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Bruce Foxton From The Jam - Interview
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From The Jam

The Australian public will be getting what the public wants, with the announcement that classic British punk / mod-revival act From The Jam will be returning to for a national tour of Australia in September. We catch up with Bruce Foxton himself to discuss the tour and 40 years of The Jam.



The Rockpit: Hi Bruce thank you for taking the time to talk to The Rockpit today. How are you?

Bruce: Hiya, I'm getting a bit croaky actually, I've had a bit of a morning of interviews, I've not spoken this much in a long tome I don't think!

The Rockpit: I'll try and make my questions nice and long then!

Bruce: No you're alright, after we've spoken that's it so I can shut up then! (laughs)

The Rockpit: We're all looking forward eagerly to the tour next month Bruce.

Bruce: We're looking forward to it too and it's not that long to go, it's going to be fun. We had a great time 18 months ago in Australia and hopefully it will be the same this time, if not even better.

The Rockpit: I missed that one, we last spoke back in 2013 when the first tour was cancelled and I missed you last time as ironically I was in the UK! So it will be good to see you this time round.

Bruce: Yeah I know it was a drag to have to cancel that, we don't like messing anybody around but it couldn't be helped that time, but we'll definitely be there this time round!

The Rockpit: I love the new album too SMASH THE CLOCK it sounds so fresh and full of energy!

Bruce: Thanks very much, we're very proud of it Russel and myself.

The Rockpit: Are we going to be hearing a few tracks from it on the tour?

Bruce: Yeah, sure we're gonna play two or three songs from it. We're already playing a couple of the songs and they blend in really well with The Jam classics. It was quite a thing really to put a new song in with all those Jam songs - you wonder how it's gonna go do, what will the audience make of it? But because the album charted over here and it's had some airplay people are aware of it and at least they've heard them, and they've gone down really well. We want to be seen as not only playing those classics but also be seen to be writing new music too, so it's all good.

The Rockpit: There's a rather big anniversary just around the corner?

Bruce: Yes, (laughing). Mine for a start, my wedding anniversary! We're going on holiday to celebrate 5 years of marriage just prior to coming to Australia. Really though 40 years of The Jam, who'd have thought it!

The Rockpit: I know it's incredible to think back to what the music scene was like at the time, so creative, so vibrant, not like it is today!

Bruce: (sighs) Well exactly! That was what was so cool about the New Wave / Punk explosion. The music business was stale, it just needed something new to come along and when the Pistols came onto the scene and The Clash and us, and The Buzzcocks, the list goes on and on really! It was such an exciting time and I was so glad to have been a part of us because you hear from people a generation or so older than myself who talk about how amazing the sixties was, and you know what? The seventies wasn't bad either!

The Rockpit: Taking it back to our last chat there were a few things we didn't get around to talking about but we wanted to ask you. What was it that first got you into music and made you realise it could be your life? Was there a particular moment or was it a gradual realisation?

Bruce: It started probably at school really, a friend of mine played guitar and he was quite accomplished and in a school band, and I thought 'I'd like to have a go at that' so I asked him if he'd give me a few guitar lessons, this was real early 70's. I didn't know at that moment at time where it would lead I just wanted to try it, I didn't have any dream, or a goal in mind, no thinking about getting a deal and being successful, it's was just 'well let's have a go at it' and it just went from there, from a school band to a Heavy Rock band called 'Rito', but we never ever played live. And I went from that to being guitarist in The Jam in about '74 and obviously the rest, as they say, is history and it went on from there.

The Rockpit: What sort of music were you listening to at the time?

Bruce: In those days probably what my two elder brothers were, my elder brother Ray has sadly passed away but Derek my middle brother was an original 'Mod' and into Motown and Northern Soul and he was constantly playing that at home on his tape recorder. So I got to hear all of that classic stuff like The Kinks, The Beatles, Small Faces, and some Stones.

The Rockpit: How do the Australian audiences treat you? I see you've got a heap of dates and are venturing out a bit further than most visitors - up to The Gold Coast and The Sunshine Coast as well as the big cities.

Bruce: We got a few photographs of the audience reaction when we were in Australia 18 months ago and it could be over here! The reaction was so similar to the UK, a great enthusiastic crowd, who probably never thought that they'd get to hear The Jam music played by at least one member of the original band again. And they just have a ball. The whole point of seeing a live band is just to have a great night out. When you buy a ticket to see a band you want to have a great time, hear some great music, maybe have a dance or throw yourself about a bit in the mosh pit and go home. And I think manage to give people that, and maybe a few beers too!

The Rockpit: You're known for your great live set and the reviews were great last visit. Out of all the accolades and awards The Jam picked up over the years, what are you most proud of?

Bruce: Most proud of would have been my first wife Pat, bless her, she was such a lovely, caring, thoughtful woman and what a fight she put up against cancer. But on a musical level I'm just lucky to have been part of a great band that achieved so much, so it's hard to pick a particular moment. Having said that you're proud and excited when you get your first record deal, or when your first single comes out and your mates put it on the jukebox in the pub you're having a pint in, you know. Right through to 'Going Underground' going straight in at number one; which hadn't been done since the Beatles in those days. And right to the end going out with a number one album and single before we called it a day. But it was such a great time there were so many things I could mention.

The Rockpit: And I suppose now it must be the thrill of playing a new song in front of an audience and having it go down so well?

Bruce: Well yeah of course, like I said Russell and I are so proud of that new album. I mean we set out not to make an album like a continuance of The Jam like a follow up to 'The Gift' but I did take a leaf out of that book trying to write memorable melodic songs and I think we achieved that. We are really proud of that on SMASH THE CLOCK and you put it out there and you hope the pubic think the same. And the reviews and the reaction we get when we play it live confirms that they do like it and what we do and there's nothing better than that is there? I don't call it a job, but it is like job satisfaction!

The Rockpit: If you could have been a 'Fly on the wall' for the creation of any great album from any period, just to see how the magic happened and it all came together, what's that album for you? What's always stuck with you?

Bruce: It would have to have been any of The Beatles albums, to have sat in on any of those sessions would have been amazing.

The Rockpit: And the real easy question to end with 'What is the meaning of life'?

Bruce: (laughs) Oh that's the easy one is it? I think the meaning of life is to have a nice time. That was one of my New Year's resolutions a few years ago; when someone asked me what my New Year's resolution was I said it's to 'Have a nice time'. Simple as that!

The Rockpit: You know what I like that, I think you're about right with that one.

Bruce: I don't ask for much! (laughs)

The Rockpit: (laughs) Thank you so much for your time today Bruce. Enjoy Cleethorpes [the last date of the current UK tour] and have a safe trip downunder!

Bruce: We will! Thank you very much, bye now!


Friday 9th September | METRO, SYDNEY NSW
Saturday 10th September | MAX WATTS, MELBOURNE VIC
Wednesday 14th September | SOLBAR, SUNSHINE COAST QLD
Thursday 15th September | THE TRIFFID BRISBANE, QLD
Friday 16th September | THE GOV, ADELAIDE SA
Saturday 17th September | CAPITOL, PERTH WA

Tickets and tour details can be found at MJR Presents.

Interview by Mark Rockpit on August 2016