11:44 AM GMT 21/05/2013
Coinciding rather neatly with the emergence of the final Jam album, The Gift, in deluxe anniversary format, former Jam bassist Bruce Foxton's second solo album arrives next Monday, October 1. It's been a long wait, with Foxton's only previous solo album, Touch Sensitive, appearing way back in 1984.
An earthy, tough-grooving affair recorded largely at Foxton's former Jam bandmate Paul Weller's Black Barn studio, Back In The Room features guest spots by Stax guitar God Steve Cropper and Weller himself, on glockenspiel. "He's pretty good on recorder as well," Foxton reveals.
The album, described in MOJO's album review as "nodding back to Setting Sons-era Jam", was partly financed via the online crowdfunding mechanic, PledgeMusic. Fans bid for exclusive, Foxton-orientated experiences, from backstage access to a round of golf with Bruce and singer Russell Hastings.
In this exclusive Q&A with Foxton, MOJO Jam-ologist John Harris wonders what took him...
Why now for a Bruce Foxton album, nearly thirty years after the first one?
Since [Foxton-helmed tribute band] From The Jam started up, in 2007, we anticipated not just playing Jam songs. That's fantastic, and it's great there's still a demand for it. But we always intended to write new material. While Rick [Buckler] was in the band, we had one new song called Later Day. But then my wife [Pat], sadly, became very ill, throughout 2008 and 2009, with breast cancer. Everything kind of ground to a halt, band-wise - and the songwriting came to a standstill. She passed away in 2009.
I got my head together, and started to get back into it. Pat always said, throughout the 30-odd years that we were together, that she wanted me to play music. And she did hear, before she left us, the two songs I played on Paul's album [Wake Up The Nation]. This is something she wanted me to do - not to just mull over the past. So since then, Russell Hastings [left]- the singer in From The Jam - and me have been beavering away. And now is the right time.
How long did the recording take?
We had to do it in batches, because of finance, basically. Me, Russell and Mark Brzezicki [drums, ex-Big Country] have been recording at Paul Weller's studio, and he's done us a huge favour. He gave us a lot of studio time for nothing. But there comes a point where you've got to put a few 50ps in the meter. I'm very pleased with it, though; there's not a track on it I don't like. We'll be mixing it up with those classic Jam songs at future shows.
Listening to it, some of the songs - Find My Way Home, Window Shopping - sound like they pick up where The Jam left off. Was that conscious?
No, it wasn't. But we've got a guy who looks after our web site, who knows more about The Jam than I do. He said the same thing: he said he thinks that maybe that would have been the direction The Jam would have gone in, if we'd continued. That's a nice compliment. We didn't intentionally set out that way. There's no way I wanted to be Jam 2. We were just trying to write good songs.
How did you get Steve Cropper on Don't Waste My Time?
Our agent also fronts The Animals. They went out with Steve Cropper as a special guest. And he's always thinking of ways forward for us, and he asked Steve Cropper outright: would he be up for playing on a track? He was supposed to do it over here, but time ran out and he went back to Nashville. So we sent him over a track, and he put the guitar on there. That's it: it's sounds fantastic. It's a real privilege.
Which tracks is Paul Weller on?
Window Shopping; Number Six, which I think is going to be the single; and a slower one called Coming On Strong. He plays various instruments, from glockenspiel to guitar to piano. It was great working with him. He just experimented, and came up with some really nice parts, as he always does.
This must be his first recorded appearance on glockenspiel.
I think it is. He's pretty good on recorder as well.
The record's being financed via PledgeMusic.
I'd never heard of them. We went to Island, who loved the record - but their calculations in terms of how many records they'd like to sell... basically, they didn't think we'd sell 100,000 records. They're probably right. And someone said, 'Why don't you look at PledgeMusic?' It's a great means of getting your record finished, and out there. And a great way for a fan to get involved in it.
One of the packages on offer includes a round of golf with you and Russell Hastings. Is this something to be feared?
I've played golf for years, but I still play off about 24. I kind of stop-start. But the age group we're partly looking at now - they are into golf. There's a couple of rounds gone already.
Interview by John Harris
Bruce Foxton's album, Back In The Room, is out next week.
Here's the video for Number Six:
Posted by Ross_Bennett at 3:39 PM GMT 24/09/2012