Looking back on their breakup, the Jam bassist Bruce Foxton says he and Paul Weller may be friends again, but a full reunion is unlikely (for now)
This photograph shows Rick Buckler, Paul Weller and me immediately afterthe last show the Jam ever played, in Brighton in 1982. It was a great gig, so we were all fired up from having just played better than ever, but creeping in was the realisation of just what was ending. I may sound like a swooning prima donna, but when Paul announced he was leaving I didn’t know if I could go on with the tour. At each venue fans would ask us why we were splitting up, and at that stage neither Rick nor I knew the answer because it was entirely Paul’s decision: he wanted a clear end to the Jam, and although we tried to talk him round, we had to respect his wishes.
After the show we went our separate ways, as happened often at gigs that our friends and families attended – but this time we stayed apart. It didn’t really hit me until the next morning. I woke up in the Grand hotel on the seafront with a very thick head, thinking, ‘Well, that’s that then. What do we do now?’
I felt empty for months, not knowing what to do with myself. I didn’t feel any animosity towards Paul, because he wanted to try something new. In a way, when he came out with the Style Council I was pleased because it provided us with something of an answer. They sounded very different from the Jam, and went in a musical direction that Rick and I probably wouldn’t have been on board with anyway.
Over the years I hadn’t picked up a lot of contact numbers in the industry, perhaps because I never thought I’d need them, so I had very few people to call on. Fortunately my girlfriend Pat (later my wife), who was wonderfully supportive throughout that time, worked for CBS Records. Her publisher managed to put out the word, and eventually assembled a band for me to go solo with. I enjoyed it, but it was hard work. In the Jam we were expertly managed by John Weller, Paul’s dad, but suddenly I was out there alone. I never felt jealous of Paul’s solo success. We didn’t speak or see each other for years after the breakup, but I am good buddies with him again now.
The Jam have never reunited. I’ve played with Rick in From the Jam, and appeared with Paul at the Royal Albert Hall over the years, but never the three of us together. We are all in good places now: I’m recording a new album, Rick’s got an autobiography out, and Paul’s still riding high. We’re happy doing our own thing, so there’s no need to get back together for the sake of it. I’d never say never, though. Interview by Guy Kelly
The exhibition The Jam: About the Young Idea is at Somerset House until August 31. Bruce Foxton is currently touring with From the Jam
Find Jam vinyl and more at eil.com