Fans on The Jam

Written by A Collective
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the jam paul weller bruce foxton rick buckler zani 1.

A Paris match - Away days with The Jam 

The day started normally enough, with a small posse of scooters and a few cars parked outside my house in Forest Gate. Ready for a jolly boys outing to Paris to see The Jam. As we bowled up the road, we talked of pills, the French skinheads and our previous trip to France.

The last time we went there to see The Jam in Paris, a lad from Leeds was badly stabbed (is there such thing as a 'good' stabbing?) and we were terrorised by big men in their 30's, mainly Hells Angels. Well they looked like bikers to a load of 16-25 year old oiks and skinheads from East London.On that occasion Weller went all patriotic and wrapped a union flag round his mike stand and slagged off 'The French fucking 'ospitality.' Then dedicated 'Butterfly Collector' to our hosts.When we got back to the ferry after the ordeal, we met up with loads of other fans that had gone over to see The Jam. Like us they too had been run out of town or threatened. That night we swore we were not going to make the same mistake on our next visit over the Channel.

A year later we were running our own clubs and listening to less bands and more soul music. We started to meet new Mods, which gave us a broader firm for our next trip to Paris to see The Jam.

Our coach to the ferry was filled with East London and Hornchurch boys. By the time we got on the ferry we met up with the Enfield boys, Paddington Mick and a few of the Amalga's, West London's finest.

We were on the ferry at 10am and for some reason we were drinking lager through straws and scoffing blues like smarties. We were English and going abroad so we just had to get as mashed as possible as quickly as possible. Thinking about it, in the years that followed perhaps we did ruin Ibiza for everyone else.On the ferry we were informed the venue had been moved. But our tickets were still valid for the new venue on the outskirts of Paris. Looking back the promoters obviously smelt a pound note and decided to double the capacity by erecting a tent in a square rather than a venue the size of the Astoria, nice one Harvey Goldsmith. However, more on the venue later.

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Café Claret and Blue

We got on the coach from the ferry and were dropped off in a Paris version of Barking, but without the shops. There was fuck all in this place apart from interesting architecture and what Eastend oik wants that? We found a bar opposite the tent and when we looked at our watches realised we had 6 hours to kill before the gig so we decided, yes you guessed it, to get wasted.

A few people wandered off to eat and every time they came back to this bar, they would bring other fans. We ended up with about 60 people at one point taking up the whole side street. We did not notice on the other side of the road in the square that we were attracting attention from various groups of locals, punks, skins, rockers and all sorts. I suppose we were a local attraction with our singing of Jam songs, the terrace classic of 'I'm forever blowing bubbles' and the patriotic and loud chant of 'Ingerland'. It seems strange now, but that was probably the only England football song around at the time.

The square seemed miles away from us as it was across a six-lane carriageway, so we did not take much notice. Then a few parka clad French mods appeared out of nowhere.

The French Mods started asking us silly questions about Mods and we took the piss by telling them that Woking (The Jam's hometown) had become a Mod town. Where only mods lived and would fight battles with Camden Town or Skin Town as we called it.

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The French Mods started to get lairey with us, which we could not work out why. Kev the Hammer and Boy Racer popped over to the square to have a look around. Anyway, we told these little 'A-bombs' to fuck off. We watched them cross the road via the subway and then worked out they were in fact with a now growing mob on the other side of the square.

The French Mods rejoined their gang, where now stood KTH and Boy Racer. We started laughing at our mates being in the middle of all these freaks, a nightmarish version of Kings Road, Carnaby Street, and Camden Town all rolled into one.

There was every sort of gang you could imagine, but by far the most prominent were the Skinheads. It was like the film, The Warriors. The rabble started to surround KTH and Boy Racer. We saw they were in bovver and
began to cross the busy road, however unlike British drivers who stop if a mob crosses the road these wankers would not even slow down for us.

Our Favourite shop

Eventually we managed to get a decent firm to the middle isle with KTH and Boy Racer meeting us halfway. They told us they had gone over pretending to be Skins, both sported Flying Jackets and crops.

Making out they had been beaten up by 'us' Mods, they were gaining sympathy from the skins until the French mods turned up and grassed on them. Then it turned ugly as the skins turned on our boys. We laughed our bollocks off.

Spencer and a few more of the Hornchurch boys managed to get over to our isle, armed with trays of eggs they had just nicked. As an act of revenge,we started to belt the French Skins with the eggs.

/the jam bob morris zani 3It was hilarious, every time we would hit one of the skins with an egg we would shout remember Agincourt and standing in a row with the old two-finger salute. God knows whose idea that was, but I imagine making us read Henry V out in English class had something to do with it. I blame the teachers.

The bombardment of the Skins seemed to go on forever. Every time we ran out of ammunition someone would come through the traffic with another tray of eggs. Eventually we did run out of eggs and by now our opponents had amassed a big mob. 150 firm handed, mainly Skins.

Looking round there were about 20 of us in the road and another 20 in the café. Most of the others had moved off when it started to look naughty, good luck to them. What we had failed to notice whilst we were having fun with the eggs, was how many foes there actually was.

We looked at this angry mob about 200 feet away and realised that we were in bother. Our mates over the road started to shout for us to come back to the café. We started darting through the traffic all the time looking over our shoulders for this mob to descend upon us.

However nothing happened. All of us got back to the café in one piece and started to stare at our rivals on the other side of the road. Then all of a sudden they started to disperse. Of course we thought they had fucked off
because of the Old Bill or what nutters we were to cross a motorway in the middle of the day. How wrong were we.

Within a few minutes from both ends of the street came their mob. Why did we not run there and then? Well we all had a few seasons of football behind us and we knew if we ran we would get done. In addition we felt we had somewhere to go, the Café. Ahh the beauty of hindsight.

The first mob was about 20 handed, which we done over with relative ease. Then two other mobs came from different directions both tooled up. I got involved with a couple of right skinny wankers who knocked me over a plastic table and started hitting me with chairs which didn't hurt. When I managed to get back on my feet they bolted.

Then another wave of thugs came over. I held the plastic table like a shield and swung a chair wildly. It was then I realised it was only me, Steve Jarvis and Column who were left outside the café. After the second charge everyone had run inside the café and the owner had chained the door up.

It was proper Rourkes Drift. A hundred French skins and 3 of us back to back with plastic tables. Then I felt a whack across my arm, looked right and there was this massive Algerian skin standing before me with a truncheon. As he swung again I pulled the table towards him and the club. The impact was full on, I felt the shudder go down my arms and I stumbled. Whilst down on the ground by my other hand the skin's truncheon landed next to me. 'Fucking Christmas' I thought. I dropped the table and hit this cunt round the head with
his own truncheon. He scarpered.

I looked round and saw that Jarvis and Column had truncheons as well. Those silly cunts were hitting our shield-tables and then dropping their weapons. Maybe it's a strange French custom.

Inside the café the rest of boys threatened to smash the windows, if they were not let out. The owner, who thought he was protecting these well dressed English boys by locking them in, gave in and let them out.

That was it. We went to town bashing every cunt that stood before us with everything we could lay our hands on. Paving slabs, bottles and stabbing them with broken plastic chairs. Anything a nasty cockney oik could get his hands on. They started to run. It was funny seeing so many big pairs of DM's hopping and limping away from a load of skinny mods. As we were bashing them, we realised how fucking old they were too. All in their 20's or older and we were all still in our teens. This made victory all the more sweeter.

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The shout went up not to chase them into the subway. We knew from our own tube system you could defeat a big mob from out of town easily on the underground. We picked off a few stragglers who had ran with the gaggle of idiots in the square, including the Frog Mods who shouted 'Friends, Friends Mods' as someone clumped them round the heads with a bin.

Some of them tried to get away in a yellow Citroen, which as we understood was where the weapons had come from. We ran at the bastards in the motor. They legged it, leaving their car behind. We then decided to smash it up. Well what would you do?

We tipped the motor on its side, all of this on a six-lane highway remember. Then we rolled the car on its roof, which made the petrol leak and 'Boom!' Up it went. 'Paddington Mick's an arsonist' was a song sung a long time after this event.We went back to the Café and licked our wounds as we watched this car burn. Fire engines were blocking the carriageway at the rush hour with four dozen London mods observing and laughing. But the good times did not last.

The whole point of no return

When we entered the venue, the big tent, word of our exploits had already travelled. The atmosphere was just like going to the football. Everyone was nicking beer and hot dogs. Tension mounted with the rumour that their mob would be arriving soon, every five minutes. At one point a couple of our lot including Garry Lager climbed to the top of the tent and planted a flag. It was about 50 feet up. Pure British madness.

As this was going on, one of the French mods from earlier came through the crowd towards me. I thought here we go and looked round for back up and there was no one around, oh bollocks. "You must fight," he said in broken English. I went "What?" "You must fight Pepe, to stop more trouble," he said. I went "OK" and then a gap opened up in the crowd.

This fucking extra from Fight Club appeared. He was covered in tattoos and built like a body builder. I thought 'oh bollocks this is my lot.' Plus, I was surrounded by Frogs. Then he walked towards me and assumed the Kung fu position doing all the moves, the whole works.

Here I was in the middle of a French mob facing Jean Claude Van Transit. Fucking great. As he closed in, I was ready to steam into him when a little blonde head fella appeared behind him with a coke can ripped in half. My blonde angel proceeded to rip his face apart from behind, the geezer dropped his guard, screamed and fell to the floor. The cavalry had arrived in the shape of Dean Port and company. Thank God. Then we proceeded to bash everyone around us, once more. The gig was stopped a few times as Paul Weller called us all Nazis from the stage and I can't remember one single song. But my God, what a fucking gig.

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As it finished the bouncers were stopping people from leaving the tent. Danny, one of The Jam's crew and a double for the boxing legend Joe Conte, came up to us to tell us that there was a big mob outside waiting for 'Ze East London mods.' The only way we would get out of it was to confront them. We all got together and went out side to see what was occurring. There were hundreds of French geezers, rockers, skins everything.
It went off straight away. John Halls and me ended up rowing a couple of Skins and a punk. I got whacked round the head with a studded belt and we were chased by another mob of Rocker types. John stumbled over a bag and a load of bottles fell out, so we stood and had it. Just lobbing bottles at this little mob and any one else we could hit.

A strange noise went off in the distance, 'BOOF'. Piller and Jarvis came over to us and went "look over there". On the outskirts of the car park was a strange glint, a shimmering. As our eyes adjusted to the light, we began to make out what it was and the strange sound of 'BOOF.'

We saw the smoke drifting across towards us and then we could see lines and lines of French Riot police with guns and gas. Right boys, time to leave.

We all forgot about the row. I guess our French rivals did too. Every one jumped on our waiting coach. The driver refused to move at first, but we could see 'Les flics' were moving in. We suggested that either he drove us or we would drive the coach ourselves.

That was it. Game over. There was more drinking on the ferry home. Followed by a come down from hell.Over the next few days news emerged that the other coaches had been bordered by the police. People had been bashed and the windows of the coaches smashed to fuck.

Harvey Goldsmith proclaimed that he would never take 'Hooligans' abroad again and we got the blame. Oh dear, how sad, never mind. At least we got a nice trip out of it.

We had many other Jam away-days after that. But none were ever ignited by such a flame.


© Words - Bob Morris/ZANI

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My Life With The Jam

The Jam released their debut single 'In The City' on the 29th April 1977, and on 2007 it will be the thirtieth anniversary, and this date changed a lot of people's lives, mine included. The Brits should have waited for this anniversary as this year Paul will receive his lifetime achievement award in his 29th year, but this is typical of the record business.

When The Jam's debut single was released, I wasn't working with them and had no idea that their future and mine would become so entwined. In the beginning they were holding onto the shirt tails of the burgeoning New Wave movement, and if this teenage revolution hadn't have happened, we would only be spreading jam on our sandwiches, and not talking about one of the finest bands of the last thirty years.

Although tied into punk, The Jam's influences came from other sources, R 'n' B, The Small Faces, The Beatles, The Who, Tamla Motown, and Atlantic records. Like The Jam the music of these artists are timeless and as popular today as they were the first time around. Motown is the ultimate pop music for me, as you dance to it, sing to it, or just listen to it and although I'm nearly sixty, I still get the same buzz listening to Smokey Robinson and the rest of the gang from Motor City as I did in the sixties as a Mod.Although from the previous generation, (I'm ten years older than Paul) I shared a similar background with The Jam and their fans. In the sixties, I grew up on a notorious Council estate in Plumstead on the southeast edge of London, and when I first heard 'Saturdays Kids' I could readily associate with the lyrics, as many of my mates were Saturday kids.

the jam dennis munday zani 6When I was fifteen I had a weekly paper round and on Saturdays delivered meat for a local butcher and when I left school, like many of my mates signed on with the Mod Army, and wore the uniform. Mohair suits, Fred Perry's, Hush Puppies, and Levi 501's, and just like the fans who watched the Jam at the 100 club, and the Marquee, I strutted my stuff at these venues, watching the likes of Georgie Fame, The Small Faces, Geno Washington, Graham Bond and many more bands

In 1965, I attended the Reading Jazz Blues Festival, which The Jam would make an appearance at in 1978. I have always been a fatalist and believed that whatever happens in life, it's meant to be, and perhaps it was my destiny to work with THE band of the seventies, and one of the finest songwriters that this country has produced.

Even though my name is on just about every Jam CD and record, I still have to pinch myself, that it's really me, just to make sure. When I commenced working with them, it wasn't an easy time, and I was brought down to earth quickly and perhaps back to my roots. Working in the music business was a heady experience for a young lad from boon docks, and it sent my head spinning. However, it would have been difficult for anyone from my background for it not too.At 23, I went from drinking with my pals in the pubs in the suburbs of southeast London, to swanning around the world with some very famous Jazz artists, and ended up your typical record executive - all mouth and expense account.

The first record I worked on was 'David Watts' and it was the time of the infamous third album, when Polydor sent the band away with a flea in their ear and told them to come up with better songs. Not exactly, the best time to strike up a working relationship, and for a brief moment I thought it might not work.

Nonetheless, I persisted and in the end, it all worked out well. There was a latent promise from the first album although heavily laced with R 'n' B, there was one track that stuck out, and that was 'Away From The Numbers'. This was the track that made the difference for me, and looking back, it was like Paul had gotten into a time machine and fast-forwarded to 'All Mod Cons'. The song is that good it would easily have made the classic album, which is said to be their finest moment, although there were many other great moments that followed this.Live the band was something else, a blend of inspiration, perspiration, talent and a fantastic following that really drove the band, and anyone who didn't see The Jam live, missed one of the most dynamic bands of the last thirty years. I have many fond memories of travelling with the band and the drinking that went on after the show, and my renal system still winces when I recall these sessions.

/the jam dennis munday zani 1.

Jam fans were a cunning bunch and would do anything to meet their favourite group, and often I bunked in the ones who didn't have tickets, which pissed Kenny Wheeler off no end. I remember one cheeky fan that came to the stage door at the Rainbow and told me he was on the guest list, and when I asked for his name, he told me he was Dennis Munday, and he knew the boys well - but not me.

As for my favourite gig, well that was at Newcastle City Hall on the 28th October 1980. I hated it when the gig was being recorded as it meant I missed the show, as I had to work. Tyne Tees TV recorded this gig and Malcolm Gerrie (of the Tube) oversaw the recording and I got to see the boys play. There was electric atmosphere in the auditorium, and when The Jam went into 'Dreamtime', the crowd went wild. Mind you, most of the other concerts I watched weren't that far behind this one, although I would rather forget the ultimate gig at Brighton, which hurtThe Jam songbook is phenomenally good, and contains hardly a duff track, and it's difficult to nominate a favourite track as there are so many great tunes. 'It's Too Bad', 'Going Underground', 'Riverbank', 'Private Hell', 'That's Entertainment', 'Malice', 'Carnation', 'Ghosts', and the list goes on.

They only recorded 6 studio albums and 16 singles (not including imports) and there are too many gems to mention, as well as the covers that were not only well chosen, but well covered. Looking back there are many highlights, as far as their records go, but I guess the Box set gave me the most pleasure. Their songs were the urban soundtrack to their fans lives, from John O'Groats to Lands End, although towards the end Paul seemed to part company with his following, but I am sure they have now forgiven him. At the time, and in hindsight, I always thought the split was the best thing for Paul; musically, he'd moved away from Bruce and Rick and the last recordings suffered, and what better way to go out than with a number 1 single and album. How many bands achieve this feat, most end up churning out their greatest hits on the chicken-in-the basket cabaret circuit.

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Whatever has been said, it's time to forget about the split whether it was bitter, or otherwise and bask in their great catalogue of music that Paul, Bruce and Rick gave us. As for reforming these re-unions rarely work, too much water under the bridge and we're all approaching middle age and The Jam were the soundtrack of your youth and my second go at being a teenager.We should remember that all those golden faces and now under 55 and in my case 65. Wow, was it thirty years ago, it seems like yesterday to me. If the re-union didn't work and there's no guarantee it would, it would taint the memory of a band that is platinum plated, even though they broke up nearly 25 years ago.

In 2002, Polydor released the compilation 'The Sound Of The Jam' and it went to number 3 in the charts, which even surprised me, and showed The Jam will never be far away. Many times, I've been asked to sum up The Jam, but I'll leave the last word on this to Tony Rounce, who DJ'd on some of the last live dates, and one of the few occasions that John Weller didn't announce the band. Tony came on stage and simply stated, "Put your hands together for the greatest thing on six Legs – THE JAM" - Nuff said.

© Words - Dennis Munday/ZANI

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I was a soldier in The Jam Army

The Jam was my group. Full stop. The music, the clothes, the references, the live performances, the sleeve designs, everything spoke to me. I read anything I could on the group, with Paul Weller as the spokesman of the band Weller later claimed he was not being a spokesman for a Generation. Sorry Paul old son, but you were, for me anyway. I took it all in. He was five years older than me which he adopted the mantle of the older Brother, I did not have.

Through the interviews with Weller, when he name checked films, books, and people, I got an education. This has stayed with me to this day. Without some of those references, nods to the past, I would not have discovered some of my favourites singers, films, and books. He was that important.

Then, there were the clothes. He had style the fella. It wasn't fashion it was style. Big difference. I loved his look. Sourcing out where he got his clothes almost became a full time pre-occupation. When a lot of the fashion mags of the day, The Face, ID or whatever, featured punters wearing half a lampshade and a piece of net curtain. I walked about in a 3-button suit, some lovely knitwear and cracking shoes. I was a Mod. Well, a second generation one at any rate, but I felt the bollox.

the jam army zani 1The Mod world has always been about details. It's about getting it right, Weller 99 times out of 10, got it right. Bruce and Rick will always have a place in my heart as well. For being part of that powerhouse trio that were fantastic live, and made some of the greatest records of their generation. I'll even forgive Bruce his mullet and I don't say that lightlyThree things about The Jam will always stay with me.

Hearing 'When You're Young' on a radio for the first time in a caravan, on holiday with the lads down in Sheppey. We bounced about to the song so much that the caravan nearly toppled over.

Their final TV appearance on The Tube. Weller looked fantastic, on that broadcast, cool as fuck, sharp as a cut throat razor, and with a Barnet to die for.

Seeing them live on the last tour at Wembley, with The Jam Army in full voice. Grown men near to tears as they realised it was coming to the end.

I had already picked up the vibe, Weller had moved on. He was using a brass section, digging the soul vibe and I was ready to move on with him.

I have been very fortunate to meet Paul on various occasions through work in the last 5 years. He is a top bloke, dispelling the saying, that you should never meet your heroes. The first time I met him, I could only say Thank You.

I like to think I spoke for a generation then...

© Words - Mark Baxter/ ZANI

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The Jam Have Left The Building

Though I first saw the best f***ing band in the world in late 1977 at the 100club, and it lives long in my memory. I think of all the gigs I went to. The one that really sticks in my mind was at the Rainbow on the Setting Sons tour.
It was 25 years ago now, and to be totally honest, I can't remember if was the last night or the second of three nights, they played in early December.

It was definitely a Saturday, I was still sort of 'at school', but I didn't I bunk off the whole day. I spent the late morning wandering around North London, which is not the place to be if you're an East End boy.

I made it to the venue around 2.30pm in the afternoon, in the hope of getting in for the sound check. Unfortunately, I bumped into a cousin of mine, from the North London side of the family. He used emotional blackmail for me to go and see my Aunt.

I spent the rest of the afternoon in a gold tonic suit, sitting round my Aunt's in Haringey. Drinking cups of tea, and smoking far too many fags.

As I was eating my Aunt's sponge cake, I was singing to myself the Jam song 'Aunties and Uncles'. I made a mental note, that being mod was more important than family.

I made my excuses and left annoyed. Annoyed that I had to listen my Auntie reminisce about Christmas' gone back, and what a card my Uncle Ernie was, when I could be hearing The Jam doing a run through of 'Billy Hunt'.

the jam paul weller bruce foxton rick buckler zani 4000.jWhen I got back to the venue, the whole of Finsbury Park was awash with Mods of all ages. Yeah, fucking great, green parkas bloody everywhere, with all sorts of homemade designs on the back. Some good, some very impressive and some, just downright crap. The Parkas made me laugh, because I had done the parka thing, a year earlier. The so-called Mod revival had started in mid 1978 in the East of London, and us Essex boys considered ourselves to be way ahead in the clothes stakes. Mind you, having seen a couple of photo's' of my gold tonic suit, with union jack cloth buttons. I'm not so sure now. But hey, back in the day

With my ticket to the circle firmly in my inside pocket, checked by the minute to assure it's owner of its continuing presence. I stood quietly in the queue and looking around for my mates who I was meeting. The queue wasn't actually quiet, in fact, it was totally mad, with all sorts of stuff going on.

A mob of skins turned up, thinking they were gonna get an easy ruck, instead they were run ragged and battered senseless by a tidy little firm from the East End. (No names, no pack drill ). After that, the queue was monitored closely by London's finest, who were now there in major numbers.

Eventually, I met up with the lads and we were happily consuming under age beers and chatting up as many girls as we could find in the male dominated bastion 'a Jam crowd'. 'We dig it'. Actually, we did pretty well on the chatting up front, as I do seem to remember walking away with a phone number, can't remember if I used it.

The tension in the crowd was evident as the lights came down and the familiar rounded silhouette of old man John Weller wandered on for the same old intro to "the Best fucking band in the world...The Jam"

To my distant memory, the set started with a ringing telephone, a prelude to the crashing first bars of 'Girl on the phone', and went into a mix of songs from 'All Mod Cons' and the new album, 'Setting Sons'.

Paul Weller, as ever the real power, crashing through the chords and bawling out the songs. Bruce Foxton, mullet flying with those scissor kicks and pounding bass lines. Rick Buckler's, constant beat and crashing drum fills, The Jam. Pow. All power and adrenaline, on and off the stage. Sweaty kids and stage invasions. Bouncers throwing right-handers. The Jam. Fucking brilliant.

All thoughts of having a nice easy night disappeared, when a full plastic glass of beer came flying over. However, you didn't go to a Jam gig to have a nice easy night. The gold tonic suit took a right pasting from then on.

The venue became filled with mayhem and passion. I do seem to remember that there was one hell of a fight down the front at some point. This made Bruce stop singing during 'David Watts'. But, that was the late 70's, early 80's. Rucks at gigs and football, is what we did.

The Jam encored with "Away From The Numbers" and a couple of other songs. I can't remember what they were, and then in a flash, the band were gone. 'The Jam has left the building', Bollocks.

One of those gigs you wish could have gone on forever. In all honesty, most Jam gigs were like that. You just wanted Paul, Bruce, and Rick to play forever and you to keep on dancing. And when you're young, you can dance for evermore.

© Words – Blocky /ZANI Media

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Thick As Thieves (A Play)

Jerry Zmuda

I picked up the NME and yelped with excitement - the Jam were bringing out a new LP in November and it was going to be called Setting Sons and they had given the track listings. I couldn't fucking wait I was reading those track listing over and over again making up my own song and lyrics there's a Girl on the Phone there's a Girl on the Phone give the dog a bone there's a girl on the phone.

Dermott Collins

Friday 23rd. November 1979 will be a date forever tattooed on my brain.

Peter Wyatt

I was pissed off with My Mum hardly ever being at home, pissed off with West Ham struggling in the league and really frustrated that Michelle Baxter was still not taking any notice of me. I was watching Top of the Tops on my own and The Jam came on with Eton Rifles they'd somehow managed to get in the Top 3 for the first time ever. But Weller didn't seem too happy about it, so pissed off and angry just like how I felt. I remembered reading they were playing in Southampton the next day.

Jerry Zmuda

So I turn up to school this wet and drizzly morning and outside Peter is waiting for us he had an old copy of the NME in his hand he showed me it The Jam are playing the Southampton Gaumont today. School is off.

Peter Wyatt

No fucking debate we were going down to Southampton that day to see The Jam.

Jerry Zmuda

But I didn't have any money and besides how are we going to get there? Peter said fuck money. Where there's a will there's a way.

Dermott Collins

I had some cash on me, thanks to the old shop-lifting game, but the other two were brassic. Still this was going to be fun. Where the fuck is Southampton?

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Peter Wyatt

I knew the train route cos I'd been to there to see me Mum's sister. So we bunked the train from Feltham to Weybridge.

Dermott Collins

It was much easier to bunk the trains in them days.

Jerry Zmuda

I was still recovering from the newsagent/pen knife let off, I gave my word to God that I'll never do anything bad ever again, and here I was bunking the train all the way to Southampton. But Dermott and Peter weren't being discreet. They were all excited singing Jam songs at the top of their lungs shouting at suited commuters on the platforms. Calling school girls over - "school's off come with us to see The Jam." The train journey seemed to go on forever. I thought to myself "We are going to get caught. We are not going to see the Jam. We are going to be spending the night in a cell."

Peter Wyatt

We were so fucking excited to be going to see The Jam. After bunking the train journey all the way it didn't occur to us we wouldn't get in to see our favourite band today. We jumped over the barrier at Southampton and went up to the nearest geezer - Excuse mate where's the Gaumont?

Dermott Collins

It was mid-afternoon, and we got directed towards this large building like a massive bingo hall. I could hear this noise from the outside it was Thick As Thieves. We walked round the side and the door was open so we whizzed in saying hullo to the roadie. To our amazement he said hullo back.

/thick as thieves the jam sedazzari zani 2.Jerry Zmuda

We walked into the auditorium it was empty and there they were on stage. All three of them playing a song. After seeing them on Top of the Tops and looking at their pictures in the papers it was a real thrill seeing them in real life. They seemed so short like our height and we were 15.

Dermott Collins

I always preferred the Ramones, but it was a buzz to see them on stage, going through their set. But where was everyone else? I thought the Jam were popular.

Peter Wyatt

It's a sound-check you mong, I explained to Dermott. They're making sure everything sounds OK.

Jerry Zmuda

I was expecting any moment someone to come up to us and say 'go on get out'. I would have taken the sound-check that was exciting enough. If we couldn't get into the actual concert I would have gone home happy.

Peter Wyatt

We sat and watched the Jam by the mixing desk open-mouthed, there were some other kids there hanging about, wearing parkas and covered in badges we said hello. After Paul, Bruce and Rick finished they walked off stage but wait for this RICK BUCKLER GAVE US A WAVE.

Dermott Collins

Then this big long-haired geezer in a Rockpile Tour T-shirt came up to us. I was about to start taking the piss when he said "you got tickets for tonight?" we acted all cagey he said "it's sold out but if you hide in the toilets until doors open you can stay to see the band." Cheers for the tip.

Jerry Zmuda

So we went outside and got ourselves some chips and this saint of a roadie let us back in. Then the three of us hid in the toilet waiting for the doors to open. Nightmare. Dermott would not could not shut up.

Peter Wyatt

Dermott started shouting out the window, I pulled him back and told him to shut up. Then we got joined by this young geezer in a flying jacket he didn't crack a smile once.

/the jam paul weller bruce foxton rick buckler zani
Jerry Zmuda

First thing he says to us is "how many times have you seen them?" I go that sound check was our first time. "twenty three times," he says puffing his chest out. I was really impressed.

Peter Wyatt

Dermott said you must think they're quite good, but he just carried on talking. Telling us that The Jam peaked last year and all the kiddy winks getting into them was ruining it overlooking that he was talking to three fifteen year olds bunking off school.

Dermott Collins

He was called Lionel. LIONEL. And he came from Bracknell. If I was called Lionel and came from Bracknell I wouldn't give it the big 'un.

Jerry Zmuda

It eventually got dark, and this young guy walks in young like us. "Excuse mate have they opened the doors yet?" The kid nodded. We had done it.

Dermott Collins

I always got a thrill from thieving but this was the best one yet it was like the Great Escape, and I couldn't stop myself from singing.

Peter Wyatt

As the place filled up, it didn't occur to us to go the bar. Who wants to drink when you're about to see The Jam? We rushed up to the front. We watched The Vapors they were pretty good, but when they finished you could feel the excitement fill the air. My heart was racing.

Jerry Zmuda

We were getting squashed at the front, my rib-cage felt like it was going to burst. But there was no chance I was going to move. The Jam are going to be on stage any minute.

Dermott Collins

Then this old geezer with a teddy boy quiff came on stage, I thought he was going to tell some jokes you know warm the crowd up. Then he bellows into mic "put your hands together for the best fucking band in the world The Jam." Then everything went Mental.

Jerry Zmuda

Yes the sound check was amazing but this was something else. With thousands of other fans. The first earth-shattering chord was hit and all of a sudden you're caught up in wave of people bobbing up and down. I was wearing these cheap slip-on shoes halfway through the set they slipped off.

ohn weller the jam zani.
Dermott Collins

The excitement got too much for Jerry. He was like a man possessed I mean I'm supposed to be the crazy one.

He fell over trying to out-pogo everyone else. Accidentally got hit in the face, his nose was bleeding - he didn't care. But then he got blood over this kid's mohair suit. It would have got nasty if Peter hadn't stepped in.

Peter Wyatt

We caught the milk train home tired and drained but we couldn't sleep playing over and over in our heads what we had just witnessed.

Dermott Collins

After that day I felt invincible.

Jerry Zmuda

I finally got home at 1 a.m. no shoes, caked blood down my school shirt, ripped jacket. My mother looked at me horrified " my god what on earth has happened to you?" "Mum I've just had the best day of my life."

© Words – Paolo Sedazzari/ ZANI

/bradford the jam zani 3.

A Bradford boy and The Jam

Me and my cousin would take the bus into Bradford City Centre every Saturday afternoon to go record shopping with our meager pocket money. Bradford was a great place for record shops back then. The best of the bunch was Pearson's in John Street Market.

The manager was obviously smart and had cottoned onto Punk. He'd done the basement out in lurid colours, graffiti and UV lights. It was like a club and a bit scary to venture into for a couple of 12 year olds. All the older, 'proper' Punks used to hang out in there and we used to shit ourselves to be honest. It was one of those Rites of Passage type things. Going down those steps was like going down into Dante's Inferno.

We'd both been raised on Northern Soul (our aunties and uncles were all Northern Soul disciples) but around 77 we had gotten really into Bowie, so most of our cash went on catching up with his singles back catalogue. These were usually those ex-jukebox 7's without the middles, purely because they were dirt cheap.

/bradford the jam in the city paul weller bruce foxton rick buckler  zani 1.We both heard 'In The City' when it was played in the store. We didn't have the balls to ask the Salesman what it was but ear-wigged a lad buying it. Woods in Kirkgate was one of those really old fashioned shops with listening booths, a bit of an hangover from the sixties, so we legged it down there to get a better listen. We just thought it was another one of those Punk songs and didn't really 'get it'. Neither of us bought it.

My Cousin and me were both religious John Peel listeners and I can't really recall him playing a lot of The Jam. I waited until 'All Around The World' came out before I bought into them, then obviously went and bought 'In The City'. I suppose it wasn't really until 'Modern World' that I became a big fan though, and that's because they covered 'Sweet Soul Music', which I already knew off by heart. I remember being fascinated by the fact that a 'Punk' band were covering it.

I think my fascination with The Jam was fuelled by the fact that they were labelled Punk, dressed like Mods and covered Soul standards. It was through the Jam that I started to discover the sixties bands like The Small Faces, Kinks and The Who, the fact that they were Soul fans made me like them even more. It was that feeling that they were doing something special that always came across, and also that they didn't really fit into any bracket. Like Dexys Midnight Runners, they had that indefinable attitude that basically said: 'We're The Jam, take it or leave it.'

'News of The World' is probably my least favourite of their early singles. The cover was crap as well and I recall swapping it for 'New Rose' by The Damned. 'David Watts/A Bomb' blew me away, without doubt my favourite ever Jam song. I remember not knowing where this mythical Wardour Street was, but I knew it was somewhere I wanted to go. Nowadays I do most of my boozing in Soho, and every time I turn onto Wardour Street the song instantly starts playing in my head. That's the true mark of a classic I think.

Listening to the singles nowadays I still marvel at how much anger and passion went into them. I was brought up in a big family of trade union activists so I instantly got the politics. I thought Weller was a lyrical genius. 'Tube Station' and 'That's Entertainment' prove that he's up there with Bowie, Lennon and McCartney, Ray Davis and Morrissey when it comes to writing from a very English perspective. You could never imagine Jam song's being sung in an American accent, which, again, I think makes them very special.

I was really into The Style Council and believe 'Our Favourite Shop' is one the most underrated albums of all time. Listening to it now just brings bitter memories of the Miners Strike flooding back. I've not followed Weller's solo career at all. 'Wildwood's' the only solo album I've got of his. I prefer to remember him as the angry young man from suburbia with a huge chip on his shoulder and a Tootal scarf wrapped round his neck singing 'Eton Rifles' on ' Top of The Pops.

© Words Dean Cavanagh
Read 12337 times Last modified on Saturday, 10 April 2021 14:56
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ZANI was conceived in late 2008 and the fan base gradually grew by word of mouth. Key contributors came from those of the music, film and fashion industry and the voice of ZANI grew louder. So, when in 2013 investor, contributor and fan of ZANI Alan McGee* offered his support to help restyle and relaunch the site it was inevitable that traffic would increase dramatically and continues to grow. *Alan McGee co-founder of Creation Records and new label 359 Music..


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