FLUNG FROM WOKING STRIPPER pubs into the crucible of punk, hailed as The People’s Band, but scorned as a busted flush after 12 months in a blur of ripped seats and smashed Rickenbackers, the pressure on The Jam in their breakthrough year was crushing.
40 years on, MOJO relives Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler’s 1977, the rollercoaster year they allied themselves with London’s punk insurrection before becoming quickly alienated.
“It was almost like [The Jam] were a holiday camp band from Butlins,” The Nips’ Shanne Bradley tells MOJO’s Lois Wilson. “They were doing covers and Paul was doing these Pete Townshend arm windmills, but they had this energy. In the early days, punk wasn’t a music, it was an attitude and feeling, and they had that.”
The Jam’s musical journey gained speed with the splenetic In The City single and album but lost momentum with the autumn’s This Is The Modern World follow-up. When the trio returned from a disastrous tour of the States, they were on the verge of splitting, before a retreat from the fray allowed Weller to recuperate and rediscover his songwriting muse.
“As the main songwriter, Paul was on a treadmill,” Jam bassist Bruce Foxton tells MOJO. “He had to continually come up with material. There was no let up for him.”
Meanwhile, as punk’s spleen and phlegm subsided, it became clear that the Jam had kick-started a renaissance of Mod music and values, values Paul Weller still acknowledges in 2017, revealing as much in a new interview about his prolific 2017, which brought his latest solo album, A Kind Revolution, and a soundtrack for the film Jawbone, both high in MOJO’s Best Of The Year lists.
“Whenever you think you know it all, you discover something new and become a better person for it,” he tells Lois Wilson. “[Mod is] a good attitude to have, better than a lot of other religions and addictions.”
Also in the latest MOJO: the 50 Best Albums Of 2017; Bruce Springsteen’s Tunnel Of Love, 30 years on; Josh Homme in the MOJO Interview; the debt we owe Fats Domino; the incredible story of the late-blooming Robert Finley. Plus! Arcade Fire; Captain Beefheart; The Edge on the new U2 album; and The Mummies: rock’s freakiest band, back from the undead!