Paul Weller Reunites With Jam Bassist on ‘Wake Up the Nation’
Posted on May 12th 2010 4:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
When it came time to record ‘Fast Car/Slow Traffic,’ one of the punchier songs on his forthcoming 10th solo album, ‘Wake Up the Nation,’ Paul Weller knew a guy who might sound good on bass.
In terms of both music and lyrics, the tune updates ‘London Traffic,’ which Weller penned more than 30 years ago for ‘This Is the Modern World,’ the sophomore album by his now-legendary mod-punk trio the Jam. It made sense, then, for Jam bassist Bruce Foxton — with whom Weller hadn’t played since the group’s breakup in 1982 — to lay down one of his inimitable lines.
“It wasn’t a big monumental thing,” Weller tells Spinner, downplaying the significance of the two-thirds Jam reunion. “It was just two musicians playing music. It kind of opened up a dialogue between us. It made things a little easier, rather than meeting at a café or something. The bulls— really stays outside when you’re playing music.”
Weller and Foxton had been in touch prior to the session, discussing the possibility of working together. Both lost loved ones last year — Weller his father, Foxton his wife — and the musicians bonded over the shared experience. The reconciliation came after some 20 years of not speaking with each other.
“We were both a little cautious or nervous or whatever at first, but once the music started playing and he started playing his bass, everyone was OK,” Weller says. “I think music is a common ground we all meet on, really. You leave your baggage outside and get on with the task. It was fine — we had a laugh doing it. I can’t say anything different.”
Foxton plays on two ‘Wake Up the Nation’ tracks, the other being ‘She Speaks,’ a slinky psychedelic tune that sounds nothing like the Jam. Weller praises the bassist’s work on both songs, and he says he’s not fazed by the prospect of answering what’s sure to be a new round of reunion questions.
“It’s not going to make too much difference,” Weller says. “There’s absolutely no way I’d want to do that, but I was very happy we played on a track together. It’s a personal thing. It’s just nice.”