We’ve made a few substitutions…

Posted in News February 1, 2008

I’m kind of fascinated by this “From The Jam” outfit that’s currently touring. They’re arriving in Seattle this weekend and are playing The Moore Theatre, a grand old Vaudeville house which seats around 1,400 peeps. So, will 1,400 people really pay $25 each to see the drummer and the bass player from late ’70s British band The Jam play the hits without the lead singer and primary songwriter, Paul Weller, with his parts covered by two unknown replacements? And it gets better – they plan to go into the studio and record new “Jam” music! From an article on Billboard.com:

While Foxton says it’s “premature” to guess what the group’s original songs will sound like, he notes that “it’s not that dissimilar from (the Jam) from the rhythm section department” but notes that Hastings and Moore will likely bring some different influences and sounds to the mix. “It’s experimental,” Foxton says. “When we go into the studio, that’s when we’ll really see what we’ve got.”

I suppose it IS “likely” that the two ringers will “bring some different influences”. And I don’t blame the original members for wanting to cash in on what I had no idea was a fairly high demand for someone other than Paul Weller to sing Paul Weller songs. After all, as bassist Bruce Foxton said, “There are a lot of cover bands out there playing Jam songs, so why don’t we get out there with two-thirds of the original band and play these songs? It’s more credible, you know?” Much more credible.

Their official MySpace profile is even more fun. The promo text at the top proclaims “THE POLICE, GENESIS, CROWDED HOUSE, JAMES, ALL REFORMING FOR 2007 AND NOW BRITAIN’S MOST CHERISHED BAND “FROM THE JAM” TOUR THE U.K TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 25 YEARS!” There have been many beloved bands in British history, true, but none more cherished than “From The Jam”.

If it didn’t reek of “tribute band” enough, check out the bio of the pseudo Paul Weller (from MySpace):

RUSSELL HASTINGS (born 7th July 1965, Sussex England) has been working with Rick Buckler since November 2005. A musician/vocalist in his own right Russell has shocked audiences nationwide this year with his authentic and passionate interpretation in performance (vocals and guitar) of The Jam’s back catalogue. Russell grew up on The Jam and this is evident in his attention to every detail, from the Rickenbacker to the Marshall 4×4 everything as it was and should be.

Well, sort of as it was.

Anyway, this seems like a trend lately, these bands with a few original members but not the original singer/songwriter. Let’s see, we’ve had “The New Cars”, with TODD RUNDGREN (wha?) on lead vocals. “Creedence Clearwater Revisited” – featuring original members Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford – have gone so far as to release a double live CD with “authoritative” versions of all the hits as sung by, um, some guy named John Tristao. (How many less-than-astute casual fans have been to see them at state fairs across the country and to this day think they saw “Creedence”?) There’s “Alice in Chains”, playing all the hits as sung by William DuVall (new studio album coming this year!). And let’s not forget “The Doors of the 21st Century”, featuring Ian Astbury from The Cult in the role of not-dead Jim Morrison. So, I have to wonder who’s next. I vote for “From Devo”, featuring original drummer Alan Myers. I guess if a videotape of Elvis can tour with a live band and fill concert halls, anything is possible…