Interview: singer and guitarist Russell Hastings of From The Jam | Living North

Interview: singer and guitarist Russell Hastings of From The Jam


Russell Hastings of From The Jam
The Jam rose to fame in the 70s and 80s with songs like Town Called Malice. In 2007 their original bassist, Bruce Foxton, formed From The Jam to continue their legacy – we speak to frontman Russell Hastings before their upcoming Yorkshire shows

I was a fan of The Jam from around 1977.
My love for the band never left me really. I met Rick Buckler, their drummer, in the late 90s, and he asked me to go into the studio with him. We went out on the road after that, performing Jam songs for a year, and one night we were in the same venue as Casbah Club – whose bassist was Bruce Foxton from The Jam. Bruce came up on stage and played a couple of songs with us and the reaction was crazy. An American agency contacted us and asked us to put a big tour on in 2007.

We’re continuously touring.
Our shows are so energetic. We all have such a passion for playing live. It gets more euphoric as we go along. We strive to hit the top bar every night of the week. 

I joined my first band when I was 13. 
This project is the Premiere League in comparison. We’ve played in most countries around the world – we’re very lucky. 

The Let’s Rock Retro Festivals around the UK are some of my favourites.
At festivals it’s not a given that the crowd knows who you are, so you have to go out there and really try to win them over.

Northern audiences are so energetic.
They become very animated and excitable. I’ve always thought that audiences up north are really warm too – they should be proud of that. 

Yorkshire’s a great place to play.
There’s an overwhelming sense of love there. We recently played in Holmfirth, which is always a good gig.

A lot of our fans grew up listening to The Jam. 
We’ve noticed that more young people have got on board in recent years, too. It depends on age restrictions at gigs, but kids as young as 14 come along, right through to long-term fans in their 70s. 

Sadly, I don’t think bands are as important as they used to be.
They used to be the be-all and end-all. At school, everyone would be swapping vinyl – there were the Sex Pistols, The Stranglers, The Clash. You could tell which bands someone followed by looking at their dress sense. That happens to a certain degree today, but music is much more disposable now. I do believe that trends are cyclical, though – for example, vinyl has made a comeback. 

The Beatles are one of my main influences.
Paul McCartney and George Harrison were wonderful writers, and I’ve hung out with Ringo a couple of times over the years. I’m also a big fan of John Martyn, the great acoustic singer-songwriter. His album Solid Air is one of my favourites of all time. Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford from Squeeze also knew how to write fantastic melodies, and The Colour of Spring by Talk Talk inspired me massively in the 80s. I’ve been influenced by so many amazing bands.

I’m a little bit out of touch with current music.
I don’t get the Ed Sheeran thing. I heard that he was the highest paid musician last year – that’s great and everything, but I don’t understand it. Maybe it’s my age!

I’ve got so many fantastic memories of being on the road.
I remember me and Bruce having dinner overlooking the Sydney Opera House about 10 years ago. There was a big firework display and I remember thinking, ‘how lucky are we?’. It was like they’d put the fireworks on for us – we had the best table in the whole of the harbour.

It was the 40th anniversary of The Jam’s debut album In the City last year. 
We went out on tour and played a selection of tracks from the record to celebrate. I hope the next few years hold more of the same for us – it’s been a real pleasure. 

From The Jam are touring extensively this year, with the following dates in Yorkshire: 

17th May – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
7th June – Civic Hall, Cottingham
29th June – Warehouse23, Wakefield
26th October – Fibbers, York 
28th October – The Leadmill, Sheffield
8th November – Stylus, Leeds

Published in: May 2018

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