26 February 2007 (released)
26 February 2007
Rick Buckler was one third of The Jam, one of the most cherished and successful British bands to emerge from these shores over the last 30 years. His trademark tight, crisp drum rolls and fills have continued to be an inspiration to many drummers through the years. 25 years after The Jam split, Rick, together with ex Jam bassist Bruce Foxton, are taking the songs of the Jam to the public on tour under the name of From The Jam. Music News had the absolute honour to speak to the man himself.
Music News: You've recently been playing the songs of The Jam with The Gift, with Russell Hastings (vocals and guitar) and Dave Moore (bass). How did that come about?
Rick Buckler: It grew out of several things really. I've been doing a Jam website for a few years and we hosted Jam tribute days. Russell and Dave were in the band Maximum High who played at the event. I bumped into them at a 40 years of modernism event that I was involved in and realised I wanted to play the songs again. The thought of never playing the Jam's songs again was bugging me. We got together and did 6 shows in 2005 which went down well and took it from there. Bruce (Foxton) joined us for a few shows and it felt right to take it on from there.
MN: The Gift gigs have been going down really well. Does it feels much different playing the songs this time round.
RB: No, not really. Its like wearing a pair of familiar comfortable shoes. I didn't play drums for 12 years and its great to be back playing those songs. We can't wait to start the tour and play the old songs to the fans again. We'll be in the studio recording some new ideas in a couple of weeks time but we're not under any pressure from record companies to produce anything which is a real bonus.
MN: It's great that you and Bruce are back together, one of the finest rhythm sections to come out of this country.
RB: A band is only as good as its rhythm section, and if I say so myself, we were a good rhythm section. You can have the best quality singer but without a decent rhythm section you won't have a good band, its as simple as that.
MN: Looking back, what amazes me is that in The Jam you were all so good so young.
RB: Well we got together at school and were gigging two or three times a week at working mens clubs and pubs. We were together for 5 years and obviously new each other inside out. That helped us become very good so young.
MN: Has Paul Weller given his blessing to Rusell Hastings' vocal interpretation of the Jam songs, or to From The Jam?
RB: He hasn't been in contact at all. I've read comments in the press and from the things he's allegedly said, its unlikely he'll want to get involved, but he's more than welcome at any time to join us on tour.
MN: You and Bruce will be recording new material and showcasing them on tour. What musical style can we expect and will you release them under the name From The Jam?
RB: We're going in the studio to see what comes out. We don't know how the sound is going to evolve, we'll see how it goes. Again, we don't know what name we'll use if we release new material. Some Jam fans don't think we should use the name at all and others are fine with it. I'm not too worried about the cynics. Its just a name after all. At the end of the day its all about the music.
MN: I once chatted to you many years ago at the old Marquee before you were about to take the stage with Time UK, the band you formed after The Jam. Are you still in touch with Jimmy Edwards (lead vocals and guitar) and the rest of the band?
RB: Aah, the good old Marquee on Wardour Street. I speak to Jimmy quite often but the rest of the band are living abroad in various places. Guitarist Danny Kustow (ex of The Tom Robinson Band) is living in New York, one of the guys is in LA and another has apparently retired to Crete. I hope it wasn't anything I said (ha ha).
MN: Will you and Bruce be delving deep into the back of the wardrobe for the old mohair suits and stuff or are they on eBay as we speak? I'm sure there's an army of fans out there waiting to buy your old outfits on auction.
RB: I doubt i'd be able to fit in them now. People often ask me if i've got this item of clothing from that particular album cover or poster etc. I've sold off the odd bit of memorabilia over the years. There's still a demand for them.
MN: As a fellow drummer, your style has definitely been an influence on my playing over the years, with your trademark rolls and fills. Did you model yourself on any drummers and did you have any particular heroes?
RB: Thats really good to know that i've influenced and inspired other drummers. At the time the obvious drummers to model yourself on were the likes of Ian Paice (Deep Purple) and John Bonham (Led Zeppelin). I quickly realised I couldn't play like them. There were some real virtuoso players in the prog rock scene too, despite the music being less than inspiring. I realised it was best to play my own way and not try to be like anyone else.
MN: I've just been listening to Funeral Pyre. Great drumming on that track, and a great song. Can you remember recording it? Did you do many takes to get the crisp even drums just right.
RB: To be honest the drumming on that is remarkably easy. We actually recorded the song three times and ended up using the original version.
MN: What were your favourite Jam tracks to drum to?
RB: There's loads, too many to mention, but among them are Strange Town, Boy About Town and Ghosts. We didn't play Ghosts live that often but I really liked playing it.
MN: Rick, its been an absolute pleasure talking to you. I'd just like to wish you all the very best for the upcoming tour and look forward to catching a show. May I say a big thanks for all the musical pleasure you've helped give to many people over the years and for deciding to do it all again.
RB: Many thanks, that's nice to hear, and look forward to seeing you at one of the gigs.
From The Jam are:
Russell Hastings - vocals, guitar
Rick Buckler - Drums
Bruce Foxton - Bass
David Moore - Guitar, keyboards
For more information on tour dates and news visit www.thejamfan.net