Youth In Revolt: The Fire and Passion of The Jam (FILTER Exclusive)
By Staff on November 11, 2010
In Issue 40, FILTER caught up with Paul Weller and Bruce Foxton of the legendary British punk outfit The Jam, and revisited a legacy born out of punk they started almost four decades ago. Read the feature below with the addition of exclusive photography of Paul Weller during his November appearance at The Wiltern in Los Angeles by Piper Ferguson.
Punk wasn’t about longevity; it was about making a lot of noise right now, bollocks to the future. (There wasn’t one, remember?) Sid Vicious exemplified the form best, conveniently packing it in at 21 amidst a barrage of tawdry cover stories, the prior few years a glamorously tragic story of drugs and bad behavior—an album for the ages not-withstanding. Within a musical and cultural revolution whose cri de guerre was “out with the old (fogies), in with the new (romantics),” the idea of rock and roll elder statesmen was everything that Vicious, Johnny Rotten and Malcolm McLaren were warring against. “No more false idol worship!” they cried, and certainly no more drum solos.
Yet here we are, 30-plus years on and not only inducting said punks into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but also bestowing on them favors like NME’s Godlike Genius Award. Apparently McLaren wasn’t entirely right—longevity can suit an old punk. When the Sex Pistols vitriolicly claimed that the Queen “ain’t no human being,” they weren’t opening up a discussion on the subject. Their soapbox was a decisively one-way apparatus, and Britain’s disenfranchised youth, numbed by rising inflation and unemployment, gobbed along, happy for the sideshow distraction.
At the same time, however, a different kind of modern band was emerging. Lumped in with all the other “young, loud, and angry” outfits, The Jam looked the part but almost immediately set a different course. For a start, they didn’t shun the past entirely and were often referenced alongside such punk pariahs as The Who. Their songs may have been shot through with energy and volume, but The Jam’s rhythms and melodies were studied. Real musicians had infiltrated the zeitgeist; nevermind the bollocks, indeed...