Teenage Punk Rockers

This site explores the punk culture as it was in 1977 England. We were teenage punk rockers that wrote a fanzine and formed a garage band.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bombsite Fanzine 1977; The Jam in Birkenhead

Rick Buckler, Paul Weller and Bruce Foxton - The Jam....

above; Click to enlarge. Bombsite issue #1 review The Mutant's and The Jam; Birkenhead, Mr Digby's, July 7th 1977.

Between the warm British summer of 1976 to the end of 1977, the UK punk phenomena re-evolved multiple times and expanded in different directions. Bands that had been struck by the origins of the movement, tried to express their interpretation of political anti establishment rock in different ways. One of these bands was the Jam.

The Jam got together in 1972 at Sheerwater Secondary School in Woking, England. Through the mid 1970's they gained a following around London playing pub-club gigs. Their style and music was seen as a revivalist mod band. In 1972-73 they were into The Who's Quadrophenia album. The release of this record helped fire up a UK Mod and scooter revival years after the original movement. By 1976, the band were inspired again after watching a Sex Pistols performance in London. Paul Weller recalled later, "The Pistol's noisy garage band racket and Rotten's youthful arrogance. I loved it! It was so young and exciting, and of course, there were no flares".

During the spring of 1977, The Jam joined punk rockers the Clash, on the White Riot tour alongside the Buzzcocks. This, after paying "the Clash" management some undisclosed amount of money. About 15 days into the tour they abandoned the tour to venture off and do their own thing.

Their live performance projected teenage anxiety, short hair, crushing volume and lightning-fast tempos, with a 1960's Brit rock influence. Moreover, the band wore Mod style clothing and tailored suits. They used good equipment and played more professionally than most other punk bands during 77.

Above; Mid 70's British Mod revival spurred on by The Jam

The following fanzine articles were from 1977. The first article from Bombsite #1 describes a spectacular performance by the band in July 1977 playing alongside The Mutant's who were a Liverpool punk band. By November 1977 Bombsite issue #5 there are references where the band starts to distance themselves from punk. The Punk and Mod lifestyles were closely aligned in the UK during this period. Ska reggae and dub music was part of the Punk and mod club culture. Bombsite writer and "Why Control" bass player Grom, owned a scooter and lived the Mod lifestyle. Every Punk in 1977 owned the Quadrophenia album. On a London trip in 77 a couple of local Mod's gave us the run down on what was going on in town that weekend. City streets were not so friendly for punks, but, Mod's and punks would hang out.

Using their unique style The Jam would change the future of UK music. Music historians believe that the Great British Music Festival, with the Jam, at Wembly in December 1978 was the peak of the Mod revival. During 1979, "The Who's" movie Quadrophenia, which romanticized the 1960s mod lifestyle was released. By 1979, punk rock had virtually imploded on itself in the UK, with only bands that had sold out, and a few stragglers left. As synthesizer and drum machine technology improved, Liverpool and Manchester would see the beginning of the New Romantic era.

The Jam were focused politically, condemning England's police brutality with their single "In the City" and expansionist development on "Bricks And Mortar". However, one of their most openly political songs, "Time For Truth", bemoaned the decline of the British Empire and expressed disparaging sentiments about "Uncle Jimmy" the Labour Party Prime Minister James Callaghan in no uncertain terms "Whatever happened to the Great Empire?". These pro-Empire sentiments and displays of the British Flag earned the group a right wing conservationism tag. Paul Weller's announcement that The Jam intended to vote for the Conservative Party in the 1979 general election served to confirm their association. The bands right wing allegiance would dog them throughout their career.

The line-up of Weller, Foxton, and Buckler would existed until the end of The Jam's career. They were managed by Weller's father, John Weller, who still manages Paul's career.

UK Scooter Boys still rocking

Above; Clash Jam tour article

Above; Cool Brit Mod Scooter
Below; The Jam Vid at Manchester's legendary Electric Circus; on "So it Goes" 1977

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