September 1 – Foxton Jam-med With Greats

A guy too oft written off as a junior member of a great band becomes a senior today! Happy 65th birthday, Bruce Foxton. Foxton has worn quite a few hats in his time but is best known as the stellar bassist for The Jam.

Foxton was born in Surrey, England in a working class neighborhood. Although he had some talent in “football” (soccer to us) and likely wanted to be a soccer star like most other British boys of the ’60s, he also loved music and that’s where the path led him. He met Rick Buckler, Steve Brookes and Paul Weller in school ; in 1972 they formed The Jam. Brookes soon quit, and Foxton, originally a guitarist switched over to the bass. And did so quite well. In time, the NME in Britain ranked him as the seventh -best bassist of all-time, saying his “vibrant, innovative fretwork gave the Jam the zest that made them the Mod champs.”

Many considered them punk, but the band really drew their inspiration more from ’60s rock and the “mod” movement and particularly liked the Who and the Kinks. Whether punk, classic rock, punk or retro-revivalists, The Jam of course were for a little while, perhaps the hottest act in the UK, scoring 18 top 40 singles there in only five years at the end of the ’70s and early-’80s. while Paul Weller got most of the attention and was the main songwriter for the band, Foxton added a few songs like their ’78 hit “The Modern World.” During his run with the band, he also spotted some local talent in the Vapors and helped them get a record deal, and topped it off with having his dad become their manager!

After Weller broke up the band rather arbitrarily, Foxton put out a solo album which generated one UK hit single (“Freak”) in 1983, then he soon after joined Stiff Little Fingers and spent some 15 years with them. More recently, he’s toured with Buckler in a band called From the Jam, playing mostly Jam songs, and has even seemingly made peace with Paul Weller. He joined Paul on stage in 2010 to perform three Jam songs including “Eton Rifles” during a solo Weller concert and since then both have worked as session musicians on each other’s albums. Can a Jam reunion jam be far away? Let’s hope they might.

7 thoughts on “September 1 – Foxton Jam-med With Greats

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    I wish they would regroup…that would be really cool. Didn’t Paul say he would never do it? But yea they say a lot of things I guess. I do love the sound he gets with his bass. They all had a great sound. I never saw them as a punk band.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think Weller did say that, but that was sometime ago. Seems like it ‘s quite possible, at least for a few reunion shows. They were a good band and to me were in the Joe Jackson category – usually referred to as “punk” back then but really much more power pop or modern rock. Not too much about them suggested punk rock.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        They were mod really…they spit out lyrics like some punks but they were too good of musicians. Really tight band…I didn’t know they formed that early.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Agree with Badfinger. New Mods but with a punkish lip curl, but very 60scentric, as per their ‘David Watts’ Kinks cover… They had a great crisp sound, ‘That’s Entertainment’ is pure anger and despair but every word is clear, not lost in a punk/thrash mix. ‘Pretty Green’ has a standout bass intro.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, they could’ve probably done well 15 years earlier with their sound. Fine, snappy pop songs and some great lyrics in there – “Town Called Malice” comes to mind, as does the under-rated “Butterfly Collector”

      Liked by 1 person

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