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Wed, Sep 22, 2004 10:21 pm


JAMMING!s 1-12:
The covers and their contents

JAMMING!s 13-24:
The covers and their contents

JAMMING!s 25-36:
The covers and their contents


Interviewed in 1979

interviewed in 1981

Interviewed in 1978

interviewed in 1978

U2 interviewed in 1984.

from 1982

The Story That Spawned Creation from 1982

interviewed in 1978

interviewed in 1985


The JAMMING! Covers pt.2

More memories, believe me, though some of them merge together due to increased frequency of publication and other, not quite Jamming! Magazine-related memories get in the way. In fact, just as many of us can recall what we were doing with our lives when we hear a certain song, I can pinpoint all my major relationships and other work activities by looking at a single cover. Again, there's a plan to place some unedited transcripts up here - it seems like a perfect moment to re-run that Paul McCartney interview - but finding time to retype them is proving seriously hard to come by. For now, you can see Page 3 from Jamming! 13: The Story that Spawned Creation. And if you have any memories of Jamming! you want to share for a future guest book/forum as I improve my web-coding and interactivity, send them here. Click on a cover to see it at more or less full size. Click here to see the first twelve.
Number 13: June 1982.
A whole year since the last one, primarily due to running Jamming! Records with Paul Weller. But in the middle of that period, I scooped when Paul McCartney sat down for a three-hour interview. Paul Weller also wrote an editorial for this issue, Pedro Romhanyi and Gary Crowley joined the contributors list, and my own rant on Page 3 apparently had some long-lasting effects. Robin Richards designed the whole mag, and what a great job he did. 'A New Optimism For The '80's' makes its first masthead appearance. Print run jumped to about 12,000. In all, it doesn't get much better than this.
Number 14: June 1983.
Having produced one of the best independent magazines ever, it was, embarrassingly, another year until the next one. But again, Jamming! Records (and Apocalypse) was my day job for much of the time. Weller had pulled out of the label by the time this issue came out, so when No. 14 hit the stands - with stories on Dexys and The Alarm as well as the second McCartney installment - we were already planning the next move. Robin did the design again, then bailed: too many sleepless nights, no pay. Can't say I blame him, though I missed him. I had about a week to find a designer for the next issue. Print run again about 12,000.
Number 15: Sep 1983.
After two issues in two years, suddenly Jamming! is a bi-monthly magazine, with a new design, rented office space, major distribution and a 50,000 print run. All this on an overdraft facility of £5,000. Good stories on Elvis Costello and the Bunnymen, and I allowed Bruce Foxton to vent some anger about The Jam's break-up, which further distanced me from prior mentors. Whatever. I started co-hosting on The Tube at the same time. I was 19. It was insane, believe me.
Printed in Finland, where they had lots of tall trees for cheap paper. They flew me out there to watch it being printed. It was boring, believe me!
Number 16: November 1983.
The realities of what we'd let ourselves in for with a bi-monthly schedule hit home, when a mistake on the lay-out switched pages 8 and 25 around. Given that it was the Madness interview that got split in two, most readers took it in good spirit. The layout is so colorful it's almost like Smash Hits, but there's a vibrancy and hipness - not to mention naivete - the other mags couldn't offer. Still short on advertising though.
Number 17: January 1984. The peak of the bi-monthly period. The Smiths were set to explode, New Order, Billy Bragg and R.E.M. were all at their hippest, and our 32 pages for 50p - especially with minimal advertising - made us great value. Our print run was rightly decreasing as we attempted to increase the sell-through and I recall this, along with #15, being about our best ever-seller, around 22,000 of a 40,000 print run eventually being paid for. Number 18: March 1984.
And then there was this. Actually, a better issue than the dreadful front cover photo suggests, but the promise to put out a bi-monthly anti-pop mag during the mid-80s peak of pop made the task of filing the pages increasingly difficult. Anyway, this one coincided with the Jamming! compilation album, A New Optimism, featuring The Icicle Works, Wah!, Billy Bragg, R.E.M. and more.
Number 19: May 1984.
In a musically and politically divided UK, the decision to put pop stars Frankie Goes To Hollywood on the cover was not taken lightly, though I have to admit that in scanning the covers, this one really stands out. Old punks had Joe Strummer's justification of the 5-piece 'This is England' Clash and Captain Sensible's glorious stupidity to make up for it. A story on 'the GLC and music' is deemed worthy enough for cover billing. Price gone up to 60, but 'now with more pages.' No more pages of advertising though!
Number 20: July 1984.
Time to kiss and make up with Paul Weller, who had been noticeable by his absence during the bi-monthly period. Dave Jennings did the interview. Everything But The Girl and football legend George Best - the only person we ever paid for an interview - also made an appearance. Unfortuantely, the dockers went on strike just as the magazine came off the presses in Finland, and we had to sit and wait for two weeks until it was able to ship. More financial woes. And yet, though sales were quite healthy and we were only just keeping financial heads above water and making our deadlines, our distributors were screaming for us to go monthly. Stupidly, I acquiesced.
Number 21: Sep 1984.
Jamming! goes monthly, print run rebounding back up to about 55,000. Sure the cover looks great scanned on the Net, but our bastard new English printers (printing abroad took too long with or without a dockers strike) took advantage of our supposed youth and the ongoing paper shortage and printed the cover on substandard paper, thereby completely f***ing the quality of the relaunch. On the bright side, U2 asked that Jamming! have the exclusive on their new album, The Unforgettable Fire, and I was flown to Dublin to interview...The Edge. Aztec Camera and the Go-Betweens supply the back-up. 'Now With Even More Pages' boasts the tag line, though with no more pages of advertising. The bank extended the overdraft to £10,000. Who was more mad? Us or them?
Number 22: October 1984.
I like this front cover, I've got to say. It almost reversed the damage of the previous issue. (Almost.) Billy Bragg so typified our right-on readership (or editorial position) that we put him on the cover. But again, the support cast is looking a little shabby. Why we agreed to interview Roy Hay from Culture Club when the group were at their 'War Is Stupid' breaking-up phase I have no idea, except that it seemed we were losing the fight against bad pop. Brilliant story by Tony Parsons on Bruce Springsteen though. (Read it here.) Second part of the U2 interview too. Overdraft already exceeding £10,000. Bank not happy. Nor me.
Number 23: November 1984. When in doubt, put Morrissey on the cover. And why not? We typified the Smiths' audience just as they typified our ideal band. And yet once more, I'm embarrassed by the lack of back-up talent. The Stranglers? In 1984? Bronski Beat? Playn Jayn? In fact, our masthead was stronger than the index page. Russell Young, who went on to shoot Faith for George Michael did the cover (Paul Cox the Billy Bragg one), and alongside myself and Jonh Wilde in the full-time editorial seats (he hadn't dropped the 'h' from his already fake name yet) this issue saw contributions from James Brown, Chris Heath, Dave Jennings, Bruce Dessau, Alan Marke, Martin Wroe and my still-good-friend Anthony Blampied. Russell Tate was still the designer, Alan McLaughlin still on staff too. Neither of them for much longer... Number 24: December 1984. 1984 ends with my Orwellian Room 101: the magazine goes bust. I should have ignored our distributors, and not gone monthly until we had PROPER financing, but I was always impatient, and anyway, didn't the distributors and bank managers know best? Now the bank called in the overdraft and we couldn't pay our outstanding bills. In the middle of all this, with Britain politically polarized and as deep in civil unrest as I ever knew it, I took a trip to the heart of the hardline mining community, Yorkshire, just as the real violence was kicking in with a handful of striking miners returning to work so as to have any sort of money for Christmas. I came home and wrote what may have been my best ever fearure for the magazine - and it had nothing to do with music! Seeing such genuine hardship among people who had worked such dangerous demeaning jobs for generations and were about to be cast on the slag heap of society really did soften the blow of being encouraged to file for bankruptcy (which I refused to do). Thanks to a friend in the magazine trade, we were rescued at the eleventh hour and issue 24 made it onto the streets. Nice cover collage by Russell Young. The magazine persisted into the new year, and for 12 more issues, though for me, no longer being the owner meant it could never be the same again.

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