff Little Fingers for 15 years and then toured with the Casbah Club, supporting Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey in The Who. He joined Rick Butler and From the Jam was formed in 2007. Sadly Rick left the band in 2009 to pursue other projects.
Asked for their favourite 80s pop songs, Bruce chose Rick Astley’s enduring hit, Never Gonna Give you up, Russell favoured Golden Brown by The Stranglers and Mark opted for Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel.
From the Jam plan to concentrate on new material for a new album in the New Year.
They will be appearing at the Brighton Centre this Saturday (August 23) in a concert entitled Celebrating 50 Years of Mod Culture, alongside Secret Affair and The Truth. Their main tour kicks off in September and is based on The Jam’s 1979 album Setting Sons, featuring hits such as Eton Rifles and Smithers-Jones, a song famously penned by Bruce Foxton.
Pic: Stephen Fourie