From The Jam to the present
IF there's one thing guaranteed to get Rick Buckler's tail up, it's calling his reformed band a tribute act.

"How dare people suggest that From The Jam are a tribute band," shrieks Buckler, genuinely horrified.

"Paul Weller still does Jam songs and no-one dares call him a tribute band. Bruce Foxton and I were two thirds of the original Jam line-up, so it's not like we're paying tribute to some other person. That gets on my nerves." You can see his point. As founding members of a band who had 18 Top 40 hits from 1977 to their break-up in 1982 - including four No.1's - Buckler and Foxton have every right to dip into their own back catalogue.

And before anyone gets on their high horse about the fact that key member Weller will absent when two of the original line-up return to the Capital, Buckler is clear, straight off the bat, that this is the Modfather's choice.

For the record, Weller has expressed his disinterest in any type of reformation many times in the past. In an interview last year, he stated that a Jam reunion would "never, ever happen", and that reformations are

Just to get his point across, Weller added: "Me and my children would have to be destitute and starving in the gutter before I'd even consider that, and I don't think that'll happen anyway

"It [the Jam's music] still means something to people and that's because we stopped at the right time, it didn't become embarrassing."

Unlike most bands who are either past their sell-by date or dropped from their record company, Weller split the Jam at the height of their success - a move he says was intended to preserve the group's integrity.

So while it's quite clear that Weller in no way endorses this current Jam reunion, fans will be able to judge for themselves when Buckler and Foxton play Liquid Room on Monday, performing classics like Going Underground and A Town Called Malice - songs which went on to become the soundtrack for the early Eighties.

"I have reflected on the continual demand from the public for a full Jam reunion," says Buckler of the decision to reform.

"Bruce and I talked this over carefully as The Jam means so much to everyone, including ourselves.

"Times have changed since 1982," he adds. "We've all grown up and got our own lives - as The Jam song Burning Sky goes. For all true Jam fans this is as good as it gets for now. And I am really looking forward to it.

"There's been a lot written about what Paul's opinions on reforming the band are, and if half of what he's said is true, then fair enough. He's got his opinion, I have mine, and the fans are entitled to theirs as well."

Certainly, fans' opinion appears to differ from Weller's. Despite the absence of the lead singer and songwriter, From The Jam have sold out one 20-date tour and announced a second. And we're not talking pubs either. "The reaction from the fans has been fantastic right from when we announced we were getting back together," says Buckler. "It's good to know there are still a lot of fans out there who want to hear the songs played live."

Buckler also reveals that he finds former bandmate Weller's constant sniping at him and Foxton in the music press as "petty, childish and insulting", and says that he's now "sick and tired of all the backbiting".

He adds: "There were three guys in The Jam and two of them weren't called Paul Weller. It bugs me and Bruce a little that he took all the kudos. I think Jam fans knew that it wasn't just Paul who put The Jam on stage."

As if to prove the point, Buckler and Foxton are not content to simply show up on tour and knock off some favourites from the back catalogue.

Instead, to better bring these classic songs to life, the pair have bolstered themselves with the addition of two top quality new recruits in the shape of Russell Hastings and David Moore.

"The songs were never played with two guitarists when the band were together, and having these two excellent musicians on board for the live shows really has brought something new to the songs. It's sounding great."

Given that this tour marks the 30th anniversary of the Jam's debut album, In The City, and is the first time Buckler and Foxton have got together to play Jam songs since they split in 1982, this is a pretty big occasion.

Clearly, Weller won't be there for it, but to dust off an old Meat Loaf line, "two out of three ain't bad".