Nice Jewish boys from Jersey are not Punk Rockers. Why the hell not?
I am telling you, folks… I am a man so far out of the time/space continuum. I thought I might be a few years late, but now I am thinking it might be a full decade… or more.
I should have been both older AND wiser in the ’70s… I would have surely embraced the British punk scene with abandon.
I knew The Jam in college… Sadly only in passing… But in the last few years as I have become a fan and devotee of British Power Pop, Post Punk and my own coined term British Power Punk Pop or was it Power Pop Punk… I’ll claim both… I have discovered bands I so should have been listening to back in my more youthful and pivotal years.
So much of my current listening is influenced by the British Punk bands of the ’70s… The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks and The Jam.
The Jam – All Mod Cons
Their first album, In The City is considered a Punk classic. I like that one a lot… It is a fantastic fireball of a record, but this one grabbed me for today… It took the initial burst of energy from the first record and jumped right over the sophomore slum that was This Is The Modern World.
This, their third album, is considered by many to be their classic record.
So what are the Punk values? Rebellion, anti-establishment and anti-authoritarian, for sure… Individualism… but perhaps above and beyond anything else… being independent and not selling out. The music was loud and fast, baby!
What is funny to me, in a way, is the seeming evolution many punk bands go through. As they get older, melody and ideas become more important, their music becomes more mature, in terms of musical knowledge and understanding. As you master your instrument, you realize the many things you can do with it… ideas you were not able to harness in earlier incarnations. So punk moves closer to pop at some point… Not always of course, but sometimes.
So Mod groups who were highly influenced by American R&B, like The Who and Small Faces influenced a lot of punk bands… including The Jam. As did The Kinks, especially on this one. AllMusic describes the album by saying that Paul “employed a story-style narrative with invented characters and vivid British imagery à la Ray Davies to make incisive social commentary — all in a musically irresistible package.”
The band was formed in 1975 and by 1977 had become a trio… Guitarist, singer and song writer Paul Weller, drummer Rick Buckler and bassist Bruce Foxton. They were huge in the UK, but just never really hit here, yet their influence casts a wide musical net.
Other bands mentioned alongside of them are The Specials, Billy Bragg Elvis Costello, of course, The English Beat, Madness, Pretenders and The Vapors (Yes, there is more than just the super hit “Turning Japanese”) I love all of those artists!
The bands they touched are The La’s, Oasis, Blur, The Libertines and Green Day. All in my music collection, y’all.
“To Be Someone (Didn’t We Have A Nice Time)”, “Fly” and “In The Crowd” are my favorite tracks on the record… “David Watts” is close behind. I love the beat on that one. I also dig “The Place I Love”, but the whole thing is great.
So let me take us all back to the ’70s. We’ll do it differently this time. Punk will be mine. I’ll join a band now and learn to play an instrument later! We’ll rebel and yell. We’ll do it fast and loud… So you bring the jelly, I’ll bring The Jam.