I believed then, as I believe now, that if a song still sounds good when you sit down and play it with just a voice and a guitar then you know you’ve got a good song. With ‘Eton Rifles’ I sat down and figured it all out before I played it to anyone. And I can understand how tough it can be on Rick and Bruce when I presented them with a song like that and virtually told them when to play. It must have been especially frustrating for Bruce because he has such a distinctive style. But ‘Eton Rifles’ was an exception. Most of the time all I had were rough ideas and fragments, and we’d hammer them out together, with everybody contributing ideas.
Yeah, I was surprised, but then again I think that's a testimony to the music. It's the mark of a great band, if I may say so.
Sept 2002 ( on being asked how he felt about The Sound of The Jam charting at Number 3 in 2002 )
My first musical memory? The Beatles. It must have been the Royal Command, '64 or so. My mum would buy Beatle records and take me to see Elvis films. My mum was young, she had me when she was 18, so she'd be buying singles. But it was The Beatles for me, especially from about '67, 'Strawberry Fields', 'Penny Lane' the 'Mystery Tour'. Even up to '73, '74, a good few years after they split I'd still buy their solo albums religiously. Even Ringo's. Even 'Sentimental Journey' that's how dedicated I was.
Definately, but then I'm biased.
Sept 2002 ( when asked if he would put The Jam up there with the great singles bands of all time )
I remember I was in the newsagents the day they split up, April 1970, I was just devastated - 'I can't believe this'. I don't like the three-minute pop song as in the sort of crap you get in the charts, but I like the idea of just three-minute simple stuff. I like all the soul of Motown and Stax - and the English stuff like The Kinks and The Who and The Small Faces, all the bands that I really like were happening then. Maybe that's stayed with me because in my teenage years I never turned on to all the glam rock stuff. I though it was really boring, all the music in the seventies. So I suppose 'till I saw the Pistols I just kept listening to all them old records.
When we first started, the main thing we wanted to do was become rich and successful. There was no musical movement that had the same ideals as punk at the time, nothing that had dismissed that way of thinking. However cliché this may sound, it's true. It was punk that changed my ideas a lot. Well…totally. I realised that the music was more important.
I was always out to emulate all my heroes, Lennon, Steve Marriott, Townshend. Their music, their clothes, their moves. Some of my songs have been out and out copies, but I wasn't expecting anyone not to notice.
Regardless of whether or not it shows in the music, my favourite form of music is still soul.
The punk scene was quite art-school and we were sort of ostracised. It was quite cliquey and elitist in a London way. They were really hip and we weren't, we were just three green kids from Woking, from a little hick town and I guess our attitudes were like that as well.
I've probably dropped a lot of the trendy ideas. Like everybody got caught up in the trendy political bit - I mean half of it was meant and half of it was just because everybody else was into it. So I think I was probably a bit embarrassed of doing love songs and that, and now it doesn't bother me at all because I realise that love is an important part of people's lives - easily as important as politics. Our songs are more about people.
I thought 'In The City' was a great debut album. It was rough but that's how we were at the time. It was how it should be. Hopefully, in years to come it will be a well respected album. I'm sure when the second album comes out people are gonna say it's not as good.
A lot of our songs have got humour in them that probably doesn't come out because people don't go into our songs, they just take them at face value.
It's just impossible to do some songs live…for 'Fly' I'd have to change my guitar about three times, I wouldn't like to adapt my songs to that extent. Unless you can do something really well, it's not worth doing. A song like 'Life From A Window' without getting technical, has intricate acoustic and electric parts that would be lost live. I wouldn't want to spoil a song like that by doing it live.
I always wanted to be in a band, right from the age of 8 or 9. Then being on the front cover of NME was a dream come true, but in the end it just all got too big for me.
At that time we had simply lost all direction. I didn't really know what I was writing, and Bruce was off on his own tangent. One of his songs sounded like The Stranglers! I even played organ on it. We both knew that the songs we were both writing were shit, even though we got the usual buzz when we first went into the studio. It took a bit of time to realise that the songs just weren't up to what we were about. But if we hadn't been through that, the third album would never have been as good.
You can programme a synth, press a button, and every time you know that note's gonna turn out perfect. Surely that's just as boring and indulgent as Genesis, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd who're always note for note perfect? I can't stand anything that's that perfect, to me once things get that good there's obviously something wrong. Our producer likes us to be note perfect, but rather than lose the feel I'd prefer to have something that's a bit rough but with some passion and soul in it.
I was more chuffed about finding my old Who badge that day than the record contract with Polydor.
I'm gonna kick the crap out of you in a minute
1996 ( to a journalist )
O.K mate, just you and me in the carpark of the pub down the road, no one else, just you and me.
1995 ( PW's opening line in a phone call to a journalist who wrote a bad review )
Anyone who brings out that old Sixties revivalist tag now is an obvious arsehole. We’re not reviving anything and we’re as influenced by contemporary bands as much as anything else….probably more so than we’ll admit. I still love all the Pistol singles. They are still one of my favourite ever groups.
I saw a ghost once in Italy. I was petrified….So I got up and wrote the third verse to ‘The Bitterest Pill’.
I must admit this is the sort of LP ('The Jam's Greatest Hits') I hoped Polydor would do one day. It's far more interesting to me than a bunch of A-sides stuck on a record. I think you'd have to know quite a lot about The Jam to be really interest in some of the stuff that's on it. But I could be wrong.
Some of the unreleased stuff’s good, although I wouldn’t say there are any unheard classics - no singles. Although there’s perhaps one that could have been. So it covers early and late material, although everything is from ’79 onwards. Anything earlier than that has either been lost or nicked, I guess!
What does George Michael expect? Live by the tabloids, die by the tabloids.
The music industry isn’t worried about politics. Their only objective is to sell records, and it makes life easier for them if you’re singing about girls and cars.
Our sound man’s always trying to get me to try new, different guitars because the Rickenbacker sound on stage is so uncontrollable, but I just go for the looks.