The Jam became a household name between 1977 and 1982. Drummer and songwriter Rick Buckler talks to Peter Mann.
FORTY years on and The Jam are still as talked about in today’s musical circles as they were then. Now, 59-year-old drummer and songwriter Rick Buckler adds another insight into the band's achievement with his book That’s Entertainment, which is launched this week as part of a five-week national tour called In the Crowd, taking in Dunston on June 10 and Hartlepool on June 11.
“I’ve got a good few friends, people I know in the North-East so I’ve been up that way several times in the past. I’m looking forward to coming up there and getting a good reception from passionate people and it’s nice that I am able to get out and get to do these things,” Buckler says.
Having travelled across London, Europe, the US and Japan, some time elapsed before The Jam appeared in Newcastle, playing the City Hall in October 1980 before returning in March 1982 as part of their The Trans Global Unity Express Tour.
During their initial five years of 1972 to 1977, the Surrey band put in hard miles that led to fame and fortune and beyond, and is the main crux of That’s Entertainment.
“I’m looking forward to the tour now and seeing how it all goes, especially as there has been a lot of interest as to what is in the book as well as what I have to say about things and I’m aiming for some intimate-type sessions with loyal fans. Paul (Weller) and Bruce (Foxton) and myself started back in our school days so there’s a really good mixture of things from my point of view and is in no real chronological order,” he says.
The back catalogue features 18 Top 40 hit singles, including four No 1s (Going Underground and Start, both 1980; Town Called Malice, 1981 and Beat Surrender, 1982) plus seven hit albums.
Since The Jam split in the early 1980s, a decision made by Weller, the remaining band members stayed in touch even if they did go their separate ways – Buckler and Foxton reuniting with From the Jam in 2007.
“I’ve had a mixed bag of ventures since leaving The Jam (Time UK, Sharp, The Highliners and The Gift) and I got involved with those because they were something I wanted to get involved with at those times,” says Buckler. “As for Paul, we all tried to stay in touch as much as and whenever possible but, not through lack of trying, Paul wasn’t interested. We accepted that Paul wanted to leave and move in different directions, it’s just been hard to understand why he wouldn’t, and hasn’t, kept in touch.”
What the book doesn't include will surely be incorporated in Buckler's nights up and down the country, beginning in the Spitfire Lounge in Maidstone before heading North – book retail giants, Waterstones, are getting in on the act with four signing dates.
“It started with no real deadline in mind a while ago now, but last year it was felt that it needed finishing and publishing,” Buckler says.
“There’s been no particular rhyme or reason to it coming out now and, although a lot of work has gone into it, there’s been no real pressure. Once that was finished we then put the tour dates together – there could have been just the book signings but the Q & A sessions makes it more of an event and will be ideal for people to ask what they want to know.”
Rick Buckler’s In the Crowd tickets from wraithpromotions.com for the Lancastrian Suite, Dunston, show on June 10 (£10 standard, £20 VIP). Hartlepool show on SeeTickets.com. Tickets: £10 and limited to 200