gullible general public are willing to tolerate AC/DC without Bon Scott and the Dead Kennedys without Jello Biafra, what's the big deal about the Jam reforming….sans Paul Weller? From the Guardian's Alexis Petridis.
Should you wish, you can see The Jam, with new vocalist Russell Hastings, performing in May. The venues they're playing are some way off Wembley – their appearance at The High Rocks, Tunbridge Wells, represents something of a departure for a venue best-known for its Wednesday afternoon tea dance ("ballroom dancing with Peter Harvey, tea and cake, £6"). Nevertheless, it's clearly a step up for Rick Buckler, who last year was to be found drumming in a Jam tribute act called The Gift (from whence Russell Hastings has also sprung): "you could say that Paul Weller is a tribute band because he plays The Jam's songs live," he suggested at the time.
That seems a bit of a hopeful argument, but perhaps the kind of high-minded principles that Weller espouses are a luxury that a multi-millionaire rock star can afford, but his less successful former cohorts can't.You could argue that – ahem – this is the modern world, and that The Jam touring without Paul Weller fits with the current vogue for musical nostalgia, in which trifling matters like the absence or death of a key member aren't allowed to get in the way of making some cash or, apparently, audience enjoyment: after all, plenty of people are willing to go and see Queen live without Freddie Mercury, so why not The Jam without Weller.
Then again, twenty-five years ago, anyone who publicly suggested that The Jam had anything in common with Queen would have swiftly been kicked to the floor by several pairs of bowling shoes. After all, die hard fans will tell you that what made The Jam special was the fact that were about more than just the music. They were about fashion and politics and, yup, our old friend principles which, with the best will in the world, isn't something that anyone's going to claim of Queen.
With all due respect to Mr. Petridis, I'll happily suggest the Jam and Queen have all sorts of things in common. Vox amplifiers for one, the crazed nostalgia addiction of their fans for another.