Rick Buckler does well writing about The Jam

RICK BUCKLER AND IAN SNOWBALL

THE DEAD STRAIGHT GUIDE TO THE JAM

Red Planet (Paperback)

3 Stars

THE JAM: THE START TO ‘77

Self-Published (Paperback)

4 Stars

This pair of books on the British rockers The Jam are nice complements to the 2015 memoir by Rick Buckler, The Jam’s drummer, which was titled That’s Entertainment: My Life In The Jam. (Buckler’s That’s Entertainment was reviewed in the September 2015 issue of Goldmine—Ed.)

While That’s Entertainment is Buckler’s story, The Dead Straight Guide To The Jam is more of an overarching history of the band. Buckler joined The Jam in June 1973. The front of the book discusses how the band got together and its early years. The Jam were a trio: Buckler, Paul Weller (vocals and guitar), and Bruce Foxton (bass and vocals). But the importance of various people, including producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven to band manager John Weller (Paul’s father), as the “fourth member” of the band is discussed. Buckler also reveals that their label, Polydor, initially wanted to replace John Weller with a more experienced manager and that the band refused to sign unless the label let the senior Weller remain on board. One of the best bits of the book is Buckler’s discussion of The Jam’s disdain for making videos, how the band hated having to act in videos and the video shoots that sometimes seemed endless. The book also includes interesting insights from Buckler on what he considers to be The Jam’s top 50 songs, a discussion of cover versions by The Jam, tour dates, awards, books about The Jam and the individual members, and a listing of TV appearances. A good piece by Simon Wells on The Jam’s final concert in Brighton, England in December 1982 is also featured.

The Jam: The Start To ’77 is limited to 1,000 copies, all of which are signed by Buckler. The book tells the story of The Jam from their founding in the band’s hometown of Woking, Surrey, England in 1972 through the end of 1977. The main emphasis of the book is on 1977, since that year was the start of The Jam’s recording career and a year in which they released two albums of new material. The story is told in text by Buckler and co-author Ian Snowball while terrific drawings by Richard Schiller illustrate the book. It includes many comments by Buckler as well as remembrances from fans. The Jam’s tour dates for 1977, which included their first shows in the United States, are listed toward the back of the book. A second illustrated book about The Jam that concerns 1978 through the breakup of the band at the end of 1982 is in the works.

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