from the jamming! vaults:
the 1978 interview with
|BACK TO THE INTRODUCTION
-Id like to start off with Reading. Why were you so uneasy there?
Oh, its nothing to do with the crowds or anything. Its just like the sound problems on stage. Its difficult for the audience to understand that, but it was such a bad sound we couldnt hear each other. Its just like trying to guess what the other two are playing. The fans dont understand it maybe, but its difficult when youre on stage.
-Have you got anything against festivals?
I havent personally, no. It depends what theyre about, you know, if theyre positive festivals. If theyre just like drug festivals I dont really like em, no.
-Theres something a friend wanted to ask, who was with me at Reading. He reckoned that what you were saying in your letter to me about nothing tough about violence (I'd glorified Paul's beating up of Sid Vicious in a nightclub; Paul wrote back saying something along the lines that "there was nothing tough or smart about violence"), when you smashed the guitar, he reckoned it was like encouraging violence.
Well, I didnt mean it to encourage violence. Its just I got annoyed with it. Everyone gets frustrated and aggressive, and Id sooner take my aggression out on a guitar or something, than on a person.. .Hes got a point... I mean, Im not proud of it or anything, I just got annoyed with it. It wasnt part of the show or anything, it was just my own personal frustration.
-So was it a different guitar during the encore?
-But youve got all the tracks taped down on that one.
Well, theyre on all the guitars really, theyre just like spares.
-About the start. You all went to the same school didnt you
But did it start there?
No, it sort of started after school. I vaguely knew Rick at school, but it mainly happened after we all left, cos the other two are a bit older than me.
-What have the different lineups been. Has it always been you three?
No, there used to be four of us. I used to play bass, and we used to have a keyboard player for a couple of months.
-When did it all start?
What, the three of us - you mean?
-Well, the Jam really.
I dont know. I suppose The Jam in all different forms has been going since I was 14. But as the three of us I suppose weve been going about 3 years. You seem to forget about time.
-What type of gigs did you used to play?
Anything and everything. Anything we could get hold of.
-Was it first around Woking?
Yeah mainly, just like little social clubs and youth clubs.
-When did you move up to London?
What, as a band you mean?
-Yeah, when did you start doing London gigs?
I dunno really, I suppose it was about two years ago. When I say we were playing London gigs, we were getting a gig every three months.
-What sort of places were they?
Just boozers, like the Greyhound in Fulham, Hope & Anchor, those sort of places.
-But it got you recognised? I mean, did you go down well in those places up in London?
Well, I suppose we did, yeah, but at the time there was no real movement or anything.
It was just like people either liked the band or they didnt like the band.
-What sort of songs were you playing?
Sort of Rnb really, & Motown.
-Did you have any of your stuff that youre doing now?
A couple. Stuff like 'Non Stop Dancing.'
-Did you have any reasons for starting a group?
I dunno, it was just an alternative for not working at the time. I wasnt very academic at school.
-I know youve been asked this a lot, but how did the bit about The Who and The Jam start?
Er, I dunno, the papers started it I suppose.
-Is it true, though, that you spent your 19th birthday searching South East London for Pete Townshend?
Well yeah. What it was, we went out with Tony Parsons from the NME, trying to get an interview with Pete Townshend. He thought it would be a good idea if we all went, turn it into The Jam-Pete Townshend interview, which never happened.
-It was probably him who wrote that, in the diary of 1977.
Could have been, yeah... But I got a letter from Pete Townshend a couple of weeks later, and he said that he was sorry hed missed us, but it was a really nice letter. He seems like he must be a really nice geezer.
-Have you been to that Who exhibition yet?
-When dyou go?
Er, a couple of weeks ago, I suppose.
-Was there anybody there from the Who?
-I went the first day, and Pete & Keith Moon were there.
Did they talk to ya?
-Yeah, they said they won't be doing any more gigs, Keith Moon looked quite enthusiastic. . . Ive got something someone gave me out of a girls magazine, and your favourite musicians, your influences and especially your songwriters didn't include The Who. I thought Pete Townshend would have been.
Well yeah, he is one of them. Theres so many though, that its impossible to list them all. I suppose I purposely didnt like to put down The Who, because people would draw the obvious comparisons. It gets on your wick a bit, pisses you off after a while.
Are they your favourite group?
Not my favourite group. Theyre one of them. Ive got loads of em really.
-Now that youre bringing in pianos and acoustic guitars, and Bruce wrote 'Innocent Man,' dont you reckon it might not be too long before you start doing 'Tommy' and then branch away like that?
I dunno... I don't think so.. .I hope not anyway, it was like one of their downfalls.
-What do you mean, like concept LPs?
Yeah that sort of stuff.'I dunno, I dont really wanna get into that sort of thing, no. I mean you can never tell. We dont really plan anything.
||The three Jam albums released by the autumn of 1978: In The City, This Is The Modern World, and All Mod Cons.
|"What they call arrogant is when some reporter says to me oos the greatest band in the world? and I say, we are. - I don't call that arrogance...I mean if I didnt think we were the greatest band in the world I wouldnt be in the group.
-I know youve been asked this thousands of times as well, but everybody will want to know: why do you wear all the mod gear?
Well thats, its difficult to explain without sounding pretentious, but the sort of, this sort of stuff Ive been wearing for years
-What since aS a schoolkid?
Well, no, I suppose in the last three years. Its just something Ive picked up, and I can t really explain it. Theres just some reason Im really related to it. I bought a scooter and done the whole works. It's just like my own private fantasy. Everybody thought I was fucking mad in Woking, but it was just something for me to do. I mean, at the time I really wanted something like the punk movement to come along, with like, everyone playing to kids your own age. I mean up until then we were just playing to like 40-year old hippies, which I've got nothing against. I needed something to relate to. Know what I mean?
-How did you discover the Rickenbacker?
I dunno, I like the look of them really.
-Is that the first guitar you got?
No. I used to have some cheap copies, and £16 ones, and woolworth ones.
-Have you tried all the others?
Ive tried em all, yeah.
-And you still reckon thats the best?
Yeah, for me it is. Im more attracted to visual things for a start anyway, and I just like the look of a Vox, which looks more interesting than big Marshall stacks.
-Where do you get the clothes done?
The suits we get made up at a little place behind Carnaby Street, place called Carnaby Cavern. But theyre really dear now - they were fairly cheap when we first started getting them made - something like £60 a suit, which werent bad really, but they're nearly a ton now.
-Onto the punk stuff. Whats your thoughts on it? You think The Jam are relevant, to the punk movement?
Well Im a little adverse to using the actual word punk, but as regards to the movement, well movements' the wrong word, we was in the foundations of it, we was in at the beginning, I dont care what anyone says. We were the first band, if you want to call it punk band, to get on Top of The Pops anyway.
-With 'In The City'?
Yeah, that opened up the door for all the other bands with like, airplay. So people have always tended to put us outside of that, and maybe we have ourselves in a way, but I think mainly we done that sort of thing because we didn't want to become known as a punk band, cos we Werent a punk band. We were just The lam, its not rock n'roll, its not punk rock, its The Jam, its Jam music.
Do you see yourself as a punk?
I dunno, I suppose I identify with the attitude, I mean thats what I really latched onto. Like when I went down the 100 Club for the first time, and there was kids my own age there it was the first time Ive ever experienced that
-Identifying with other people?
No, I mean the only other age groups that hang about together are discos. It was the 1st time Id been closest to a rocknroll gig, and seeing kids me own age there, so Im related to that very deeply. Of course its changed a lot now.
-What about your relations with The Johnny Rottens and Joe Strummers, how have you got on with them?
I dunno. I get on alright with Joe, I havent seen him for a long time. I dont really know Johnhy Rotten.
-I mean, did you see a lot of each other at the start?
Yeah, we saw each other at gigs and that
-Why did you get chucked off the Clash tour?
It was just like a mutual thing. It was over money they said we werent paying enough, and we said we werent getting enough.
-What about your famous quote of Well all be voting Conservative at the next election, what prompted you to say that?
Well that... it was more like a private joke. I mean its easy for me to justify myself, now, but I suppose at the time it was... We was on The Clash tour at the time and everything was like left wing and socialist maaan, and all that crap. I just thought Id, you know...
-Get yourself hated?
Well in a way. I was just trying to make the point that were not into whatever they want to do. Were just our own band and thats that. It was a stupid quote anyway, and I regret it now, but there you go...
-Would you vote in The next election?
I dunno, maybe Ill vote for Labour. I dont really wanna talk about politics, Im not clever enough.
-Is it true Glen Matlock asked you to join The Rich Kids when he started it up?
-But you just had The Jam starting to come through with the Lp?
Yeah, I mean Im not going to join anyone's band, you know - Ive got my own band, so... in another way there was also a time when we asked Glen to join us at one time as well.
-Oh yeah, I heard that right at the start you were thinking of bringing in a fourth member on keyboards.
Well, that fell through, but after Glen left The Pistols we were talking about like him joining and playing guitar, but it wouldnt really have worked out, and we were both nervous so we just left it at that.
-Onto the In The City LP, are you pleased with it?
I was at the time, yeah.
-What about now?
I dont really listen to it anymore, you know.. .I tend to get along with the project weve got on at the moment.
-There was the argument once that how could a kid from a Woking estate get up and sing In The City.
Well, if you read the lyrics properly it doesnt say Im from the city and about London.'
-Well In the city theres a thousand things I wanna say to you.
Well, the song was more about imagery really, it was just a question of when I did go to London like, and I saw these things happening, like the punk thing was just starting to happen you know, it just sort of inspired me a lot, and I just knew that there was going to be a real change in music, which in a way it was and a way it wasnt. It's come to a sort of paradox really. it started off okay, but I dont know, it just got fucked up somewhere along the line.
-But you dont reckon thats going to affect The Jam?
No, I dont think it s going to affect any of the bands now, because any of the real good bands, like you know... The Jam are The Jam and they play Jam music, and The Clash etc...
-You dont want to be compared with any other groups?
I dont think you can compare the bands really, you're talking about only the good bands - all the second and third-rate bands you could probably lump together.
-Another thing, was how could you sing All around the world Ive been looking for new, and This is the modern world when youre so into the sixties.
Well, Im not looking back to the 60s or nothing, theres just things I dig out of the 60s, and just updating them for me own uses. Like these sort of clothes I wear,theyre really totally irrelevant, - you could say the Teds have become irrelevant, but they havent really - they dig it - its culture. Whatever anyone says about The Jam, and especially me Im into whats happening now, and I care about the 60s, and it doesnt really mean a lot to me. I just like the clothes, and some of the music.
-Youve got a bit of a reputation to being arrogant, would you agree to that?
No I dont think so, at all really. I mean, what they call arrogant is when some reporter says to me oos the greatest band in the world? and I say, we are - I don't call that arrogance... I mean if I didnt think we were the greatest band in the world I wouldnt be in the group. It's like someone saying to you, What do you think of your fanzine? and if you say well its OK fair enough, but if you say I think its fucking great, it doesnt mean you're arrogant, it means youve got confidence and you believe in it and you believe in what you do.
-You were really disapointed when The Modern World (LP) failed chartwise... -
Oh yeah, I really thought it was going to be a Top 5 LP.
-What do you think happened?
I dunno a lot of things... it was released at the wrong time, you had like all
the Christmas records, like the Smurfs and the Wombles Greatest Hits to compete with. Bad marketing really.
-Yeah, it got reviewed in the same week when there was every other LP.
Yeah, right, its one of them things.
-Was there a concept about it, as I read?
There was, yeah, it wasnt really arranged and we didnt have time to arrange it. I was working on one at the time but it just didn't work out. It was too vague a concept to tell you about. The idea was it was going to be the forces in society today and that mad intellectual stuff.
-Do you reckon singing I dont give two fucks about your review influenced reviewers?
That wasn't meant about reporters anyway. It was just people who review your life, not reporters, anyone your teachers, your bosses, anybody, - theyre always reviewing your life somewhere along the line.
-That clears that up.... you called it one of the best LPs in the last ten years, which I would agree to. Do you reckon it matches My Generation?
I dont know, I dont think you can make a comparison like that really.
-But it is your favourite LP though isnt it?
Yeah. Its not the sort of comparison Id like to draw on....
(At which point we break for the fried egg and tomato ketchup sandwiches.) Click here for part 2 of the transcript.)
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